‘When you drive, society becomes an obstacle.’
This screed by George Monbiot is mostly directed at a particular set of UK organizations, but it contains worthy insights with broader application:
I believe that while there are many reasons for the growth of individualism in the UK, the extreme libertarianism now beginning to take hold here begins on the road. When you drive, society becomes an obstacle. Pedestrians, bicycles, traffic calming, speed limits, the law: all become a nuisance to be wished away. The more you drive, the more bloody-minded and individualistic you become. The car is slowly turning us, like the Americans and the Australians, into a nation which recognises only the freedom to act, and not the freedom from the consequences of other people’s actions.
But the way in which the transition from individualism to the next phase of neoliberalism — libertarianism — was assisted by [Margaret Thatcher’s] transport policies has been largely ignored. She knew what she was doing. She spoke of "the great car-owning democracy," and asserted that "a man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure." Her road-building programme was an exercise in both civil and social engineering. "Economics are the method," she told us, "the object is to change the soul." The slowly shifting consciousness of the millions who spend much of their day sitting in traffic makes interventionist government ever harder.
Something to ponder.
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