Last week a friend sent me a link to a blog post on the American Society of Civil Engineer's website. The post, titled "10 Myths About the Highway Trust Fund," is the typical propaganda you always hear from ASCE. Things such as (#1) federal legislation ensures that "transportation projects are planned, developed and executed efficiently," (#5) decreases in vehicle miles traveled is recession-related and we can expect a return to increasing VMT as the economy recovers and (#6) we need to act now to save jobs and the economy.
I've essentially ignored the ASCE for the past couple of years -- as increasing numbers of people outside of Washington D.C. are also doing -- but in this instance I decided to leave a comment on their blog. Here's what I wrote.
ASCE is nothing but a propaganda organization. You are in such an echo chamber that you cite your old propaganda as the basis of your new propaganda. This current transportation financing system builds redundant and unnecessary infrastructure while leaving critical systems to rot. The sooner you and the entire DC-based system goes broke, the sooner serious people will be able to start fixing what you have broken. It can’t happen soon enough.
Now that's pretty harsh, granted, but I didn't use any inappropriate language, make any threats or do any of the normal things that gets your comment censored. Yet, that is exactly what has happened.
When I posted my comment, I got a note indicating it was "awaiting moderation." While many others have posted comments subsequent to mine, I'm still in limbo awaiting moderation.
I've invited ASCE leaders to come on our podcast or otherwise engage us in our critiques of the math behind their numbers propaganda. If they claim to speak for the civil engineering profession -- of which I am part of -- then they have a responsibility to hold themselves to the rigor and truth that engineers are ethically bound to. They are falling far short.
Maybe there is some innocent explanation for why my critique is censored while others are free to engage in conversation on their site. If so, allow the comment to go live and let's have a conversation. If not, to quote Thomas Paine, a body holding themselves accountable to nobody should not be trusted by anybody.