LETTER- Commuters know what they're doing

Randy Salzman in his elitist essay ["Dumb drivers: Choosing congestion over inspiration," July 24] shakes his nanny finger at American drivers and scolds them because they "ain't" logical, according to his self-defined criteria. He draws upon the irrefutable support of a comic strip character to bolster his case.

Salzman has determined that drivers should spend their gas dollars driving their families to vacation destinations rather than on commuting to work. Perhaps retired grandparents have that choice. Working families have to get to a job as their first priority. Public transportation choices are limited or impractical in practice for many commuters. At this time of residential real estate disaster, his advice to move and live closer to the job is brilliantly irrational. Equally so is his notion that recreational "driving is more financially desirable because it boosts the economy much more than our typical commutes." So taking a vacation trip is more rational than driving to work to earn a living?

In his third argument for vacation driving, he claims that with four people in the car we "are getting better gas milage in the process." A heavier car gets better gas milage than a lighter car?

What American drivers are exercising as they commute is their hard-earned right to make individual choices as to what is in their best interest. Drivers are well aware of the cost of gasoline, the drudgery of sitting in traffic jams, and alternate commute choices. And yet, after considering all options, many choose the car commute as their logical choice, while perhaps wishing they were elsewhere on vacation.

For truly irrational behavior, look no further than the U.S. Congress which refuses access to our own known oil reserves, thereby forcing our petrodollars into the pockets of Hugo Chavez and others in foreign countries.

Perhaps Salzman yearns for the allure of central planning logic to solve the dilemma posed by "dumb drivers" and American "idiots." I suggest that he take a driving vacation and read The Fatal Conceit by F. A. Hayek.

Charles G. Battig, M.D.