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View Diary: Cars Cause Republicanism (338 comments)

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  •  Agreed (4.00)
    This is a bit over-reaching. One could easily argue that isolation is one of the biggest factors in creating conservatism. Physically isolated people often have to drive a lot more than those in tight-knit communities. Correlation is not causation - a philosphical truth, and a line from my favorite Soul Coughing song.
    •  True... (4.00)
      ...correlation is not causation, and the development of the "car culture" has mulitple causes.

      But I'm sure it has also influenced us in ways we are only dimly aware of.

      For example, imagine how rude we can be to each other when we are behind the wheel--ruder than we would ever allow ourselves to be when face-to-face.

      I also wonder if being able to control our immediate environment (temperature, noise level, musical ambience, etc.) each and every time we isolate ourselves in our "steel cocoons" for a couple of hours per day, has tended to give us both an exaggerated sense of control and a diminished desire to allow others to impact our daily experience. I often even find myself unwilling to allow a radio announcer to control what I'm hearing, and instead habitually pop in a CD to help control my mood myself, even when I can't really think of something I'd rather listen to than what's already on the radio!

      In any case, the only force that will move us back to a truly conservative (i.e., conservationist) approach to transportation is peak oil and higher energy prices. Change will be forced by the dollar, not by legislation or personal choice.

      Of course, the biggest challenge will be making our sprawling suburbs liveable when gas hits $6 to $8 per gallon. Probably some combination of mopeds, bicycles, more bus lines, lots more park & ride depots, and more mini-stores within walking distance of home?

      I sure hope such changes will bring about more sense of community, instead of more irritation and hostility...

      •  Combine carshare w/ transit (none)
        I got very interested in combining car-share programs with transit when I was in a Planning grad program last year (had to take a hiatus for a while).  I was looking specifically at an area comprised of three very small cities that are close together geographically in PA.  Linking them and the surrounding major towns by light rail might be possible if you added carsharing at the terminal ends to let people go that 'last mile' from the station to work and back.  Never got into hard numbers, but if I ever go back to finish that masters, it'd make a fun thesis.    
      •  Seems like the most important reason AND ... (4.00)
        consequence is that we are isolated from our fellow citizens.

        As a result, we are more "head in the sand" about how diverse our communities are - with implications for both the more and less well off. Common social standards as well as mutual respect are weakened. A sense of commonality among people living in the same area evaporates as we are more confined to our silos of home, car, and work.

        In addition, driving is very stressful compared to riding BART where you can read a book or the newspaper, talk with other passengers... I drive less now than before I retired, and am always struck by how stressful rush hour traffic is - something I had not noticed as much before when it was a daily event. If only public transportation were more dependable, more frequent, better synchronized, and more responsive - and it would be if there was more public support. Bus routes in our area are continually cut back and now there is no bus  - that means an easy 20 minute walk down hill to the terminal in the morning, an unpleasant 40 minute walk uphill at the end of the day.

        An interesting article...

    •  Exactly (4.00)
      Urban environments create Democrats because we interact with all sorts of people and mitigate the xenophobia, which may be an inherent human characteristic.
    •  Isolation from education (none)
      is my opinion. Check the distance from educational opportunities.

      A society of sheep must beget in time a government of wolves. Bertrand de Jouvenel

      by Little Red Hen on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 09:41:59 AM PST

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      •  Yes and No (none)
        If you mean distance from academic institutions, probably not a factor as some of us live in small towns with a college or in less urban University towns with quite a large Republican population.
        If you mean distance from educational experiences or cultural experiences..that is another matter, that is where you may have a point. But most of my life in PA, I have lived in some conservative or moderately conservative areas and almost all had a college in the area, if not several.

        America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

        by wishingwell on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 01:35:46 PM PST

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