To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they—unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted—are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.I understand that various right-wingers are giddy with this so-called point, never mind that neither they nor George Will could identify one such "progressive" if their lives depended on it.
[I]t’s amazing to see Will — who is not a stupid man — embracing the sinister progressives-hate-your-freedom line, more or less right out of Atlas Shrugged; with the extra irony, of course, that John Galt’s significant other ran, well, a railroad.John Casey:
This argument, such as it is, is classic Will: The most dishonest kind of straw man used to provoke an explanatory hypothesis about the the straw manned arguer's motives and intellgence in making such bizarre and wrong-headed claims. On the strength of this, you'll feel justified in ignoring anything else such a person would say.Sarah Goodyear:
A couple of things here. First off, automobiles are not the only vehicles capable of encouraging "delusions of adequacy." Bicycles, one might argue, are a lot more capable of encouraging such delusions -- fueled as they are entirely by the body of the "unscripted" individual. Which is perhaps why they seem to enrage people in cars, who have to worry about gasoline and the like, so very much.
Second, let's talk about modern air travel. What mode of transport is more capable of sapping the human sense of possibility, more confining of the untrammeled human spirit? Perhaps before Will goes after high-speed rail, he should call for the defunding of the Federal Aviation Administration.