Residential Space A creative outlet during residency, turned ongoing virtual soap box

Brilliant Idea (sarcasm implied)  2

Posted on April 27th, 2006. About News and Politics.

On Tuesday I went to my attending physician’s house for dinner with my medicine team, and as we were leaving, our team’s medical student started her Volkswagen, getting quite the response from Evan. “That’s a diesel!” he exclaimed. We approached her at her car, she rolled down the window, and confirmed that not only was it diesel, but it was biodiesel. She had nothing but positive things to say about it one year into ownership. We drove home in my Saturn – which gets ~42 miles per gallon. The following day, I took the bus to work, and I took the bus home. This morning, I took the bus to work again. It could very well be another week before I drive my car. God bless America[n public transporation].

Then, this afternoon I ran across this article, and I am thinking – this is yet another totally inane attempt to assuage angry citizens about the rising price of gasoline. The powers-that-be apparently believe it would be beneficial to give everyone $100 since gasoline is “so expensive” and that this will help in some way. Again, I had that “there must be something wrong with my brain” feeling when I read about this. So I asked several of my Blue-state Seattle colleagues, all of whom said something to the effect of “Yeah right, like that will solve anything.” Exactly.

In fact, it could worsen the problem. Perhaps if gas continues to grow pricier, then maybe it would finally force our government and our citizens to seek fuel alternatives. Maybe it would force investment into biodiesel, for example. Maybe it would force local communities to beef up their public transporation and encourage people to use these systems for commuting. Instead, we are going to pat people’s hands and tell them $100 will make things better. By the way, don’t we have a huge deficit right now? I’m a little more concerned about that – and it’s long-term potential effects on the economy – than I am about having an extra $100 right this second.

In any case, perhaps I am actually mistaken in thinking that rising prices will force change in behaviors. Perhaps we will pursue the other extreme and completely overindulge in our addiction. George W. Bush said that our nation is addicted to oil in his most recent State of the Union address, and as we know, addiction implies that people will do irrational things to obtain their subtance of choice. I remember learning in medical school about an experiment with rodents that was designed to test the inherent properties of addictive substances. A rat could push one lever and receive a food pellet, or push another lever and receive cocaine. Once either lever was pushed and the designated substance was dispensed, neither lever would lead to distribution for several hours – it was locked for an allotted period. This resulted in a bunch of dead rats. They kept pushing the cocaine lever over and over again, sacrificing all food for the drug. I see Americans turning into gasoline-addicted rats. We just don’t seem to get that there are potential solutions here, but they require effort in order to integrate them into our society. We have no foresight. We would rather go with what is easy now, knowing that someday we could be in trouble, instead of investing time, money, and effort into a better way of life. It is absolutely baffling.

I don’t mean that I am perfect in my knowledge of this issue, or that I have it entirely figured out. But I do know that, over the past 12 months, I have filled up, on average, about once a month. I know I am privileged to live in a city with public transportation, sidewalks, a bicycle-friendly atmosphere, biodiesel stations, and all of the other things that Red-staters seem to think of as “hippie” amenities. So be it. We aren’t giving gas prices much thought these days anyway.

Choose from Full RSS or comments RSS feeds.
Residential Space is powered by WordPress 4.9.5 and delivered to you in 0.201 seconds.
Design by Matthew. Administrator login and new user registration.