Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Car Cult Deprogramming

According to an article in Grist, "Americans work on average two hours out of every day to pay for their cars... [while] a bicycle costs [them] only 3.84 minutes." Anti-tax zealots (you know the ones, right-wing idiots who think that civilization is the only free lunch?) managed for generations to whomp up suicidal anti-governmental fervor among the very people who work for a living who are the first to suffer and who suffer most when government can no longer afford to run properly, by making dire pronouncements about how everyday people were working three months, six months, nine months, whatever nonsense they thought they could get away with saying, not for themselves but for the government (as if the taxes we pay do not contribute their measure to indispensable benefits like the maintenance of infrastructure, laws, oversight, norms on which we all depend for our survival and flourishing). Anyway, that rhetoric has been enormously effective, even if directed to evil and obfuscatory ends, and it seems that it should work at least as well when directed to the incomparably more wholesome work of exposing the ways in which so many people are drudging away to maintain their cars, even where convenient, practical, healthier transportation options are available (public transportation, car-share, biking, walking) in a world distressed beyond bearing by the pollution, costs, fatal accidents, waste, and noise of our irrational car culture.

1 comment:

jollyspaniard said...

Car culture is why I left Toronto, it's a sprawling and pedestrian unfriendly city. There are tiny pockets pedesterian friendly but they're surrounded by miles of concrete and asphalt with cars whizzing past you. They've improved it a bit but not much, although I hear Vancouver has made good progress in that diretion.

Unfortunately a lot of people in houses in unwalkable neighborhoods. People are adapting though, a lot of my friends back in the suburbs of Toronto work and play in their local area instead of going into the city. I don't envy them though, the suburbs are boring.