By on March 8, 2018

Oh, my friends. We knew this day was coming, didn’t we? In a society where all it takes for a cause to be popular is a tweetstorm, David Klion has decided that nobody should have the right to drive a car. Who’s David Klion, you may ask, and why should we care what he thinks? Well, he’s a freelance columnist (hey, so am I) and he lives in Brooklyn (I was born near there!) and he used to work for Al Jazeera America (okay, I would never do that) and he occasionally gets to write op-eds for the New York Times (like Ed Niedermeyer!). And, holy shit, I actually predicted this way back in 2016. 

So while I may not particularly care what Mr. Klion thinks, it’s important to realize he represents the opinion of a significant number of people just like himself — people who are scraping by to make a living in ever-growing urban centers, who probably can’t afford a car and probably don’t have a driver’s license, and have seen how the power of a few malcontents on social media can affect significant social change in these United States of America.

In other words, they’re very, very dangerous. And in order to show you how dangerous they are, I’m gonna have to talk about the third rail of American politics at the moment: The Bill of Rights.

You see, there’s nowhere in the Bill of Rights that protects your or my right to drive an automobile. Nowhere. Of course, the automobile didn’t exist in 1791, so maybe if it had, the Founding Fathers might have seen fit to protect it. And maybe if we’d had keyboard warriors back in the days of Henry Ford, our legislators might have felt it appropriate to amend the Constitution to give citizens the right to own and operate an automobile freely in the manner of their choosing.

Alas, none of this happened, and so here we sit on the precipice of losing our rights to drive. You think I’m being hyperbolic? Perhaps overstating things? I don’t think so. All it will take is one incident that shocks the nation into action, one terrible school bus accident that produces a figurehead for a movement.

After all, we didn’t seem to care very much about the 3,457 shooting victims in one year in the City of Chicago last year (and that was actually down from the previous year). But when the media told us we needed to care about gun violence, we all of a sudden became very, very concerned. It took the Florida legislature about two weeks to pass significant gun laws after the Stoneman shooting.

So what would happen if a crazed driver started mowing down kids in front of a school? It’s not like we don’t have a script on how to do it. We had a failed attempt at the university level recently. Or what if a horrific school bus accident kills a few dozen elementary school kids? That’s happened before, too. What if, say, an Oprah Winfrey tweetstorm about “we need to look at how our addiction to cars is killing our children” starts to make people think that turning over their keys wouldn’t be such a bad idea?

It would never fly in the Midwest, you might think. Folks, I have news for you — people in New York and California don’t care much about what the Midwest thinks. They have developed their own sense of morality, their own secular religion. You can look to our superiors like Mr. Klion for proof of that.

As our friend Alex Roy is constantly reminding us (God, I hate linking to The Drive), there is no proof that driverless cars are any safer than human drivers. There is no defined safety standard, no protocol for how a car should protect human life in the event that loss of life is unavoidable. There is no reason to think that we would be any safer, period. I can’t count on my Apple phone to not crash during a particularly heated arena battle in Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, so why would I think that my Apple Car would be any different?

It’s this sort of drivel that’s meant to appeal to the Feelsville society we’ve created. Yes, the automobile is probably the most important invention in the history of mankind, has probably given more freedom to more people than any other creation ever, but CHILDREN ARE BEING MURDERED OUT HERE.

So I agree with Mr. Roy when he says that a constitutional amendment is needed. I welcome the debate that would come from it. I want to see who lines up on what side of the aisle, which lawmakers want to defend my right to drive, and which ones want to make it impossible to live in Winchester, Kentucky. I want to see how people who live in their third-floor walk-ups that cost $2,500 a month and live miserable lives full of crime and inconvenience act condescending toward me and my Murder Machine. I want this to become a divisive political argument, and I want to stand on the “wrong side of history” with the Drivers.

Write your congressman and your senator and tell them that you support the right to drive. Join the Human Driving Association. You’ll see that I’m right when I tell you that your right to drive is going to be challenged much, much sooner than you ever imagined it would be.

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165 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: The Ethics of Driving a Murder Machine...”


  • avatar
    civicjohn

    You just increased Mr. Klion’s 15 seconds of fame by 5, maybe 10 seconds.

    “an Oprah Winfrey tweetstorm about “we need to look at how our addiction to cars is killing our children”, this from a woman who gave away cars to her entire audience one time.

    But, if I recall correctly, they were Pontiacs, so they are probably rusted out and unusable.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      Get rid of cars? Jerry Brown tried. Changed the name of Division of Highways to Caltrans. Cut freeway funds. Built BART. Nothing changed. Cars are the lifeblood of SoCal.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      I do believe she also gave out new beetles.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      This. Never, ever give the loudest microphone to the craziest person in the room (or on social media).

      Cars are a part of America, and they will never go away. If Mr. Klion would like to impose his borderline insane views on everyone else (probably because he cant afford a car of his own), he may want to try moving to Venezuela or Cuba and working his way up through government. I hear the communist country of Venezuela allows unilateral imposing rule.

  • avatar
    scott25

    I think you’re on the wrong side of history on this one. Cars really don’t belong in dense urban cores and they’re about the only place that autonomous vehicles make sense aside from railway-esque freeways. Don’t agree with Klion’s “think of the children” rheotoric (which has always been used by conservatives, and has only recently been adopted by liberals, too, which is depressing and I couldn’t care less about pedestrian safety, it just doesn’t take too much thought to understand cars don’t belong in cities. Everywhere else they’re irreplaceable.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Klion’s take is calling for the abolition of privately owned cars for personal use. It isn’t just about cities with dense urban cores.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Then the guy’s an idiot.

        It’s not like there’s any shortage of people fitting that description out there.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Like most everyone here, I have driven hundreds of thousands of miles without murdering anyone.
        These infernal machines are slaughtering insects in the untold billions, though. Maybe that’s the horrible injustice this guy should be fighting.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s pesticides that are killing off insects–not cars. Now, I can remember when we crossed the country twice in the ’57 Chevy, the grill and the windshield would nail insects galore, and I even remember that the grill caught a very beautiful butterfly. But this was back in the very early ’60s. Cars don’t collect insects anymore. That’s because the fricken pesticides have decimated their numbers, and not the cars.

          This guy–“Klion”–needs to get a life.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “Cars don’t collect insects anymore.’

            That is because everyone buys pickups or SUV’s.

            In my part of the world there are 4 seasons; snow;mud;mosquito;hunting.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        What about farmers and ranchers? Well, pardner, they’ll just have to go back to the horse and wagon, like on “Bonanza”.

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        “It isn’t just about cities with dense urban cores.”

        Maybe it should be. Cities with dense urban cores are cesspools of crime, filth, and anti-American ne’er-do-wells whose primary contribution to society is being a thorn in our ass. Cities with dense urban cores do not belong in America. Wall them up and kick them out, see how long they can fend for themselves.

        • 0 avatar
          I_like_stuff

          People in icky flyover states – and in icky deplorable parts of blue states, where they have guns and trucks – should simply stop selling food to cities for a week or two. See how NYC and SF fend for themselves when the Whole Foods shelves are bare.

        • 0 avatar
          Tiberius1701

          Escape from New York Style!!!

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Yes, the typical “cesspools of crime, filth, and anti-American ne’er-do-wells whose primary contribution to society is being a thorn in our ass.”

          The USA already has the highest incarceration rates in the world. They also have the poorest social programs of any developed country.

          If you want to address crime, filth et al then one needs to invest in education, social programs that move people out of despair but also provide adequate criminal enforcement beyond shooting or locking up all of the minorities.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Whether or not cars belong in dense urban areas has little or nothing to do with America as a whole, or with the fundamental civil rights each citizen enjoys.

      This is why the malcontents fail. The federalize everything in order to victimize themselves, when they could much more easily achieve their goals locally. The failure they visit upon themselves allows them to manipulate the emotions of the electorate. Eventually, the malcontents undermine freedom throughout the land to deal with a hyperlocal, irrelevant (mostly) problem.

      The malcontents are very dangerous, and they pose a serious existential threat to our nation. They should be treated as such.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “The malcontents are very dangerous, and they pose a serious existential threat to our nation. They should be treated as such.”

        Yes, neo-nazi’s, KKK, other assorted white supremacists, and the typical disenfranchised white male mass shooter is making the USA much more unsafe.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    We can’t even get “gun control” beyond “use both hands” – I doubt we’ll ban the car (universally anyway).

    Now I do anticipate that it might turn into a situation where the cities are set up as the hipster egghead techno-warriors want. But there’s an easy solution to that. Move out to the middle of nowhere like me. :-) As your brother Jack has postulated, the divide between urban and rural is only becoming deeper in this country.

    As I heard a comedian say on Sirius Comedy this past weekend “I’m from New York City, where everyone has a beard but nobody knows how to change a tire.”

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Yeah, I’m sorry, Bark, but this is the sort of dreck that you might find on Breitbart. “OMG, the coastal elites are coming to take our cars!” Outside of the hipster elite, the coastal elites like their cars just as much as everybody else. Sensational events like Parkland can spur action on guns because most Americans don’t own a gun, and therefore see no personal downside to limits. That’s nowhere near the case for cars, and there’s no practical replacement for personally owned and operated cars for the vast majority of Americans. No amount of ranting by people like Klion will convince the public to accept a ban on cars, and a Constitutional amendment is so far over the top that I can’t even believe that the TTAC editorial staff is allowing this post (I just double checked, today isn’t April 1).

      • 0 avatar
        Tim Healey

        Whether I agree or disagree with Bark (I agree on some elements of this piece, but not others), we are rarely going to kill an op-ed unless it’s way out of line, really irrelevant to TTAC, or factually way off base. We’re here to foster discussion, after all :)

        • 0 avatar
          Dingleberrypiez_Returns

          Bark has written at least one extremely stupid op-ed in here, and when he was severely (and rightfully) criticized for it, he ran away like a baby until new editors came on.

          This op-ed isn’t nearly as bad, but it’s still pretty crappy. I think this is more appropriate for Riverside green.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Hey, this is America. This dude talks about his city. So let them ban driving in Brooklyn. Just lets burn the bridges and plug the tunnels so these rats don’t run away from their trap into real America where we love our cars.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I’m the victim of a drunk driver and a texting driver, but I don’t want to see cars removed from society. Those incidents weren’t caused by cars. People would not clamor for the removal of cars if a mass killing occurred because cars are, in many cases, a necessity depending on where you live, guns not as much. A knee-jerk reaction to a school shooting is both easy and predictable. Reacting to 3,500 murders in Chicago would require asking people to look in the mirror and assume personal responsibility, that’s next to impossible in our current political climate.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Inb4 “Driving is a privilege, not a right”.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Well… legally, yes, it is. You have a constitutional right to travel between states. You don’t have a constitutional right to do so by driving your own personal vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        There are still judges out there who simply see a conveyance as whatever the current means may be and recognize those rights.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Your feet, a bicycle, a Greyhound bus, and a taxi are all conveyances through which you may exercise your right to travel.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Cars too. Though I can see how most judges would be hesistant to bite the hand that feeds and nullify laws that impede on right to travel by car.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      Things would be profoundly different in this country if we applied similar logic to voting.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        How would one earn the privilege to vote? How could one lose it (beyond the current rules about felons)?

        • 0 avatar
          Tiberius1701

          “How would one earn the privilege to vote? How could one lose it (beyond the current rules about felons)?” One could start by applying it to the moron Klion and malcontent urban dwellers like him.

    • 0 avatar
      King of Eldorado

      I had to look up Inb4, but yes, thank you for that. People who spout the “privilege not a right” mantra don’t really think about what that means. If I go to the DMV, pass written, vision, and driving tests, and have appropriate proof of age, identity, residence, etc., I have a RIGHT to a driver’s license. A “privilege” is something that can be denied for trivial or no reason — e.g., I can deny someone the “privilege” of hunting on my property for the simple reason that I don’t like the cut of their jib, or whatever. In short, the right/privilege distinction has little if any governmental significance in modern times.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    “has probably given more freedom to more people than any other creation ever, but CHILDREN ARE BEING MURDERED OUT HERE.”

    ironically I would argue it is the personal firearm that has accomplished that act.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure creating a national debate for this issue is the right approach.

    That’s how the tweets of an unemployed Brooklyn resident like above become the concern of the nation. It legitimizes the people with the opposing view if you acknowledge them. Eventually they’ll get distracted, and focus their cause back to clean energy or water. Or you know, trying to find a job so they can buy a car.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The thing about publicizing an argument is that you compel people to choose sides. Even if an issue has nothing to do with a person, they feel the need to choose a side and defend it, thus blowing the issue up into significance. Tribalism, man.

      Case: I live in Canada and I know Canadians who are “Trump Supporters” simply because the things he says internally validates them somehow. It was the same with the last pres.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      It’s all about bikeshedding. Complicated issues about infrastructure design and efficiency must necessarily be reduced to something trivial and stupid such that everyone can participate.

      Should we allow murderous vehicles to rampage across America is the sort of sublime banality that allows the average imbecile to have an opinion.

      The argument will be attached to some legislative agenda that has little or nothing to do with the argument itself, and power brokers will become more powerful. Next time the nefarious political hacks need a new crisis to access taxpayer dollars, they will contact the most useful idiots (ala Klion) who spread the last crisis.

      This is how the media works today. They can’t make a dime selling information. They are selling infomercial space to media figureheads who know how to advocate in ways such that the lobbyist class can relieve the public of funds or demoralize a political enemy or whatever.

      For instance, most people are asleep and not paying much attention to the recent FARA docs that Mueller is forcing people to file. Turns out the Podestas were working with CNN to run a PR campaign through Saudi Arabia through Fareed Zakaria’s show and appearances on other shows.

      That’s how the media works. It’s what keeps CNN in business. The press works in a similar fashion.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree. I think a better approach to the Klions of the world–if one wants to respond at all–would be to laugh at them.

      In view of the need for cars in most of our daily lives, the notion that they are going to go away is laughable.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    We need cars to function. The Nation is built around it. There are a zillion ways to die in New York City. Trains, Planes, Cars, Homeless Crazy People Throwing Bricks..you name your way to accidentally die, you got it in NYC. The gun debate is a poor analogy. We don’t need guns. We need cars outside of about three cities in America. Cars are heavily regulated. Guns are hardly regulated. I’ve shot guns. They’re fun. However, how about we license every gun owner, make them take a psych test, and then make them pay medical liability insurance on every gun they own? There is a major difference. I don’t care for the generalizations about Big City People Bark makes in this piece. I lived in NYC for 17 years and owned four cars during that period. I also went to church every now an then. One guy mouthing off on Twitter is not a Representative of everybody living in New York City. He’s a freelance writer. He is not Donald Trump.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      Guns are hardly regulated? Where is that? It’s not NYS, I’ll tell you that.

      • 0 avatar
        bluegoose

        If you don’t like NYS..go to Texas. I’m sure they will let you bring an Uzi or a Bazooka to work. NYS is the exception..not the rule.

        • 0 avatar
          Ihatejalops

          You have zero grasp on what the gun laws in the US are, let alone trying to argue over whether car ownership is necessary. I mean cars are less regulated and guns, that’s for sure.

          btw you need a destructive device license to own a bazooka and a class 3 license to own an UZI as it was intended. With a car, you need nothing to purchase one and so long as you’re mexican, you don’t even need a license to drive one.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Or, you could just unplug and ignore—-, as lord knows there are more than a few of them out there. Seriously. Just say no to people like this, in a “If I and enough folks remove myself from the audience, eventually dudes like this have no voice, as it should be” kind of way.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Bunch of hyperbole from both you and him.

    “It would never fly in the Midwest, you might think. Folks, I have news for you — people in New York and California don’t care much about what the Midwest thinks. They have developed their own sense of morality, their own secular religion. You can look to our superiors like Mr. Klion for proof of that.”

    Unfortunately for New Yorkers and Californians, the deck of actual political power is profoundly stacked against them. The roughly 10 million people in the 10 least populous states, all but two of which are totally car-dependent, have 5 times the voting power in the Senate, and a bit less than half the voting power for the presidency, compared to the roughly 50 million people in California and New York combined. There is absolutely no way that any proposal to ban cars could succeed at the federal level. And if it’s not about the federal level, why do you care about it? It’s not like anyone’s going to ban cars from Kentucky.

    And cars do bring major problems in big cities, although the biggest one is profligate space consumption, not death. I don’t want to ban them, but I do want to redesign urban street systems so that car drivers don’t get first priority. In big cities, make streets that look more like those in Amsterdam and less like those in Austin.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      DAL, you are absolutely right.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      The Senate is only 100 members who serve terms three times longer than the 435 representatives in the House. The Senate is the easiest chamber to corrupt and control. The two-senators-per-state control is virtually useless at this point.

      Furthermore the Senate doesn’t even function as intended. The Senate is supposed to be a body of lawyers who basically examine what is passed in the House to make sure it is lawful and can be effectively implemented and enforced. Today, the Senate is the biggest bunch of political hacks in DC.

      Total breakdown.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Baker v. Carr (1963) always made me laugh. It is remembered for the principal of “one man, one vote” but it actually concerned states that had their Senates set up as a mirror of the United States Senate. The court decided that having set districts that were not connected to population was a problem and districts had to be proportional to population even in a state senate. My home state (Ohio) had previously had Senate seats connected to counties. Obviously the guy representing Cuyahoga County (Cleveland, OH) had many more constituents than the guy representing say Putnam County (less than 20,000 inhabitants).

        The reason I always thought the ruling was effed up was, THAT’S EXACTLY HOW THE US SENATE WORKS!

    • 0 avatar

      @ Dal20402

      I agree with most of what you said–just want to correct an error which bears not on your points. California plus NY is around 60 million, 40 mn in CA, 20 million in NY.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So, one dingbat freelance columnist goes off on cars, and that’s an Unacceptable Threat To Our Sacred Rights?

    Nope. It’s one dingbat freelance columnist going off on cars.

    If I got this triggered over every dingbat column I’ve ever read and disagreed with, I’d probably need to be hospitalized.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      You like the word “dingbat” don’t you?

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      I don’t understand the need to get worked into a lather over this. As stated, it’s one guy and a column. The truth is that when there is a nefarious plot to make an unwanted change in this country, it isn’t announced before work begins, a handful of well-funded people make decisions quietly, execute them quietly and we typically find out after the deal is done. See the death of Net Neutrality for details.
      If anything kills the ability to personally own and operate a car, it will be financially driven. Once autonomous cars become a reality, insurance companies will offer discounts for them and slowly turn up the cost on non-auto cars. Then it’s not a big leap to the end game of auto manufacturers being transportation providers with insurance companies paving the way. This would all happen with profit in mind, nothing more. If you appreciate big business, growth and profit, you should see this as a delightful investment opportunity.
      Also comparing this to guns is silly. How many school shootings have there been and the laws being changed don’t REALLY impose any profound changes; you have Florida alone making some minor changes. You can still buy lots and lots of guns, stockpile ammo, buy assault rifles, print a lower receiver for a fully-auto gun, buy kits to convert a semi-automatic pistol into a full auto, get extended magazines, buy from an Ohio gun show without any background checks, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        All movements start with “just one guy’s opinion”. And it’s not just some random guy off the street. It’s a guy that writes for the most powerful newspaper in the country. And it’s not just him. The “ban cars to save mother gaia” movement has been around for a while, gaining traction slowly but surely.

        As for your comment: “you have Florida alone making some minor changes”

        You need to read up on gun laws in NY, CT, NJ and CA. I think saying the word GUN carries a 5 year prison sentence these days.

        • 0 avatar
          zamoti

          I stand by my statement that there’s nothing to get worked up about. Cars will eventually go away just as horses and carriages have. I’ll probably be old and crusty or dead and crusty before cars become a rich person’s toy just like horses are today.

          The laws in more restrictive states are pretty toothless anyway. Cali imposes a waiting period, a one gun per 30 day limit and caps magazines at 10 rounds. Big deal, go to Nevada if you want to stockpile. Same for the other states. Concealed carry for NE states has a fair amount of reciprocity and they’re not hard to get; Cali doesn’t honor reciprocity, but a CCW is still not that hard to get if you don’t have a criminal record.

          You can still go to a gun store, buy a wide variety of firearms and ammunition with few restrictions in this country. These watery laws don’t stop sales, they just slow them down. They also don’t apply to private sales.

          To say that school shootings have driven major changes is not truthful. In Florida, they raised the purchase age from 18 to 21, and put in a 3 day waiting period for rifles (not handguns). You can still buy an AR-15 and an extended magazine. Major change would have been to ban the sale of assault rifles, etc. It didn’t happen and it’s not going to happen because there is a lot of money and power behind gun sales. Just like there is a lot of money and power behind auto sales.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          All these ban cars/guns movements will achieve one thing – people will get their guns, jump into their cars and come to visit these idiots.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    Came here for an article about the ethics of Mustang ownership. Now I have to take a side because every issue is heads or tails.

  • avatar

    Isn’t “pursuit of happiness” somewhat related to my owning a car? It makes me happy to be able to drive to work and other places. It makes me happy to own what I consider a crazy cool ride. Driving one is another story though. I truly believe that is a privilege.

    I would agree with the sentiment that this not go public as Mark suggests. Ignore the voice, the voice shouts louder. Continue to ignore the voice, it eventually goes away. Nothing validates a person’s views more than listening to that person and acting upon their view.

  • avatar
    RHD

    A heck of a lot more people are killed by God’s mysterious ways than automobiles.
    Tornadoes, viral infections, falling trees, cancer, et cetera. This turkey should file a lawsuit against that cruel, murderous and unfeeling God, and try to twitter up some support for his cause. If he wins, it would be much more effective at helping the poor, inocent jaywalking children and drunken homeless bums than this silliness.
    What a clown.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    By the way, my take on cars vis a vis the Constitution would be:

    1) You have the right to buy one, since a car is property and property rights are explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.

    2) You have the right to not lose your automotive property without due process (the Fourteenth Amendment).

    That’s really all my (admittedly unqualified and unschooled) legal mind can muster on this. After that, we’re on to the question of whether a municipality could outright ban cars. I can’t see that standing up in court, and I can’t see it standing politically, either – if everyone in Brooklyn was told they couldn’t drive a car, they’d quickly form a torch-and-pitchfork brigade.

    Therefore, the guy who’s calling for the ban is a dingbat. Move on, folks.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      1) is not correct. Federal or state governments can restrict the purchase or ownership of goods under their police powers. 2) is correct (although in some cases the due process right stems from the Fifth Amendment, not the Fourteenth).

      A municipality could absolutely ban cars from its public streets. It could not confiscate people’s cars. Banning cars from the streets in one municipality would not be a “taking” of the cars for Fifth Amendment purposes, because the cars would not lose their sale value.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Thanks for the clarification. Again, I’m no attorney, I’d argue that even if the right to buy cars is “regulated” (and really, that applies to just about any kind of personal property, if you think about it – you couldn’t build a factory smack dab in the middle of a residential area unless the local authorities approved that), it still exists, and I can’t see a court outright denying someone’s right to own something that is legal to purchase in the first place. I think that kind of decision stands on shaky legal ground, and even shakier political ground.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The state has broad police powers that can, in fact, be used to deny the right to ownership of some kinds of property. Those police powers have been held by courts to be consistent with the Constitution. That is why you are not allowed to own cocaine. While as you say the politics would be difficult to impossible, it would be entirely within a municipality’s legal powers to say “40,000 deaths annually from cars justify banning cars from our streets and banning new purchases of cars by residents.” The law would have to allow for at least a graceful sale process for existing owners, though.

          States can override municipalities, and I have to think that if the City of New York tried that then New York State would override it. But it’s within the city’s legal powers, absent state law to the contrary.

          The police power, incidentally, is the same one that underlies the zoning laws that prevent you from building that factory.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Right, but cars aren’t cocaine, which (arguably) is illegal for a reason.

            Now, if cars BECAME illegal, then they could be banned, like cocaine is.

            But I don’t see any legal basis for banning cars outright, and I definitely see no political impetus for doing so, either.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Exercises of police power are in most cases subject only to “rational basis” review, which gives a great deal of deference to the government’s rationale for exercising power.

            Saying “Cars kill 40,000 people annually, including a few hundred just in our municipality” would hold up just as well in court as any basis for banning cocaine. Residents could still sell their cars outside of Brooklyn for minimal if any loss in value, or keep them outside of the city, so they are not being deprived of a property interest.

            Again, the political question is separate, and I agree with you that it would be between difficult and suicidal politically for a municipality to do this.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Saying “Cars kill 40,000 people annually, including a few hundred just in our municipality” would hold up just as well in court as any basis for banning cocaine. ”

            Well, if the court found automobiles to be *as dangerous* as cocaine, then maybe. I doubt that case could be made, though.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            They don’t need to be as dangerous as cocaine. The municipality just needs to have a “rational basis,” interpreted quite deferentially, to ban them.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Rationality would dictate to me that something that is meant for transportation that occasionally causes injury or death doesn’t need to be banned.

            Then again, I am pretty rational.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Horse Crap Island in Michigan has cars banned.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Now that’s horse crap.

        Point taken. But there’s a big difference between this place and Brooklyn, you know? I mean, we can start here – I looked up the registration stats and something like 450,000 personal vehicles are owned in Brooklyn. Even if there was some good legal reason to outright ban something that’s been legal for a hundred years, and that hundreds of thousands of people own already (I’m guessing cars were never allowed on Horse Crap Island, for starters), good luck with that from a political standpoint.

    • 0 avatar
      Easybeans

      Ask MA residents about their personal property rights. Every licensed gun owner in MA received a letter from the AG telling them they could no longer keep, nor transfer/sell their legally purchased bumps stocks. The letter demanded all owners bring them to the police station for immediate destruction.

      Zero compensation.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’m all for banning bump stocks. But if a state wishes to do so retroactively, it should compensate the owners.

        • 0 avatar
          Easybeans

          What happens when lawmakers find out that you don’t even need a bump stock to bump fire most rifles?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Good question.

            Better question: when some ISIS maniac uses a bump stock in his jihadi attack, will folks finally stop making straw man arguments about these devices?

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            ISIS don’t need bumpstocks. They have plenty of Kalashnikov automatic rifles. I assume many M16s and M4s as well.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I prefer the columnist who suggested that the 3 to 5 million American Muslims sign up as NRA members and then see if Wayne LaPierre suddenly gets concerned about gun control.

          • 0 avatar
            Easybeans

            It’s funny seeing people advocate for the gutting of the 2nd… Especially when it doesn’t take any real stretch of the imagination to see the same thing happen to the 1st using the exact same arguments.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            The NRA does not represent the interests of its members as much as it represents the interests of the industry. If it did represent the interests of its members it would support better background checks like most of its members do, but Wayne knows better than they do.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @ClutchCar

            Right, let’s not forget that when St. Ronnie Reagan was governor of California and the Black Panthers exercised the right to open carry (to protect their communities) suddenly Reagan and the NRA were in favor of gun control.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      @FreedMike

      What version of America are you living in?

      We have the right to do whatever we want. Our rights are not enumerated by the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are used to restrict legislation that would undermine our rights.

      Furthermore, in this instance, we are talking about public infrastructure related to the post roads clause, an enumerated responsibility of Congress to build roads for the people in the name of commerce and communications.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I concur with Freedmike; this guy is an idiot. Somehow he fancies himself morally superior because, according to the google machine, he has a masters degree from the University of Chicago in wait for it, Soviet history.

    WTF is that? Get a degree in something useful; STEM. Or get a trade. Either way, the highest and best use of his ‘superior’ intellect apparently is to come up with really stupid ideas. In this case, one lone idiot, will not change the course of the US economy. Will self driving cars arrive? sure. Will they supplant all the cars on the road? nope.

    As Principaldan pointed out, we can’t agree on the basics of what gun control should or should not be, which affects maybe 30% of the population. I grant you that more than 30% own firearms, but not all want to open carry assault rifles at Target to feel safe. Auto ownership affects I dunno, safe to say 90% of the adult population? Seems far fetched that we will legislate away the 2nd largest purchase most people make and need.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Well, the Soviet history degree might explain why he thinks and talks *like a Kommissar*.

      Never trust anyone who says “you don’t have the right because potentially maybe someone might get hurt possibly”, or “you don’t NEED that so you can’t have it”.

      Never.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Soviet history…. lol! I guess if there’s anything that will help to cloud your view of the world while you write for the NYT, that’s as good as any other major.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      You’d think a guy with a degree in Soviet History would understand it’s a model not to emulate. I can sort of forgive millennials for being enthralled with socialism since they have no clue what socialism/communism really is. But a guy with a freaking masters in the subject espousing Soviet nonsense? That’s a special kind of idiocy.

    • 0 avatar
      Dingleberrypiez_Returns

      I agree that this dude is apparently an idiot, but if people only went after advanced degrees in STEM fields, we’d live in a pretty boring world.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    Guys like Kilon would be happier living in a world like the Matrix. There he could live in a fantasy world and never deal with reality.
    (I can’t remember, is it the blue pill or the red pill?)

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    The lion doesn’t concern itself with the opinions of…Klion.

    The thing is, you couldn’t PAY me to drive a car…in NYC.

    You have so much more freedom of movement on foot, even with the congested sidewalks.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      This. If I lived in NYC, I would rent a car for weekend getaways and such. As Washington DC is “densifying” (and gentrifying), a good chunk of the population live and work in the city without a car. They use Zip Car like services for the occasional weekend trip to Ikea. And these sorts of people don’t take car vacations, either. They fly somewhere and rent a car at their destination.

      Those cities in the US where cars work poorly are the old cities of the East Coast, like European cities, built before the automobile. The crowd source wisdom of 2 or 3 generations of Americans (beginning with the Great Urbanization which followed WW2 is that they didn’t want to live cheek-by-jowl in Manhattan-style cities. There was no evil conspiracy by the auto companies; it’s what people wanted. New cities, most conspicuously, Los Angeles, grew up decentralized and largely suburban. When I lived in LA in the summer of 1969, the freeways were great. There was a little congestion at the morning rush, but otherwise, you get anywhere quickly. Same when I went to work in Houston in the early 1970s.

      What we’re seeing now is the limit of urban roadway transportation. These post-war cities have gotten dense enough (and various factions have limited freeway construction) that roadways can’t meet the transportation needs. However, they’re not so dense (unlike, say NYC metro) where expensive mass transit (“heavy rail”) is economically viable. Hence the call for increased density to make those 19th century systems economic once again.

      However, traditional forms of mass transit have their capacity limitations, too. There are only so many people who can be crammed on to a subway car and only so many trains that can be run on a given route. Subways in NYC are jammed in rush hour; and so are the ones in Washington, DC.

      Somehow, I don’t see how self-driving cars solve any of these problems. What I do see is people figuring out workarounds. In metro DC, instant car pooling happens where, near major employment centers (e.g. the Pentagon), people gather in “slug lines” to be picked up by drivers heading to the distant burbs who want access to the HOV lanes on freeways. No money changes hands; it’s just a mutually beneficial arrangement.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Los Angeles city council and mayor are cut from this cloth. They’ve tried ‘road diets’, taking away lanes for commuters and giving them to bicyclists. Because that’s how most people get their kids to school. They thought it would encourage people to ride the bus or take the train…. you know, doubling their commute because virtue signaling or something.

    LA used to require new commercial construction include x number of parking spaces at a minimum. Now the city deliberately ensures a lack of parking in any new construction. This is what happens to people when their ideology trumps common sense or logic.

    The arrogance is mind numbing.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Is it ideology, or practicality and/or political reality masquerading as ideology?

      In the case of L.A., I’d say it’s the latter. Even if the city *wanted* to accomodate all the traffic that people want it to, what would that cost, and in particular, what would it cost in L.A.? They already spend astronomical amounts of money on road infrastructure, which costs more there to begin with. In the end, it may come down to dollars and cents, versus some environmentalist agenda.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        I’d say it’s ideology driven. Most of coastal California is that way.

        Political reality would have dictated the reverse of what the road diet did – make it easier for commuters to get to school and work. Voters would see reduced commutes and politicians would happily take the credit and have more support.

        The primary proponent of the road tax blamed the commuters for longer commute times.

        His political reality is that he’s done politically. Unless the land developers and labor unions fool the voters into believing alternative facts.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Commuters love shorter commute times – as long as they don’t have to pay for it. California is no different than any other place.

          If the state spent what it really had to cure its’ traffic issues, voters would march on Sacramento en masse. Doesn’t matter how blue the state is.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            In this scenario, commuters paid more for longer commutes. LA city government may be like most other places with out of touch politicians, but the problem seems to be particularly acute.

            Not sure you can expect anything else when ideology trumps common sense.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          How do you reduce commute times in a car-centric city like LA?

          Hint: In almost all cases, “making roads wider” doesn’t work, or at best works temporarily for a few years.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            In every case, making roads narrower increases commute times.

            Edit: I meant to say removing lanes, which is what the road diet did.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, if you can’t widen streets, you might as well try something to relieve the load on them.

            That, or maybe L.A. can kick out about a million or so residents.

            Take your pick.

            Unfortunately, there aren’t any good alternatives for relieving traffic in urban areas that don’t involve getting people out of cars. That means enhancing transit, or making it easier to use bikes.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Not always.

            Seattle has imposed a variety of “road diets,” usually from four narrow car lanes to three car lanes and shoulder bike lanes, over the years.

            Most of them have kept travel time constant while dramatically improving safety. The reduction in lanes is counterbalanced by the ability to get turning cars out of the main travel lane quicker and the ability to predict more easily when platoons of cars will arrive at traffic signals.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      Seattle is doing the same now with a restriction in parking spots for new construction. And while the likes of Jeff Bezos and his ilk cheer this on, I somehow suspect I won’t be seeing Jeff waiting for the bus in the rain. Or the mayor of Seattle. Or any of the flunkies implementing this insanity. They still get to keep their cars and parking spots. Only the little people have to take public transit.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Dictates from city hall are easy. It’s living with the consequences that’s the hard part. To your point, I Like Stuff, city hall councilmembers and Bezos and the other cheerleaders don’t deal with any of the plebe consequences.

        dal, send the links to LA City Hall on Spring Street. Since it was tried and failed here (granted, they took 2 lanes down to 1 lane, not 4 to 3), I’m sure the knuckleheads will look to impose their will in other ways, reality, basic math and physics be damned.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I was in the LA area last week, driving around more than normal. I’m always shocked by how wide all the streets are. You guys often have 8 lanes and a fat median to hold a volume of cars that we’d put into 4 narrow lanes in a 40-foot right-of-way.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I’d take a stab that this guy is of the opinion that your typical European city is some sort of walkable/bikeable Utopia (which in I’m a little guilty of as well). It should work to remind him that if they can integrate private car ownership into their cities, we can do it as well. Mind you, I don’t know if we’d tolerate having to take driving seriously.

  • avatar
    jonsey

    “Yes, the automobile is probably the most important invention in the history of mankind”

    I recognize this is a car site, but come on. The car is more important than antibiotics? electricity? The scientific method? The invention of writing?

    This is just hyperbolic prose where Mark tries to write a political article with a tangential relationship to automobiles.

    Mark, you really want to be a conservative political commentator. Why don’t you write for one of those sites? You’d probably get more page views there anyway.

  • avatar
    OliverTwist78

    Put Mr Klion in a ranch house in the middle of Texas with absolutely no public transportation and where the nearest shopping is twenty or so miles away for a year. While we’re at that, deny him the vehicle and the landline and mobile phone services (latter is necessary for online ordering and delivery).

    He will change his tunes…

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      Well that’s the thing. In the socialist utopia of Mr Kilon, nobody lives in the middle of Texas. We all live in apartments in cities. But where will the food come from you may ask? Silly question. From Whole Foods of course!!

      • 0 avatar
        OliverTwist78

        And where does Whole Food get the foodstuff?

        From the areas that require vehicles like Texas…

        • 0 avatar
          dartman

          “And where does Whole Food(s) get the foodstuff?”

          Probably from California, the number one food producer in the US. (top 10 worldwide ahead of Canada, Mexico Germany, Spain) Cali produces twice the amount of food that Texas does..http://beef2live.com/story-states-produce-food-value-0-107252

          • 0 avatar
            baconator

            Goddamn right. And some us own farmed land and *also* live in California cities. I’ve got an embarrassing number of cars and a too-small-but-more-than-zero number of guns in my San Francisco home. I don’t intend to give up either of those things without calling every elected official I can to fight about it, and I’d probably still keep them illegally if they were outlawed.

            Today’s political climate has a lot of false stereotyping of both urban and rural population. These people do exist, but there’s a *lot* more people that don’t look, act, or think anything like the stereotype.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Or Wyoming, Montana, ND, SD on and on…bottom line. Who gives a rip what some clown who lives in NYC and thinks he has a viable voice for the entire country. He does not.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Obesity is the leading killer in America – I say we ban food to solve the problem.

    The opiate epidemic is terrible, killing thousands every year – I say we ban all drugs to solve the problem.

    Movies, TV, and computer games have too much violence and demeaning sex that might cause some people to act out and kill or rape someone – I say we ban all forms of entertainment to solve the problem.

    Old age is killing more people each year – I say we ban aging and death to solve the problem.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    A while back I posted something like “the left’s mission is making cars illegal”. And every leftist here scolded me for being reactionary and that nobody, and I mean nobody want to ban cars. Good times.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Here is the problem. I am a liberal guy for the most part.

      Big difference in my being liberal; which consists of not caring what people do in their private life, with their body if female, and think some measure of accountability needs to be in place to own weapons of mass destruction, to being compared to some fool who thinks cars should be banned. People like this guy get put into the liberal camp; you can have him back.

  • avatar
    Dirty Dingus McGee

    I can’t quite picture Joe the Plumber showing up on a bus, to replace this guys crapper in a 5th floor walk up studio apartment.

    I don’t think he’s thought his cunning plan all the way thru.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The United States uses the concept of negative civil liberties. In other words, we have the constitutional right to do whatever we want whenever we want, unless specifically prohibited by law. The Bill Of Rights is merely a complimentary document designed to provide an extra layer of protection by increasing legal scrutiny on certain types of restrictions.

    We have the right to drive wherever we want at whatever time we please, even if it’s not in the Bill of Rights.

    Though driving is not in the bill of rights, the right to transport oneself around our great nation is more or less implied at the federal level by the post roads clause. The founders charged Congress with the construction and maintenance of post roads to be used for communications and commerce, and no stipulations were placed upon the parties permitted to use the infrastructure. Therefore, we all have the right to use roads for transport from one place to another. Since the US Constitution specifies the use of “post”, many liberals also use the clause to justify federalizing all communications infrastructure. It hasn’t happened, but the FCC regulates many methods of communication.

    Anyway, I’m sympathetic to the anti-car movement insofar as it applies to the local level. The most dense urban areas are not well-served by vehicles, and vehicles are completely unnecessary. Unfortunately, the same people who want to get rid of people are the same people who believe public sector unions have the right to extort taxpayers by refusing to operate or maintain public infrastructure. Interestingly enough, Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly during the litigation of public sector union case, in which he was expected to cast the deciding 5-4 vote that would outlaw closed shop states. I’m sure his death was just a coincidence.

    Anyway, as per usual, the malcontents have no plan to make anything better. They are merely sowing the seeds of discontent and division, in order to better access our wallets, while also polluting the public discourse such that relevant information cannot be exchanged. This is the zeitgeist of our times.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “In other words, we have the constitutional right to do whatever we want whenever we want, unless specifically prohibited by law.”

      Or when exercising ones rights, they block someone else from exercising their rights.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    Since obesity kills people, we need to ban forks ASAP. Obesity is a factor in 4/10 top leading causes of death. If we’re going to ban the object (cars/guns) to prevent the action from happening (people dying), then forks are the #1 killers in America right now.

    At the very least we should ban semi-automatic forks. And anyone who disagrees hates children and stuff.

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    Bark’s always seemed like a fairly clever guy. I bet he could actually make a pretty coherent argument if he dropped all of the baseless denigration. For example:

    “I want to see how people who live in their third-floor walk-ups that cost $2,500 a month and live miserable lives full of crime and inconvenience act condescending toward me and my Murder Machine.”

    See also:

    ” it’s important to realize he represents the opinion of a significant number of people just like himself — people who are scraping by to make a living in ever-growing urban centers, who probably can’t afford a car and probably don’t have a driver’s license,”

    Then he goes on to say:

    “I welcome the debate that would come from it. I want to see who lines up on what side of the aisle”

    If you actually welcome the debate, then have the debate. Debate the facts, debate the ideas on their merits. But if all you’ve got to offer is hyperbole and insulting the people who have opinions that conflict with your own then you’ve already lost the debate. And I say that as someone who loves to drive, and who says they can take away my human-operated car when they can pry my cold, dead hands off of the wheel.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    Ban cities…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Under no stretch of the term is what he wrote ‘liberal’.
    However by writing/posting it, he received some notoriety and isn’t that how you get ahead now? Become a porn ‘star’ (isn’t that a euphemism for ‘prostitute’), a ‘celebrity’ who has no talent or has made zero contributions to society, a ‘blogger’, get a ‘Youtube’ channel, or gain thousands of Twitter followers and suddenly you are famous/rich/influential or a electable.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I can’t decide who the bigger troll is.

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    In other news, Black Panther is the best movie EVAR.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    Bark, what is your hat size? I think you need to get fitted for tin foil one right away.

  • avatar
    mcoman

    Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is such a good game.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    http://www.miamiherald.com/article203724884.html

    He refused to move his car — but the city can’t impound it because it’s his home, Seattle judge rules

    So I guess all the cars will now be allowed to stack up as apartments now.

  • avatar
    hpycamper

    Extremist tunnel vision vs extremist tunnel vision. Wonder where sensibility went?

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    Well let’s try some rational discussion instead of the tedious click baity rant at the top of the page. There are soon to be several trials of L4 cars in the real world over the next couple of years. From these we’ll get real life statistics of the safety of AVs versus meat driven murder machines.

    There are three possible outcomes. (1) AVs cause more accidents or casualties than murder machines. (2) within the statistical limits of the data the accident or casualty rate of AVs is the same as murder machines. (3) AVs are safer than murder machines.

    It would be very convenient for the mouth breathers if (1) turns out to be the case, but on the evidence we’ve seen so far I suspect 2 or 3 is more likely, in fact I suspect 3 is the most likely.

    So instead of writing click baity ill informed rants why not wait for a couple of years and see what the data tells us?

    .

    • 0 avatar
      eliandi

      I agree Greg, even if L4 cars are not as safe as humans in a few years, give them a few years more and I expect they will be. The technology is coming, and the masses want it based on the adoption of current driving automation. How we handle it as a society (the law, the economics, etc) will be interesting.

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