For many low-income and minority Americans, automobiles have been turbo-boosted engines of inequality, immobilizing their owners with debt, increasing their exposure to law enforcement, and accelerating the forces that drive apart haves and have-nots. ... In the consumer arena, cars have become tightly sprung debt traps.
Friday, January 20, 2023
#20 / Freedom Machine?
Andrew Ross and Julie Livingston, writing in The New York Times, tell us that "Once You See the Truth About Cars, You Can't Unsee It."
Cars are not, they say, vehicles of liberation. At least not for everyone. They are the very opposite, they say, of a "Freedom Machine."
Automobiles are also massive contributors to the release of greenhouse gases, with global warming now placing the entire structure of human civilization in danger. Ross and Livingston's point is that even if we got to an "all-electric" future, in terms of individual vehicles, the individual automobile remains the opposite of a liberating force. "Cars promised liberation," they say. "They delivered something very different."
The Ross-Livingston column is worth reading. If the paywall gods permit, I encourage you to read it.
My comment goes to this point. We are, truly, "in this life together." A mode of transportation that elevates the ideal of individualism is the wrong mode of transportation for the world that lies ahead - because if we are going to build a civilization that will survive the century, we need to find ways to find "collective" solutions to all the practical, day-to-day problems that our civilization must confront.
Like how to get around our cities, states, and the nation.
Public transportation, not more "freedom machines," is where we should be looking for the answers.