For years I have argued that most high-speed rail makes no sense economically -- that in fact it is an example of the political impulse towards triumphalism. Government leaders through the ages have wanted to use other people's money and sweat to build vast monuments to themselves that would last through the ages.
I meant that as ridicule, and assumed most readers would recognize it as such, but apparently not the LA Times, which editorialized in favor of California high speed rail in part because its just like the pyramids
Worthwhile things seldom come without cost or sacrifice. That was as true in ancient times as it is now; pharaoh Sneferu, builder of Egypt's first pyramids, had to try three times before he got it right, with the first two either collapsing under their own weight or leaning precipitously. But who remembers that now? Not many people have heard of Sneferu, but his pyramids and those of his successors are wonders of the world.
As a reminder, this is what I wrote at the article linked above in Forbes
What is it about intellectuals that seem to, generation after generation, fall in love with totalitarian regimes because of their grand and triumphal projects? Whether it was the trains running on time in Italy, or the Moscow subways, or now high-speed rail lines in China, western dupes constantly fall for the lure of the great pyramid without seeing the diversion of resources and loss of liberty that went into building it.