The Politics of Late Merging?

My favorite letter in response to the New York Times Magazine Cynthia Gorney merging piece (in which I’m mentioned) was this one, from Mike Adamsky in Mendham, N.J.:

“Oh, my goodness, if Gorney’s article isn’t a perfect political allegory, I don’t know what is. Gorney is the classic Democrat, fretting about power balances and whether or not someone is getting ahead “unfairly.” She rails against the sidezoomers, even though experts have told her that utilization of all lanes is the most efficient mode. She’s probably also on the side of repealing the so-called “Bush tax cuts” even though some analysts say that these “cuts” resulted in a greater proportion of overall taxes being paid from the high-income group.

Padilla, the operations worker, is the classic Republican. He sees the opening and seizes the opportunity. Is this fair? He thinks so. The open lane that allows him to get ahead is equally available to everyone. He probably supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Why? Because he wants cheaper gas, and we’ve got it sitting right there!

Morgan, the cop, is the classic libertarian. We’ve got enough rules governing behavior already. The sidezoomer is fully entitled to try to cut, the lineupper is fully entitled to try to keep him out. No blood, no foul. Morgan stays the heck out of the vast majority of interactions. Let the games begin.

Fortunately, Gorney does show us how it’s supposed to work: we all just have to learn to behave like ants — productive little creatures who don’t brood or waste energy pounding dashboards.”

Given my own conversion to late merging, I wondered what this said about my own politics. Creeping Republicanism? Well, actually, the system I advocate is the one tried by engineers in which merging instructions are carefully and precisely laid out (thus allaying feelings of wronged social justice), perhaps even backed by enforcement. So I suppose this makes me a sort of Scandinavian Social Democrat, vis a vis using “big,” rational government planning to engineer effective (yet fair) social outcomes.

One is tempted to pursue the potential implications of the politics of merging. Would there be, say, a communist merging scheme? (wealthier cars are sent back to the end of the line in favor of rusty Ladas) A fundamentalist Right stratagem? (whatever lane you are in is God’s will) Anarcho-syndacalist merging, anyone?

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 19th, 2008 at 7:25 am and is filed under Drivers, Traffic Psychology, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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August 2008

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