Monday, October 19, 2009

Governmental inertia and stupidity illustrated

Governmental inertia and stupidity illustrated

A dozen years ago, more or less, I was attending a mountainman rendezvous in Colorado. The weather had been dry for the past couple of months and the Forest Service (more honestly referred to as the "Forest Circus") had declared a fire ban. This makes the primitive living a lot harder and less comfortable, but I have no desire to start a wildfire. In obviously dangerous conditions I will do without the comfort and utility of a fire.

The reality, however, was that just before the rendezvous began, the rains came. And wouldn't stop. I have never seen such a waterlogged landscape in my life, except in documentaries about the bottom of the ocean. We set up the tipi in the rain. Even with flat ground, water was standing everywhere, a couple inches deep. There was quite possibly nothing dry within a hundred miles.

And yet, illustrating the boundless stupidity and meddlesome nature of government, the enforcers of the aforementioned "Forest Circus" made certain to drop in on the camp daily to remind participants that the fire ban was still in effect. A wildfire could not have been started with gasoline, but "Rules are Rules".

Needless to say, there was a lot of outlawry going on when the enforcers were not around. They finally gave us permission to have fires for a couple hours a day in order to dry out some of our gear. There had been "jokes" circulating through camp about a possible lynching soon, and this "privilege" managed to quell the talk.

Government is counterproductive and obsolete. It endangers life and limb. I wonder if the lesson was lost on any of the mountainmen in attendance. If I had been in doubt, it certainly would have driven the point home to me.