Technology: Past, Present, and Future
Remember the days of the Old West? The women walked around with their parasols or rode in a horse drawn carriage and the men rode fast and furious on their horses. Everything you needed was right there in town: the saloon, the general store, and the barber. When one needed to get somewhere, they would walk. If they needed to travel far, there were steam-powered locomotives. As towns and cities grew larger, it was not so convenient to walk everywhere. There was a need for a machine that could get us around to where we had to go. Technology was becoming a bigger part of the times and the machine we now know today as the automobile was invented.
Millions of people throughout the world depend on the automobile to take them from place to place in their busy lives. Take a second to think about how difficult your life was before you began to drive. You had to ask family and friends to drive you to school, work and wherever you wanted to go. Now imagine there are no cars for us to drive. How different would our lives be? In "Cars and Their Enemies," James Q. Wilson looks at this very question. He examines how are lives would be affected if suddenly today, the car was built. Wilson also challenges those who are skeptical about the use of the car and defends his view that the car is a necessity.
Imagine we live in a world of only public transportation. If we wanted to get away, we would have to ride a bike or walk. We would have to shop only for what we could hold. We would have to work close to our homes or take a bus. In other words, our lives would be quite hectic. Now suppose the idea of building a personal automobile is proposed to us. Do we jump at the chance or cower away from it? Wilson feels that "Libertarians might support the idea, but hardly anyone else" (303). There would be arguments that cars would cause too many accidents and lead to many deaths. Environmentalists would argue that cars "would eject large amounts of unpleasant gases into the air, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide" (Wilson 304). Energy experts would be afraid of using to much fuel. In short, there would be a strong resistance to the thought of an automobile being built.
Wilson argues that without cars, we would have to live very close together in apartments and row houses so that we could walk to public transportation depots. He also says that we would miss seeing the beaches and the countryside except for an occasional glimpse from a bus or train window. We would have city upon city. Still, the car haters tell us that with the use of bikes and public transportation we will have less pollution, noise and our energy is used more efficiently. Well what about the benefits? Wilson states "The automobile is more flexible, more punctual, supplies greater comfort, provides for carrying more parcels, creates more privacy, enables one to select fellow passengers, and, for distances over a mile or more,...