Author Topic: Car Culture Culture  (Read 994 times)

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Offline Black Dog

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Car Culture Culture
« on: September 29, 2022, 08:03:51 pm »
Been meaning to start a thread on this for a while ever since user kimmy posted a couple of things in the Elon Musk thread essentially claiming that a world without cars would be a horrible place.

I won't presume to speculate as to why user kimmy in particular feels that way, but you see similar arguments from time to time, usually from conservatives, including everyone's favourite teary-eyed psychologist.



I'll start by just talking about why cars suck from an individual standpoint. Now, I think the majority of people are either ambivalent about cars or consider them a necessary evil at best. Personally, I went about 15 years without owning a car when I lived in cities with functioning transit and bike infrastructure. It wasn't until I moved to a shitty, car-oriented mid sized city that I basically had to get a car and it was then that I realized how much it sucks to own a car.

First, cars are expensive. Expensive to buy, expensive to insure, expensive to maintain and expensive to fuel. I sure don't find the experience of having to hand over several hundred dollars a month for a constantly depreciating hunk of metal to be particularly liberating.

Second: the act of driving sucks. It's always funny when I see car commercials that show people whizzing down neon-lit city streets at night or flying down country roads because that sure as hell isn't what driving is like in real life where the experience ranges from boring to stressful to outright rage-inducing.

Third: driving and the reliance on automobiles at the exclusion of almost every other mode of transport is atomizing and soul-crushing. Spending large parts of one's life trapped in a box travelling at high speeds means you miss out on scenery, human connections and the joys of discovering things about your surroundings that are only visible when you're travelling at a human speed.

Anyway that's just my perspective behind the wheel without even touching on pollution and environmental damage, traffic deaths and injuries, urban sprawl and its discontents.

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Offline Squidward von Squidderson

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2022, 12:12:12 am »
Cars arenít going anywhere.  They may become electrified, but theyíll still be the way most of us get around. 

I canít tow my trailer or boat with mass transit. 

If the road from Lake Cowichan to Port Renfrew in a sports car doesnít make you grin, you have no soul. 

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Offline kimmy

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2022, 01:29:20 am »
So, first off, apologies for not getting back to that thread.  I just don't have as much time to spend here writing as I used to, and when I do log in it seems like there are a lot of things waiting for me to respond to and I feel like I can't get to all of them. There's stuff in the Gender thread that I've been meaning to get to for weeks and still haven't had time to.  And often times it feels like when I do spend time and effort responding to something, I get a cursory response at best and then people go back to exchanging memes and inane verbiage with low-effort members of the forum.  I spend 40 hours a week churning out documentation, and sometimes coming home and getting on a forum to write out my opinions in any amount of detail feels more like work than recreation.

Let me preface this by saying: I'm probably the greenest person here.  I walk to work most days. I live within walking distance of my groceries and the bars and restaurants I like to visit. I only use my vehicle a couple of times per week, and when I do, I usually bundle a number of errands into one trip.  If cars were suddenly banned, my day to day life would probably be less impacted than the vast majority of people. (unless my employment situation changes and my next job is at an industrial park at the edge of town...)  So overall, I'm on board with the idea of creating cities where people can drive less or not at all.


I live in a city surrounded by hills and mountains and forests. I like to visit these wonderful places. I like to take my snow-shoes, or my rifle, or both, or just go for a hike. Whatever Marx's vision of the ideal car-free future, I'm highly sure it doesn't include a transit stop at the trailheads where I like to go.  Marx and their ilk would say "yes, but you see, in the futuristic walkable car-free city of tomorrow, there will be ample recreational spaces right in your neighborhood."  But that really only applies if you share Marx's concept of "recreation".

While the driving itself was not the highlight of any trip I've ever been on, I have to say that many of the most memorable experiences of my life have involved car travel.


And so my complaint with people like Mx Marx isn't that they don't want to drive, its that they don't think anybody else should want to drive either.


Ultimately what Marx is advocating for is a world where we average folks lose our "automobility". They propose that the benefits of a car-free society would more than make up for the loss of the freedom to travel when I want, to go to the places I want, and so-on. I'm highly skeptical. I suspect that these benefits would actually mostly be experienced by urbanite indoor-kid snobs (like Marx themself, I imagine).


(And yes, I understand that they don't literally want people to eat bugs and live in pods.  Instead of bugs it will be vaguely food-like items made from sustainable plant sources, and the pods will have walls, ceilings, and perhaps 100 sq ft or more of floor space.)


 -k
Paris - London - New York - Kim City
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Offline MH

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2022, 09:42:56 am »
Is this Karl Marx we're discussing...

Offline Queefer Sutherland

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2022, 09:57:00 am »
And so my complaint with people like Mx Marx isn't that they don't want to drive, its that they don't think anybody else should want to drive either.

Right.  Cars didn't become popular because some author or some politician designed a car society, it happened because people started buying cars because they liked them better than horse and buggy.

If people want to live in the city and not use cars they can do that, if they want to live suburban or rural and use cars they can choose that too.
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Offline Queefer Sutherland

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2022, 09:59:20 am »
Is this Karl Marx we're discussing...

No,  Paris Marx, some 30 y/o utopian who has the answer to all of life's problems.  So kinda the same thing.
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Offline wilber

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2022, 10:33:48 am »
I've always been a car guy. Years ago I restored the one in my avatar and still have it. Cars are a necessity where I live and except for major cities, they always will be. A country this size just doesn't have the population to justify transit everywhere. The latest estimate for California's high speed rail project is $105 Billion USD and that is a state half the area of BC with the same population as Canada. That said, I don't like driving in Vancouver and will take Skytrain from a Surrey park and ride unless I actually need to take a car for some reason.
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Offline wilber

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2022, 11:39:43 am »
Right.  Cars didn't become popular because some author or some politician designed a car society, it happened because people started buying cars because they liked them better than horse and buggy.

If people want to live in the city and not use cars they can do that, if they want to live suburban or rural and use cars they can choose that too.

Before motor vehicles, most people spent their whole lives within 20 miles of their homes.
"Never trust a man without a single redeeming vice" WSC

Offline Black Dog

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2022, 01:24:48 pm »
I live in a city surrounded by hills and mountains and forests. I like to visit these wonderful places. I like to take my snow-shoes, or my rifle, or both, or just go for a hike. Whatever Marx's vision of the ideal car-free future, I'm highly sure it doesn't include a transit stop at the trailheads where I like to go.  Marx and their ilk would say "yes, but you see, in the futuristic walkable car-free city of tomorrow, there will be ample recreational spaces right in your neighborhood."  But that really only applies if you share Marx's concept of "recreation".

While the driving itself was not the highlight of any trip I've ever been on, I have to say that many of the most memorable experiences of my life have involved car travel.

I hear this type of argument all the time when I talk about the absurdly giant pick up trucks that dominate the market and our roads. "Well maybe people need them for work or recreation" and like yeah some do, but the vast majority simply do not. So I don't think your enjoyment of niche recreational activities are a compelling argument in the face of the myriad social and environmental harms of living in a car-centric society.

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And so my complaint with people like Mx Marx isn't that they don't want to drive, its that they don't think anybody else should want to drive either.


I would love to see any cite that shows Paris Marx or anyone else calling for a complete and total ban on personal automobiles. Without such evidence, this whole thing smacks of a strawman.

I'd be genuinely curious what percentage of vehicle trips are taken by choice for pleasure or recreation vs commuting to work, getting groceries, schlepping kids to school and activities. I'd be shocked if it was even 10%.

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Ultimately what Marx is advocating for is a world where we average folks lose our "automobility". [They propose that the benefits of a car-free society would more than make up for the loss of the freedom to travel when I want, to go to the places I want, and so-on. I'm highly skeptical.

Because obviously it's all about you?

Also, as i said in my OP, the "freedom to travel" is not what it seems when it involves being chained to a costly and constantly depreciating asset.

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I suspect that these benefits would actually mostly be experienced by urbanite indoor-kid snobs (like Marx themself, I imagine).

Yeah only rich urbanites would benefit from improved air quality, less dangerous streets, more financial freedom etc etc. Come on jack.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2022, 03:11:56 pm by Black Dog »

Offline Black Dog

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2022, 01:31:30 pm »
Right. Cars didn't become popular because some author or some politician designed a car society, it happened because people started buying cars because they liked them better than horse and buggy.

If people want to live in the city and not use cars they can do that, if they want to live suburban or rural and use cars they can choose that too.

That's literally what happened though. You should read up on how car manufacturers worked to monopolize the streets, from creating he concept of jaywalking to colluding to destroy public transportation.

Offline Black Dog

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2022, 01:34:10 pm »
Before motor vehicles, most people spent their whole lives within 20 miles of their homes.

And 95% of car trips are 30 miles or less, and 60% are under 6 miles.

Offline Black Dog

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2022, 01:35:50 pm »
I've always been a car guy. Years ago I restored the one in my avatar and still have it. Cars are a necessity where I live and except for major cities, they always will be. A country this size just doesn't have the population to justify transit everywhere. The latest estimate for California's high speed rail project is $105 Billion USD and that is a state half the area of BC with the same population as Canada. That said, I don't like driving in Vancouver and will take Skytrain from a Surrey park and ride unless I actually need to take a car for some reason.

73.7% of Canadians live in urban centres.

Offline wilber

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2022, 01:46:49 pm »
73.7% of Canadians live in urban centres.

And over 26% don't. Only a few of those urban centres are large enough to support efficient transit systems. Air travel and personal vehicles are the only practical ways of moving between them.
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Offline Queefer Sutherland

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2022, 02:52:26 pm »
73.7% of Canadians live in urban centres.

If you and Paris Marx (the most crazy-person name of all-time) don't like cars don't drive cars.

Most will be EVs soon enough so the negatives from ghg and air pollution will be gone.  They'll also be self-driving soon too so most car accidents will be eliminated.  Elon Musk is helping spearhead all this tech that will save a gazillion lives and dollars but he tweets like an ass and has an ego & a temper so f*** him.
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Offline Black Dog

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Re: Car Culture Culture
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2022, 02:57:39 pm »
And over 26% don't.

that's less than 10 million people, which is only twice as many as the GTA alone.

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Only a few of those urban centres are large enough to support efficient transit systems.

Almost half of the population of the whole country lives in 10 municipalities so start there.

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Air travel and personal vehicles are the only practical ways of moving between them.

Again, the vast majority of car trips aren't between cities or regions. Also, what about rail?
« Last Edit: September 30, 2022, 03:02:56 pm by Black Dog »