Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Debate on car culture, economics

Photo: Jose Fidelino Vera Hernandez / AP via StreetsBlog

Peter Smith on "hating cars"

...thankfully, a good percentage of us really do hate cars with the core of our beings, and some of us are unapologetic about it. many of us who hate cars still need to use them once in a while, but we don't apologize for the damage they do to our society day in and day out. what would be the basis for that?
i can only guess that the reason some people feel compelled to apologize for cars is that they really don't believe that cars and car culture are as destructive as they actually are. or maybe they're just afraid of a little criticism. how intentionally ignorant must one be, or how servile must one be, to grovel at the feet of car culture? seems a bit demented and sad.
we need a modern-day abolition movement to make illegitimate cars and car culture once and for all. ... comment by Peter Smith on GreaterGreaterWashington

Peter Smith on "greening cars" (same source)

What about the future "greening" of automobiles?
i suspect a Ford F150, a Toyota Prius, and a Chevy Volt could terrorize me and other cyclists and pedestrians equally well. that's only the very beginnings of why so many people have a great yet still growing distaste for autos.
hopefully local toxic emissions will drop, though i'm not so hopeful that 'greening' autos will have anything to do with it, if it happens. the Jevons effect might see to that. i'm more hopeful that we continue to knock down highways, calm streets, etc. --
these things will have real effects.
then we can start talking about all the ridiculous battery tech we've already started subsidizing. yikes. when we start looking at full energy lifecycles, fergeddaboutit -- 'greening' cars might be the worst idea we ever had. i'd rather we just let them fade away.
cars separate us from nature, which has myriad harmful direct and indirect effects --
like the killing/maiming of wildlife and human life, noise pollution from loud exhaust systems and rubber tires on pavement, a loss of appreciation for the natural environment - which helps us to continue to kill off myriad species, and with them all their secrets and successes and etc. Cars prevent people from walking and biking places they would otherwise walk and bike to. The effect of cars on the social fabric of the US, and ultimately our politics and policies, i think can scarcely be imagined. Think of all the right-wing hate radio that is propped up by our car-dependent society. The various economic costs of cars and car culture have been mentioned on this blog before -- fire, rescue, security, police, crime (carjacking, robbery, kidnapping, etc.), repair, insurance, fraud, etc. And surely the degradation of the value of human life by way of the yearly human slaughter on our roadways can't be good for society, can it?
Really, it's not a stretch to suggest that cars are 'the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world'.
The world without cars will be a much, much better place.

comments by Peter Smith on GreaterGreaterWashington

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