I want to get people out of their cars, for the reasons given above: clean air and water, efficiency, safety, health, better society, and fairness. Some people disagree with me on this, for a variety of reasons. If you're like me, you want to persuade those people to change their minds, to strengthen your cause. I've realized recently that the reasons for defending car subsidies fall into three groups, and each group requires different counterarguments.
The first defense is Denial. You've got a reason why people should stop using cars, and they don't think it's a problem. Global warming? Peak oil? They don't exist, or they can be solved with technology. Bowling alone? They're really happier that way. Car crashes? Unavoidable accidents. Obesity? It's a moral failing. Poor people can't get to work? Just buy every rider a car. Education is the key here, showing them why it is a problem. But they probably won't listen to you, so they need to hear it from a source they trust.
The next defense is Not Our Problem. They're insulated from the problem (by having enough money to pay for car expenses, or by never walking beyond the parking lot), or they don't think it affects them (asthma, bowling alone), or they don't think it will affect them (car crashes, obesity), or it's far in the future (global warming, peak oil). These things happen to other people, usually people they don't know, so why should they care? Not much you can do with these people. Empathy implants? For some circumstances, you can show them that it does affect them or their loved ones, and that may change their minds about one factor.
The third defense is You Can't Do That Without a Car! It's a favorite of the Very Serious People who want to reassure the world that they're not really (gasp!) anti-car. You can't pick up a chair on the subway! You can't transport two kids on the bus! You can't move an apartment by bike!
The key, as Carla Saulter and Clarence Eckerson know, is to keep showing that you can do that without a car. The supposed convenience of cars and the supposed independence of cars are illusions: the convenience is entirely dependent on the infrastructure, and transit and pedestrian infrastructure have the same capacity to make things convenient and to set us free.
The fact is that there's nothing you can do with a car that couldn't be done some other way, given the proper infrastructure. It may be that cars are the most efficient way to do them, but that's not always as obvious as you may think. We need to show all the You Can't Do That Without a Car people that you can. That's how we'll get them over to our side, because they're the most promising allies of the three.