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-   -   Understanding Backlash Against Car-Free Advocacy (http://www.bikeforums.net/living-car-free/929436-understanding-backlash-against-car-free-advocacy.html)

lakhotason 02-04-14 04:34 PM

[QUOTE=Ekdog;16467868]
Quote:

Originally Posted by lakhotason (Post 16466964)

The only valid reason to advocate car-free living is because cycling is fun? I think there are more important issues than that. What's wrong with having an agenda?

You are correct. There are more important problems than having fun. And I will agree that there are plenty of reasons to advocate cycling other than fun and there is nothing wrong with having an agenda.

Ekdog 02-04-14 04:36 PM

[QUOTE=lakhotason;16467945]
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ekdog (Post 16467868)

You are correct. There are more important problems than having fun. And I will agree that there are plenty of reasons to advocate cycling other than fun and there is nothing wrong with having an agenda.

Is it okay to discuss these issues in a public forum?

Zedoo 02-04-14 04:37 PM

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/h...tegration.html
I did not realize school desegregation was so significant in suburban sprawl, since it happened before my life, and my high school history was more cheerleading than informative.

Roody 02-04-14 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mconlonx (Post 16466972)
Because the listener perceives you as saying "You are certainly a carbon polluter and also pollute the environment in other ways. Get rid of a necessary part of your life (car) in order to be as environmentally holier-than-thou as me." ...even if they claim otherwise to be environmentally aware and active.

You are attacking them and their cherished beliefs -- regardless of the bottom line situational reality -- why do you think you would not get backlash/criticism? Such responses seem to be just a part of general human nature, not limited to this particular debate.

Were I to argue car-free advocacy, I'd much more stress the immediate positive aspects of being car-free, rather than pointing accusatory -- or even the perception of being accusatory -- fingers at car drivers as polluters, or any environmental aspect.

It's akin to arguing about vegetarianism -- when political/ethical vegetarians delve into saving the world and animals, my eyes roll; when I advocate vegetarianism, it's from a strictly self-interest POV. Health aspects, mainly, but also good and regular pooping, smelling better in general, lower cost at the grocery store, etc.

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.

lakhotason 02-04-14 04:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ekdog (Post 16467943)
Your car-free lifestyle is laudable, but I'm surprised you're in a living car-free forum discussing this if having fun is really the only thing you find worthwhile about cycling. Or do you have a hidden agenda, one that includes the issues that you enumerate here? Why do you insist that discussing them should be taboo? I'm really at a loss to understand your thinking on this.

Seriously I don't understand your question. What hidden agenda? What issues? What taboo? You're making this far too complicated.

I ride my bike because it is fun. If it were not fun I would not ride my bike. People ride bikes first and foremost because it is fun to ride bikes. If you wish people to ride bikes you remind them of the fun of riding a bike. You do not wag your finger at them and tell them they are wrong. Remember the whole point is to get people to ride bikes. If that's an agenda then so be it.

Roody 02-04-14 04:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zedoo (Post 16467957)
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/h...tegration.html
I did not realize school desegregation was so significant in suburban sprawl, since it happened before my life, and my high school history was more cheerleading than informative.

Desegregation didn't cause sprawl, even though segregation certainly caused the racial makeup of suburbia. If it wasn't for racism, we would still have suburban sprawl, but there wouldn't be "white" suburbs surrounding "black" cities. In a free society, the racial composition of all communities would be more equal.

Ekdog 02-04-14 04:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lakhotason (Post 16467980)
Seriously I don't understand your question. What hidden agenda? What issues? What taboo? You're making this far too complicated.

I ride my bike because it is fun. If it were not fun I would not ride my bike. People ride bikes first and foremost because it is fun to ride bikes. If you wish people to ride bikes you remind them of the fun of riding a bike. You do not wag your finger at them and tell them they are wrong. Remember the whole point is to get people to ride bikes. If that's an agenda then so be it.

What makes bringing up other motivations for cycling other than doing it for fun finger-wagging?

lakhotason 02-04-14 04:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ekdog (Post 16467943)
Your car-free lifestyle is laudable, but I'm surprised you're in a living car-free forum discussing this if having fun is really the only thing you find worthwhile about cycling. Or do you have a hidden agenda, one that includes the issues that you enumerate here? Why do you insist that discussing them should be taboo? I'm really at a loss to understand your thinking on this.

Seriously I don't understand your question. What hidden agenda? What issues? What taboo? You're making this far too complicated.

I ride my bike because it is fun. If it were not fun I would not ride my bike. People ride bikes first and foremost because it is fun to ride bikes. If you wish people to ride bikes you remind them of the fun of riding a bike. You do not wag your finger at them and tell them they are wrong. Remember the whole point is to get people to ride bikes. If that's an agenda then so be it.

Roody 02-04-14 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lakhotason (Post 16467980)
Seriously I don't understand your question. What hidden agenda? What issues? What taboo? You're making this far too complicated.

I ride my bike because it is fun. If it were not fun I would not ride my bike. People ride bikes first and foremost because it is fun to ride bikes. If you wish people to ride bikes you remind them of the fun of riding a bike. You do not wag your finger at them and tell them they are wrong. Remember the whole point is to get people to ride bikes. If that's an agenda then so be it.

You're talking about cycling as hobby or sport. People ride bikes for many other reasons besides fun, in the real world. Especially for transportation and for exercise, or to save money. I think you're one of those people who likes to behave as if there are no real problems or issues, and that it's a waste of time to try to make life better. You're really more of a grasshopper than an ant, I guess.

lakhotason 02-04-14 05:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roody (Post 16468005)
You're talking about cycling as hobby or sport. People ride bikes for many other reasons besides fun, in the real world. Especially for transportation and for exercise, or to save money. I think you're one of those people who likes to behave as if there are no real problems or issues, and that it's a waste of time to try to make life better. You're really more of a grasshopper than an ant, I guess.

Of course I'm talking in this sense about cycling as a hobby or a sport. That's the point. How much success do you think you'd have getting a person from zero cycling to living car free in one fell swoop?

As for problems and issues, you have no reason to say that I behave as if they are not real. To the contrary, my behavior addresses the real problems.

I hope being a grasshopper is a good thing but I kinda think it's not.

lakhotason 02-04-14 06:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ekdog (Post 16467998)
What makes bringing up other motivations for cycling other than doing it for fun finger-wagging?

I didn't say cycling for any reason other than fun was finger-wagging. I am saying that calling a person "bizarre" for going car free for "selfish" reasons is, quite frankly, bizarre and is the epitome of finger-wagging. I'm walking the walk and you're still wagging your finger at me only because I ain't walking to your cadence.

lakhotason 02-04-14 06:37 PM

[QUOTE=Ekdog;16467952]
Quote:

Originally Posted by lakhotason (Post 16467945)

Is it okay to discuss these issues in a public forum?

Well I thought you and I were having a healthy debate. Please don't think I take anything personally.

cooker 02-04-14 06:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lakhotason (Post 16466510)
And by acting in my best self interest I remove one car from the street, remove the emissions from the air, lower my chances of killing or seriously injuring anyone with my car to zero, and at the same time advocate a car free life not by word but by action. And you find a problem with me acting in my own best self interest?

Quote:

Originally Posted by lakhotason (Post 16466964)
I think this illustrates why there is a backlash against car free living. It's the agenda that goes along with it. I ride a bike because it's fun. That's the only reason. All the benefits that accrue to society aren't good enough. It is as if it is more required to talk the talk than it is just to ride my bike because it's fun.

If everybody's behaviour is causing a problem, then just changing our own behaviour isn't enough. We have to influence other people to change too. After all, there are a lot of people and organizations out there encouraging them to continue the problematic behaviour.

cooker 02-04-14 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lakhotason (Post 16467980)
Seriously I don't understand your question. What hidden agenda? What issues? What taboo? You're making this far too complicated.

I ride my bike because it is fun. If it were not fun I would not ride my bike. People ride bikes first and foremost because it is fun to ride bikes. If you wish people to ride bikes you remind them of the fun of riding a bike. You do not wag your finger at them and tell them they are wrong. Remember the whole point is to get people to ride bikes. If that's an agenda then so be it.

Do you go to work every day because it is fun? Change your baby's diaper because it's fun? Wait your turn in a lineup because it's fun? No, a lot of stuff you do probably sucks, but you do it because you're a mature and responsible person. What's wrong with riding a bike for mature and responsible reasons? (and because it is fun?)

lakhotason 02-04-14 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cooker (Post 16468280)
If everybody's behaviour is causing a problem, then just changing our own behaviour isn't enough. We have to influence other people to change too. After all, there are a lot of people and organizations out there encouraging them to continue the problematic behaviour.

You're right. If everybody doesn't change their behavior then we're sunk and there is no doubt about it. Where we disagree is how to change that behavior.

lakhotason 02-04-14 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cooker (Post 16468307)
Do you go to work every day because it is fun? Change your baby's diaper because it's fun? Wait your turn in a lineup because it's fun? No, a lot of stuff you do probably sucks, but you do it because you're a mature and responsible person. What's wrong with riding a bike for mature and responsible reasons? (and because it is fun?)

Well let me ask you. Would you as a non-rider be more likely to ride a bike for mature and responsible reasons or because it is fun to ride a bike?

cooker 02-04-14 07:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lakhotason (Post 16468329)
You're right. If everybody doesn't change their behavior then we're sunk and there is no doubt about it. Where we disagree is how to change that behavior.

Figuring out how to influence other people's behaviour, and then trying to do it, is advocacy. So you're an advocate for car-free living, then.
















Shame on you :)

Mobile 155 02-04-14 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roody (Post 16467990)
Desegregation didn't cause sprawl, even though segregation certainly caused the racial makeup of suburbia. If it wasn't for racism, we would still have suburban sprawl, but there wouldn't be "white" suburbs surrounding "black" cities. In a free society, the racial composition of all communities would be more equal.

The article sort of indicated it was any that had the ability of any race left for the sprawl. At least in the Atlanta area. Successful minorities seemed to want to take their kids to better schools rather than become part of a experiment that wasn't working. Was Detroit all that different? Not that I see this as having much to do with car free living. As far as I remember from my civics and government classes a free society lives where they want and surround themselves with people they like. Diversity is fine but forced diversity might not seem fine to someone that doesn't want to be forced. I feel the same way about cycling. To me it is a great way to get around, one that I prefer. But I don't care to give up other forms of transportation simply because someone in another country hates my choices. Yes you are allowed to talk to me about your preferences, but I am just as likely to toss it aside as soon as we part company. Neither of us is a bad person because we don't see the same solutions to surviving in our society. I see no benefit to staying in a city as it fails if I have the means to leave. I don't think that feeling would change because of my race. Part of my family still lives on the Yakama reservation and likes it. They might have a different view of race and where someone lives than others.

Mobile 155 02-04-14 07:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cooker (Post 16468280)
If everybody's behaviour is causing a problem, then just changing our own behaviour isn't enough. We have to influence other people to change too. After all, there are a lot of people and organizations out there encouraging them to continue the problematic behaviour.

In other words they are doing just what car free advocates are only from the perspective of the Majority? That would make car free the backlash to their message.:)

cooker 02-04-14 08:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mobile 155 (Post 16468448)
In other words they are doing just what car free advocates are only from the perspective of the Majority? That would make car free the backlash to their message.:)

So how much of the backlash against car-free advocacy do you think is truly grass-roots reaction by the public and how much does it reflect public opinion being manipulated by advertisers, public relations people and so on, working in the interests of the real estate, oil, car and other industries?. Are the people who think car-free or environmental advocates are preachy etc. actually thinking for themselves, or are they barking on cue for someone else, without realizing it?

SHBR 02-04-14 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roody (Post 16402314)
I don't worry much about backlash. By far the biggest trend in the Modern Era has been the movement of people from rural areas to cities. This trend is picking up pace even now that more than half of the people already live in cities. Cars led the way in this trend, but now they're holding it back. I think it's inevitable that by the end of this century, almost all people will live in large cities, and almost all of those city dwellers will be more or less carfree.

No backlash can stop this, although backlash will make the transition more painful than it needs to be in a few countries (notably the USA).

I don't see this as Armageddon. I see it as a marvelous opportunity for our species and our global habitat to thrive and prosper on a simpler and more spiritual scale.


If anybody knows of any way that the world can sustain ten billion folks who all own cars, please let us know. If not, get ready to tell your cars good-bye. And that will be a good thing!

This is called Agenda 21.

China is the test bed for this, as much as I like big cities, I strongly disagree with forcing people off the land and into crowded cities.

We have too much government intervention in our lives already.

That being said, I have been car-free for over 7 years, and quite happy being so.

gerv 02-04-14 09:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cooker (Post 16468557)
So how much of the backlash against car-free advocacy do you think is truly grass-roots reaction by the public and how much does it reflect public opinion being manipulated by advertisers, public relations people and so on, working in the interests of the real estate, oil, car and other industries?.

I can't imagine there's any great manipulation of ideas going on... :D

I gave up listening to CBS News because every second commercial was from Big Oil. (Viagra seemed to fill the other slots... but that's another issue.)

I-Like-To-Bike 02-04-14 10:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lakhotason (Post 16468329)
You're right. If everybody doesn't change their behavior then we're sunk and there is no doubt about it. Where we disagree is how to change that behavior.

Or disagree that proselytizing (advocating if you like that term better) for changing others' behavior to meet a strident poster's standard is a necessary component for properly living car free or living car light; or for riding a bicycle for transportation purposes.

Mobile 155 02-04-14 10:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cooker (Post 16468557)
So how much of the backlash against car-free advocacy do you think is truly grass-roots reaction by the public and how much does it reflect public opinion being manipulated by advertisers, public relations people and so on, working in the interests of the real estate, oil, car and other industries?. Are the people who think car-free or environmental advocates are preachy etc. actually thinking for themselves, or are they barking on cue for someone else, without realizing it?

In most social gatherings I have been in car free and environmental advocates hardly are ever thought of let alone backlashed against. I don't believe cyclists even hit the Forbes 500 radar. But tree hugger was a term from the street and as grass roots as it gets. I first heard it from the working men of the lumber industry in Washington state. Well with some profanity before and after the name tree hugger. It doesn't get much more grass roots than when the attitude comes from the very people you are trying to influence. I personally know lumber jacks that would gladly drive a spike into a member of ELF like they did trees so chainsaws would hit them. Society itself came up with the DUI connotation for an adult on a bicycle corporate America didn't have to take out an add.

Monday i rode 35 miles to meet some friends for lunch. As we sat at a patio table talking and planning our next outing two older men pulled up any got out of what looked to be a F series heavy duty truck. Much bigger than a 350. One walked up and asked how far we had come that day. When we told him he said, "don't you like cars?" We smiled and said, we like cars, we don't like paying for gas. With they finally smiled and went in to have lunch themselves. I don't believe we would have gotten a smile if we complained about their truck do you?

bragi 02-04-14 11:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mobile 155 (Post 16468859)
In most social gatherings I have been in car free and environmental advocates hardly are ever thought of let alone backlashed against. I don't believe cyclists even hit the Forbes 500 radar. But tree hugger was a term from the street and as grass roots as it gets. I first heard it from the working men of the lumber industry in Washington state. Well with some profanity before and after the name tree hugger. It doesn't get much more grass roots than when the attitude comes from the very people you are trying to influence. I personally know lumber jacks that would gladly drive a spike into a member of ELF like they did trees so chainsaws would hit them. Society itself came up with the DUI connotation for an adult on a bicycle corporate America didn't have to take out an add.

Monday i rode 35 miles to meet some friends for lunch. As we sat at a patio table talking and planning our next outing two older men pulled up any got out of what looked to be a F series heavy duty truck. Much bigger than a 350. One walked up and asked how far we had come that day. When we told him he said, "don't you like cars?" We smiled and said, we like cars, we don't like paying for gas. With they finally smiled and went in to have lunch themselves. I don't believe we would have gotten a smile if we complained about their truck do you?

I think you may have hit the nail on the head: in my mind, bicycle advocacy isn't about people on bicycles criticizing people in trucks; it's about getting people in trucks to stop questioning people's right to be on bikes.


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