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Blog Post #6: 2018 MAR 6 ~ The Automobile: Money to Morals to Merits
Burton Coon’s “The Automobile” column is a thought-provoking must read. After beginning with a historical overview from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, he explores the impact of the automobile on business and the agriculturist. Then, he proceeds to question its “influence on the morals of the people” from criminals to housewives. In his intended final installment, he describes the merits of this new “experiment”. After further consideration, his final installment includes an article published in 1898 about the effects of the bicycle on the nation. His instructions to the reader to replace the word “bicycle” with “automobile” leads to an enlightening statement about how we tend to accept new inventions throughout history.
Clipping #2: After leading with the comment that “the business of building, selling and repairing automobiles is so stupendous as to dwarf every other industry into comparative insignificance”, he announces “that by far the greatest influence of the automobile on business is felt in the amount of money which it absorbs”.
Clipping #3: Burton focuses on the impact on the agriculturist and wonders “how can he live?” “because the automobile has absorbed so much money from the pockets of the people that there is not enough left to buy” agricultural products.
Clipping #4: He points out that “The very motion of the car is thrilling, especially if it is going fifty or sixty miles an hour. The nerves tingle, the blood rushes through the veins, the head swims, the passions are excited, and the victim soon loses self-control and moral consciousness”.
Clippings #5 and #6: He encourages us to “thoughtfully consider how we may use these things as He intended they should be used- for our own good, and the good of one another”.
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