Sunday, 29 March 2009

The Right To Drive And To Park - Part 2

(continued from Part 1)

Now if we consider ourselves entitled to freely use public surfaces for walking or cycling, then logically it would have to apply to cars, too. There is no logical argument that a car should be an exception. To say ‘city provides with public transportation so it’s not obliged to provide you with additional roads and free parking spaces’ – is not a valid argument.

The same could be applied to sidewalks and bicycle lanes – why should the city spend money maintaining them if you could, instead of walking/cycling, travel the same distance by using the bus line/underground train the city has already provided? People legitimately expect to have a surface to walk on or cycle as they go about their errands around the city, but take into consideration that some people want (or even have to) use cars. Why should they be discriminated?

The additional argument is that walkers and even cyclists do not provide nearly as much tax income as motorists do. Anyone can walk, without having to pay anything to anyone. Cycling is also very cheap. But motorists have to buy their cars (and pay the sales tax/VAT, etc), pay for registration of their vehicle (to use the roads), pay taxes every time they fill up at a petrol station and so on... They are such important contributors to public budgets that the least they could expect from the public authorities would be to provide them with (free!) roads and (free!) parking spaces. After all: the more cars there are – the more money for the budget.

So, with all that in mind, cities around the world should change their current anti-car policies and embrace cars as a symbol and, more importantly, as a source of progress and general wealth – which they are.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Light = Civilisation -> Switch The Lights On!

There are people who are smart because they think things through. There are also people who do not think things through. The second group is decidedly more numerous, unfortunately.

A group of people (who clearly didn't think things through) would have you switch out your lights on March 28th. Why? To celebrate the Earth Day. As they put it: "join millions of people in more than 1,400 cities and towns in 80 countries throughout the world by turning off your lights for one hour at 8:30pm on Saturday 28 March."

I did not switch the lights off in my home. I switched every single one of them ON.

Because light is a symbol of civilisation, of progress, of liberty, of life.

Darkness is a symbol of failure, of savagery, of slavery, of death.

Therefore, think things through. And join us in celebrating the Human Achievement Hour.

Let there be light!

Friday, 27 March 2009

The Right To Drive And To Park - Part 1

A few years ago I saw a car bumper sticker in Belgium with a Web address: I thought 'at last, somewhere motorists are fighting for their rights'.

While the abovementioned URL no longer works, the association has a website:

Its motto in French “Droit démocratique de Rouler et de Parquer” could be translated into “The democratic right to drive and park”. In this article, I intend to elaborate on the subject.

Every person should have the right to drive their car anywhere and also to park it. Yes, that’s right – you should not only have the right to drive but also the right to park where you wish!

This notion might come as a shock, especially in this day and age when we are constantly bombarded with the idea that ‘cars are bad’ and that cars should be banned from city centres’ (if not altogether).

Now let’s take another perspective and see why the fashionable idea of restricting car traffic rests on very shaky foundations.

First, let’s forget cars for a minute and think of our primary means of transportation: walking. Everyone considers it his/her right to walk the streets of their city (or any city, for that matter). We expect the authorities to provide us with sidewalks and pedestrian zones, all of which are public areas, accessible to anyone without having to pay anything for their use. We take it for granted.

But think about it: someone had to build the sidewalks and pave the pedestrian zones. So someone had to get paid for doing that; construction workers and civil engineers don’t work for free. And the land upon which we walk also belongs to somebody. Although our sidewalks are owned by the state/city just like public roads, the real estate had to be bought from someone (or if it has always been a public property, think of opportunity costs for not being able to sell it into private hands) and has to be maintained. Ever looked up how much of your municipal/city/state budget is dedicated to maintaining of public areas? Authorities are paying large amounts of money (which is coming from our pockets, mind you) so that we may stroll down the street on a nice flat surface. Essentially, it’s no different from having to provide roads and parking spaces for cars.

Another alternative to walking is cycling. But that also requires additional public expenses to build bicycle lanes – and this is on top of the expenses for pedestrian surfaces.

(to be continued -see Part 2)

At Least I Got Things Started

I'm getting ready to post another blog entry, reading the first post of the blog... It could be better.

I think the next one will be.

Monday, 2 March 2009

To get things started

What is your first thought when you see the title "The Good European"? Do you think this will be another pro-EU blog - or perhaps the exact opposite thereof, a place for Eurosceptic rants? Or maybe something completely different?

Actually, a little bit of all of the above which translates into something new and original, thus becoming sui generis.

But being sui generis is just a fancy way of being silly if there is no substance.

And there will be substance, just you sit and wait.