A good number of us embark upon a journey almost every day; one that takes us into the inner bowels of big city or suburban traffic purgatory. This is typically a daily travel that surrenders us to government's legacy of noxious public roads.
Upon those roads sit thousands of motor vehicles, all with someplace to go, but no way to get there without flogging others around you. One sits, and waits, and predictably so, arrives at work late and flustered and already mentally wounded. The inner city, with its salaried public benefactors at the helm, has won again.
One of the intentions of the collectivist bureaucrats that serve the transportation sector are to browbeat us into accepting their precept that individualized transportation is not practical, and therefore, not economically efficient. "It's an economic thing!" they cry, and show us the hypothetical financial advantages to taking a sordid bus line, or to building a mass transportation alternative. Meanwhile, the environmental soldiers are in a fury over greenhouse gasses and holes in the ozone blamed on the internal combustion engine.
All said, I just want to get into my car, and get to work unimpeded. However, until we see privatization of infrastructure, that hardly seems an option.
As big cities and suburban metropolitan areas scurry for federal dollars to build mass transportation systems and save squandering bus lines, they draw upon public sentiment in the name of "this other city has this, this other city has that, blah, blah". It becomes the rally cry for their city to become one of the "haves", to get some bang for their taxpaying buck, and to present the people with a way to leave the gas-guzzler at home and join the mixed mob of democracy in its mass commute.
One of the overlooked purposes of forced public transportation, of course, is the notion of desegregating individuals with no desire to be integrated. Members of different demographic groups tend to live segregated if left alone to do so, and why not? What is so injurious about individuals choosing to live among their own culture, or color, or even creed? The only detriment is unto a government that wishes to draw up a representation of the "great melting pot" underneath the guise of transportation fascism.
Of course, when suburbanites wish to travel to the urban areas and leave the car behind, they are usually forced to use the urban transportation authority. In many of the larger metro areas, these urban transportation lines are assisted by a highly subsidized and money-squandering suburban transit link.
These transit links also do the job of carrying urban dwellers to the suburbs for shopping, jobs, and escapism. Travelling the other way, suburbanite workers are thrown to the frenzy of what John Rocker described on the 7 train, which the Left exalts as diversity heaven.
Egalitarian-minded city officials constantly harp on the fact that public transportation is the only means of future survival in already overcrowded cities. Here in Detroit, there have been repeated attempts through the years at securing federal prizes for a light rail, or similar system. The mentality is that if you give people an alternative to driving, they will use it. However, Motor City drivers are the most independent travelers in the nation — and rightly so — and the notion of giving up their independence for an Atlanta-like MARTA system is not in the cards anytime soon.
In my daily commute downtown, I grapple with oversized buses in undersized lanes designed and built by government bureaucrats. Of course, mere mention of road privatization as a solution is enough to get one sent to the "silly house" for an ideal that runs opposite to those "anointed" to make society's decisions.
It is most irritating — and dangerous — to have to deal with these bloated government shuttles that recklessly cut off all other vehicles, knowingly make illegal turns through 2 or 3 lanes of traffic, speed through red lights, and just genuinely make a nuisance of themselves.
The typical Detroit Office of Transportation bus that infiltrates my path everyday is abused by its patrons and driver, is putrid, not cared for, and pollutes much more so than my personal transportation. Typically, they are carrying so few passengers that the observant taxpayer can hypothesize the wasteful dollars that are subsidizing some bureaucrat's dream.
I have a brother who was once unfortunate enough to service and repair these vehicles for a city paycheck, and numerous stories were told of the disgusting conditions of said buses. Stories of how free-riding or subsidized patrons defecated behind the seats, and drunken bums keeping warm for a dollar-a-day urinating and vomiting on the premises. They were hardly ever cleaned properly, because no one had an interest in properly maintaining a money-losing public racket. In addition, unprotected riders are robbed at will while no one bothers to blink an eye. Like elsewhere in the public sector, nobody has any interests to protect.
But of course, commuters like me are expected to bow to the glories of public transportation for the greater social good. I am supposed to want to climb on board a filthy, dangerous bus or light-rail system next to bums, alcoholics, drug addicts, convicts, and work-release folks. I am supposed to want to sacrifice the safety of my own vehicle and self, and the timeliness of my own schedule, and the convenience of being in control, for some trumped-up environmental good, and for the sake of mixing with fellow human beings I care little to commingle with.
Though it may have made more sense for Mr. Rocker to keep those remarks to himself, he dared to speak the truth. For to read John Rocker's remarks is to know that he spent too much time bound and gagged in desegregation dementia.
January 3, 2001
Karen De Coster is a politically incorrect CPA, and an MA student in economics at Walsh College in Michigan.
Copyright © 2001 Karen De Coster