Tony Abbott, in a way, was right:
“The humblest person is king in his own car.”Tony Abbott, Battlelines
I can see his point here. I don’t know about them being humble, but (especially as a pedestrian or a cyclist) you see plenty of people in their cars who think they are royalty.
Anyway, I’ve found a strong counter argument to Abbott’s point:
“If you live in your suburban castle, and you only ever go out in your suburban land yacht, and the only humans you ever interact with are clerks, it’s the Target checker or your barista at Starbucks, you lose that sense of sociality – you start thinking of yourself as a driver, as a consumer.
“So what’s good for drivers and consumers? That starts to be how you interact with civic life, through that lens: I’ve got to defend my parking, and my access to my local Starbucks.
“I honestly think that suburban living on a subtle, sort of subterranean level, pulls you in the direction of sociopathy. It pulls you in the direction of antisocial thinking and attitudes.
“And conversely, just being out around among people gives you more of a sense of social solidarity, and more of a sense of being in it, together, and having to accommodate other peoples perspectives.”David Roberts (Vox) – The War On Cars podcast, episode 24
Is this extreme? Perhaps.
Is it stereotyping people? Yes.
But I think it’s making a really interesting point – and it only takes a few people behaving like this to make life difficult for everybody else.
The podcast contains other moments of gold, including this:
“We think of cities as so crowded, but that’s because almost all of the space in them we’ve given over to cars.”
“Public space is what makes a city. If you don’t have public space, you just have an urban area.”