The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 March 2004

Sick transit

Over at Fraters Libertas, Atomizer is happy to tell you what's wrong with this Star Tribune editorial about the Twin Cities transit strike. Says the Strib:

There is no better opportunity than a bus at rush hour for brushing up against the full range of what constitutes the human enterprise in Minnesota. Guys in suits. Women with briefcases. Kids doing homework. Immigrants starting new lives. Hip-hopsters on cell phones. Men with lunch pails. Women with babies. Over time you begin to absorb a fuller dimension to life, to problems, to aspirations, than before, back when you were pinned behind the wheel with talk radio's bleak conspiracies.

Atomizer lists a few folks the Strib forgot (or chose not) to mention:

Obnoxious kids who should have done their homework the night before, people who don't speak English, gang members, men who actually bring their lunch to work in "pails" and crying babies. I'm sold!

Most of us, I suspect, would rather deal with the rest of the world on our own terms at our preferred times. One of the most annoying traits of the present-day American left, I think, is its tacit belief that interaction with other people ("hell," pace Sartre) is not only something to be desired, but something to be enforced where possible. I will never be able to forgive Richard Milhous Nixon for that "Bring Us Together" crap; its sheer simplicity evidently persuaded a lot of simple souls that stuffing people into small spaces could soothe the suffering in the seething city.

A lot of simple souls who wound up working at the Star Tribune, anyway.

Posted at 9:30 PM to Dyssynergy

still scrolls slow... oh well.

Posted by: bruce at 3:15 AM on 6 March 2004

The Togetherness Con has infuriated me since I first noticed it...but then, I'm a Curmudgeon, which makes it only natural.

In the spirit of proper respect for personal borders and the comradeship that can grow from their observance, I will pass along a few of the final words of Ambrose Bierce:

"Remember that it hurts no one to be treated as an enemy entitled to respect until he shall prove himself a friend worthy of affection."

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 7:25 AM on 6 March 2004

I'll never forget the first time I read some architect quoted in my (then-)local newspaper, claiming that being jostled in a crowd is "exciting."

What being jostled in a crowd excites in me is an involuntary hand over my wallet and a get-out-of-my-way-or-wear-an-imprint-of-the-sole-of-my-shoe-forever determination to get out of the crowd.

But you're right, Charles -- the Left hates suburban sprawl because it allows us to put space (and fences, usually) between us and everyone else, and makes mass transit impractical. I don't know if this is because they think we should all be excited by being jostled in crowds, or that the fact we aren't is an insurmountable obstacle to their social-engineering (and lately, "environmentally friendly") schemes.

To me, it doesn't matter if it's propter hoc or merely post hoc.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:56 AM on 6 March 2004
One of the most annoying traits of the present-day American left, I think, is its tacit belief that interaction with other people ("hell," pace Sartre) is not only something to be desired, but something to be enforced where possible.

As a practicing "Leftist," I have no argument with the first part of your sentence. Yes, I think that interaction between diverse social groups is helpful and useful when properly done!

But I must disagree with the second part, the notion that the "left" seeks to enforce this togetherness. As an anarchist, I strongly disagree with the use of coercion to accomplish a social agenda. If you don't see the usefulness of diverse association, forcing you into such a situation will destroy any usefulness it might have had for you, and may destroy the usefulness for others! Those who seek to "enforce" "leftist" values are not from the Left, they are from the Right, masquerading as leftists, self-deluded as to their liberalism.

Fighting creeping fascism one HTML tag at a time!
Posted by: Elderbear at 11:00 AM on 6 March 2004

It may be that the allocation of anarchism to the "Left" is an arbitrary artifact of the late 19th century, and should be rethought.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:35 AM on 7 March 2004

Don't forget: the wonderful Bus Smell. Breathe deep! Especially when the Stinky Homeless Guy sits in front of you.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 12:09 PM on 7 March 2004

Take two deep breaths. (Heh. I got an error message so I posted again, sorry.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 12:10 PM on 7 March 2004

Let it be known that Metro Transit actually stops in front of 42nd and Treadmill, and comes within a block of my house, and I can do the round-trip for five bucks, or about two and a half times the cost of gas to drive the distance.

Of course, this isn't a strictly fair comparison — regular riders can buy monthly passes which reduce the average trip cost substantially, and there are of course other costs associated with owning a car — but at least on my morning drive, most annoyances can be dealt with by pushing a button.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:28 PM on 7 March 2004