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Breaking Away

The peculiar, and rather disappointing, Andy Roonification of George Will seems ongoing. There was, course, his extended climate-change crankery, and then his curmudgeonly and wildly ill-informed diatribe against denim. Now, in Newsweek, Will takes aim at Portland, Oregon, and efforts to reduce auto traffic generally. After tossing off a bit of increasingly characteristic faux populist posturing--is Will, the American male perhaps least likely ever to have operated a piece of heavy machinery, really the right person to rhapsodize Peoria, Illinois as the home of Caterpillar Inc.?--he suggests that no conceivable changes in public policy could ever persuade "0.01 percent of Americans [to] bike to work."

Perhaps a massive federal program of bicycle confiscation might do the trick? Because as Matt Yglesias hilariously points out, according to the Census Bureau, right now 0.4 percent of commuters get to work by bike, or 40 times the number that George Will dismisses as some pie-in-the-sky liberal fantasy.

--Christopher Orr