Thursday, April 04, 2002

Dirt Bikes for Freedom

The New York Times editorializes today on off-road vehicles on federal lands, urging the Bush administration not to allow people to use snowmobiles, dune buggies, and the like in national parks. The Times seems to feel that the only people in favor of off-roading in places like Yellowstone are "snowmobile manufacturers and local dealers," who recently put pressure on the Administration to reverse a ban on off-road vehicles originally issued by the Clinton administration. This scenario follows an old pattern - if there's a policy that is considered anti-environment, it must be the result of corporate meanies out to rape the wilderness for disgusting profits.

Then again, maybe the policy reversal has something to with the over 10,000,000 off-road vehicles in the country, and the people that like to ride around in them. After all, where did the nation's snowmobile manufacturers get so much big-money clout unless there are legions of Americans who purchase their products? The truth is that millions of Americans like off-roading. Possibly even more Americans than read the New York Times editorial page or start hyperventilating at the thought of someone enjoying their horsepower in the pristine wilderness of Yellowstone. That, no doubt, is why the Times made sure to dismiss the idea that people should be allowed to pursue the activities they actually enjoy, and instead be required to swallow a big dose of enviro-statist cod liver oil: "Giving local communities — or political leaders — what they want is not a sound basis for rational policy on the federal estate." Of course not. What could be more irrational than giving people what they want?

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