Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No socially redeeming qualities -- the private auto

The automobile is very likely the most influential and most harmful invention in the history of the world. If guns had never been invented, the world’s worst genocides could still have taken place under cudgels and swords. It is true that the atomic bomb has made possible the earth’s complete annihilation, but for the most part this remains only an unrealised possibility. The automobile, on the other hand, has already left hecatombs beneath its wheels and has helped unleash an ecological holocaust that is slower but not necessarily less destructive than any nuclear cataclysm. Nonetheless, the greatest danger of the automobile goes far beyond its tendency to crash and to pollute. Progressive movements for safety regulations and clean fuel, while admirable, do not address the most fundamental problem of the automobile: the deeper danger of cars is that even if they are some day made safe and clean, they will still have restructured nearly every aspect of human society according to their antisocial laws of motion. CarbustersMagazine

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