I’ve suddenly received a spew of comments and emails from assorted “driving enthusiasts” who seem to have found themselves in a rash of confusion as to whether I’m pro-car, anti-car, pro-4×4, anti-4×4, a Commie, a greenie, a liberal do-gooder, a vegie-fascist, a total idiot, someone who eats horse turds with goats cheese for breakfast, or even a little green man from Mars.
Okay, I added the last epithet but the others were among the more printable descriptions I’ve received in the past 48 hours.
A quick review of the statistics for the blog revealed almost all of the people spitting and projectile vomiting in my general direction were coming from the PistonHeads forums, after Thinfourth2 obligingly mentioned two of my posts there. (And note, there are some more reasonable people posting on that forum!)
Now, before I reply directly to the thrust of the comments, a word of advice to the Pistonheads – if you want to see your comments published on my blog then you need to abide by my rules.
They’re nice and simple: no threats of violence, no gratuitous obscenities and no meandering diatribes that are completely unrelated to the subject matter of a post. The same rules apply to everyone – whether rabid vegans or crazed petrolheads.
So, if any of you would like to reword your earlier comments to follow those rules and re-post, then I’ll happily publish them.
Back to the point.
I suspect the confusion has arisen because I refuse to abide by the linear stereotyping that sets people along a scale that has loony left to one side and rabid right to the other.
According to this linear measure, I am a loony leftie because I advocate curtailing car use, advocate a massive reduction in personal consumption, advocate huge reductions in unnecessary energy use, advocate drastic reductions in meat consumption, advocate workers’ rights and protections, support genuinely universal healthcare and education systems, and oppose ever increasing state control under the guise of “it’s for your protection”.
Cue vast amounts of vitriol from the other end of the scale.
But, I also advocate using 4x4s (and other fuel guzzling means of transport) if it’s appropriate and responsible to do so, I admire and enjoy the technology behind our greatest machines, I have doubts about some of the science about climate change, I have no problems with eating meat provided it’s produced sustainably and ethically, I encourage personal enterprise provided it’s not at the expense of others, I support fair and responsible policing, I advocate population management, and I support a military that’s used to protect people from oppression, repression and exploitation.
Cue vitriol from the other end of the scale.
Unfortunately, my position on those issues and more make me rather too complex for the simple souls who think there’s only left and right, right and wrong, them and us.
Even more confusingly, I’m more than happy to admit there are tensions and unresolved contradictions between some of my views.
Simple souls don’t like to admit their own positions may be contradictory, so it often seems their response is to shriek madly in the vain hope that I will go away and shut up.
I won’t, as this is my space. It is open to be shared and for other views to be put, but if you can’t handle the reality that it is my space, then it’s probably best if you go and find your own space.
As for me, I’ve decided that much as I enjoy blatting about in powerful, rear-wheel drive cars and hammering a 4×4 through challenging terrain, personal car use is a privilege that is increasingly out of step with what I see as the realities of climate change, declining resources, escalating pollution and exploitation of others.
So, my personal decision is to curb my car use as much as possible, while drawing attention to the potential benefits of other people making similar decisions.
It doesn’t make me “anti-car” or “a ******* loony green”. It simply means I have reflected on what I do and why, considered the implications of my actions, and then decided to make a few changes.
All I ask is that other people pause from time to time to reflect and consider, too.
They may even discover that riding a bike is just as much fun as driving a car – and sometimes even more so!