By Jody Clarke, CEI
Washington, D.C., September 21, 2004—Anti-automobile activists around the world will celebrate “World Car-Free Day” this Wednesday, envisioning a world where cars have been forcibly replaced by pedestrians, bicyclists, and mass transit. For all of their rhetoric, however, the anti-car enthusiasts are generally vague on how their utopia will accommodate the handicapped, the elderly, parents with kids, or anyone who lives outside of a central city.
“Since so many anti-car activists are young and healthy, it’s no surprise they forget what a car-free world would actually be like,” said Sam Kazman, General Counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “For many people, a car isn’t a luxury – it’s the only way to get to work, transport their kids, or pick up groceries.”
The dramatic revolution in mobility made possible by the personal automobile has faced hostility from central planners for decades. In the words of philosopher Loren Lomasky, “People who drive cars upset the patterns spun from the policy intellectual’s brain.” (Lomasky study “Autonomy and Automobility” available online at http://www.cei.org/gencon/025,01437.cfm)
People who choose not to own cars are of course free to do so, but Car-Free Day ought to be conducted in a manner that makes its implications clear. For a realistic day of car-free living, try it:
- When it’s raining
- When you’re carrying several bags of groceries
- When you’re carrying a baby, with a toddler alongside you
- On crutches
- After midnight
- Without using a car or cab to get to the train or bus station, especially in the suburbs.
- Any combination of the above.