The ‘War on Cars’: A brief history of a rhetorical device | Grist

“He wants to get rid of all the cars,” the voice on the phone told me. I was speaking with the husband of a contact in Winchester. At the time we were discussing how Winchester might take over our Bite the Bullet race. I hadn’t had much luck speaking with her but I had spoken with her husband a couple of times. When he told me that Seattle’s pro-bike mayor was essentially conducting a “war on cars,” I was a bit surprised.

We don’t get the political edge of the car/bike controversy here in the valley much. Bikes just don’t count for much. But the pro-bike lobby has grown in Portland and Seattle to where there is now some pushback.

Maybe its the English major in me, but I found this account of the use of “War on cars” pretty intersting especially in the light of our new national conscousness regarding inflmatory rhetoric.–Corrie


On its face, the charge that Seattle is waging a war on cars is pretty silly. After all, that the bulk of the city’s political leaders support two car-centric megaprojects — the 520 bridge and the Alaskan Way tunnel — that will cost in the range of $7 billion, depending on how you do the counting. And the evidence marshaled in support of the “war on cars” idea was pretty thin gruel — adding a few bike lanes here and there, and raising on-street parking rates in the downtown core.

So I did some poking around to find out where the “war on cars” language came from. And there is something fishy — or at least fishy-smelling — about it. You could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a local example of a manufactured right-wing talking point.

Here’s the history as I was able to trace it.

via The ‘War on Cars’: A brief history of a rhetorical device | Grist.

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