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View Diary: Cars Cause Republicanism (338 comments)

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    I'm curious how Monbiot would respond to your question--it's an excellent one.

    Here's how I'd respond: a lot of what Monbiot is saying is rhetorical, except on the question of the environment. Or if it's not, it's kind of silly: the idea that the act of driving itself makes people anti-social assholes is a bold assertion, but pretty silly.  

    First of all, from about the 1920s through to the 1960s, driving a car wasn't anti-social. Look at the way cars are portrayed in movies from The Grapes of Wrath (where it's the family home, albeit temporarily) to American Grafitti (cars as the space for friendship). Sex too.  Plenty of social acts around cars.  Also think about picture people tinkering on their cars (that individual could fix) in garages, talking about cars, etc--none of this is anti-social stuff.  Cars were about freedom, but not necessarily in a bad way. Who knew emissions were a big deal in 1955?  

    What we know now about the environmental consequences of driving change this equation, starting with issues about clean air.  This discussion didn't get started until the 1970s really, and only much more recently has it become clear that driving can be an anti-social act--when it comes to the environment.  

    Even now, there are exceptions to this; are working class cab drivers really anti-social?  How about people who can't afford to live in urban downtown areas and -- in the absence of good mass transit systems--commute to work by car?  Anti-social?  Or just tired and overworked?  

    I had my own blog for a while, but I decided to go back to just pointless, incessant barking. --Cartoon Dog, The New Yorker

    by markymarx on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 03:51:04 PM PST

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