Friday, 10 January 2003
|0129 - SUV haters: drop dead|
The recently announced anti-SUV commercials are intended to get people to make "socially responsible consumer choices" about which vehicles to buy, according to the leftist columnist Arianna Huffington, not to demonize SUV owners. Well, Ms. Huffington, that one sets the bullshit flag.
The simple fact of the matter is that, under our economic and political system, nobody but me is entitled to an opinion about what vehicle I choose to drive. The bleating about how SUVs waste energy and cause accidents is just a thin cover for naked class jealousy from folks who can't afford them, or else feel virtuous in telling others how to live their lives.
Free clue: This ain't Communist China. The government has no business interfering in a customer's choice of product, and busybody leftists even less so. This is the same kind of thing that leads PETA to assault little old ladies who wear furs, and is just as reprehensible. (Aside: If PETA is standing up for its principles, why don't its shock troops throw red paint around in biker bars where the patrons wear lots of leather, hmmm?) If I, or anyone else, decides that an SUV is needed to meet my mission requirements for a vehicle, then that's the end of it. Anyone trying to tell me otherwise will be invited to butt the hell out, and I will have very little patience for any argument they may try to make.
I'm damned tired of others trying to paint me as a dirty rotten no-goodnik for driving an SUV. They had better not let me catch them trying to vandalize mine, for I will act to defend myself and my property, and they won't like the result.
current mood: irate
With rights come responsibilities, something that tends to be quickly forgotten by a lot of people who go on about "rights". There is a truth to the fact that there needs to be a such thing as consumer responsibility, and while the government doesn't have the right to tell people what to drive, there is an ill effect on our nation from a large number of people driving things that are more gas-guzzling than they need. This really wouldn't even bother me too much if these didn't tend to be the same people who wave the flag around and act all patriotic, when in reality they're contributing to the current crisis.
In other words, excessively large SUVs in themselves aren't the problem, the problem is people who drive excessively large SUVs that they have no need for. Yes, this is a problem, because it contributes to our nation's dependency on foreign (and not always friendly) nations for oil. Something reasonable like a RAV4 or an Explorer for an individual is actually a responsible choice; they're safe and roomy, but not as wasteful as a Ford Excursion or a new Hummer H2, which is the kind of vehicle I tend to really take exception to. There are people that need these kind of things, but there are also hordes of people who buy these monstrosities and then use them as their daily commuter vehicle just for themselves, and that's incredibly wasteful and irresponsible. Sure, it's legal, but that doesn't make it right. And if more people were "socially responsible," then there wouldn't be the backlash against these kind of things as there is.
Sure, it's a right to buy whatever you want, but social responsibility is something real and important, especially in times of war/crisis, and people who can't be responsible end up hurting the country they often claim to love. This counts in a number of ways... including what you drive.
The problem with saying people drive "excessively large SUVs that they have no need for" is that you're not in any position to make that statement. You do not know what use that vehicle is put to, nor do you have any right to make judgments about others' choices. Even if you're not a bible-thumper, there's a lot of truth in the advice "judge not, lest ye be judged".
My company's CEO is one guy you'd probably slam: he drives a full-sized, 3/4 ton, 4WD Suburban regularly from Rochester to the Twin Cities, about an hour and a half each way, alone. (He looked at an H2, but decided it wasn't practical for him, and stuck with his Suburban.) He puts well over 30K highway miles a year on that truck. He also carries enough stuff around to need that extra room. Still, looking at him driving down the road talking on his cellphone (with a hands-free device), you'd probably snap to the judgment that he's being wasteful, when that's not the case.
I'll deal with "social responsibility" in my next LJ entrry, because I don't want it to be buried in a comment.
Let's see here...
"naked class jealousy?" nope. Not me. I can afford a good chunk of the SUVs out there, but I choose not to buy them. You are right in calling me on it when I suggested (in some entry I can't find, or I'd link it) that "people don't need... big SUVs;" after all, who am I to question how one spends their money?
I do find the tax law loopholes a bit damning, however.
I won't believe for a moment that some of the largest SUVs are safer than, say, my car... on that, we can debate till the end of time. Same with gas mileage. It's like Israel vs. Palestine.
Like I've repeatedly stated, tho maybe not clearly enough, my main beef with the average SUV owner is their "I own the fucking road" attitude, which does nothing for me other than let them see my "I can be a flaming asshole, too" attitude. SUVs themselves aren't the problem when I rant about them. A fair number of their owners earn the title of "asshole," however... My rub is with some of the people. I really should be more mindful of that when I feel like going into "SUVs are evil" mode.
As attractive as vandalism is in certain SUV owners' cases, I can't be scared to kick reality on this one. 1) Not my property; 2) Jerk-of-the-week isn't worth the police presence or time spent; 3) It'd probably cost a lot more (civil suit, worse depending on the disposition of the plaintiff), so see 2.