Friday, November 11, 2005

The War Against The Car, Pt II

Stephen Moore from the Wall Street Journal would like you to know that I'm "childish" and part of a "modern day Luddite movement." Go here to learn just how crazy I am. Thanks to Oil/Sissy Blog (as usual) for featuring this article first.

Paragraph 1 – “…asking the kids what was the worst invention in history. I was shocked when a number of them answered ‘the car.’”

I don't know where Mr. Moore sends his kids to school, but my second grader has no similar notions. Mr. Moore might focus more on that particular teacher than a so called "Green indoctrination."

By the way, what was that shocking number Mr. Moore? One? Two? And what do YOU think the worst invention in history is?

Paragraph 2 – “But with higher gas prices, as well as Malthusian-sounding warnings about catastrophic global warming and the planet running out of oil, the tirade has taken on a new plausibility.”

Why yes, yes it has, hasn’t it. I’m glad we agree. Are you schizophrenic? In the rest of this article you argue heavily against yourself.

Paragraph 3 – “In the left's vision of utopia, cars have been banished -- replaced by bicycles and mass transit systems.”

If by left you mean me, this guy, and the 14 bus riders in my city, then you might be right, although I suspect 13 of the bus riders are just trying to get to their job. Anyway, we’re not a big bunch, and most of us are poor and uneducated so you can probably rest a little easier than you apparently are.

If by left you mean The Left, you're wrong.

Paragraph 4 – “It all sounds idyllic, but in real life this fairy tale has a tragic ending.”

This is exactly what I've been thinking!

Paragraph 5 – “hundreds of blacks owned cars and trucks that they used to carpool others around the city.”

Sheesh, I thought this was going to be an argument! What do you say you and I give carpooling together a try next week?

Paragraph 6 – “A strong argument could be made that the automobile is one of the two most liberating inventions of the past century…”

I'd like to see you have the argument with David Hilfiker, a man who’s humility suggests to me that he knows something you’ll never understand.
David Hilfiker: “…when the Interstate Highway Program started during the Eisenhower administration. When these superhighways went through cities, poor black areas were usually the ones disrupted. Either the area was simply razed and the former inhabitants moved into public housing or the highway was placed so as to create a physical boundary between the black ghetto and other areas of the city, effectively isolating the inhabitants.”
Is that the liberation you speak of?

”The car allowed even the common working man total freedom of mobility -- the means to go anywhere, anytime, for any reason.”

Yep. And they went to the suburbs. Maybe this is the liberation you were thinking of.
David Hilfiker: “At the same time, efficient modes of transportation were coming into use, so the affluent were able to avoid this onslaught of "undesirables" by moving from the central cities. It was, in some ways, the beginnings of American suburbanization. Most immigrants could not afford to move away from the places where they worked, so they lived close to the factories and tended to live together in the same neighborhoods, choosing to live in a culture familiar to them. These were the first American urban ghettos.”
Paragraph 7 – “The recently passed highway bill establishes a first-ever office of bicycle advocacy inside the Transportation Department. “

An idea so crackpot a Republican Congress and a Republican Executive signed it in to law.

“The bicycle enthusiasts seem to believe that no one ever has far to go, that it never rains, that families don't have three or more kids to transport, and that mom never needs to bring home three bags of groceries.”

Apparently you haven’t been reading The MinusCar Project.

Paragraph 8 – “Even many of the oil companies are running ad campaigns on the virtues of using less energy…”

There are guys parked outside my house. They’re in a black Suburban with very dark tinted windows. “Big Oil” is painted on the side of the vehicle. They’ve been there since June. I’m going to show your article to them. Hopefully when they read that you’re lumping them in with liberal, Green, childish, environmental Luddites they’ll leave and go sit outside your house.

“…which would be like McDonald's advising Americans to eat fewer hamburgers…”

My understanding is that McDonald’s will be putting nutrition information on their packaging in the near future. That's pretty darn close to advising Americans to eat fewer hamburgers if you ask me.

“A perverse logic has taken hold among the intelligentsia that progress can be measured by how much of the earth's fuels we save, when in fact the history of human economic advancement, dating back to the invention of the wheel, has been defined by our ability to substitute technology and energy use for the planet's one truly finite resource: human energy.”

The pot calling the kettle perverse!

Paragraph 11 – “…big, convenient, safe cars…”

Mr. Moore, 44,000 people die a year in traffic related incidents. If you're looking for perverse logic, here’s a quote you used in your fourth paragraph, “if the ‘no car garage’ had been a reality in New Orleans in August, we wouldn't have suffered 1,000 Katrina fatalities, but 10,000 or more.”

Paragraph 12 – “But for the rest of us the car is indispensable -- it is our exoskeleton.”

To this I plead no contest.


I was just kidding about the Suburban outside my house. "Big Oil" isn't really painted on its side.


Anonymous said...

You picked him apart like the drumsticks in a bucket of KFC's finest.

Ed W said...

Nice one! I especially like the 'black SUV' bit. At least he didn't go into how 'dangerous' riding a bicycle is on city streets, and that we should be legislated off the roads for our own safety.

Oh, wait, that's probably NEXT week's column.


Anonymous said...

I'm too tired for this right now. I'll try to come back when my brain is working better.

Your blog clock is off by two hours. Slow, I believe.

Anonymous said...

Great response to that article. I just sent it to the yahoo carfree list that I'm on.

Eric A. said...

Wall Street is out of touch with the way the world really works
and is scared because of that.
They make their money off of those who we oppose or like to do less with.
So by thinking of ways to get along without those who Wall Street makes there money off of,
naturally , that makes us , Wall Streets enemy

Yokota Fritz said...

Good analysis, Mytz. I can believe that 2nd graders respond that cars are the worst invention, however. All they hear from their parents is how much they hate their cars, how much they hate traffic, how much they hate buying gas, how much they hate the payments, how much they hate taking it in for repairs...

mytzpyk said...

Fritz! You're right!

...and how much they'll get run over if they go out in the street...