Recently I had an epiphany about socialism yesterday. I have a former boss, whom I would consider a friend, who happens to be a socialist. He doesn't just talk the talk, he supports co-ops of all kinds, he votes socialist and always takes the socialist/progressive side in any argument or discussion. He's consistent. He's also a nice guy, to be fair. But yesterday I noticed something that I've seen in other socialist people I've known and I think the consistency is enough to say it's a pattern. It may not be universal, but certainly it is common among those of the socialist/progressive ilk.
By way of background, for decades the socialist crowd here in Toronto have argued for more public transit. Toronto has a great transit system..for 1973. They've argued that we should move away from cars and to public transit. It's better for the environment, it's more egalitarian, cheaper than roads, blah...blah...BLAH.
Downtown Toronto has a relatively decent coverage of subways. The suburbs, not so much. But since the socialists all live downtown in the city core area, they've suddenly become fiscally conservative. They think spending money on more subways is an expensive boondoggle. Instead, those in the suburbs, which represent a pretty significant population, should be satisfied with more surface routes - light rail like streetcars, or buses.
I've had to commute from the suburbs. It's dreadful - the driving is bad, and the light rail commute was cramped, prone to breakdowns, slow, and just basically inadequate (to be kind). But the socialists have the transit they want.
And there's the epiphany. It isn't really about helping others, it's about helping others collectively, until they get what they want, and then the taps get turned of. Socialism for me and not for thee. Hypocrisy.
I am honestly not surprised, but it's good to have some empirical evidence to back up what we all know. As for me being two-faced on public transit, I'm all for more roads, but in most cities there's no will for that option. Anything to reduce gridlock is welcome respite. In a recent post I also pointed out that working from home and telecommuting will reduce the need for mass transit and more roads. But we're not there yet. So no real hypocrisy, but if you want to challenge me on that, I'd be happy to expound on it.