At this point, if you have both a tidy car and a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker, you might be feeling a bit indignant, and understandably so. All I can say is, congratulations! You should feel proud, though I do encourage you to chide any of your messy socialist friends. After all, they are not only making you look bad. They are also illustrating one of the most powerful critiques of socialism — if a society expects everyone else to take care of everything, few will take care of anything — while also giving those of us on the libertarian-leaning end of the spectrum minor panic attacks about the perils of U.K.-style nationalized health care and the overall tragedy of the commons.
I should clarify that I am not talking about junky cars, or old struggling cars, or cars that have been dinged up and need repairs. Such conditions are understandable if you can’t afford to fix them. No, no: I am talking about perfectly nice cars — Subarus or Volvos or Priuses or Leafs — with interiors that look like a cartoon crime scene. Cars whose mess is so overwhelming that you don’t have to be a snoop, nosily peering into windows in the parking lot, to notice it. It’s a level of mess that could cheerfully break through brick walls, much like the hopped-up Kool-Aid Man of yore.
Here are things I have seen in cars wearing Bernie Sanders stickers: broken dog kennels, piles of hangers dangling with dry-cleaner plastic wrap, enough granola-bar wrappers to fuel a walk down the entire Appalachian trail, empty two-liter soda bottles, dirty Kleenex piles, half-eaten sandwiches, and one scornfully unopened copy of What Happened by Hillary Clinton. Often these things are all mixed together, creating a terrifying mélange of slack. People, this is really not that hard: There are trash and recycling receptacles all around!