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« Progress, Now...Not so Much | Main | Royalty, Indeed »

Aspen's "New" Ideas

Aspen's a charming little town, now starting to overflow its banks and pour down the Roaring Fork Valley towards Glenwood Springs. I like to get up there about once a year for a Shabbat, if I can. The town's wealthy. Really, really wealthy. Like Prince Bandar wealthy. But there are still some affordable hotels in town, for around $100 a night, even during The Season.

One of these is Aspen Meadows Resort, home of the Aspen Institute, where the self-congratulatory intelligentsia gather from time to time to congratulate themselves on, well, being intelligent, I suppose. (It's also the home of much bad architecture and pseudo-public art, which will be the subject of merciless mocking mirth over on the main site sometime soon.)

The library - in the reception building actually named for Prince Bandar - for some reason contains no books by Ibn Warraq or Bernard Lewis. It's not as though there's no room for the reality-based community there at all. Advise and Consent and Fail-Safe are there, so I suppose hard-edged realism has a place, and that place is in 50-year-old novels.

Mostly, we get the world as It should be, and could be, if everyone were as intelligent as us. Er, we. So there's Capitalism, Communism, and Coexistence. Two copies in fact, just in case the whole coexistence part turns out to be harder than you thought. There's Perestroika, from the same region of the camp, and Wesley Clark's Winning Modern Wars, from a general determined to lose them. I guess it's a matter of defining your terms. (Prince Bandar seems ok with that.)

Since dissent is patriotic, P.J. O'Rourke does get an entry - Give War a Chance, but only because it's next to the shockingly prescient End of Iraq.

And there's Plan B 2.0, by Lester Brown. Which I guess it what you need if you've been wrong often enough.

Maybe that's supposed to be the library's real inspiration.

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