Some days I secretly can't wait for gas prices to get so high that the moto-fascists will feel the pain. And then reality sets in and I remember that not only will the moto-fascists suffer from the dead dinosaurs' curse, but also my friends and family who drive and all the motorists who are considerate and not absolutely crazed behind the wheel. And then there is the Big Implication that food prices will rise as well as all other costs. So I stop wishing the pain of high gas prices upon those undeserving rapscallions and instead wish burst heater hoses and dead batteries on their heads.
Its funny how a deep sense of entitlement permeates our society. It goes back to what I've said before, and will continue to say: the concept of "Freedom" for many people is little more than anarchy. Just because we live in the good ole U.S. of A. doesn’t mean we can do anything we want. If the speed limit is 35 mph, then going 36 is wrong. If there is a 3 foot passing law, no matter if you agree with it or not, passing a cyclist closer than 3 feet is wrong. Laws protect people from the anarchists who rail continuously about how "Nobody can tell ME what to do with my land/how to drive/where I can dump my toxic waste!!!" and then make a lifelong series of bad decisions which adversely affect their neighbors, communities, and hopefully at least themselves.
Anarchy is bad because people are prone to make bad decisions. Its funny (HaHAHaha!) that the people who make the most noise about "Freedom" also seem prone to the worst history of decision making on the block. So what about "free speech?" While I believe in free speech, I also believe there should be limits. "Freedom of Speech" doesn't mean you can vocally advocate violence against cyclists, or those of different races, or any other human being.
Again, the "Freedom" that Americans think they are supporting isn't at all related to William Wallace/Mel Gibson slinging a broadsword through the sky and screaming "FREEDOM!" at the top of his lungs. That was a different type of freedom born out of tyrannical oppression and Hollywood glitz. When a redneck thumps his chest and screams "FREEDOM!" in defense of his perceived entitlement to drive a gas hog and run over pedestrians and cyclists that get in his way (as a hobby) I start to believe the handbasket is coming in for a landing and its awful hot here.
While Billy Bob thinks its funny to run the cyclist off the road and Benzinger gets off virtually scot free I think there should be more serious repercussions for the improper use of a motor vehicle. The Billy Bobs and Benzingers of the world want all the "Freedom" they can get short of choking on it without ANY of the responsibility of civilized human beings.
Most of us would agree that the automobile represents freedom in our society; especially for the young and immature. I would argue that the freedom it represents also comes with a dose of anarchistic fantasy that, if unchecked, blooms like algae in a cow pond.
I have never understood how a person could rationalize that their choices and their perceived freedoms and entitlements supersede the rights, freedoms and entitlements of all others and that the cost of their "freedom" is irrelevant as long as it is borne by others. But again, this concept has permeated our society. The US consumes a disproportionate amount of the Earth's resources, promising through mouthfuls of McDonald's gristle the same standards of living to the rest of the world, all the while knowing good and well that there isn’t enough to share. We only promise them the American Dream to delay the inevitable erosion of our entitlements once the rest of the world decides they've had enough of the U.S. running them off the road.
I've stopped thinking about and planning what car will replace the Suburbaru we sold in 2009. These days I think more about what bike(s) will replace our remaining car when the time comes. The other day when we were out for a family bike ride I was proud of my wife as she reached an intersection ahead of me and she took the lane, commanding her space on the road, to prevent a car from squeezing beside her. She will be a hardcore bicycle commuter. I am confident of this fact. I can see it in her eyes.