This “War on Cars” Video Will Defend America From Transit-Riding Infidels

Mockery isn't necessary, but we're mocking it anyway.

Hey, whatever you've gotta tell yourself to get through the day. Via PragerU/YouTube
Hey, whatever you've gotta tell yourself to get through the day. Via PragerU/YouTube

If you’ve ever wondered what the anti-Streetfilm would look like, wonder no more.

Prager University (“[we are] not a university and we do not offer degrees”) is a non-profit founded by conservative talk show host Dennis Prager, whose mission is to spread “Americanism.”

PragerU, as it’s known, releases five-minute videos on a range of topics, featuring titles like, “If There Is No God, Murder Isn’t Wrong,” “There Is No Gender Wage Gap,” “Income Inequality Is Good,” “Just Say Merry Christmas,” “Was the Civil War About Slavery?,” “Build the Wall,” and “Where Are the Moderate Muslims?”

Its latest video, released this week, is about another fundamental American value: driving big, gas-guzzling cars and not using other modes of transportation, because freedom.

The video is presented by Lauren Fix, a New York-based “car coach” who also hosts an automotive segment on Newsmax, the right-wing outlet.

In case you’re not aware that cars are private vehicles used for point-to-point transportation, Fix lays it out for you. “They allow us to go wherever we want, whenever we want, with whomever we want,” she says. “When you get behind the wheel, you are in control. You are free.”

Got that, car drivers? You have now been informed that you are free. Yes, free… to get stuck in traffic, or circle endlessly for a parking space, or make large monthly payments until you’re on the verge of bankruptcy. This is pure American freedom.

Fix also has a message for everyone who can’t afford a car, or is physically unable to drive, or just prefers to live life without being tethered to a big, expensive metal box whose value rapidly depreciates. The message is: Wake up! Don’t you realize you’ve been brainwashed by regulators?

“The very reason people love cars — personal freedom — is also why regulators can’t stand them. Government at all levels craves control. And when it comes to your car, they want you off the road. So do the environmentalists, with whom they’ve made common cause,” she says. “Urban planners are adding bike lanes, reducing parking spots, and pouring billions into more public transportation.” And they’re putting up subliminal ads everywhere that say “Obey.”

For a video that purportedly extols freedom from regulation, PragerU left out a lot of stuff.

Fix says nothing about the ubiquitous government mandates that force developers to spend billions on parking, or the massive public subsidies that sustain auto sprawl, or the pervasive regulatory apparatus that’s supposed to protect us from the danger of cars, but still can’t prevent 40,000 traffic deaths in the U.S. each year.

Apparently, only a government bureaucrat would harp on this government excess, or something. “There’s been a concerted push by government bureaucrats and environmentalists to transform car ownership from a source a pride to a source of guilt,” she says. “America’s car culture isn’t dead — yet. So as long as Americans want to live in the land of the free, America’s car culture will never die.”

God bless you, Veronica Moss — I mean, Lauren Fix and PragerU. And God bless Americanism.

  • Tattler

    Overall, it’s good that this has become part of the culture wars. The fights take generations, but these bozos pick the losing side each and every time.

  • This video is cancer.

  • Baloo Uriza

    Seriously worse than bronies railing on furries without the slightest bit of self-awareness.

  • Sean

    I don’t drive. I bike. I love bike lanes and hate highways, etc. But I can also put myself in other people’s shoes, and they do have some points.
    Urban planners, unlike most other civil servants use their positions to push people to behave in a certain way. They don’t respond to what people ask for (generally more car lanes, parking etc.), they respond to what they think is ‘good’ for people.
    “You want more parking downtown? Well we think that’s the ‘wrong’ thing for you, so instead here’s a car diet. You’ll thank me later.”
    It may be in people’s best interests, but it’s not how government should work. Prohibition came about for the same reason. People wanted to drink (which is bad for you) and government decided it knew better.
    Portland famously started timing red lights to make people’s commutes more miserable. Essentially punishing the people who paid their salaries for doing something that amounts to sinful behaviour in the eyes of a city planner. They had cars and used them.
    Being a preachy, anti-car nag isn’t a good way to get people to do what you want.

  • djx

    “They don’t respond to what people ask for (generally more car lanes, parking etc.),”

    What are you talking about? Planners have been providing massive amounts of car lanes and requiring parking with most new development for decades all across the US.

    Look around.

  • Jeff

    I love the freedom of being forced to use a single mode of transportation and live in a single type of built environment. And the freedom of having to dedicate a double-digit percentage of my income to purchasing, maintaining, insuring, and fueling some machine I’m forced to rely on. I also love knowing that, if I ever end up visually impaired or otherwise physically unable to drive, I’ll have the freedom to be a shut-in.

    Freedom!

  • Mr H

    I’m not even going to give these asshats the click.

  • bs

    “You want more parking downtown? Well we think that’s the ‘wrong’ thing for you”
    I want a large mansion downtown that I can afford. And I don’t want anyone telling me it is wrong. Gimme.
    Also, no taxes.

  • c2check
  • c2check

    Fortunately the next generation of planners is looking around and realizing why that was an unsustainable idea, and (ideally) communicating that when proposing alternative transportation projects.

  • bs

    That was snarky of me. You have a larger point about changing behavior. It’s true, from banning horse drawn buggies from areas of New York, to setting speed limits and posting stop signs, urban planners do build things to elicit certain behavior. The road network that the anti-“war on cars” people glorify was built on inducing behavior too. This is what it takes to create a high functioning transportation system that gives people what they demand the most – the ability to get around, particularly to jobs.
    People look at infrastructure and see the stuff right in front of them not the 15 layers below. Suggesting that abundant free parking (or mansions) downtown is just being denied by snooty bureaucrats ignores basic economics, logic, politics, people’s actual revealed preferences,… reality in general.

  • c2check

    Government needs to better explain the pros/cons. Sure, we can build more roads. However there are big downsides: it won’t actually solve congestion, it will cost a ton to maintain, more people will be injured and die in traffic, and it will make it even more impossible for people who don’t own cars to get around.

    Vancouver took a smart step in its 2040 transportation plan saying, the number of current drivers will keep steady (or basically decline with deaths) so those folks aren’t being “forced” to give up driving. But we need to provide bike and transit options for new residents, which are more efficient uses of space, if you want to keep driving yourselves.

  • carfreecommuter

    I came here for content but I stayed for the clickbait. Thanks Streetsblog!

  • Marcotico

    “They don’t respond to what people ask for (generally more car lanes, parking etc.), they respond to what they think is ‘good’ for people.” This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the planning profession. We don’t do this because we “think” it is good, but rather because data tells us this is good. Planning is partly science partly design. We analyze, derive results, then design policies and urban form. So we don’t think driving is “bad” for individuals, the data tells us it is bad for varius systems (environmental system, social system, public health system, and even, believe it or not economic system. Again, not ALL driving is bad, just excessive driving.

    That is why “anedata” ( an inside joke/pejorative term) is so frustrating. With every bike lane or transit line, detractors will point out that the elderly, plumbers, late night shift workers etc. must drive and that therefore we don’t care about those people, because we are all latte sipping elitists. Planners are not saying that no one should ever drive, what we are saying is that healthy people or any age, with predictable travel behavior patterns, that follow major flows should be provided with transit service, and people taking short trips that do not need to carry large cargo should try biking and walking weather permitting whenever convenient.

  • Sean

    “We don’t do this because we “think” it is good, but rather because data tells us this is good.”
    That’s telling. You don’t understand that values aren’t ‘good’ and ‘bad’. People have different perspectives and different priorities. Data can’t tell you what’s the correct thing to do in a given scenario.
    It’s ‘bad’ for one to drink to excess. Some people know that and want to do it anyway.
    Again, I’m playing something of a devil’s advocate, as each new bike lane or bus lane helps me personally. But I think it’s a terrible way to think about it to start moralizing and saying “I know what’s BEST.” It especially is harmful when a certain demographic – say white people – move into an area and instead of extolling the virtues of cycling saying things like “we know from data that driving a car is bad” without considering how that sounds to someone who’s perhaps striven and saved to afford a car as a symbol of both independence and affluence.
    Make your case. In the case of cycling it’s an easy one. Don’t pretend to have moral high ground when morals don’t enter into the equation.
    Have a good weekend, and cheers.

  • Vooch

    The war on cars is very real. The anti-car zealots are coming to your town to impose their bizarre ideas on you. Watch these videos of what these madmen did to the once charming city of Munich. Trigger warning – it’s horrifying !!!!!

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLzNM_rzDSme6P4gvpkVIVGEo1ta2TFMeS&v=-7l2vu7d0QU

  • Dammit people, “It’s not just a car, it’s your freedom!!”

    https://youtu.be/43pF4uvdwDo

  • JarekFA

    I don’t drive. I bike. I love bike lanes and hate highways, etc. But I argue in bad faith?

    There’s a gigantic hole in your argument. I don’t know if you can see it. Just massive, glaring hole that renders your entire argument moot.

  • james

    People do not know what they want, especially regarding complex systems like transit. More lanes sounds better until you understand the physical truths.

  • Corvus Corax

    You write as though the urban planners are arbitrarily making it less convenient for people to drive. Is that what you really think? Does the fact that cars are a major source of the greenhouse gases that are killing our one and only home planet have no relevance to you?

    Can it be true that the car-centrics hate their children – if they even have any – as they value their laziness and consider their own convenience more important than the quality of life for the coming generations?

    Why is the ecological impact of cars not present in EVERY discussion like this?

  • Corvus Corax

    People do not know what want.

    Me want better schools.

  • Corvus Corax

    Moral high ground = caring about the future of the Earth. So how do morals NOT enter the equation?

  • It makes me feel good that this film is the anti-Streetfilm. But it put me to sleep, took 3 watches to get thru all of it. My guess is lazy car drivers didn’t even make it thru to minute one.

  • Eric

    And here I was, thinking they’d be advocating for something like a market based approach to transportation and parking lol

  • Joe R.

    You’re distinguishing here between true leaders versus political hacks. Political hacks tell people what they want to hear, and do what the people tell them to do, even if it means forfeiting the future. This is actually the kind of leadership we’ve had in this country for the last 3 decades. No pain, all gain are the promises except eventually the bill comes due. Think of things like lower taxes but no cuts in government spending, taking the equity out of inflated home prices to live beyond your means, letting people drive huge gas guzzlers despite the long-term harm, etc.

    True leaders on the other hand look at studies and determine what’s best in both the long and short term. Sometimes that means NOT doing what people want. True leaders will also do unpopular but necessary things in the least intrusive manner. They won’t do stupid, in-your-face things like retiming red lights to create delays in order to discourage driving. Instead, they might tax driving in congested areas, reduce parking, and so forth. The goal would be to discourage unnecessary trips while facilitating necessary ones. For example, they might put a congestion tax on private cars entering the CBD but not on delivery vehicles.

    Prohibition is a really bad example here to use. This was a case of legislating morality and trying to protect people from themselves. That’s a big difference from doing painful but necessary things in the long-term interests of societal. Government should only discourage behavior which is harmful to others. Nanny state governments try to protect people from themselves. They’re actually an outgrowth of government by political hacks. Remember most of these attempts to legislate morality came about because those in charge listened to what people asked for, even when the people were wrong. True leaders would just tell their constituents that interfering in people’s private lives is none of government’s business. More recently, think how much the drug wars and keeping things like prostitution illegal have cost governments. The fact a large segment of the population may find these things unsavory doesn’t mean they should be banned. Rather, they should be regulated so as to keep them from harming others, and taxed like any other business.

  • Dexter Wong

    All this war on cars stuff is to say “I am my wheels! If you don’t have your own wheels you are nothing!” I have lived 62 years without owning a car and it hasn’t affected me that much.

  • I hate-watched 3 mins and needed to move on. It’s such garbage. It’s physics!! Freedom!! Obama and environmentalists!! Yawn. Now I’m going to take my son and get a bike and ride down a carless Park Ave for the first Summer Streets day. Now *that* is freedom!!

  • Joe R.

    54 years old here. Never owned a car, never had a driver’s license. I enjoy my freedom. Freedom from car payments, car inspections, traffic tickets, registration renewals, traffic court, car repairs, car insurance, fuel payments, worries about parking, and so forth. I’ve told people for the last 3 decades that a car is a ball-and-chain, not a ticket to freedom.

  • Elizabeth F

    There is no shortage of “alternative facts” in this video. Sigh…

  • 1976boy

    I’m thinking that maybe we should own the “war on cars” label. Really. Turn it into a rallying slogan, go on the offensive, and call ourselves the foot soldiers of the glorious battle. If anything it would be funny.

  • Daniel

    not necessarily–when something gets sucked into a culture war instead of being a broad consensus, then it becomes tied to one or the other party: and parties can win or lose

  • Almost all of PragerU’s videos suffer from the same sort of dearth of facts and wildly speculative arguments that are made in this video. What’s really amusing is to check out the comment section on Facebook, where a lot of people have left something along the lines of “I usually like Prager videos, but this one is complete garbage that makes you sound like right-wing propaganda”. In other words, even many of Prager’s fans aren’t swayed.

  • Vooch

    the war on cars is real and coming to your town. Watch these video examples of what horrors the anti-car zealots inflicted on the once charming city of Munich. Trigger Warning.

  • Vooch

    the simple solution is stop subsidizing mass motoring. If people had to pay the full cost of their driving, VMT would drop 50%

  • Of course any propaganda that Prager puts out is lying, manipulative garbage. But outside of major cities that desperately need things like congestion pricing, higher-cost parking and better traffic calming, do we really want to take away Americans’ mobility?

    Millions take great pride in having a car, and that isn’t going to change. In Wyoming, you don’t have the headaches of vehicle ownership that we do in NYC. Not everyone lives in cities with good biking and
    mass transit options. Cars
    and trucks aren’t going anywhere in the suburbs and rural parts of this
    country, nor should they. People do need them.

    Where these fear tactics fail is that no one is taking away their cars. It’s is as much BS as memes that Obama or Hillary would have taken away their 2nd Amendment rights.

    Here is what will change by market demand and technology, with or without Trump and Pruitt’s EPA:

    – How private vehicles will be allowed/used in congested areas
    – The options and incentives people have for commuting that don’t involve sole car trips
    – Car rental/sharing options spreading beyond urban centers

    Electric car tech that makes gasoline and traditional internal
    combustion engines less viable
    – While gasoline transitions out, this will perhaps reinforced by a
    hybrid/hydrogen/clean diesel infrastructure because they have more range and easier refilling.
    – Weight savings that back up the more efficient power trains, so that our fleet will weigh what it did 25 years ago

    Let’s realize there are different strokes. I
    don’t see the Ford F-150 losing its place as the USA’s best-selling
    vehicle because millions of businesses and people USE the damn things.
    But that doesn’t mean they won’t be more efficient.

    Some people love having nieces and nephews because they can return them to parents after. I love having a kid. I don’t feel that way about a car. Confession: I honestly love to take a drive out of
    NYC every so often, going someplace interesting and clearing my head. We
    often take the bikes along. BUT it’s companies like Hertz, National,
    Avis/Zipcar, etc. that own those cars, not me. It’s been that way for 15
    years, and I feel FREE at the $60,000 or so I’ve saved. I’m happy to turn it back and make it their problem.

    But again, that’s me.

  • Sean

    It’s not arguing in bad faith to attempt to see the other side of the coin. In fact, it’s the only good way to argue.

  • AB3

    Hmmm. I grew up being taught that driving a car is a privilege, not a right. Guess I should recheck my copy of the Constitution.

  • Sam Morrissey

    I shared a different perspective as a comment on the youtube site: http://bit.ly/2ulVsI9