Aldous Huxley once wrote: “Liberty? There is no such thing. Only gilded cages.”
I can’t help but think of this quote whenever I drive my car.
Don’t get me wrong. Its not a bad car. Its actually pretty nice. Its the car I’ve always wanted since I was a kid. It’s pretty plush: AC, leather, power windows, the works. It looks sleek and sexy and I can definitely credit it for getting me laid. It goes fast, and at one time was considered to get good gas mileage (although by today’s standards I’d say it falls short of that mark).
But the fact is, I’ve grown tired of it. I’m tired of driving it, tired of maintaining it, and tired of insuring it. I’m tired of being chained to a job I hate just so I can have my gilded cage. I enjoy the freedom of leaving whenever I want, going directly to my destination, not having to walk at all, and making whatever stops along the way I damn well please, but is it really worth the price I pay for that freedom? Is it really freedom when I have to work like a dog just to have the means to get to my job? Sometimes, I wish I could just take a train.
I imagine places like New York or Europe, with their train systems, as idyllic for not just efficient, environmentally friendly transportation, but also social mobility. I imagine being able to walk down to the corner, hop on a train and be anywhere in the city for the small price of a subway fare. I imagine how this would effect the entire community in which I live, and how many new, different people I might meet if they were free from their geographical limitations. I imagine owning a car becoming a luxury, rather than a necessity. Now THAT is freedom. Unfortunately, I can only imagine these things because the state in which I live has no public transportation, or at least none worth mentioning.
“Public train system?” you might say, “That sounds expensive. That means new taxes.”
Well, are those taxes going to be more, per capita, than what it would cost to maintain, insure, fuel, and finance a personal vehicle? To say nothing of the environmental costs? Well then shut the fuck up! Besides, you know what else costs money? Building roads for your over-privileged white ass to drive a Lexus from the suburbs to downtown every day! If we’re gonna spend public money either way, why not spend it on a train system that EVERYONE can use, as opposed to roads that a lot of people can’t use because they don’t have the money to buy a car in the first place?
By building roads instead of trains, they FORCE us to buy a car, burn gas, pollute the air, and buy insurance because THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION. Why would they do that?
Because its a publicly-funded blow job for the auto, oil, and insurance industries, that’s why. Its yet another public decision being made for the benefit of selective corporate interests.
But don’t mind that. Be happy you can afford a car. Enjoy your gilded cage. Never mind the inefficiency, the wastefulness and social alienation caused by everyone being confined to their personal little transport bubbles as opposed to all riding together towards a common destination. You too can revel in the brilliance of such urban planning decisions as putting the place where everyone gets drunk 20 miles down the highway from where everyone lives. Sure, someone might get killed by a drunk driver every now and then, but think of the revenue generated for the police from DUIs!
And when you’re partying downtown and someone hands you a hit of acid, you don’t take it because you have to worry about your precious car, your holy temple of personal transport, your personal monument to capitalism! So you don’t get loose and mingle, you drive home disappointed and jack off to porn like the suburban loser you are. Ain’t it great to be free?