There are real desires (for home ownership, for the independence of a car) that are widely expressed in our country.
"The independence of a car" is as much an illusion as "the convenience of a car." Let me start by saying that there are very few people who are able to travel completely independently. It's possible that some lone sailor, kayaker or desert trekker may be independent of any current infrastructure, but they're probably at least relying on some map or lore that was put together by others before.
I have to say that when I've driven, I don't feel particularly independent crawling along in crosstown traffic. I'm hemmed in, I can't go anywhere, I can't even park! The same thing with actually parking the damn thing once I get wherever I'm going. How independent am I if I can't even get out of the vehicle until I find a free space to leave it? And once I get out, what if I feel tired or somebody offers me a ride home? Sorry, I've got this two-ton thing and I can't leave it here overnight. How is that independent?
Drivers bitch and moan if the government takes too long to fix a pothole. What would they do if the government had never laid out, graded and paved the road in the first place? If there were no police to deter bandits or enforce some rules of safety, however minimal? No subsidies to vehicle manufacturers or energy producers? They are completely dependent on the system.
So when they say "independence," independence from what? People will usually say transit routes and schedules, or else from the confines of what's available within walking distance. And if they feel confined by their location or by the structure of the transit system, then I don't blame them for wanting to be independent of it.
If we look at it that way, "independence" is merely a means to an end. What they want is access, and their neighborhood and their transit system are not giving them enough of it. Having a car connects them to a parallel system that gives them that access they want.
On the other hand, it's possible, through development, to give people that same access by putting the things they need within walking distance. Through proper transit infrastructure funding and development, it's possible to give them access. For example, you could extend the hours, frequency and reach of the transit system. That's pretty much what we have here in New York, and it works very well. Most people get by just fine without a car.
In sum, there is no such thing as "the independence of a car." There's just the expanded access that can sometimes be achieved through cars, but it can often be achieved in other ways as well.