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They Clapped

A student of mine refers me to this conference video from Cornell University. Here is the relevant piece (it’s about at the 3:45 mark):

Consistent with his view that the world will soon run out of oil and natural gas, Berman has put himself on record, as recently as this spring, in support of a ban on the use of cars and trucks: “The other piece that nobody wants to hear is that we can’t go on living like we are. … The idea of private transport needs to go away. The idea that you can just drive yourself anywhere you want to, whenever you want to, and – oh, well the answer is, ‘I’ll just get an electric car.’ No, that’s not the answer.” >>

And from my student, ” When he says the thing about getting rid of private transportation, the audience erupts into an ecstatic frenzy.  Then when he adds that “the answer is public transport” the crowd again goes wild.  And he says that anyone who disagrees with him is “living in a fantasy world.”

Never mind that these comments are so devoid of economic and environmental understanding as one wonders why folks are not embarrassed that this stuff is out there for public consumption. After all, if the government provides electric taxi-cabs to every single one of us, that would qualify as “public transport” but of course there would be not a single iota of difference between that and every one of us buying those fantasy world electric cars. There is a very large literature demonstrating that the cost of almost all public transport (politically unpopular buses being the exception) is far higher than the use of cars – but this does not seem to matter to these folks. Maybe I’ll blog it when I return from my travels.

But what does he mean by public transport? If he had his wished and banned all cars and trucks, but we turned over “public transport” to profit making and cost-effective private “mass-transit” companies, it would seem to violate this guys notion of “reality-world.” So his choice of language is either mistaken, or typically devilish. You see, “public transport” is now used as a synonym for “mass transport” and there is no reason for that aside from once again using the environment as cover for statism.

Finally, I don’t even need to comment on the obvious part of the above quote, do I? I’ve now spent over 6 weeks this summer reading “E”nvironmental books and this is the most common theme I see in all of them. And it seems that establishing the transportation Gulag here in the U.S. is to be done because that is the only way to enforce localism on people and to attack the global free market economy without having to say, the idea of capitalism needs to go away.

Such tactics are not new in the “E”nvironmental community. Keep a close eye on how much the “green” community turns against new “clean” energy sources once it looks like they will be able to power up global capitalism. Wind is already moving rapidly down the list of preferred technologies, and so too will others. The capital “E” environmental movement has nothing at all to do with the environment, and everything to do with ending modern commercial society as we know it. I have no problem with people wanting to end it, just don’t wrap the idea in an expensive, environmentally unfriendly piece of organic green lettuce.

And people clap? Would they clap if the President forced all of us to start producing pig iron in our backyards? Seriously, think about what they could possibly be clapping about.

7 Responses to “They Clapped”

  1. Speedmaster says:

    I think that first link might be bad.

  2. Sherlock says:

    Not to mention the increased security and loss of rights because terrorists “plan” to blow up trains, buses, etc. Sounds like a hellava good time!

  3. Speedmaster says:

    That mindset scares the hell out of me.

  4. Aaron McNay says:

    In addition to their disdain for private transportation, the speakers also seem to be avid protectionists. For example, a different presenter talks about his belief that our trading of natural resources with other countries is a bad idea later in the video during the discussion portion of the conference. Apparently, the notion of mutually beneficial gains from trade, and other economic concepts, are lost on these otherwise intelligent people.

  5. Harry says:

    Scares me, too, Speedmaster. I had to go back to Wintercow’s title to understand how they reacted, because at first I thought they were throwing things. Maybe he was speaking to North Korean students.

  6. Rod says:

    I could not play the video on my computer, but I can imagine the sheeplike applause any reference to a boneheaded environmentalist idea can evoke. Dissenters are not cool, man. Political correctness, on the other hand, might impress the Bennington girl on the bullhorn, however.

    Far too many people in positions of influence live in congested metropolitan areas like New Yoik. nYC is not private automobile-friendly, and it costs a whole ton of money to garage and insure a car in the big city. Even us hicks in Red Hill, PA, understand that. But the most provincial and geographically ignorant people reside in nYc, and they think the whole world is just like the five boroughs of New York, plus Westchesta and Connecticut: the other side of the Hudson is Indian Country (Native American country, sorry for the slip). They have absolutely zero comprehension of what living in the country is like, not to mention living in the wide open spaces of the midwest and far west. This also explains the obsession statists have about “open space.” They think this country is running out of it. They think country living is what happens in East Hampton.

    Public transportation is also a great leveler: why should the rich people whose family incomes are over $250,000 per year or whose individual incomes are $125,000 a year have cars when anyone under that figure has to ride on Amtrak? The People’s Revolutionary Committee will decide when and where to the Amtrak trains will run. (I am imagining a scene out of Dr. Zhivago where Omar Sharif and the other passengers dump the old straw out of their freight car and bed down with some fresh straw. Those commies know how to live, I tell ya.)

  7. TheBidiBo says:

    Devilish. A great way to describe much of the liberal Newspeak.

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