Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Terrence Jeffrey is in Love with his Car: Are You?

Have you ever had an argument with someone about all our environmental and societal problems associated with our love for our automobiles, and not been able to make the slightest headway, despite whatever evidence or logic you presented? You might want to check out Terrence Jeffrey's latest article, where he ties freedom and liberty to the ability to drive without any interference from nasty government. No, I'm not making this up. First, he invents a boogeyman, which, as always, is THE LIBERALS:

"Still, some liberals would like to use government to force Americans out of their cars.

They believe in socialized transportation, not free-market transportation.

In a free-market transportation system, a person purchases his own vehicle with his own money, buys his own gas with his own money and can drive his vehicle anywhere there is a road -- and, if he has the right kind of vehicle, some places where there are no roads."

Sounds like a nice little libertarian paradise. Oops, except for the crucial role governments play in our driving, which he apparently hopes you don't notice undercuts his entire argument:

"Admittedly, the roads generally are constructed by government, albeit with funds extracted from the earnings and gasoline purchases of drivers."

He seems to think it could be otherwise, and we just arbitrarily chose to do things this way. Then he goes on a little rant about all the ideas governments have implemented to try and unclog our roadways (eg HOV lanes and buses) as if they were some sort of communist plot designed to take away our precious bodily fluids:

"Methods governments can use to do this include placing constraints on parking availability, forbidding taxpayers from using certain lanes of the highway (or even certain highways) unless they agree to carpool or ride a bus, and imposing excessive gas taxes or road tolls and using the excess revenue to subsidize money-losing public transit."

Give me my HOV lane or give me death! This all comes from the same guy whose answer on how to motivate teenagers was to take away their stereos. Yeah, he's in touch with what's going on in the world around him. His cluelessness about the conditions of our highways and the increasing space the occupy is no better. The next time you are stuck in a traffic jam, think of Jeffrey saying this:

"Hopefully, the 8 percent who have taken to socialized transportation represents a trend that can be reversed."

One can't help wondering how any sane individual living in a modern large city could think that fewer drivers is a bad thing. The answer is one of two common themes with this ilk: Jeffrey is either placing ideology over facts, again, and pretending that we can solve all our smog and congestion problems by magic, or he is simply shilling for the oil companies. I've just never seen it this blatant before.

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