Public Sculpture at Justin Herman Plaza
by the Department of Public Art
THINK GUILT'LL GET 'EM?
We are drowning in moralism! Worse still, it is a primitive consumer moralism! Many bicyclists and other social radicals fall back on the uncontroversial idea that people ought to do the right thing. But as soon as we start explaining what the "right thing" is, we run into trouble. A lot of people seem to think social change hinges on buying/using the correct products (bicycles, BirkenstocksTM, used clothing, vegetarianism, etc.). This focus on good shopping leads people to ridiculous, philosophically retarded syllogisms like "Cars Are Bad, You’re In A Car, You are Bad."
Motorists are not bad. They are not moral failures, nor thoughtless, greedy or rich, just because they are in a car! They might be triumphant proponents of the oil/car culture, but let's face it, not many people trust, believe in, admire or have any control over oil companies, car companies, government transit bureaucracies, or local transit systems. It's a stupid assumption that someone in a car necessarily embraces the values of this society at face value. We are probably right to assume that many, if not most, of the people we pass wish they could join us, and at least offer us good will.
Bicycling and other alternatives are self-evidently better than sitting in a traffic jam or waiting for an overcrowded bus. The more we can live up to that truth, the more people will jump in — not because they were made to feel guilty, but because they want the pleasure and increased health and convenience that comes from bicycling. People will get out of their cars and onto bicycles when they think it will make their life better, not because someone tried to make them feel ashamed for participating in an absurd, suicidal transportation system.
Do the UNEXPECTED!
Have fun! Your pleasure is way more inspirational and subversive than any posturing or anger or force you may bring to bear. Remember: The world only owes you what you give it. But it only delivers if you’re lucky!
— Chris Carlsson