Tuesday, January 21, 2003

The Morality of Light Trucks in Limbo

The anti-SUV jihad continues apace. The latest wave began a few months ago with Keith Bradsher’s book High and Mighty: SUVs - The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way. Bradsher is fond of making unflattering assumptions about the lives and emotional health of SUV owners – including that they’re selfish, anti-social and insecure about their marriages. That’s bad enough, of course, but they’re basically the same secular Liberal assumptions that most Volvo-driving SUV-haters agree with anyway. Cue the church bells, however, because Bradsher was soon joined by the Evangelical Environmental Network and their What Would Jesus Drive? campaign. According to them, driving a Cadillac Escalade makes baby Jesus cry. Evangelicals take note. But wait, not only are SUVs anti-Christian, they’re also funding terrorism according to Arianna Huffington’s Detroit Project. Using TV commercials disturbingly similar to those of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Project targets SUVs as the source of terrorist revenue. Assumably the oil used in the rest of the economy only helps buy palace furnishings for King Fahd and Bashar Assad while revenue from petroleum destined to be refined into gasoline for SUVs is deposited directly into al Qaeda’s Swiss bank account. Even more recently, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that SUVs had an unacceptable level of rollover fatalities and would need to be far more strictly regulated. True, SUVs rollover more often than cars with lower centers of gravity, but they’re still safer overall. And adding more steel to the roofs (to keep rollover accidents from crushing the occupants) would increase their weight, thus making them even less fuel-efficient – the main complaint of the cast of characters just described. There seems to be no way out, unless you consider the radical proposition that people should be allowed to drive whatever cars they want. Consider it a modest proposal.


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