Wednesday, July 06, 2016


I read an article the other day praising the interstate project of 60 years ago and claiming we need another such project now.

My initial reaction was that the interstate project destroyed many local economies, communities, cultures.

Big business certainly benefitted as now they could truck their goods more efficiently across country on the taxpayers back.

Individuals may seem to have benefitted with easier travel and mobility, but communities not on the interstate routes died. (Think the movie "Cars", or the story of my town, Bethune, SC which used to be on the route to Florida from the Northeast.)

On the other hand, towns along the interstate now boomed, just like the days of old for communities on the major rivers.

So, some folks gained, and some folks lost.

And by the way, America has always been about mobility: Go West Young Man!

I still think that the loss is greater than the gain. After all families and communities are made up of individuals and the apparent short term benefit is a long-term cultural loss.

The interstate was one of the early steps which killed the family farm. (Need I say more?) We need tasteless tomatoes from California; bland cantaloupe from (who knows where) in the middle of winter; watermelon which tastes so-so, but can sure be stacked (Bradford).
As far as another BIG project now? Isn't everything the government does BIG now? They take over everything: BIG education for one. Now they are regulating bathrooms and marriage licenses!
We need "small is beautiful" not big is beautiful. (or: Local is lovely-Distant is disaster?)

Oremus pro invicem!


Charlie said...

A hearty amen for this one.

The biggest casualty of the interstate highway system was passenger train service. If you ever read Paul Theroux, the train is the best way to travel.

Jim Curley said...

I love trains. I fondly remember taking a sleeper from Boston to Columbia some years back.