Let’s talk about how to describe effectively how the automobile, and our heavy dependency and emphasis in taxpayers dollars for the automobile to design and build roads and other infrastructure, homes, towns, and almost everything around the automobile has shaped our world. Here are a few terms I’ve started using. I don’t know if there are official terms for these things, but none the less I have observed and know of these systemic characteristics to exist in the United States today.
Dependent Communities – These are communities that can never be dependent on their immediate retail, infrastructure, and related facilities. The jobs aren’t located within reasonable distance, nor food, or other necessary items needed for living life on a day to day basis.
Red Line Divisions – Like the red-lined districts where “blacks” or “others” would never be loaned capital to improve their neighborhoods, the construction of many roadways were often done so in a distinctive and careful way as to split communities that were diverse into communities of sameness and inequity.
Motorist Elitism – This is less evident in Seattle & Cascadia than in much of America, but it is evident among the poor and the rich alike. The idea that one of means (i.e. the person with money) would only drive and looks down upon those that don’t drive as a lesser person who has made bad decisions or some other nonsense. This elitism is misguided, myopic, and filled with contradictions on many levels, not including the idea that it’s horrifyingly wrong.
Subservient Marketing Choice – This is the practice of marketing a “make your life simpler” style product or lifestyle that really locks one into an ongoing monetary mortgage against this lifestyle. Auto-dependency itself is one of those things, and we’re all bound by this to some degree even while alone in a mountain cabin – as we’re all part of this ecosystem Earth. However this is specifically oriented toward the suburban lifestyle dependency and subservience that is often coupled with motorists’ elitism and dependent communities. In the end, it causes those sold this lifestyle to be subservient and supportive of the entities (businesses, government, or other entity) that keep them in this lifestyle.
In summary of these terms, I leave this post with a question and a quote. The question is, if you’ve got any additional quotes, or know of better way to more accurately state these specific characteristics of modern American life, please share them in the comments or ping me on Twitter @transitsleuth. The quote is on this general topic in which we find most of the populace today.
“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.” – Thomas Jefferson