Arguing with the Don’t-Wanna-Knows.

Without question—at least for me—the most frustrating aspect of passenger rail advocacy is the unwillingness of the opposition to engage in thoughtful dialog. In fact, more often than not, the response we get to fact-based statements in support of an expanded and improved passenger rail system is a personal attack:
“Typical B.S from a tax-and-spend libetard.”
I no longer even try to engage such people. There is simply no point … nothing to be gained from trying to reason with someone who thinks that “it’s another damn government boondoggle” is a valid argument. It’s not. It’s just a rant.
OK, I understand that sometimes we won’t get thoughtful, rational arguments from Joe Six-Pack, but when you read newspaper editorials shot through with misinformation or even no information at all, you can only shake your head.
In this lengthy editorial from the Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph, the writer practically flaunts his flawed assumptions with this remarkable rationale to explain his conviction that the proposed high-speed rail link between Dallas and Houston is sure to fail:
“Airlines make the trip in 30 minutes. The train, at best, could do it in 90 minutes. “
Isn’t that discouraging! The author of a newspaper editorial doesn’t understand that the train will actually be faster because it comes and goes from the center of the city, while the airports are often a 30-40 minute drive from city-center. He also says the plane fare and rail fare will be comparable, but he fails to consider the $40 or $50 cab ride on either end of the flight!
Then the writer quotes a Republican member of the Texas legislature who says “I want to focus on providing more roadways for people to travel.” Roadways?? There’s a guy who’s stuck in the 1950’s.
Ah, but the editorial writer saves his best argument for last when he objects to a ridership estimate by the Dallas Morning News: “… that’s unrealistic. We’re too Texan for that.”
Well, yuh got me there, pilgrim!”