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.