I understand that there is bound to be some resentment among urbanites for being seen as something un-American. Whether it’s Duncan Black mockingly referring to his “urban hellhole” or LGM spreading “peak water” hysteria—time to get rid of everyone’s “stupid” lawns!!!, or whatever, I get it.
Of course the fact that to a man, these folks are themselves middle class, it probably says more about daddy than it does about politics that they seem to have such dismissive tones for the suburban way of life.
I thoroughly enjoyed living in a large city. I also kinda like the rural area where I live now, don’t mind the small town I used to live in, could manage in suburbs I used to live in, but I didn’t like the “exurb” experience much.
Anyway, maybe my ecumenical view on this is odd. But, yes, cars pollute a lot. Houses use a lot of water. But if you really mean to take aim at these things for what really seem like post hoc reasons, you must realize it’s politically suicidal. Cars are bad because they pollute, mostly due to their contribution to warming, but also because of smog. Water uses water. And the vice of housing prices and the desire for more space meant more sprawl, which means more cars driving more miles, which means more pollution.
But in reality, in the real world of evidence, it’s not that cars are bad. If the cars were electric and their power came from carbon-free sources, then what’s the problem? If the water was abundantly created from desalinization by carbon-free power, what’s the problem. (In reality, residential use is a tiny fraction of water use in the southwest and residential prices are expensive compared to the subsidized agricultural uses—but you’re a liberal so you don’t want the price of food to go up, right?)
The more interesting observation here to me is that the main haters of the suburban/bourgeoise lifestyle are the bourgeoise suburbanites (Duncan Black lived in Irvine, the fucking Platonic archetype of suburbia) themselves.
These people, in the grand scheme of things, have it so good that they end up drowning in their own consumption (i.e. shit) and are trying to escape it by flights of intellectual anger and dismissal.
I’m from the wing of the Democratic party that says the wages are too damn low, not the wing that says the wages are too damn low but you don’t need them anyway quit being such a wasteful spender. There is a very thin line between that and blaming the poor for the housing crisis type thinking—another very bourgeois type of thinking.
The evils of consumerism relate to buying useless shit you throw away, not to food, shelter, transportation, and other life essentials.