Putting a tollgate on travel
through public domain is a pernicious "privatization." But it can
add a lot to the GDP: the country is wealthier! However, a little-recognized
problem has slipped past our notice. "Value" is
not scalar. The meaning of this statement lies at the
edges of human comprehension. But we are observing the consequences.
Though the recipient of the wealth adds little or nothing, he takes much.
Scalar monetary reward cannot fairly reward multicomponented value. Click
here to see why.
of Texas was looking for a few good men! A recruiter was sent to
the University of California at Berkeley to seek new faculty among our
graduate students who were completing their PhD's that year. The
year was 1966. I was getting my PhD that year.
The word was put out to the Materials Science grad students, and nobody was interested in going to Texas. I agreed to interviewing with the Texas recruiter, but only as a matter of courtesy. It didn't seem polite that he would get to talk to noone in our corner of the Berkeley campus. So, I was the only person he interviewed.
He gave a good recruitment pitch, even though I started the interview with a honest admission of my reticence about Texas--I had been to Texas several times having been raised in Colorado not far from Texas. Also I had worked in Southern Colorado where I had noted that there were more Texas license plates in town than any other state, including Colorado. These were Texans fleeing the unpleasant summers of Texas.
Of course, he asked me about my general interests, and I told him I greatly enjoy hiking, kayaking, mountaineering and exploring. In fact, it was the absence of opportunity to do such things in Texas that made Texas so unattractive to me.
He assured me that I was dead wrong on that point. And the reason he gave clinched my resolve to never stay in Texas any longer than might be necessary.
Texas has wonderful areas to hike and explore, he explained. There were vast ranches with beautiful hills and trails, and anyone could hike and explore many of these for just a small fee to the owner. Such areas could be found all over the great state of Texas.
I asked about publicly owned areas like those we had in Colorado and California. He said that Texas was a little different in this respect, that there was very little publicly owned land in Texas. I pointed out that Big Bend National Park is publically owned, but that fees were required there and considerable restrictions were imposed on its use by the public. He agreed, but pointed out that the beauty of all Texas is world renowned, and the fees and restrictions were really minor matters which all Texans quickly get used to.
I never became a Texan.
I didn't need to become a Texan. The United States has, in just the past few years, become widely Texafied. Hiking virtually everywhere now requires a permit, available for a (relatively) small fee. Restrictions seem to be placed primarily for the sake of having restrictions. Not too many years ago, the users of those public lands exercised stewardship over the land and, because they understood the problems in ways the official, higher-level decision makers often did not understand, they kept that land as something to be proud of. It was public land, for the public, maintained by a public who understood.
It's time to reexamine the Texafication of America.
Moqûi vs Moki
Click on the picture to learn how this trip started our exploration of Glen Canyon--a bit past that ridge in the background.
"Toto, I don't think we're in Texas anymore."
|In all fairness to Texas and Texans, I should point out that Texas has always had a very active and enthusiastic public-interest movement. Well-focused and hard driving conservation efforts are made there, too. It's just that the anti-public, anti-conservation segments of society have wrested more control in Texas than in most other states. Furthermore, it's the only state from which I've heard its governor state that it makes no mistakes in carrying out the death penalty, displaying an appalling, and inhumane, ignorance of statistical realities. And of the recognition that people killing people is itself an evil, not to be facilely rationalized when the one who dies is other than oneself. Two more reasons to avoid living in Texas.|