I’d trade my car for a train

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?

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Who Owns the Truth?

Truth.  The search for truth could occupy several fruitless lifetimes, especially considering how many powerful institutions exist solely to obscure or redefine “the truth” for their own selfish purposes.  Unfortunately, many of these institutions are schools.  Can we really trust our educations?  Where did this information come from, and for what motivation was it released to students?

Is our education biased?  This is a question we must all ask ourselves.  I think its less important for hard science students whose education can be physically verified and peer reviewed, but more important for social science students, especially business, economics, management, and even psychology students, whose education is more politicized and potentially biased by the source.

I believe that our education system is a big part of our current economic problems.  Normally, when I complain about America’s higher education system, I’m complaining about the social inequity involved: the high economic hurdles placed between the individual and their education that effectively serve as class barriers, preventing those in lower classes from moving up.  But there is also something to be said about the way capitalism effects the content of our educations.

Who’s to say that the fact that these schools are private institutions owned by individuals with private interests isn’t effecting the objectivity of the education we receive?  We’ve already seen the role that funding sources play in creating bias in scientific studies.  Illicit drug research, for example, is often funded by the government, and this has caused a lot of the results to be skewed.  We know there is a conflict of interest when it comes to funding sources for research, so isn’t it safe to assume that conflict of interest exists in education as well?  Basically, the crux of what I’m saying is: can you trust your school when its owned by old money?

Old money tends to teach its young that the poor are lazy and stupid.  They instill in the youth a sense of God-given right to rip poor people off.  They think that anyone can become wealthy regardless of background.  They have no idea the extent to which coming from money has effected their lot in life.  Basically, people who come from money have no idea where money comes from.  My old man tried to lay the same bullshit on me, but he forgot to include the bulging trust fund that normally accompanies such an indoctrination, so it was obvious to me he was full of shit.  I guess if he had bribed me, I might have believed him.  I went to business school for about 1 semester and I was so horrified by what they were teaching there, I had to go to Psychology school just to figure out how people could be so fucked up inside!

Right now we have a situation on Wall street where all these CEOs and stock brokers went to the same east coast schools, they were taught the same lassiez-faire, supply-side, trickle-down economic doctrines, and now they are running around like chickens with their heads cut off because everything they were taught is falling apart right in front of their eyes and they don’t know what to believe any more.  This is what is causing a lot of the uncertainty on Wall Street right now.  Harvard and Yale are where the old money grooms its future CEOs and Presidents, and unfortunately, they don’t teach people the truth at these schools, they teach them what the money controlling the school wants them to believe is the truth.

Imagine the horror:  You are born into this world knowing nothing.  You are constantly bombarded with biased news, advertising, religious dogma, and other misinformation.  If you are smart, you know that this isn’t the truth.  The truth costs money.  In order to learn something, you have to put yourself through hell learning it and pay out the ass for the privilege, if you are even lucky enough to have access to an education.  Then, after all that, you find out that most of what you paid so dearly to learn is actually just someone’s self-serving opinion, installed in your mind to serve their interest.  This is what we are seeing in the financial world right now.

It can be hard to admit one has received a biased education.  “What do you mean I don’t know what I’m talking about?  My diploma says Harvard.  Of course, I’m right.”

Sorry dude, you got a degree in bullfuck.

I guess the lesson learned is that you can’t trust anyone these days.  Not your school, not the government, not the media, and increasingly, not even yourself.  So take it all with a grain of salt, folks.

and if anyone knows where I can buy a copy of the real, honest-to-God Truth, let me know.

*DoktorJ prepares himself for a shitload of Bible emails.