by Doug Casey, International Man:
International Man: Due to COVID-19, almost every country in the world closed its borders. Over seven months later, most governments still restrict travel, economic activity, and social gatherings.
You recently traveled internationally. How did it go?
Doug Casey: I’ve been stuck in the backward but pleasant and peaceful little country of Uruguay for the last seven months. The lockdown in Uruguay wasn’t nearly as severe as other countries in Latin America, but it was nonetheless impossible to come or go from the place.
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I recently returned to Aspen. Bad timing, because it’s the fall and getting cold here in the mountains.
I took a COPA flight, business class, from Montevideo to Miami via Panama City. American Airlines and United usually fly direct to Miami or New York. But not now. Maybe because there’s not enough traffic, international flights are down at least 80–90%. Or maybe just because they’re bankrupt.
One of the first inconveniences you notice is that they no longer have proper earphones in business class. All they give you is little earplugs, which make it hard to hear the movie over the rush of the wind and the engines; on American, only one ear channel worked as a bonus. Supposedly a sanitary measure to fight COVID-19.
All the airlines have now ceased serving hot meals. On both airlines in business class, all you got was a little lunchbox with cold cuts and a bit of fruit. There are no longer any pillows or blankets available, either, due to contagion fears during the COVID-19 hysteria.
On my American flight from Dallas to Aspen, the stewardess did a good imitation of Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS. She noticed that though I was wearing my mask—which, of course, is required at all times on the plane and in airports—but it only covered my mouth, not my nose. I was reprimanded.
But when she delivered apple juice, I was allowed to take my mask off entirely for the full hour it took me to sip the glass of juice. Further proof that the rules around the Great Hysteria are mostly annoying theater and laughably ridiculous.
Aspen itself would normally be dead as a doornail in mid-October. But not now.
It’s overrun by obnoxious rich people from cities, mainly New York, LA, and Miami. They’ve apparently decided to leave their first homes, perhaps because Aspen doesn’t have Antifa and Black Lives Matter—which I believe most of them support. Practically every property for sale—especially in downtown—gets an immediate bid. Real estate brokers are coining money.
Aspen should be renamed the People’s Republic of Aspen because that’s what it is. It’s always been an extreme left-wing town, of course. But the immense wealth brought in by the billionaires who are driving the multimillionaires down valley made it, nonetheless, an appealing place to live. And a continual bull market for property.
But now, if you go anywhere in the core of this town, you’ll find they’re rabid about wearing your mask when you’re out walking in the sun and fresh air. Even hiking or riding your bike without a muzzle will draw shaming from leftist hysterics. All the restaurants are jam-packed, with distanced tables. If you walk into a restaurant without a reservation, you’ll likely wait an hour for seating.
Almost all the shops are open and doing great business with the people who have inundated the place. The hotels are jammed, at full rack rates, and you can’t easily rent an apartment.
It’s a fact that people are leaving the cities. And, I understand that it’s like this in all kinds of nice small towns across the country. They’re likely to sell their old homes and stay here. They’re the type of people who can work electronically in the world of the Internet and Zoom.
I dislike being in Aspen now under these circumstances. In fact, I’m going to sell the ranch, which is 20 minutes out of town. When the ducks are quacking, you should feed them. This town is nothing like it once was—the land of soft snow, hard drugs, and casual sex—when I first came here.
International Man: After the September 11th, travel changed forever. The government gave us the TSA, the Patriot Act, and all kinds of permanent restrictions. Do you think much of the restrictions brought on by the COVID hysteria will stay with us?
Doug Casey: Laws are almost never repealed. But lots of new laws are constantly added on.
You have to remember that all of the world’s Congresses and Parliaments are still in session, and what they do is pass laws telling you what you must and must not do. People increasingly act like whipped dogs. Since “democracy” became a secular religion—starting about the time of World War 1—individual freedom has been in shorter and shorter supply every year.
Of course, it’ll get much worse if Harris and Biden win the election. But the effect has been compounded—especially here in the US—by state legislatures and the kind of people who run things at the city and county level. As evidence of that, we have about 2,300 so-called “employee housing units”—aka subsidized housing—in this town of 7,300. They’re available for those making less than a rather shocking $150,000 a year. The place has only the ultra-rich and the workers and peasants who cater to them.