Dan Wang on who the mountains beckon. From his annual letter.

His annual letter has arrived at last.

Mountains have always beckoned to dissenters, rebels, and subversives. It is not only the air that thins out at higher elevations: the tendrils of the state do too. Small bands of people only need to hike a while to find a congenial refuge in the mountains; it’s far harder for imperial administrators with their vast caravans to locate all the hideouts. Throughout history, therefore, people have climbed upwards to escape the state. It is not only to take leave of the irksome tax collector; it’s also to break free of the problems that accompany dense populations – epidemics, conscription, and the threat of state-scale warfare. As a consequence, people who dwell in the mountains tend to be seen as unruly folks, be they Appalachian Americans or Highland Scots.

Wang, Dan. March 4, 2023. https://danwang.co/2022-letter/

Can’t help but read this in the light of a Star Wars pilot script. Imperials, rebels, dissenters? Wasn’t Hoth a giant ice mountain? Or at least it had a mountain range. Also, see the dwarves from the Hobbit. Proper dissenter-rebels they were too.

Extending the observation further. Are mountain visitors dissenters, rebels, and subversives? Or only permanent residents?

Plenty of mind expanding ideas and observations in this year’s edition.

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