Gee, Thanks Dad

It used to be that the nanny-staters attacked private enterprise one issue at a time. No more. Now they come at us from all directions - mixing metaphors, combining multiple paternalistic volleys, and generating a hybrid vigor of various conceits. A NY Times editorial piece today not only wants us to use cars less, but justifies this by arguing that we are too fat, and that using cars less is for our own good. The Natural Resources Defense Council has found a new weapon in its quest for environmental regulation - the War on Obesity.

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A significant reduction in

A significant reduction in the usage of personal automobiles (what I assume is the NYT's editorial goal) might help in getting more people to exercise more or conduct more physically active lives. It might also drive them towards public-funded mass transit (score another point for the NYT!).

But wouldn't it also:

  • Negatively affect the financial well-being of the automobile industry and it's satellite industries?
  • Transform expensive public roads into wasted space?
  • Dramatically increase the density of urban areas as people decide to live closer to where they work and learn, thus effectively killing off the economic growth that accompanies the outer rings of urban expansion?
  • The inevitable etceteras that follow after such Official Discouragement?
  • Sounds to me like taking an actively anti-automobile stance would hurt the nation's economy. I could be wrong, though. Someone might argue the decreased costs of pollution and overweight Americans in the healthcare system would make up for it.

    I always love these

    I always love these arguments that assume that automobiles and bicycles (or walking?) are directly interchangable. Are you willing to walk 5, 10, 20 miles to work? I don't have any numbers, but considering the structure of most urban and suburban areas, people probably live at least a mile from the supermarket, their jobs, etc. which simply precludes the possibility of not using their cars.

    Charles, as you probably know, these types don't care if they hurt the economy in acheiving their dreams of a environmental utopia.