For most people, being in favor of slavery wasn't about subjugation the same way nazism wasn't about slaughter for most people who supported nazism, I believe. If anything, people pulled the wool over their eyes about these horrifying aspects of their economic systems because they feared what would become of their economies and nations without slavery and national socialism, respectively. I can't help it if you or anyone else immediately discounts what I say because they can't separate the attrocious violence of slavery and nazism from the broader economic and political situations of which they were a part. All I can do is look at how abolitionism grew along with the backlash against it and this ultimately polarized into the north-south US civil war divide.
Originally Posted by rebel1916
Prior to the 19th century, slavery economics was for most people globally something that happened far away. They didn't draw the connection between slavery and the economic benefits they were enjoying from global trade. When southerners began to realize that their privileged economic position would be threatened by abolishing slavery, resentment for abolitionism began to grow. Probably many southerners didn't think slavery was ideal but, like most people, they viewed it as a necessary evil for maintaining a prosperous economy. This is probably the same way many people view driving and the sprawl required for the vast majority of people to drive everywhere. They don't love it but they don't see any alternative as viable. Obviously that is changing but many people will just rigidify against change and an eventual north-south polarization is possible, I think, for reasons I've repeated in several different posts now.
Instead of reacting emotionally to the issue of slavery, you should have paid attention to the actual content of the post. Yes there are similarities between the political situations but does that mean driving is somehow the same thing as slavery? No, but would I be lying if I said that racism and the desire to live far away from poor and/or black areas of cities is a motivating factor in why some people prefer driving and limiting access via public transit? Yes, but is the desire to live far away from poor blacks and limit their ability to use public transit to come into more affluent areas the same thing as believing that they are only fit to be slaves? No, but does residential segregation facilitate economic differences that make it more likely for poor blacks to work in more menial jobs for lower pay and for more affluent people to be exempt from menial work? Yes, but is this enough like antebellum slavery to trigger an invocation of 13th amendment to do something about it? Apparently not because it's nothing new and no one has evoked the 13th amendment about it yet.
So driving culture and slavery are very different phenomena on one level but they are related on other levels. Still the reason I compared them was because of the political developments surrounding both, not because of the racial and labor issues. Maybe those could be a topic of another thread, though I'd probably get accused of Godwinianism for starting such a thread because some people just like to squelch discussion about such things for some reason.
Last edited by tandempower; 03-28-14 at 02:45 PM.
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Nevermind, here's a shovel, keep digging.
I agree about the rudeness. But the point stands: if you use slavery or nazism in an analogy, people will focus on that instead of focusing on the message you're trying to convey....as this thread clearly shows!
Originally Posted by tandempower
In fact, I almost never use analogies unless I'm communicating with a very sophisticated audience. Most people just don't get it.
I'm afraid you're validating ignorance here just because it hasn't been abolished yet.
Originally Posted by Roody
I just watched the movie, Lincoln, recently and the political parallels between the politics of that time and the shift away from global auto-maker economics is striking.
If you bracket the moral issues of slavery for a moment, the global economic issues of automotive commerce are similar:
1) Economies globally benefit from and depend on US automotive markets, the same as they did from US slavery.
2) As global population grows and global resources are threatened. automotive markets and sprawl everywhere are growing less tenable, as was the case during slave times.
3) Just as people attempted to expand slavery into new territories in the 19th century to try to protect against its decline, so too has automotivism been expanding into developing economies, especially those of Asia but maybe there are others I'm not thinking of.
4) As cities become more oriented toward transit, cycling, and pedestrian convenience, people who prefer to drive seek out smaller cities and rural areas where driving conditions are more favorable. Gradually, this could result in a polarization between north and south since southern cities tend to be more sprawling and car-oriented anyway, I think, which has to do with widespread desire to stay in the air-conditioning, whether in a vehicle or indoors. I suppose the same could be said about people in cold climates wanting to minimize their exposure to the outdoors as well, though. Maybe this is more of a universal problem than a north-south divide, idk.
I think this is a reasonable analysis that speaks to the thread issue of cars getting banned from cities. If people expect the situation to develop differently, why don't they just say what they expect instead of attacking me for mentioning slavery?
Last edited by tandempower; 03-28-14 at 03:49 PM.
Hahahahaha I am not sophisticated enough to understand the wisdom of comparing slavery to automobiles. Well played.
Originally Posted by Roody
I don't agree that an argument over transportation modes is a north-south issue. I don't even agree that it's a rural-urban issue. If anything, it's an issue among people who live in the same communities.
Originally Posted by tandempower
I also don't believe car ownership/usage will ever be banned. I predict that fossil fuel engines will be phased out shortly, and I think that more carfree streets and districts will be installed in congested areas. But I think these innovations will occur as a result of our democratic processes, because the majority of people in a given community will want them. I certainly don't foresee a civil war.
I have traditionally shared your optimism. There's really no reason to ban personal motor-vehicle usage as long as sprawl-growth isn't reducing and undermining the ability for people to choose to go without cars. The problem, however, is when there is backlash against sprawl-reduction and traffic reduction measures with the reasoning that alternatives to driving are useless. If that is the case, then we are doomed to further expansion of sprawl until the point when the motor-traffic itself becomes untenable, which is a point we don't want to reach because reaching limits without alternatives equals dead-end.
Originally Posted by Roody
What I was really looking at in my civil-war comparison, however, is a more distant future in which the car-free alternative has become more established and popularized. At that point, it is logical that some areas will become car-free except for traffic that requires motor-vehicle usage, such as emergency vehicles, shipping/deliveries, shuttles/taxis/buses, etc. There may still be an elite population of drivers but once the majority of an area opts out of driving, it is unlikely that many middle-class people will be 'rogue' drivers. It's just in the nature of middle-class existence that individuals avoid rogue behavior. Otherwise the middle-class wouldn't exist as a class. This is also the reason, I believe, the automotivists are struggling so hard to maintain the ubiquity (or at least dominance) of personal motor-car usage. It's not that people will be 'forced out of their cars,' as is sometimes dramatically claimed; but many people simply won't want to drive if it's not the dominant form of transit. The majority of people care more about 'fitting in' socially than they care about whether they drive, ride a bicycle, take a bus, or whatever. This is why the same middle-class person who unquestioningly rides a bike in Amsterdam also unquestioningly drives a car in a city where driving is the norm.
As for the north-south polarization, it just seems to me that the major obstacle for car-free living to be viable for many people living in warmer climates is the absence of air-conditioning when riding a bike or walking. Transit stops are by their centralized nature located farther from air-conditioned indoor areas than parking spots. This might change if cities densify and distances between buildings are reduced but currently aversion to outdoor air seems to cause many people to favor driving over other types of transit. Maybe this is the same in colder climate areas but I'm not as familiar. Still, I can imagine that many southern cities will fight doggedly against any kind of planning that makes car-free living a more viable option simply because many southerners seem to see moves to facilitate transit and bicycling as an assault on driving and sprawl, which facilitate de facto segregation. I imagine there is also race and class segregation in northern areas so maybe I am being to quick to think this is something particular to the south.
I do think, however, that affluent northerners tend to migrate to southern cities for the climate, which they then avoid for most of the year because they don't adapt to the heat (sorry to generalize; I know there are all types of people and some love the summer heat as well as the mild winters, etc.) It's just generally my point that the economic orientation toward attracting affluent migration from northern economies means that many southern city planners will continue to favor sprawl where large, high-speed freeways and thoroughfares are built and maintained to facilitate plenty of driving so that people can site-see while sitting in a comfortably air-conditioned vehicle. It's not a healthy way of life but for many such people the prospect of riding a bike around in the balmy summer heat probably seems like unthinkable torture. This is why I say that such cities will fight doggedly against reforming their city layouts to favor car-free traffic as there is no city-layout I know of that is simultaneously ideal for driving and not driving. Hopefully I'm wrong, though, and summer cycling and walking will cease to intimidate people and people will enjoy the warm climate year round instead of only in the colder months.
Last edited by tandempower; 03-28-14 at 05:25 PM.