Thursday, June 7, 2012

"...And a Middle Finger Salute to the Rest of You."

The DMN outdoes itself again, publishing nonsense from a pseudo-conservative professing his "salute to solo commuters."  Presumably, because he, himself, is one.  These types really like to congratulate themselves (at worst) or justify their own illegitimacies and irrationalities.  Maybe he's a closeted transit rider.  That would be very modern American conservative.

Because the modern American conservative is not conservative in the least.  They're quite radical.  I made the point earlier today that the modern conservative is like a toddler who just had his toy taken away from breaking things around the house with it.  Throwing a temper tantrum because of losing what they felt entitled to, what made them happy, and what was given to them (but not exactly earned).

Here are some other things that are "conservative":
  • Paying well under market rate for gasoline.
  • Massive public spending on infrastructure projects
  • Public spending and maintenance on infrastructure for private investment
  • Subsidies to oil companies, car companies, road construction companies
  • Free, non-tolled highways
  • User fees that only pay for a portion of the initial road construction
  • Federal spending to fund the initial construction, then who knows where the reconstruction money comes from in 40 years.
  • Leveraging yourself to the hilt for home ownership
  • Euclidean zoning that differentiates property by land use
  • Mandatory parking provisions on property and development
  • Subsidies and favorable taxation for new construction as opposed to reuse (ie conservation)
  • Feel free to add more in the comments as those were merely off the top of my head...
He concludes in the typical way:
When shifts away from cars are called an “improvement,” it is clear the power structure prefers you gathered with the masses in a government environment, or at the very least left your evil fossil-fueled car to rust in the driveway. 
I salute those Dallas residents standing up for the liberty and autonomy of driving their cars alone to work, a consumer choice every bit as valid as a bike or a bus or a carpool. In fact, while our leaders try to make our cities march to a European lock step tune of the masses commuting as one, the man or woman driving to work alone is saying, “I’ll go where I want, when I want,” a statement that sounds downright American.
As if there is actually choice in the market place.  It's a straw man argument to suggest that auto-dependence is consumer choice merely because of the presence of DART and things called bikes (though we're surely the largest city with no bike lanes and a transportation cmte steadfastly against removal of any car lanes for other forms of transpo).  It IS perfectly rational to drive and drive alone.  That's the problem and that should also provide the necessary evidence that there is NOT suitable choice in the marketplace.  

You'd think a conservative might sympathize with my appeal that I shouldn't subsidize his driving.  Their typical argument is that other forms of transportation don't pay for themselves.  Newsflash: no form of transportation in history pays for itself.  It's the benefit (ROI) yielded by the social and economic connections made by the transportation infrastructure.  Those connections are going to happen based on human need so we ought to make them as efficiently as possible and with enough true choice in route and

It's actually coercion based on all of those supposedly very un-conservative things I mentioned above.  You barely can get anywhere without a car in this city.  You're forced into $8,000 per year in vehicle O&M costs, the majority of which leaves the local economy.  Low density style, car-dependent development is not a product of market preference, but those subsidies and policies acting as the primordial soup from which the swamp monster of sprawl manifested itself.

Rodger Jones provides a rebuttal, but it's basically "two baby boomers walk into a bar" type of thing and talk the usual pointless, reductionist nonsense pointing out meaningless facts and figures as if cities could be understood by picking over it's various parts in isolation rather than understanding its genetic processes and formative patterns.  Understanding cities is much less like dissection, but rather more like stem cells.  Understanding the genetic formation of life and allowing them to grow from there.  Maybe that's way the modern American conservative doesn't like them.  And he'll tell you why you shouldn't either.

In reality, it's just fear.  Fear the world is changing on them.  I'm not sure anything could illustrate this more than the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce's vision for what their city will look like in 2050.  (Side note: Ha!  Ha Ha!  Ha hahahahahahahahaha.  Idyllic, no?  No people, no crime, amirite?)  As if they actually have any power over preventing change.  Though, this fear-filled lot will try.  And go kicking and screaming down with their imaginary playland of a suburbanized 1950s utopia.  And by preventing change, pending up the market, they will certainly ensure system collapse.  That's life.