Driver privilege #2

“Although I could cycle my commute to work and get fit at the same time, I choose to drive instead. It’s socially acceptable for me to excuse this by saying that I want to have have enough energy left at the end of the day to occasionally go jogging. It would also never occur to me to take the bus.”

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5 Responses to Driver privilege #2

  1. Steve says:

    “I have a pretty old car that I only use when I feel I absolutely need to. This doesn’t really count as driving.”

    Or, as you could cheerfully rejoinder:

    “I happily accept lifts from friends and family despite not driving myself. This doesn’t really count as driving.”

  2. smallbeds says:

    Sort of. A bit. I mean, the notion of what counts as “needing to drive” is skewed by driver privilege, but that behaviour itself is a result of society undergoing this skewing, so that that behaviour is feasible, not just acceptable.

    I think the actual privilege at work there is “It’s socially acceptable to say I sometimes need to drive, in situations where other people would not drive, and I’m not in any way disabled.” But as we own a car for specific reasons – largely imposed upon us by the car-loving, human-hating local council – then I’d like to argue it’s even more complex than that. Which I hope to explain eventually.

  3. smallbeds says:

    Incidentally, I don’t think I’m immune to driver privilege. I just feel enough self-loathing to prevent me from luxuriating in it like most drivers.

    • Steve says:

      Yes, I think the privilege is to be able to decide for ourselves whether to drive or not — whether driving is necessary or somehow better than the alternatives, or morally justifiable, it’s up to us. As long as we have the capability to drive (and I’m assuming here that I could pass the test if I put my mind to it, given sufficient time) then we have that particular privilege. Some of us use it differently (I dare say “more responsibly”) than others. And some people no doubt are jerks behind the wheel and would equally be jerks on a bike or a bus.

      And the relation between privilege and social skewing is all about social norms. To massively over-simplify, whatever most people do firstly is widely accepted as reasonable, and secondly is widely considered the responsibility of the individual to do for themselves if they can. So as long as everyone drives around all the time for no good reason, firstly they don’t need excuses for driving around and secondly those who don’t drive around won’t get much sympathy from those who do.

  4. looby says:

    An inverse form of this occurs every time I say “Oh no, I don’t drive,” and see the wonderment dawn on people’s faces, espcially when on holiday when they scan around and see three children and another adult apparently unharmed by the trauma of using public transport to get from Lancashire to southern Brittany.

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