We've all been busy here at the Non Sequitur. But today I had a moment for a short post.
Here's Paul Krugman on George Will (via Eschaton):
Oh, boy — this George Will column (via Grist) is truly bizarre:
So why is America’s “win the future” administration so fixated on railroads, a technology that was the future two centuries ago? Because progressivism’s aim is the modification of (other people’s) behavior.
Forever seeking Archimedean levers for prying the world in directions they prefer, progressives say they embrace high-speed rail for many reasons—to improve the climate, increase competitiveness, enhance national security, reduce congestion, and rationalize land use. The length of the list of reasons, and the flimsiness of each, points to this conclusion: the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.
As Sarah Goodyear at Grist says, trains are a lot more empowering and individualistic than planes — and planes, not cars, are the main alternative to high-speed rail.
And there’s the bit about rail as an antiquated technology; try saying that after riding the Shanghai Maglev.
But anyway, it’s amazing to see Will — who is not a stupid man — embracing the sinister progressives-hate-your-freedom line, more or less right out of Atlas Shrugged; with the extra irony, of course, that John Galt’s significant other ran, well, a railroad.
Like Kramer on Seinfeld, I'd take issue with the last bolded comment. This argument, such as it is, is classic Will: The most dishonest kind of straw man used to provoke an explanatory hypothesis about the the straw manned arguer's motives and intellgence in making such bizarre and wrong-headed claims. On the strength of this, you'll feel justified in ignoring anything else such a person would say.
This one is especially odd since trains are self-evidently awesome–and they're kind of bow-tie conservative-ish, like baseball. Besides, as Sarah Goodyear points out, they do the same things planes do: they send you in a tube to another city. The only difference is that trains usually drop you off downtown.