What do we expect of ourselves – the radicals and reformers of history – when it comes to living day-to-day amongst the instinctual conservatism of the masses?
They seem not to care what temperature it is, as long as the gradients are wide. If they boil to death, fear not, because the boiling is not today, but years away, and further your friends and family share the pot.
There are those of us with high ideals, which risk being pulled into the rushing stream of pragmatism. We are taught to make do, to compromise, to leave alone those things which we cannot control. And yet, we know that this is so opposite the answer that we need that it illustrates why we are lost to start.
The car, for example, is a beast that lures us, swallows us, and waits for us. It offers us convenience, then demands we shape our world to suit it. Think about it – you blasted suburbanites. Could you walk to a store if you wanted to? No. Mostly, you are trapped in your stick-built, two-thousand square feet.
And now, we are at a juncture where the reformers you have ignored have been borne out. George Dubya Bush, Pretender to the Presidency, hoisted up in his demagoguery by suburbia, has been a key player in the forced end of cheap energy. His foreign wars, fought in the name of oil interests, have collapsed the federal currency and driven oil prices to record highs.
But, instead of giving up that wasteful and ugly lifestyle, the car-people are working hard to be lazy: hypermiling, buying hybrids, carpooling. And then there’s us, the lonely reformers, steps ahead and pushing against the immovable rock of habit. There’s only one place for us to live on this continent: New York City. So, we try our best with its elevated housing prices, a symptom of so many people wanting something and so little providing.
Developers, take note, we need more Manhattan and less LA. We need more pedestrianized roads and less superhighways. Robert Moses was the monkeyrencher; Jane Jacobs built the city.
The radicals and reformers, we see these the future, and feel the pain of Cassandra until those who prefer to keep their heads low finally join us on our pedestal.