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Car Liberalism

I despise driving cars and try to avoid it as much as possible.  Driving from one city to another is a necessary evil, and something I do when it is more of a necessity (and cheaper based on the amount of passengers I can take) than taking a bus or train.  Then there are the times that I have to use a vehicle in the city to pick up large and unwieldy things that I cannot transport via public transit.  Otherwise, I try to avoid driving because: a) I cannot really afford to be driving all the time and to every place; b) I hate the stress of traffic and the always-existing potential of dying in traffic accident flames.  Generally, I really hate the fact that so many people drive all the bloody time rather than take public transit in a city that has a somewhat decent public transit system.  And I especially hate the way that people become their personal vehicles.

I am ranting about this because I've recently been forced to utilize a car more than I usually would due to all of the trips I have needed to make out of the city to visit family and the trips I have needed to make within the city to pick up things (sometimes donated by very generous friends) that my partner and I need for our upcoming child (I cannot, for example, transport a change table, a baby bath, and bags and boxes of baby clothes by myself with my spindly arms).  And driving within my city is the worse because it is filled with assholes who, isolated inside their cars, tend to become the most anti-people individualists who believe their driving schedule is more important than the safety of everyone else in the roads and on the streets.  This is, in my opinion, some form of car liberalism.

Car liberalism is something I am forced to encounter every time I am forced to drive.  There I am, because (for good reason) I lack daily driving experience, just trying to get safely from point x to point y and suddenly I have to deal with innumerable assholes who all think they are Mad Max in the Road Warrior.  More accurately: they might think they're a Mad Max but more likely they're that mohawked guy running that parasite convoy. [Message to younger readers: I know I'm showing my age, so go out and watch the Road Warrior and try to remember that it was made before any of us knew that Mel Gibson was a racist reactionary.]  My city's roads are glutted with assholes who, despite the fact that there is a halfway decent public transit that is actually cheaper than driving, would rather spend every day using their personal vehicles than sharing a streetcar or subway with the masses.  And all the people who drive day-in and day-out, being the car liberals that they are, have little tolerance for those of us who suddenly find themselves driving through the city in a car for some specific reason and trying to make sense of the angry traffic.

Car liberalism is is clear to every pedestrian who has tried to cross a street and has nearly been run over by some fucker turning a corner who thinks you're in the way of their oh-so-important schedule.  The collective life of pedestrian citizens is incomparable to the schedule of the individual driver; pedestrians impeded vehicular progress.  And when I'm forced to drive this behaviour takes on a new meaning: when I stop at an intersection because pedestrians are crossing, I've lost count of the times that the car behind me starts honking wildly––apparently they think I should run these pedestrians over so that they can get on with their day.

Then there was that asshole who decided to honk and give me the finger today because I was rude enough to stop at the curb beside my home so my pregnant partner could get out of the car.  He also didn't like the fact, I suppose, that I had to unload the trunk of all those things that I needed to use a car to get in the first place.  Normally cars would pull around me, but I think he was annoyed because pulling around my vehicle would force his giant SUV to go slower and he wanted to get into his parking garage three seconds earlier.

"This is my road!"

There are also those car liberals who think that another driver's mistake counts as a mortal sin.  So if you accidentally cut them off because you failed to check your blind spots (because you don't drive very often) they are under the impression that you actually wanted to cause an accident and it was only their superior driving skills that foiled your heinous plot.  And since they think it was some personal slight on their vehicular sanctity, they follow you for blocks and continue to honk their horn and give you the finger.  This is because, I would assume, they have never made similar mistakes because they are the only perfect drivers in the world.  I just wish they wouldn't follow me for three or four blocks, continuing to register their complaints about my imperfect driving with their horn honks.

Hopefully car liberalism will be eliminated under socialism.  This business where individuals in their personal vehicles are allowed to thrive as rugged individuals needs to end.  As does the necessary evil of having to drive said vehicles now and then simply because public transit cannot satisfy the needs of people who need to transport more than their bodies and limbs can carry.  Even taking steps to force people to take public transit, or at the very least use bikes, rather than driving their personal vehicles day in and day out because it is convenient is better than nothing.

None of this is to say that I'm some sort of lifestyle anarchist who believes that biking is politically superior to driving.  Hell, I haven't owned a bike for over a decade, I find biking terrifying in a city where motorists like to run over bikers, and I like vehicles that move at a speed tens of times faster than a bike: I just wish the convenience of modern vehicles would be further socialized.  As far as I'm concerned, the people who justify their over-use of personal vehicles because they love driving should be the people who are mobilized to drive collective vehicles. The socialization of transportation, I suspect, will be met with staunch resistance by those rugged motorists suffering from car liberalism.  Thus, the re-education of car liberals will become a revolutionary necessity!


  1. I despise driving, ever since I got into an accident a couple of years ago. I recently moved to a small town in Saskatchewan for a job and it's clear that I'm going to need a car in order to get anywhere. The newspaper that I work at has a company car, but every morning I dread the possibility that I'll have to drive somewhere to cover a story. It's not just the possibility of a collision; I hate the carbon footprint that results from driving everywhere.

    Operating a vehicle is clearly a necessity for many working people, especially in small towns, but the combined environmental costs are enormously destructive and beyond the capacity of capitalism to alter. A rationally-planned economy would be able to divert more resources to the development of sustainable fuel sources, but sadly, until then we're just going to keep pumping fossil fuels into the atmosphere.

    1. Considering that this rant was written in a semi-inebriated state and was clearly not meant to be a thorough critique of the car economy (it was meant to be humorous, though I think it seemed more funny in the state I was writing it, lol), I clearly did not delve into the key issues surrounding cars. As you rightly point out, the environmental questions raised by innumerable cars on roads and the lack of socialized transportation, is more important than "car liberals". At the same time, you're also correct to point out that it is a necessity for workers in areas that lack public transportation, or for jobs where workers are required to drive long hours (i.e. trucking). All of those things capitalism does to destroy the world that can only be superseded through socialism... *sigh*.

  2. Hey, learn to drive, will ya?

  3. You may have meant this humorously, but I think you're spot-on. Driving is stressful and awful.

    1. All good humour contains an element of truth, yeah?


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