This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

A favored tactic of those who argue for subsidized highways is to pit blue collar against white collar. For a classic of the genre, check out maritime industry spokesman Jordan Royer’s op-ed in the Seattle Times today, which tries to pit the needs of the “maritime-industrial complex” (yes, he actually calls it that! and he means it in a good way!) against the desires of the Mayor’s effete, latte-swillin’ Portlandia dreams.

The Mayor, you see, wants to conduct a “social experiment” (again, Royer’s phrasing) on the middle-class families and children of this fair city. Can you picture it now? The mayor, in his white lab coat, with a nice, middle-class family from Federal Way in his petri dish, poking and prodding them until they give in and ride light rail?

Royer’s not alone in this sort of demagoguery. Gov. Christine “38% approval rating” Gregoire has also decided to accuse the mayor of “social engineering” (in the New York Times no less! How un-Seattle like to air our dirty laundry like that!).

In truth, all transportation is social engineering. If we build more highways, which Royer and Gregoire want, we’ll be manipulating society as well, just in the way that they prefer. I just wish we could all be honest about this.