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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 11-12-10, 08:32 AM   #1
Eileen
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Is car-free/light a left wing cause or is it conservative and fiscally responsible?

That's right, I'm going to stir it up.

In another thread something along the lines of "I stopped in LCF and it was just as I suspected -- a bunch of lefties" was posted. I'm almost as lefty as it gets, so I resemble that remark. But choosing a bicycle over an automobile where appropriate seems very conservative and self-reliant to me. Seems that all of us lazy lefties looking for a government handout would be demanding free cars and subsidized gasoline for the masses. Riding a bicycle takes effort.

Or do I have it wrong? Is the real problem here that we lefties who choose bicycles, walking and public transit are simply too lazy to earn enough money to comfortably drive reliable automobiles AND buy food, shelter and all the other necessities?

My honest opinion is that most conservatives are anything but and are hypocritical. They could prove me wrong by embracing, you know, living conservatively. Perhaps in smaller homes and with fewer cars. Perhaps they could buy less foreign oil. I don't see many eager to do this. Do they not understand that better bicycle infrastructure means more poor people actually able to get to work and able to live within their means?

One of the many reasons that I use my bicycle as primary transportation (and a very cheap old car as secondary) is that I save money. I don't have to live so hand-to-mouth. If there is a hurricane or some other disaster that causes a gasoline shortage, I can still get around. I don't need a 5 or 10 year loan to buy a bicycle. I can even pay CASH for a REALLY *****IN' bicycle. How is this not conservative?
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Old 11-12-10, 08:33 AM   #2
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LOL, I can say "ass" but I can't say "b*i*t*c*h*i*n."
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Old 11-12-10, 10:38 AM   #3
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Well, I suspect that those who are too lazy to get out of their cars are also those who are too lazy to vote.

As far as political parties go, both seem to be just about as deeply into the corporate pockets as the other. I find little difference between them and expect any real democracy to be broken down in the next decades. It's a puppet show with the Republicans cast as hysterical whiners promoting an agenda that is good for the rich and bad for the poor, or Democrats who speak in decent terms but then vote like Republicans.

So I can only decide that I must provide for myself, and the key to this is removing the cost and environmental decay caused by the motorcar.
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Old 11-12-10, 10:49 AM   #4
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Well said.
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Old 11-12-10, 10:54 AM   #5
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Conservative in the common political sense and conservative as a matter of how one chooses to live are often miles apart. You’ll need a car to go that far.
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Old 11-12-10, 11:05 AM   #6
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My honest opinion is that most conservatives are anything but and are hypocritical. They could prove me wrong by embracing, you know, living conservatively. Perhaps in smaller homes and with fewer cars. Perhaps they could buy less foreign oil. I don't see many eager to do this. Do they not understand that better bicycle infrastructure means more poor people actually able to get to work and able to live within their means?
Sadly, you're right about this. As a conservative, it frustrates me to no end to see people wasting money and living like idiots. They translate "conservative" to mean "I don't give a rat's-behind" and go on their merry way. I am what I would call a true conservative... I don't spend money I don't have, I live within my means, and want to teach others to do the same. I disagree with liberals on many levels (particularly man-created global warming and other alarmist garbage) but on the other hand, I *am* concerned about the environment, because who wants to live in a toxic wasteland with no wildlife left? I'm against large businesses... not because I'm against making money, but I'm against making money using destructive and illegal business methods. Sadly, there's not many companies left that don't operate this way.

Similarly, I own a van and a car, but i'm driving the car less and less... because it costs so much to keep it up. I love driving it, I don't feel guilty at all (it's a small inexpensive sports car) but when push comes to shove, I don't have to have it. It's a luxury I worked hard to pay for, and I treat it as such. It needs a new battery right now, and I don't want to spend the $75 to replace it when I only drive it twice a week now.

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One of the many reasons that I use my bicycle as primary transportation (and a very cheap old car as secondary) is that I save money. I don't have to live so hand-to-mouth. If there is a hurricane or some other disaster that causes a gasoline shortage, I can still get around. I don't need a 5 or 10 year loan to buy a bicycle. I can even pay CASH for a REALLY *****IN' bicycle. How is this not conservative?
I started riding my bike to get in shape, and because I enjoy it. The saving money and not buying gas was an added benefit, but not my primary reason. I am reducing wear and tear on my car, that's just as important to me as not buying foreign oil... that's protecting my investment.

Suffice to say, there *are* real conservatives out there, and you might have more in common with them than you might think.
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Old 11-12-10, 11:18 AM   #7
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Suffice to say, there *are* real conservatives out there, and you might have more in common with them than you might think.
And you might have more in common with us lefties than you think, too .
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Old 11-12-10, 11:31 AM   #8
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I'm against large businesses... not because I'm against making money, but I'm against making money using destructive and illegal business methods. Sadly, there's not many companies left that don't operate this way.
And I'm not sure that's going to change soon. UCF Business School Cheating Scandal
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 11-12-10, 11:47 AM   #9
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And you might have more in common with us lefties than you think, too .
In some ways, yes. It's foolish to lump people into one of two categories, where there are so many areas these descriptions cover. Financially and morally, I'm about as conservative as it gets. I don't want to get too deep in to it, but let's just say I'm not impressed with the modern political/social system, and one side always trying to out-do the other. Somewhere down the line conservatives changed their message to "you must make as much money as possible, no matter what the consequences" and I don't agree with that. Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should. People who preach "living within your means" are viewed as wacko nutjobs, even though people are going bankrupt left and right.

I've learned over the years that there are tons of hypocrites on both sides of the fence. I despise them, one and all.
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Old 11-12-10, 11:53 AM   #10
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Eeeeek politics, my head is already hurting
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Old 11-12-10, 12:41 PM   #11
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Eeeeek politics, my head is already hurting
I'm really only likely to upset myself bringing it up, but that post in the other thread made me do it. And I do think (and I think FunkyStickman agrees) that it's worth discussing.
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Old 11-12-10, 12:45 PM   #12
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People who preach "living within your means" are viewed as wacko nutjobs, even though people are going bankrupt left and right.

I've learned over the years that there are tons of hypocrites on both sides of the fence. I despise them, one and all.
You and me both. From one wacko nutjob to another.
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Old 11-12-10, 12:45 PM   #13
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Don't think it should have anything to do with politics.
You choose how to get around because of your political views? Probably not.
Personal views, on the other hand, play the biggest role. Personal views influence political views. So you can be LCF/LCL and a lefty, and I can be LCF/LCL and a righty. My reasons may be different than yours and those reasons probably influence our political views. Not all liberals drive hybrids and hug trees. Just like not all conservatives drown baby seals in petroleum. Hope you get my gist.
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Old 11-12-10, 12:52 PM   #14
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I'm really only likely to upset myself bringing it up, but that post in the other thread made me do it. And I do think (and I think FunkyStickman agrees) that it's worth discussing.
Eh i dont blame ya for starting the thread, that guy kinda got me hot headed, i think it was the communist comment that did it. Im just not a political person ive got far to many other things that id rather use my time for.
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Old 11-12-10, 01:20 PM   #15
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Eh i dont blame ya for starting the thread, that guy kinda got me hot headed, i think it was the communist comment that did it. Im just not a political person ive got far to many other things that id rather use my time for.
It was bait, and I did not want to hijack the other thread.
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Old 11-12-10, 01:32 PM   #16
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It's easy to make assumptions about people based on their choice of transportation, but those choices are not necessarily correct.

Last December, someone assumed I was an anti-car zealot and environmental activist when I said I would rather ride a bike than drive a car. Not so. I get more pleasure out of riding the bike. I know some cyclists who lean towards socialism, some who are devout libertarians and others who hold to other political views. No problem. We're cyclists, united by a love of the bike, not by a political ideology.

As for my own politics, I don't affiliate myself with any political party. One reason is because I wish to appear neutral in my role at the newspaper. More importantly, I haven't yet found any party I can fully embrace.
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Old 11-12-10, 01:39 PM   #17
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It's easy to make assumptions about people based on their choice of transportation, but those choices are not necessarily correct.

Last December, someone assumed I was an anti-car zealot and environmental activist when I said I would rather ride a bike than drive a car. Not so. I get more pleasure out of riding the bike. I know some cyclists who lean towards socialism, some who are devout libertarians and others who hold to other political views. No problem. We're cyclists, united by a love of the bike, not by a political ideology.

As for my own politics, I don't affiliate myself with any political party. One reason is because I wish to appear neutral in my role at the newspaper. More importantly, I haven't yet found any party I can fully embrace.
Couldn't be said any better +1
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Old 11-12-10, 01:41 PM   #18
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Its all in the definition of conservative. You could be anti abortion and be all for deficit spending. Or you could be more libertarian and want less government involvement and less spending. Thats clearly the issue with our 2 party system. There are huge parties that claim to be conservative and liberal but they are each are more conservative and more liberal that the other depending on the specific issue. I think you'll find far more libertarians on this forum that you would god, guns and gays republicans. Fundamentally neither of these groups are open to signifiant amount of change in their lifestyles so thats why there are more "liberals" here. One must also understand that the fraction of people LCF and LCL are so small that we are all outliers.
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Old 11-12-10, 01:47 PM   #19
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Conservative in the common political sense and conservative as a matter of how one chooses to live are often miles apart. You’ll need a car to go that far.
Yep, the labels are backwards. I can't picture Abee saying "drill baby drill".
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Old 11-12-10, 01:59 PM   #20
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Its all in the definition of conservative. You could be anti abortion and be all for deficit spending. Or you could be more libertarian and want less government involvement and less spending. Thats clearly the issue with our 2 party system. There are huge parties that claim to be conservative and liberal but they are each are more conservative and more liberal that the other depending on the specific issue. I think you'll find far more libertarians on this forum that you would god, guns and gays republicans. Fundamentally neither of these groups are open to signifiant amount of change in their lifestyles so thats why there are more "liberals" here. One must also understand that the fraction of people LCF and LCL are so small that we are all outliers.
This is a good observation, as well.

In the spirit of keeping this suitable for LCF and not Foo, I'll say there can be plenty of reasons for going carfree/light. Anything from exercise, to financial reasons, to reducing your environmental impact, and last (but not least) for fun. The act of being carfree doesn't make you one or the other, but separates the talkers from the doers. I don't consider myself a hardcore commuter yet, as I still have my car... but as I said, it's gathering dust at the moment. I got to the point where I would feel physically ill when my car wouldn't start, and I realized it was beginning to creep into my thoughts all the time. Something like having to replace all 4 tires (which I couldn't afford) flung me into a tizzy, and I knew something had to change.

Now the car's paid for, and no longer a source of stress. I still can't afford a cargo bike, but I haven't had reason to need one yet. I have entertained the thought of selling it and buying a few good bikes... I would probably get more use out of the bikes nowdays, since I don't race my car anymore.
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Old 11-12-10, 02:31 PM   #21
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The stress of the expense of cars has always annoyed me. Why do I have to maintain this huge, wasteful, monstrosity? Even a paid-for car is not cheap. A sudden repair can require you to cough up $800 right now, today. Even if someone gives you a brand new, free car, you are on a journey to the end of the cars life. And then if you are dependent on it you've got to buy another. It's never ending slavery. In my opinion. But I have a choice to end that slavery.
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Old 11-12-10, 04:03 PM   #22
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It's already been said, but I will echo: personal conservatism is not the same thing as political conservatism in America at all. In my case, I have no problem being labelled a left-winger, environmentalist, etc.; but it's quite funny because the reasons people tend to label me as such (ride my bike lots, compost, use biodiesel in my car) are largely, in my mind, conservative reasons. I ride my bike for pleasure, of course, but also because it is cost effective and gives me exercise, and conserves fuel resources for when I actually need them. I compost because less trash means I don't need to rely as much on community services, and I can use the compost in the yard rather than wasting money, resources, and packaging on fertilizer. I use biodiesel because it burns cleaner and all that, but to be honest, my main reason is f*ck terrorists who make money off of middle eastern oil. F*ck 'em.

You'd think that conservatives would appreciate those arguments, and some of them do. But people get so caught up in lifestyle definition that they end up losing a lot of personal freedom -- i.e. 'I can't do that because people would think I'm a liberal/conservative/nerd/gay/etc'. That's just America these days, I guess.
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Old 11-12-10, 04:18 PM   #23
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That's right, I'm going to stir it up.

In another thread something along the lines of "I stopped in LCF and it was just as I suspected -- a bunch of lefties" was posted. I'm almost as lefty as it gets, so I resemble that remark. But choosing a bicycle over an automobile where appropriate seems very conservative and self-reliant to me. Seems that all of us lazy lefties looking for a government handout would be demanding free cars and subsidized gasoline for the masses. Riding a bicycle takes effort.

Or do I have it wrong? Is the real problem here that we lefties who choose bicycles, walking and public transit are simply too lazy to earn enough money to comfortably drive reliable automobiles AND buy food, shelter and all the other necessities?

My honest opinion is that most conservatives are anything but and are hypocritical. They could prove me wrong by embracing, you know, living conservatively. Perhaps in smaller homes and with fewer cars. Perhaps they could buy less foreign oil. I don't see many eager to do this. Do they not understand that better bicycle infrastructure means more poor people actually able to get to work and able to live within their means?

One of the many reasons that I use my bicycle as primary transportation (and a very cheap old car as secondary) is that I save money. I don't have to live so hand-to-mouth. If there is a hurricane or some other disaster that causes a gasoline shortage, I can still get around. I don't need a 5 or 10 year loan to buy a bicycle. I can even pay CASH for a REALLY *****IN' bicycle. How is this not conservative?
The problem is that right wing socialists have no insight or self-awareness of how they are sucking at the public teat.
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Old 11-12-10, 04:50 PM   #24
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Here in Seville, the right (much more moderate than American "conservatives") has fought tooth and nail against all of the improvements we've made to our cycling infrastructure. Meanwhile, in the States, the Republicans are now poised to cancel the Obama administration's major high speed rail initiatives. I can't imagine how anyone who follows the issues and is serious about promoting car free living could support the right.
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Old 11-12-10, 06:05 PM   #25
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There is a very good argument for right wing environmentalism, and even right wing cycling and rail advocacy. It's called "user-pay". If you use a highway, pay the full cost. If you want to release emissions, pay the full cost. If people and companies had to pay the real cost of private cars, suburban sprawl or pollution, they would be flocking to bike stores and railway stations and low rise apartment buildings, and clamouring for green products and technology, because they would be so much cheaper. Unfortunately right wing voters and politicians don't actually act on their highly vaunted free-market, capitalist principles - instead they leach off others and are oblivious to their own hypocrisy.
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