It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Evil That is Socialism

The horror.

Remember, it's not just your car, it's your freedom.


Lumo said...

It's a cute socialist idea for seniors that could actually become a cute business project not only for seniors but I am afraid it can't replace cars unless you combine your socialism with a national socialism that whose brownshirts will make it mandatory.

Michael Tobis said...

For what it's worth, I don't suggest enforced replacement of cars. I suggest that alternatives be subsidized in the same way cars are subsidized, as they are in Europe.

I would love to see bicyle infrastructure in America supported to the extent of a penny compared to every dollar of public funds spent on cars.

We already have socialism for cars here; this doesn't seem to bother anybody.

Dano said...

Freedom to choose between transportation modes A, B, C, D is freedom.

Freedom to choose between transportation modes A, A, A and A is not freedom.

Nor are soccer moms free to choose to tell Trevor and Brittanie to ride their bikes 14 miles to soccer practice along arterials with no bike lanes.

Thus, in our country, the brownshirts forcing us to be chained to mode A hide their brownshirts under their white dress shirt and power tie (exaggerated to make a point).



mz said...

Helsinki has had free bikes from 2000 but they are always almost all taken, and there is a lot of vandalism to them. They are also crappy to drive because of vandalism proofing. (Ie solid rubber tires.)

But driving my own bike is mostly fantastic. When the cars don't throw tiny rocks in my eyes. Have to use goggles because of that. At some places there aren't bike roads which is annoying.

I think the biggest enemies of biking are distance, weather and laziness. :)

DWPittelli said...

I don't know if it's really the case that we have "socialism for cars" -- although I think I would agree with some of the prescriptions which would follow from such a complaint.

We have, I will concede, net subsidization for automobiles. It seems probable to me, at any rate, that gasoline taxes, registration fees, auto sales taxes, and auto excise taxes, probably do not cover all auto-related expenses, at least if you include most of the military cost of protecting Saudi Arabia (i.e., oil) as an expense of automobiles.

I would not oppose increased gasoline (or better, carbon) taxes, provided they were offset by the elimination or reduction of other taxes, for no net increase on the whole. (But of course, this would mean tax increases for heavier-than-average users of energy, and tax decreases for lighter-than-average users.) This would be good for the environment, and probably more economically efficient, albeit likely with major changeover costs, especially to auto workers.

But socialism, or ownership (or control) of the means of production, would seem to be quite limited today, to:

1) Construction and maintenance of roads and bridges and such. But these are used by buses and bicycles as well as cars -- mostly the latter, of course, although that reflects consumer choices.

2) Maintenance, by force of law, of municipal monopolies and oligarchies on intra-city transportation (i.e., bus monopolies and taxi medallions). Allowing jitney buses and taxis, subject to safety inspections and licensing, but not to government control of numbers, routes and pricing, would be a desocialization which would help the environment, the poor, and the economy.

Michael Tobis said...

The public owns the means of production and maintenance of the roads, without which the vehicles would be useless.

Therefore, yes, socialism.

It's also easy to argue that this approach is inefficient and corrupt.

I suggest that the solution to incompetent government is competence, not anarchy. Either way, though, the roads are strictly speaking a socialist institution.