Tirades and Return Fire

As with most of my site, I had originally intended to update this page every couple of weeks. Six months later, I'm finally getting around to doing something. I'm going to leave the first little blast up here for a bit longer, along with some of the replies it has generated. Expect to see another mindless rant come along soon.

#1: "Pave The Earth" -- killing the cities with concrete

#1: Replied to "Pave The Earth" -- the readers reply

Diatribe #1: Pave The Earth

I'll admit it, I was an adict. I got my first charge back in '73. It was the tail end of the hot hippie days and I was blown away by my first blast of raw power.

It came in the form of a Mustang Cobra Black and Gold Special. Only recetly rescued from someone who hadn't kept up their payments, I took over at $75 a month. It was my first car. Since then, I've owned a dozen of the beasts. I've still got the '79 RX-7 I snatched off the boat in March of '78, when they still sold for $6300 and no one had any idea of what they were. I've sadly ditched the Metro Geo, which got 60 MPG, but which also blew a head gasket twice a year. Counting the RX, which is setting snuggly in a garage waiting for history to realize its greatness, I own four cars right now.

Only recently have I realized that I am an acolyte for evil.

Cars are a bad idea. So bad it's hard to see why everyone isn't jumping up and down and screaming about it.

You can't blame the guys that thought them up. They were a wonderful solution to the problems of transportation at the time. Even as late as my own childhood, a car was a ticket to really being able to get out of town and into the wilderness. Cars were the instruments of, if not good, or at least of the not so bad.

It ain't so these days.

Cars are a huge source of pollution, a tremendous waste or resources, and little more than a form of societal madness. But I could get past the idea of using a ton of metal and plastic to move one person around if it wasn't for one thing -- roads.

Where cars go, roads follow. And it's roads that have really got my dander up. (Hey, you get old, you develop a dander. What can I say?)

Four lane highways are driven through the wilderness for no reason than to prove a congressman's ability to spread millions of dollars in pork. People having a wreck on that old curvy road? Hey, don't trust folks to act better, just build a bigger road. Oh yeah, and knock down a few hills to keep it straight. Worst of all, every time traffic uilds up, instead of looking for a way to reduce the traffic, we take the option that is a sure bet to make things worse.

Here's a quiz: You move into a city where the property costs are high and the neighborhood schools are so-so. But, out there twenty, thirty miles from town, there are shiny little bedroom communities which offer better schools, cheaper homes, and a better "quality of life." So you plunk down for that first mortgage and become a commuter. Two weeks later, you're fed up. Traffic jams going to work. Traffic jams coming home. It's taking you much longer than you thought it would to get in there, and you're tired of spending hours setting on the freeway every day.

So, what now? Do you:

Not only do most people choose C, their public officials are all too willing to comply. Highway construction dollars are the juicest pork out there. They offer unending chances for graft of every form.

And once that bigger highway is built, why it only becomes easier to lure even more people even further away from the city. Which of course requires a larger highway and the whole process starts all over again.

The end result is cities drained of their highest paid workers, huge spans of blacktop covering the countryside, and tiny towns swollen far beyond their meager facilities.

The next time someone talks about "white flight," "the collapse of the inner city," or "mega-ghettos," you don't need to go looking for some complex socio-economic conspiracy. Just look at that strip of blacktop that rolls right up to your door. As a special bonus, 99% of it is done at taxpayer expense. Yes sir, your taxes are going to help drain the blood out of every city in the nation and converting the country into a big apartment house laid on its side. Makes you feel good, doesn't it?

Here's the deal: let's have a 5 Year Moratorium On New Highway Construction. We finish all the projects in the works, and then we stop. Catch our breath. See if western civilization can survive without the smell of molten asphalt and a million make work jobs. If a road gets torn up, we patch it, but we stop making it easier for the cities to rot at taxpayer expense.

Go forth. Email your congress crittters. I'm talking with mine already. Of course, when those highway contruction folks have millions of your dollars to spread around. But hey, you can try.

Myself, I'm going to get rid of a car. Or maybe four.

Replies from the Enlightened Readers

There's still time to add your thoughts to this <ahem> discussion.

I'll take the replies I get and add them to this page. When this piece goes off to be the first in my flaming archive, I'll keep your comments there, as well. Virtual immortality!

I'm not wasting my time on this stupid argument.

Return Fire!

Last Update: 6 Apr 1996

So far,


people have come to see me get hot under the collar.