That Vision Thing, Again

Monday, July 02, 2018

Unusual circumstances keep me from my blogging chair this morning, so Sunday, I dusted off what I jotted down as my original reaction to a conservative's blog post on the brewing war against Waze. (My only edit is the insertion of a link to my column.) I like the column I eventually wrote about that much better, but I do make a couple of points below that got left out, so here it is. Seeing now that I was a little hard on Jazz Shaw, I'll thank him now for inspiring my column.

Question: You hear about members of a community expressing concerns about the volume of traffic the Waze driving app is sending through their neighborhoods.

You reply by:

(a) Noting that others faced with similar situations have done things like get speed humps installed;

(b) Taking the opportunity to mention that many people (perhaps including some of them) should rethink opposing freeway improvements;

(c) Seizing this golden opportunity to introduce the idea of making roads into private property;

(d) All of the above; or

(e) None of the above, and implying that they are whiners who should passively accept the cultural and political status quo.
If your name is Jazz Shaw, you answered (e):
That road is not private. You didn't pay for it yourself. The taxpayers fund the construction and repair of it and everyone gets to use it. If that bothers you so much, perhaps you could move someplace where there is no road. That would solve one of your problems, but probably generate a few new ones to replace it.
Image of blinders via Pixabay.
One of the biggest problems with conservatives today is just such a lack of imagination. Sure. These roads aren't private -- but they should be and can be. Furthermore, Shaw isn't even right that voters don't control the roads running in front of their houses: First, they likely can petition for signs or other traffic calming measures to tamp down on speeding. Second, they have a longer term say as voters on how this government system is run. Third, and most important, if enough voters ever become dissatisfied with the inefficient way the government runs our transportation network (and with being pickpoketed for the privilege whether they use it or not), they can demand privatization.

So my answer would be (d), although I will admit that the most important part, (c) takes work and would be a long time coming. But it's an idea that needs wider circulation for exactly the same reason that a truly privatized post office does, and indeed the broader idea of separating economy and state.

Even saying this little bit yesterday, while I put off writing a letter, improved my mood over the alternative of being a misanthropic sourpuss. And perhaps a stray eyeball or two will read it. I invite Mr. Shaw to try that approach some time.

-- CAV

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