Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Liberals and Trains: The Real Reason

From George Will, who rehearses the fact that trains are massive financial sink holes, and goes on to explain the cultural and ideological dimension:
Forever seeking Archimedean levers for prying the world in directions they prefer, progressives say they embrace high-speed rail for many reasons—to improve the climate, increase competitiveness, enhance national security, reduce congestion, and rationalize land use. The length of the list of reasons, and the flimsiness of each, points to this conclusion: the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.

To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they—unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted—are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.

Time was, the progressive cry was “Workers of the world unite!” or “Power to the people!” Now it is less resonant: “All aboard!”

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3 Comments:

Blogger Churchill's Parrot said...

Collectivism is, in fact, the real reason for progressives' passion for anything and everything: trains, unions, financial regulation, media regulation, health care reform, the Dept. of Education,environmentalism...

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously? Collectivism is why people like trains? Can't you just want another way to get from point A to point B without flying or having to drive? When I take the train to Chicago it's because I want to avoid traffic and not worry about over priced parking, not because I'm advocating for socialism. I just wish the Amtrak trains were faster which is why I would love it if they actually invested in the rail line between here and Chicago. You would think it would be a good investment and more people might live in Milwaukee and commute to Chicago via the train.

2:31 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

You would think it would be a good investment and more people might live in Milwaukee and commute to Chicago via the train.

Did you read my post (a few days ago) noting that the Washington Post editorialized that high speed rail is a money waster?

Look . . . you are just somebody who wants a big taxpayer subsidy to make your life easier.

Maybe you aren't a socialist, but these issues have a symbolic element. The irrational attachment of liberals to mass transit needs an explanation.

Will is saying what I've often said.

3:46 PM  

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