Cars are like guns. As things they are not inherently evil, they even have something aesthetically pleasing in their varieties of shape and design. It is not until you put either thing in the hands of a human being that their true nature is revealed.
The white van man speeding recklessly in town. Mums in 4×4’s on the school run, blocking swathes of road. Boy racers in fuel injectors boosting their fledging egos by running red lights. Drunk drivers parading their irresponsibility and self-destructive urges. Piddling middle of the road motorists hogging the centre lane of motorways. In a symbiotic relationship, cars bring out the various neuroses and character disorders of their human masters.
On entering our cars, we immediately detach ourselves from the environment. Enclosed in a metallic bubble, from which we view a seemingly hostile world through a windscreen, we become the car and the car becomes we. We gain status, security, comfort and power but lose a sense of connection with our humanity. Cars are bad.
Cars not only have an adverse effect on inter-personal relationships, health and the environment they also have a strong link to the causation of war.
In the land of the Hummer, the US economy needs oil like a junkie needs heroin. Its physical and economic infrastructure is so highly car dependent that the US is pathologically addicted to oil.
As the world’s natural resources dwindle and become scarcer, control of production and supply of oil is becoming more and more important. With Iraq containing 112 billion barrels, the largest supply in the world outside Saudi Arabia, ‘regime change’ has made it easier for western companies to lay their hands on the black gold. Cars and guns go together like death and destruction.
Those who oppose war in Iraq must work together to prevent the conflicts that will follow if we fail to tackle car dependency. People must reclaim the streets, promote walking and cycling, strengthen public transport, oppose new road construction and be prepared to pay the full social cost of car use. We must endeavour to break this deadly addiction.