No, not the AIDS which comes to mind first.
I refer to the form which originated in America in the early part of this century- the economy destroying, environmentally disasterous, and personally devastating Auto-Induced Debility Syndrome.
So busy we are, driving our cars to get to work, so as to pay a mere fraction of the real cost of operation of these vehicles. We are physical and mental wrecks, due to our lack of healthy activity, as well as to our ingesting continously over many years the poisons emitted in the over- production and over-use of automobiles, as well as those poisons produced by military operations that we shortsightedly believe necessary to ensure the continuation of this over-production and use. We thus find ourselves weak, apathetic, and disease prone.
As a result, most of us find it impossible to focus on matters outside our own little world. This leads to the general unawareness of and indifference to world issues which is noted by many scholars. People, if they vote at all, do so irresponsibly, influenced more by what other people say, or by T.V., than by their own thought processes. They avoid getting involved with any of the serious problems facing humanity. They simply don't have time to think about it.
But all this can change. We must each take personal responsibility for the future. We can sever the very root of the misery toward which our world appears to be headed. By far the most important factor in doing so is the elimination of each of our personal over- use, mis-use, and abuse of the automobile.
Let us establish the bicycle as our main local transportation device, and improve our other transportation alternatives such as rail lines. It can be done. Maybe not in a day. But the benefits (physical, spiritual, and material) for each individual, of proceeding steadily along this path toward the great goal of freedom from the tyranny of the automobile, are indeed innumerable.
Even people with many physical difficulties have discovered the modern bicycle and made it their main form of local and regional transport. Not only do they observe their physical troubles improving; they often find as well that the apathy and indifference that plagued them, as it plagues the majority of us, to vanish "free of charge", as it were. Can there be any doubt that this path is within reach of nearly all of the rest of us as well?
I hereby call on each individual to summon up strong willpower, to challenge his or her Auto-induced Debility Syndrome, so that together we can overcome this serious disease of American society. It may be difficult at first, but if we persevere, our effort cannot but yield supreme satisfaction.