Half Sigma takes to task a New York Times blog post discussing how simply fantastic life would be if we just did away with cars. HS does an excellent job discussing how this idea is a luxury for upper class people, or an impediment for those too poor to do anything else, but for everyone else, it costs a heck of a lot more to go car-less(and livesomewhere that’s possible) than to livein the burbs and drive a reasonably reliable vehicle.
It has been argued by some that not owning a car saves you money, but my argument is that the opposite is true. Manhattan, the only place I’ve ever lived where it’s reasonable for people to make do without a car, is ridiculously expensive compared to everywhere else. It’s a lot less expensiveto live somewhere else and own a car, than it is to be carless in Manhattan. A one bedroom apartment costs $3000/month. A $700/month apartment someplace else would free up $27,600/year to cover the cost of car ownership. On top of that, the local income tax rate is around 10%, higher than any other place in the nation.
So, going car-less hurt the poor and middle class. No kidding. But what HS doesn’t address is how much it would hurt another group that liberals constantly claim to stand for: Women.
Ever since I was old enough to have the Independence to do so, I have known that it is downright stupid to walk around by myself at night in many parts of this world, even in places I know and where the crime rate is relatively low, I have avoided it, and did my best to ensure that my girlfriends did likewise. In college, it made for a great way to flirt with the fellows- what red-blooded American boy would resist the opportunity to flex his chivalry muscles and see a lady to her dorm room door? (Of course, when boys weren’t available, girls made a point to walk in groups, but that was less fun.) Obviously, this rule extended to biking, public transportation, etc., but driving (with doors locked, windows rolled up, and foot ready to jump on the accelerator should anyone get close) certainly seems a lot more safe.
Now, I know that my methods are far from perfect; strangers jumping women and having their way with them are relatively rare occurrences, and males could get mugged just as easily as females, but there are chances that I am and am not willing to take. Losing a wallet is a far more acceptable risk than encountering a criminal, who is bigger, faster, and stronger than me, and not having any way to avoid it.
Take away our cars, and after dark (which, remember, can come as early as 6:00 PM at some times of the year) we are no better than women in Saudi Arabia, relegated to our homes or to the protection of trusted males.