Cars are just the vehicle for the drive – the being able to go where you like, whenever you like and how you like.
It is something much more than merely transportation. A bus or a train gets you there, too. But it follows the route or the track; you sit – and ride. Neither is your steed, under your control. It is impersonal, homogenous and collective – like the sidewalk.
Is it any wonder few of us feel anything for a bus or a train?
It is the drive that accounts for the affection people have for their cars. No wait, no schedule. Just go, anytime you like wherever you like with as many stops as you like – or not – in between. Roll the window down – or turn the AC up. Listen to your music. Even in traffic, you had options. Pull off here; take that road, over there. Or maybe just pull over for a pit stop and some coffee. It’s all up to you. No wonder people love their cars – and the drive.
Or at least, used to.
The drive is less today because much of it has been taken out of the hands of the driver. Who is transitioning into a passenger who happens to occupy the left seat.
This process is not accidental and it has a purpose, which is to end the drive in favor of the ride. Very much for the same reasons that there is an effort under way to get rid of cash money in favor of electronic money. Cash enables you to buy what you want without anyone else knowing you bought it. Cash is harder to control. Digital money is very easy to control and everything it is used for is known the moment it is used.
Cash is a physical manifestation of the abstraction of human liberty – and personal mobility is another expression of the same, in the form of the drive.
Ergo, the drive must be controlled in order to wilt attachment to the car. Which will result in people giving it up in favor of the ride, under government control.
This has been a work-in-progress for at least a generation but it’s speeded up considerably over the past decade or so as “advanced driver assistance” and “autonomous” not-you-driving technology has been developed, made practical and embedded in practically ever new car.
Manual transmissions are almost gone. Cars literally park themselves.
Electric cars will drive themselves. Elon Musk specifically touts this capability, which is as much a draw as the “ludicrous speed” he also touts but which is illegal to use. Not just the 150 MPH on top, either. Do a 3 second to 60 run in front of a cop and see what he does.
There is much more driving to be done in a Lotus 7 or its modern analog, a Mazda Miata.
Those who’ve driven either or similar know what that means.
As driving recedes in the rearview, it is natural that affection for cars fades. When the drive is just a trip it is no longer an event in itself but rather a means to some other end. We get there more reliably, “safer” and even more quickly.
But something’s been lost along the way.
Or – more precisely – something is in the process of being taken.
. . .
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