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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 02-07-14, 11:00 AM   #276
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If people are as stupid as you say, then why bother? Just let them stew in their own juices, which is pretty literally what they are doing.

It is purely ansurd to believe that smugness is any part of the environmental message. It's for real, people: If you don't voluntarilily drive less, in a few years you won't be able to drive at all. Why should that message hurt somebody's feelings or make them angry? The rational response is to do something positive or constructive about the problem, not to call the messenger names.
You'll note I don't assume people are stupid, just making decisions based on looking at the world a different way than I (we?) do.

I don't know about you, but I get asked about what most see as outlier behavior -- bicycle commuting -- more than I ever preach about it. I'm not a preachy, proselytizing type; live and let live, you let me be and I'll do the same for you.

When asked, I will say that I pay nothing in gas, nothing in car repairs and bike repairs are cheaper by a zero at the end of the repair bill, that I pay nothing for auto insurance, registration, excise tax, that I get enough exercise to not need exercise equipment at home or a gym membership, that instead of having a heart attack in my early 40s like my dad and his dad before him, I get a clean bill of health whenever a Doctor (more like NP nowadays...) checks me out.

In the back of my mind, I know that I am doing my own personal part to make less impact on the Earth, but I also recognize it as a drop of water in an ocean, and only a small part of an overall lifestyle which would lead to minimal impact.

I've also spent time in politics. You very seldom get anywhere calling people out on their own reprehensible behavior; much easier to give them a cheaper, selfish, better option, especially when they end up thinking it was their idea in the first place.

Perhaps if we lived on planet Vulcan people wouldn't get hurt feelings based on message and lash out at the messenger. But we don't, for now we're stuck on earth, dealing with people, and for the most part, people suck. Very disinterested outside of a very small personal sphere. To effect immediate change you have to appeal to self-interest which ends at the tip of another person's nose.

Appealing to their wallet and health is a surer bet than appealing to a perhaps non-existent sense of environmental responsibility. Anything which starts, "First, we have to educate the public..." is doomed to failure.
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Old 02-07-14, 11:43 AM   #277
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I think we now have a great opportunity to use this thread as a case study of itself. Some of us have argued that car-free living is has social and political dimensions, and may even have advocated for some political or social changes to promote and support car-free living, beyond simply each individual doing it for their own reasons; and others have reacted negatively to that.

So I’d like to ask some of those reactors - Mobile 155, lakhotason, SBHR, RPK79 or any others: what makes this personal for you? Is there something about the tone and content of the debate that personally irritates or annoys you, or that you take as a personal attack on your lifestyle, beliefs, etc. I think that would really address the question raised in the OP.

I not asking why you think the arguments are wrong, but why you think it’s important to counter them, or quash them, from your own personal vantage point. We know why lumberjacks dislike tree-huggers. What's your stake in the issue?

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Old 02-07-14, 11:56 AM   #278
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I'm not a preachy, proselytizing type; live and let live, you let me be and I'll do the same for you.

When asked, I will say that I pay nothing in gas, nothing in car repairs and bike repairs are cheaper by a zero at the end of the repair bill, that I pay nothing for auto insurance, registration, excise tax, that I get enough exercise to not need exercise equipment at home or a gym membership, that instead of having a heart attack in my early 40s like my dad and his dad before him, I get a clean bill of health whenever a Doctor (more like NP nowadays...) checks me out.
Some might consider your bringing up all of those advantages as preaching and proselytizing, especially the part about the health benefits. I've known quite a few people who don't take kindly to being lectured by health nuts.



Beware the health nut

They walk among us, chewing on their carrot sticks and wearing their yoga pants. They live in Nikes and look for any opportunity to exercise. They spend hours regulating their behaviour...all in the name of cutting edge health and fitness. They are the health nuts (and they usually travel in groups). They work out with the same amount of excitement others have for...well...something else. They preach the gospel of veggies, they wear the cutting edge techno shirts, and they don't understand how you could eat that ... See more at: http://hqgrandeprairie.com/home/fitn....SfyQVAiQ.dpuf
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Old 02-07-14, 02:36 PM   #279
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I think we now have a great opportunity to use this thread as a case study of itself. Some of us have argued that car-free living is has social and political dimensions, and may even have advocated for some political or social changes to promote and support car-free living, beyond simply each individual doing it for their own reasons; and others have reacted negatively to that.

So I’d like to ask some of those reactors - Mobile 155, lakhotason, SBHR, RPK79 or any others: what makes this personal for you? Is there something about the tone and content of the debate that personally irritates or annoys you, or that you take as a personal attack on your lifestyle, beliefs, etc. I think that would really address the question raised in the OP.

I not asking why you think the arguments are wrong, but why you think it’s important to counter them, or quash them, from your own personal vantage point. We know why lumberjacks dislike tree-huggers. What's your stake in the issue?
That's something I'd like to find out also.

The smugness charge also baffles me. People can disagree on other social/political issues without calling anybody smug. Pro-lifers call the other side baby killers, but never smug, for example. Why is environmentalism the only issue that brings up accusations of smugness?
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Old 02-07-14, 02:47 PM   #280
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You'll note I don't assume people are stupid, just making decisions based on looking at the world a different way than I (we?) do.

I don't know about you, but I get asked about what most see as outlier behavior -- bicycle commuting -- more than I ever preach about it. I'm not a preachy, proselytizing type; live and let live, you let me be and I'll do the same for you.

When asked, I will say that I pay nothing in gas, nothing in car repairs and bike repairs are cheaper by a zero at the end of the repair bill, that I pay nothing for auto insurance, registration, excise tax, that I get enough exercise to not need exercise equipment at home or a gym membership, that instead of having a heart attack in my early 40s like my dad and his dad before him, I get a clean bill of health whenever a Doctor (more like NP nowadays...) checks me out.

In the back of my mind, I know that I am doing my own personal part to make less impact on the Earth, but I also recognize it as a drop of water in an ocean, and only a small part of an overall lifestyle which would lead to minimal impact.

I've also spent time in politics. You very seldom get anywhere calling people out on their own reprehensible behavior; much easier to give them a cheaper, selfish, better option, especially when they end up thinking it was their idea in the first place.

Perhaps if we lived on planet Vulcan people wouldn't get hurt feelings based on message and lash out at the messenger. But we don't, for now we're stuck on earth, dealing with people, and for the most part, people suck. Very disinterested outside of a very small personal sphere. To effect immediate change you have to appeal to self-interest which ends at the tip of another person's nose.

Appealing to their wallet and health is a surer bet than appealing to a perhaps non-existent sense of environmental responsibility. Anything which starts, "First, we have to educate the public..." is doomed to failure.
But when have you ever actually heard any environmentalist "calling people out on their own reprehensible behavior"? I think environmental groups are very careful not to do that. Personally, I never try to convince people to quit driving their car. I think that trying to get one individual to do that is a waste of time.

But I do try to convince people that global warming is a clear and present danger. And I do try to convince people that it would be advantageous for the city to have better infrastructure and better public transit--I will try to push those two points as long as they're willing to listen to me, and maybe a little longer than that.

As a psychologist, I understand that if you want to change behavior, it's better to change the environment that supports the behavior, rather than directly attack ingrained personal habits.
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Old 02-07-14, 03:49 PM   #281
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That's something I'd like to find out also.

The smugness charge also baffles me. ... Why is environmentalism the only issue that brings up accusations of smugness?
I've only encountered it here in this forum (I'm not in close touch with American mass media), so I suspect it's an American phenomenon, created, no doubt, by the well-funded denial movement. No one here in Europe has ever insinuated that I'm smug, even those who disagree with me.

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Old 02-07-14, 11:10 PM   #282
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I think we now have a great opportunity to use this thread as a case study of itself. Some of us have argued that car-free living is has social and political dimensions, and may even have advocated for some political or social changes to promote and support car-free living, beyond simply each individual doing it for their own reasons; and others have reacted negatively to that.

So I’d like to ask some of those reactors - Mobile 155, lakhotason, SBHR, RPK79 or any others: what makes this personal for you? Is there something about the tone and content of the debate that personally irritates or annoys you, or that you take as a personal attack on your lifestyle, beliefs, etc. I think that would really address the question raised in the OP.

I not asking why you think the arguments are wrong, but why you think it’s important to counter them, or quash them, from your own personal vantage point. We know why lumberjacks dislike tree-huggers. What's your stake in the issue?
For me it is as much of the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. It may be the instant access to media we have but when a New Nuclear power plant is proposed who is storming the gates to get it stopped? To those of us looking at something other that coal fired plants or petroleum Nuclear is an option. Then when we try to get solar in a local desert who is storming the gates to keep it from being built, you gessed it I am sure, the same ones fighting the wind power farms like the ones in Palm Springs. They may have non Luddite members but the face of environmentalists is the not in my back yard groups when it comes to technology. At least that is my perception. They have to right to oppose such projects but when those projects represent high paying jobs and sustainable energy they oppose the very people I have come to know and work with. Thus if the are what I see as the enemy of progress and the welfare of people at the expense of a Newt, rat, fly or Owl they have become my enemy. Not personally but from a supporting role. It is not workers or business that appose the Keystone pipeline it is environmental groups. http://www.people-press.org/2013/09/...e-xl-pipeline/ If they feel stopping such economic positive projects will make those of us looking for a economic recovery in the United States feel good about their ideas they are wrong. When someone says, well we aren't all that way the answer is simple, the political leaders in the movement are and they still support those leaders. (Like Al Gore) None of this has anything to do with the thread but it is how I feel. The Environmental movement at least in this country is more disjointed that cycling. One group fights the other as in the Wind Turbines and even hydroelectric. Or other energy projects that might allow us to become energy independent. http://www.ohio.com/blogs/drilling/o...cking-1.446038 (We aren't any better.) Cyclists fight about the clothes other cyclist wear and then wonder why people aren't willing to work together on bike lane projects. The simple truth is if your movement is first and foremost political as the environmental movement in the US is, then half of the people are going to resist you. One because they don't like politics and two because they believe in the opposing political point of view. Because of that when even the topic comes up the chances of it getting the reaction it has already received are pretty good I believe.
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Old 02-08-14, 08:26 AM   #283
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^^Mobile, a very thoughtful response. But also not quite what I asked for. I was wondering if there was anything specifically in this thread that you took particular exception to, on perhaps a personal level, and why that was.

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Old 02-08-14, 08:37 AM   #284
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For me it is as much of the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. It may be the instant access to media we have but when a New Nuclear power plant is proposed who is storming the gates to get it stopped? To those of us looking at something other that coal fired plants or petroleum Nuclear is an option. Then when we try to get solar in a local desert who is storming the gates to keep it from being built, you gessed it I am sure, the same ones fighting Thus if the are what I see as the enemy of progress and the welfare of people at the expense of a Newt, rat, fly or Owl they have become my enemy.
Is it possible that your perceptions are influenced in part by the way media (possibly owned by some of the same people who stand to profit most from the pipeline) portray the issue as some kind of "fringe groups against jobs" or "putting vermin ahead of people" black and white choice, or seem to lump all environmental groups together?
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Old 02-08-14, 09:00 AM   #285
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If you are including suburbs and Exurban areas then I agree. That leaves Rural and everything else is Urban. To me the Suburbs are a necessary relief valve to the central core of most Mega Cities. Some however have placed a divide between the "City" and the Metro area or the Suburbs. There has even been accusations that wealthy suburbanites subvert urban progress in some elections.
That might be a reference to me. The forced amalgamation of the City of Toronto and it's 5 surrounding boroughs in the 1990s was brought in against the majority wishes of the public in all those jurisdictions, by a Conservative Provincial Government. They had a very clear agenda - get the popular conservative mayor of the largest borough elected mayor of the new larger Toronto, so he would facilitate the province essentially raiding the city coffers (a billion dollar reserve fund) by downloading a bunch of usually provincial costs onto the city.

It mostly worked until late in the game, when the new Mayor finally realized how much damage was being done, and turned on the premier, publically calling him a liar and stopping playing ball. He also moved downtown

However, that urban suburban divide is real, although not a clean line, and we have been left with a fractious municipality with a lot of tension between downtowners and suburbanites. We actually got along better before amalgamation.

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Old 02-08-14, 10:03 AM   #286
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For me it is as much of the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. It may be the instant access to media we have but when a New Nuclear power plant is proposed who is storming the gates to get it stopped? To those of us looking at something other that coal fired plants or petroleum Nuclear is an option. Then when we try to get solar in a local desert who is storming the gates to keep it from being built, you gessed it I am sure, the same ones fighting the wind power farms like the ones in Palm Springs. They may have non Luddite members but the face of environmentalists is the not in my back yard groups when it comes to technology. At least that is my perception. They have to right to oppose such projects but when those projects represent high paying jobs and sustainable energy they oppose the very people I have come to know and work with. Thus if the are what I see as the enemy of progress and the welfare of people at the expense of a Newt, rat, fly or Owl they have become my enemy. Not personally but from a supporting role. It is not workers or business that appose the Keystone pipeline it is environmental groups. http://www.people-press.org/2013/09/...e-xl-pipeline/ If they feel stopping such economic positive projects will make those of us looking for a economic recovery in the United States feel good about their ideas they are wrong. When someone says, well we aren't all that way the answer is simple, the political leaders in the movement are and they still support those leaders. (Like Al Gore) None of this has anything to do with the thread but it is how I feel. The Environmental movement at least in this country is more disjointed that cycling. One group fights the other as in the Wind Turbines and even hydroelectric. Or other energy projects that might allow us to become energy independent. http://www.ohio.com/blogs/drilling/o...cking-1.446038 (We aren't any better.) Cyclists fight about the clothes other cyclist wear and then wonder why people aren't willing to work together on bike lane projects. The simple truth is if your movement is first and foremost political as the environmental movement in the US is, then half of the people are going to resist you. One because they don't like politics and two because they believe in the opposing political point of view. Because of that when even the topic comes up the chances of it getting the reaction it has already received are pretty good I believe.
  • The purpose of any political movement is not to create a static group of people who agree about everything. That would be a religious sect or even a cult. Members of any policy action group have internal differences. The challenge is to find common ground and work toward core points. For example, I certainly don't agree with every position taken by my local bike advocacy group, but once a consensus is reached I go along with it, even if it isn't my preference.
  • Opinions within an organization change over time, especially as new events occur or new knowledge is gained. For example, many (but not all) environmentalists were against nuclear power in the last century. As carbon emissions became a larger concern, many changed their opinions and became more in favor of nuclear. Then Fukushima happened, and nuclear again lost popularity among some environmentalists.
  • Apparently you don't like that the environmental and cycling movements are "political". I don't even know what that means! Of course it's political. Any dispute about policy is by definition political. "Politics (from Greek: politikos, meaning "of, for, or relating to citizens") is the practice and theory of influencing other people on a civic or individual level."
  • If you're referring to party politics, I understand your point a little better. In the USA, one party is pro-environment and the other is more pro-business. It might be like this in other countries also. This is an unfortunate reality. Sometimes, however, politics does make strange bedfellows. For example, CocaCola just released a statement that global warming is hurting their profits, so now they're against it.
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Old 02-08-14, 05:04 PM   #287
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I do understand I was there. I commuted to work on an old Schwinn Varsity 5 days a week and then joined friends for weekend rides with the family. Cycling was seen as clean, healthy and heaven forbid "fun". But the real point I am trying to make is it isn't a back lash if people don't even notice you or the things you are promoting as an alternative. Fact is more people believe in UFOs than living car free. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_3900669.html More people believe in Big Foot than cycle to work, http://www.livescience.com/18869-big...canadians.html It seems when people talk about there being a back lash against cyclists it is more wishful thinking than reality. It is my opinion only but it seems cyclists in the US are treated like children that you only pay attention to because they complain and once you toss them a piece of candy they will go away. That may be why my attitude is much like it was back in the 70s. I don't need their candy I will ride my bike on the streets or to the store or to the beach because the streets are mine as much as they are anyone's. If they toss out candy like a bike lane or bike path fine I will use it but only if it meets my needs. But if they never toss out the candy I am still riding.
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Old 02-09-14, 03:18 PM   #288
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I also found that people in my town those who don't Have autos and have to use public transportation or bikes and though it means living in rent subsidized district (Ghettos)do not have there drivers license due to DUIs and must take what they have if they work.

Spain's communist model village
http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...village-utopia

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Old 02-09-14, 04:33 PM   #289
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I also found that people in my town those who don't Have autos and have to use public transportation or bikes and though it means living in rent subsidized district (Ghettos)do not have there drivers license due to DUIs and must take what they have if they work.
Any bike commuters or car-free-by-choice people there?

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Old 02-10-14, 05:47 AM   #290
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Right this moment at 530AM. The temp outside is -20 below ) F. OR -28 for you not in the use and use Celsius. This does not take into account the blowing wind. There are piles of snow and the streets are still snow packed because the last 5 inches we got 2 days ago can't melt. Thoes 5" are on top of the last 12 + inches of accumulated snow.
No subway or busses here.

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Old 02-10-14, 06:23 AM   #291
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No subway or busses here.
I'd never live in such a place if I could help it.
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Old 02-10-14, 06:57 AM   #292
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I'd never live in such a place if I could help it.
But you would deny me a car. The world revolves around you.
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Old 02-10-14, 06:59 AM   #293
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But you would deny me a car. The world revolves around you.
Who told you that?
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Old 02-10-14, 08:54 AM   #294
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But you would deny me a car. The world revolves around you.
Yeah, no car for you. And no cake either!
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Old 02-10-14, 10:20 AM   #295
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The auto industry spends money on advertising to sell their cars? The oil industry spends money to counter lobbying groups trying to put them out of business? Why won't these industries just roll over and die!?
What I've noticed is that automotive interests construe basically ANY reduction in automotive demand as life-threatening to the industry. It would be like restaurant interests trying to dissuade people from cooking at home because they equate growth of home-cooking with the demise of their sector.

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Except even if we follow Roody's mantra of forget what the studies publish and only believe what we see then after a spike in 1973 cycling has not gained in the US at all percentage wise and has decreased in Both China and India by more people than ever rode bikes in the US in the first place. Yes it does seem to be changing right under our noses and before our very eyes.
This car-dominance vs. car-free debate keeps seeming more and more like the debate between pro-slavery and abolitionism ante-bellum. Supposedly Lincoln had argued to allow slavery to die on its own because he believed that would happen gradually; and he only became more actively abolitionist after the Kansas-Nebraska act allowed slavery to expand into new territories. The argument was that if slavery was popular among the majority in a state, 'popular sovereignty' should reign and the (free) people of that state should be allowed to use slavery.

The same suggestion is made all the time with regards to motor-vehicle dominance in infrastructure. The idea is that if driving is popular among a majority of people in an area, why should their popular sovereignty be questioned and measures taken to facilitate other forms of transportation? Well, cars are not slaves and there is no reason to abolish all driving but there are already cities where it is practically impossible to choose life without driving and that raises the question of at what point people are no longer free to live car-free.

What's more, I don't believe that if everyone simply accepted driving as more or less a cultural-economic mandate that the resulting economy would be sustainable. In fact, I don't believe the economic growth of the automotivist and consumerist expansion of the New Deal century ever has been sustainable. Therefore it's really not just a question of majority preference or cultural-economic imperative but rather alternative transportation is necessary to escape the self-annihilating economy in which everyone competes to be one of the people driving around everywhere but significant numbers of people end up unemployed, criminalized, sent off to war, etc. because the economy simply can't sustainably accommodate population growth with everyone driving and expanding sprawl perpetually.
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Old 02-10-14, 11:20 AM   #296
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But you would deny me a car. The world revolves around you.
Thank you! This is exactly what this thread is about. How did you get the idea people are trying to deny you something, or tell you how to live? Why are you reacting in what seems to come across (you tell me) as a hostile, or threatened or defensive way? Why do these discussions seem to arouse that backlash?

Are you able to give an account of how you came to the attitude or opinion, expressed above?

EDIT - OK, I reviewed the whole thread, and from my perspective, I don't think there was a single post that came remotely near anyone wanting to deny you a car. I'm quite curious how you came to see it so differently than I did, as it will be very helpful in dissecting the whole "backlash" phenomenon.

Last edited by cooker; 02-10-14 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 02-10-14, 11:24 AM   #297
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It would be like restaurant interests trying to dissuade people from cooking at home because they equate growth of home-cooking with the demise of their sector.
um....http://www.just-eat.ca/
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Old 02-10-14, 11:26 AM   #298
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Thank you! This is exactly what this thread is about. How did you get the idea people are trying to deny you something, or tell you how to live? Why are you reacting in what seems to come across (you tell me) as a hostile, or threatened or defensive way? Why do these discussions seem to arouse that backlash?

Are you able to give an account of how you came to the attitude or opinion, expressed above?
The environmentalist wing of the car free movement is pushing to get rid of cars. They are often the most vocal and thus become the face of the movement. Just like right wing religious nutbags become the face of the conservative movement and give those pushing for economic responsibility a bad name even if they don't have strong feelings in social issues.
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Old 02-10-14, 12:04 PM   #299
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The environmentalist wing of the car free movement is pushing to get rid of cars. They are often the most vocal and thus become the face of the movement. Just like right wing religious nutbags become the face of the conservative movement and give those pushing for economic responsibility a bad name even if they don't have strong feelings in social issues.
But has anybody said anything in this thread that you felt constituted an attack on your rights or freedoms etc.?
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Old 02-10-14, 12:08 PM   #300
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The environmentalist wing of the car free movement is pushing to get rid of cars. They are often the most vocal and thus become the face of the movement....
I think this exists mainly in your imagination. Can you point out any such radical anti-car statements or groups? In fact, can you point me to any organized "carfree movement" whatsoever? I would love to join but I can't find them!

I do go to various meetings of environmentalist groups. Most of the attendees arrive in cars. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
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