There's another laughable, elitist, self-absorbed, solipsistic piece of Marxist excrement by Chuck Pezeshki in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
It’s interesting spending a week in a big, European city, especially after Pullman, with its sky island feel. I’m in Vienna this week, setting up collaborations for our students in engineering, with the intention of giving them the necessary experience to succeed in the global marketplace. This means that I have to succeed in the global marketplace — something that is not as easy as it used to be.I'm going to resist the temptation to rebut Pezeshki's ridiculous contentions of how "Sky Island" Pullman should be like a European city, or bring up the fact that for much of the time since WWII, Austria has been dominated by a socialist government, or the even more vile assertion that somehow American's love of Wal-Mart and big-box stores leads to war (it was an Austrian, by the way, that took the world into war over lebensraum, or living space: Adolf Hitler.)
Vienna is an interesting city, in that it is relatively large — more than 1 million people live in and around Vienna — but feels small. The Viennese want their living spaces to be livable, and they have laws here that, while they would never make it in the United States, work together to make a city that is manageable on all levels. You can reach literally everywhere on the U-bahn, the subway system, and the trams. One ticket bought for a week costs only $15. The Viennese understand that if you want public transit to work, it has to be frequent, affordable and convenient. And because of this, buses and trains are always filled. You can even find parking downtown most of the time if you choose to take your car. Contrast this with our own situation, where we do nothing but cut back on the availability of public transit, and then wonder why it doesn’t work.
Because space is tight, stores are small. Grocery stores have a reasonable variety of items. The local Billa chain has everything you need, and it is of high quality. But there is only one way into the store, leading you past all the items, and only one way out. Beer is cheaper than soda pop. And because the stores are relatively small, there are lots of them—all within walking distance from somewhere. They’re not the only chain in the world to use the idea of walking availability to make a buck. Walgreen’s in the United States uses the same principle with their drug stores, so the notion of having hyper-sized stores to stay profitable in the U.S. market just isn’t supported by the evidence.
Even where space is available, super-sized stores don’t exist. We visited the small town of Murzzuschlag, two hours outside of Vienna, with Jutta, the young woman who arranged our business meetings. Murzzuschlag has 40,000 people, and by our standards is able to support multiple Wal-Marts. But they don’t exist. The largest store is a garden store — about one-quarter the size of our big-box stores. Zoning as we know it also doesn’t exist, and the steel plant sits on the edge of the business district. It is clean, because the citizens won’t tolerate living in a degraded environment. Surrounding the valley are neat, small, very alpen-style homes. I asked Jutta where the poor people lived. “We don’t really have poor people like you do in the States,” she replied. “If someone loses their job, they are supported by the government until they find another one.” She seemed not to show any judgment toward those people, giving me the impression that Austrians like themselves as a nation a whole lot more than we do.
Looking back at our own local battles across the sea, it’s clear that Austrians have some sense of what they want their future to be. They’re aware that change is coming, and they are planning for it. They know that automobiles aren’t going to be around forever, and while they use them, they don’t plan their cities around them. They know that parts of their cities should work together — and in order for that to happen, things have to exist in an appropriate scale. It’s impossible to imagine a fight over Wal-Mart here, because such a thing as a Wal-Mart doesn’t exist. Austrians aren’t extravagant spenders, and they’ve decided that living in the space that they have, and using it wisely is a better choice than the end alternative of running out of space — war.
As we Americans scale up everything that we do, with bigger freeways, bigger big-box stores, and bigger houses, we might stop and ask ourselves where the trajectory is really leading. Or where it has already led us. And we might ask, as our own wars drag out, if any of this is really worth the price.
No, I'm much too busy with more important things to do that. Instead, I'm going to quote yet again from Gregory Hand's superb column "Snobbish tendencies:"
Where do these people come from? Visit a college campus today and see what is going on there (not most of the professors, who tend to be culture snobs, to be discussed next.) No, the faux intellectual snobs, while including some professors and graduate students, are the teenage and early twenty something undergraduate students. These are the ones who are so brilliant as to be enlightened (indoctrinated) by the liberal orthodoxy taught at most schools today, but ironically not intelligent enough to realize that with all these rights that are demanded come corresponding responsibilities.Technorati Tags: wal-mart walmart
Look at the hooligans who just rioted at the G-8 Summit in Genoa, Italy. It is true that many Europeans participated in the mêlée that ensued. The poor unfortunate chap who was shot dead thinking the Italian police would allow him to hurl a large fire extinguisher at them unchallenged was Spanish. But there were also large contingents of Americans as well, completing their parentally funded summer tours of Europe with a little bit of last minute rioting before heading back to the yacht club. I supposed it is something to tell their unfortunate colleagues at the posh private schools in the fall who didn't get to hang out in Europe on mommy and daddy's credit card. Isn't it just amazing the number of rich white kids who travel the globe lamenting the capitalism that allows them their nice homes, their fancy cars, and the extensive travel that they enjoy so much? Are they that ignorant?
To answer the question, yes, they are; and they are because of this supposed superior intellect that has given them an enlightenment that most dolts like you and I don't have, protesting for a variety of inane causes (Free Mumia! Save the suckerfish! Stop global warming!). It is unfortunate, but their grasp of the issues, despite their strenuous arguments to the contrary, is rudimentary at best. They have no realistic idea, beyond their utopian pipe dreams, of the ramifications of the policies that they advocate. It is difficult to rationalize with them, because they immediately snobbishly dismiss any opposing arguments as inferior ones coming from intellectually substandard people.
The most rapidly rising class of snobs are the cultural/society snobs. These are people who go to symphonies, operas, wine tastings, foreign films, coffee houses and various other stylish venues not because they necessarily enjoy it, but because they like to be seen at such events, and they enjoy bragging about going to those who did not attend. On the flip side they also get pained looks on their faces when discussing amusement parks, NASCAR, public beaches, Wal-mart, chain restaurants and any other place where Grubman's 'white trash' might be hanging out. How déclassé.
They tend to congregate either in San Francisco or LA on the West Coast or New York, DC or Boston on the East Coast, as anywhere not attached to an ocean is 'flyover country.' They love the words 'diversity' and 'culture,' and often praise both lovingly just because it makes them look more sophisticated to be discussing such things.
Like the intellectual snobs, the cultural snobs are part of the 'hate America' crowd, albeit for different reasons. The intellectual snobs hate America because they are all socialists and communists looking to create some naïve workers paradise and destroy capitalism. Cultural snobs, on the other hand, hate America only because it looks better when they travel to Europe to put down other Americans, and to lament to anyone who will listen that France is better then America because it is more 'diverse' and has better 'culture.' Besides, who are snobbier, and therefore can appreciate the attitude, than the French?