Chuck Klosterman is The Ethicist for the NYT. I am the Monday Morning Ethicist.
Yesterday’s second question for Chuck: I often hear people talking about how they want to own one of the bigger cars on the road for safety reasons. This has always struck me as kind of terrible. They want to be in the bigger car so that, if they get in an accident, they will be ones doing the smashing rather than being smashed? Is that unethical?
Chuck said (in so many words): No, because that’d mean the ethical alternative would be to drive a smaller car in which you’d take the brunt of the damage.
I say: Yes, it is unethical. This is just another lame rationale people use to justify buying huge SUVs. And what do people, at least in my part of the world, want to do with their SUVs? They want to drive like selfish assholes, using their vehicles’ sheer bulk for intimidation purposes. This is best exhibited in the behavior of the sad excuse for a human being whom I call the Motherfucking Lane Closing Line Jumper (MLCLJ).
The MLCLJ sees a long line of cars in one lane, and a clear lane in front of him, where far ahead a road crew has blocked off the road, forcing everyone to merge. Most people see the blocked lane and start merging immediately, lining up to take their turn squeezing through the traffic bottleneck. But not MLCLJs, who are invariably driving a Toyota Land Crusher, a Ford Exclusion, a Chevrolet Suburb, or the like. Oh, no. They see the drivers who merge promptly as so many naive suckers waiting to be taken advantage of. They floor it down the blocked off lane right up to the choke point, passing dozens of queued up drivers on their way, and then using their large land mass-sized vehichles to barge their way in to the front of the line, daring anyone with a smaller car to stop them.
I hate them. With a serious, serious passion.
And so my next car will be a big car, but not for safety reasons. My next car will be a rolling justice machine. It will be a mid-’70s leviathan, like maybe a ‘74 Olds 98. And it will have reinforced steel bars bolted on everywhere to the exterior. And I am going to drive around town searching for road construction sites where drivers are forced to merge into one lane, and I am going to lay in wait for the MLCLJs, and when they try to jump the line in front of all us ethical drivers, I am going to “accidentally” veer into their lanes. I figure I’ll be doing them a service by helping them test whether driving “one of the bigger cars on the road” is safer. Or not.