“I’m a liberal, but…”
I thought this last week’s New Yorker cover was okay, although I suspected that illustrator and avid motorist Bruce McCall meant it as a mild jab at the mayor’s push for a cleaner, calmer, and safer city. Then I read McCall’s explanation and realized there was nothing mild about it:
“When I heard about Bloomberg blocking off part of Broadway for pedestrian malls a while back, I felt that it was wrong. It could cause gridlock with cars idling, spewing out exhaust, so it’d be just as bad,” says Bruce McCall about the inspiration for this week’s cover, “A Greater, Greener New York.” He continues: “The whole forcing people to become more ecologically ‘aware’ health-wise seems to me to be Big Brother imposing on people, really the personal philosophy of the mayor and his ‘do-gooder’ group. I’m a liberal, but I find it offensive that we can’t be allowed to make our own decision about anything, and that there’s a better, ‘higher’ form of knowledge and expertise that we have to obey.”
“I’m a liberal, but…” is the “I like bike lanes, but…” of all irrational objection to common-sense solutions to every problem that plagues humanity.
McCall also calls worrying about one’s carbon footprint and doing what one can to save the environment a “liberal form of smugness,” which I’m sure his great-grandchildren will appreciate as they flip though old archives of his cover illustrations in the main branch of the public library in the floating city of New Chicago.