The De Facto Mandate

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Big Business has discovered that it can do business with Big Government – and vice versa – the two spooning together like lovesick newlyweds. Of course, it’s us – the Mundanes – who end up getting screwed.

Here’s another example: Back-up cameras for cars.

It’s not even necessary to actually mandate such things anymore. The government was threatening to do that – but retreated from actually issuing the fatwa – which had been scheduled to go into effect beginning with the 2014 model year. (A final “ruling” is slated to be issued by NHTSA by December 31.)

Perhaps because the car companies are de facto mandating the things already.

Of the past half dozen or so new vehicles I’ve been issued to test drive and review, every single one had a back-up camera – even though the proposed mandate (de jure)  would not actually go into effect until 2014. In many cases, the back-up camera is packaged with GPS, or even with the audio system – which in many new cars includes an LCD display – the major cost-adding component of the back-up camera system (the cameras themselves being pretty inexpensive). So, if you want GPS – or the upgrade audio system – you have to buy the back-up camera, too.

As a practical matter,  any new car that’s not a really basic, bare-bones economy car already has the LCD display – so adding the cameras is an easy thing to do. So, it is done. Why not? It means more money for all (except the buyer,  of course) and the car companies can bray about their “commitment to safety” – which these days is what horsepower and sex appeal were to another generation, long gone.  Plus, by being ahead of the curve – that is, ahead of the de jure mandate – which will surely come – they will save themselves some hassle.

But what about saving us – their customers – some hassle?

And money, too?

There was a time – hard to believe, I realize – when businesses actively worked to please customers – as opposed to the government. Or at least, felt they had to try to please the customer – and saw the government as an impediment.

When a politician or DOT/NHTSA bureaucrat went after a car company, the car company fought back. Sometimes, they even fought back dirty – just as the government always fights dirty (because it does not use persuasion, only force). But at some point – probably in the early 1970s – the industry made a hive-mind decision to join ’em rather than fight ’em – because (so they reasoned) you can’t beat ’em. The first clear sign  of this change in tack was when they jumped in the sack with then-NHTSA Head Clover Joan Claybrook – and birthed the Supplemental Restraint (air bag) mandate.

GM – and Chrysler – had tried persuasion. They put air bags on the options list in the early-mid ’70s. Not many buyers opted for them. No doubt because they were big ticket options – about $800 in early 1970s money, equivalent to the cost of air conditioning (which in those days was also a big-ticket option in most cars).

When persuasion didn’t work, they decided to use force. So-called SRS systems became required by law. All new cars had to have them.

A great deal of money was made – and that set in motion the dynamic playing out today. The automakers “fight” proposed new mandates in the same way that Hulk Hogan fought Andre the Giant. They put on a great show – but the outcome is not in doubt. And lately – as in the case of this back-up camera business – the car companies are skipping the staged match altogether by anticipating the mandate. By fitting cars with cameras (and LCD displays) before the government actually requires them.

Make it a fate accompli.

And make a tidy profit.

People – most people – won’t object. They’ve been so thoroughly brainwashed into rabid worship of “safety” – if it saves even one life, it’s worth doing – that it won’t strike them as ludicrous to fit Fiat 500s and SmartCars with back-up cameras (and possibly back-up buzzers, too). Because it is entirely possible that someone might fail to notice the tot sleeping behind the back tire…  ergo, the possibility of even one idiot behaving like, well, an idiot requires the entire country of 300 million-plus be idiot-proofed.

Count on it – and expect to pay for it, too – if you want a new car. Even though you may not have kids. Or if you do, you’re the sort who makes sure – by actually looking – that there aren’t any behind the rear tire before you put the car in reverse. It doesn’t matter. There is money to be made. And so, back-up cameras will be made mandatory – de facto or de jure, it doesn’t really matter. Because either way, you and I will pay.

Throw it in the Woods? 



  1. There are two flaws in your argument. One, car companies, or any other company, are free to choose what they sell. If car companies choose to put back up cameras on their cars, they may do that. Two, you have a choice to buy or not buy the car. Now, I am sure you are a free market kind of guy, This is an examploe of the free market system at work. Apparently, there is a market for these vehicles. And, just as the car companies may choose to sell cars with back up cameras, you are just as free not to buy one. Let the market decide, or would you prefer to have the gubment decide back up cameras should not be sold on cars?

    • NC,

      How are car companies free to choose what they sell when the government mandates what they may sell? How are consumers free to choose when they have no choice? (Because all recent vintage cars are required by law to have, for example, airbags and so on.)

      Or do you consider it a “choice” to not buy a car at all? (That is, a car made within the past appx. 20 years?)

      What I’d rather see is the car companies being able to freely offer a given feature – and buyers able to freely choose to buy it – or not.

  2. You can buy a back up camera at Auto Zone for $49. I have one I modified with longer wires so I can more easily see where my trailer is going. I learned that my wife’s hand signals had absolutely nothing to to do with what was actually happening.

    • LOL I really can’t stand asking most people for hand signals. $49 bucks might just be worth it, just for hooking up a hitch, etc. The first time I ever saw one of these gadgets was on a high end farming tractor. Hours of time looking over your shoulder is a real pain in the neck. Not so much because you don’t know were you are going or can’t stay in a row. But because of rocks and what they do when your equipment hits them.

      One more thing. I can’t stand these tiny mirrors they have now. I still own a set of mirrors from way back when that you latch on. One of the best gifts ever. Anyone with a trailer should own a set.

  3. Bevin says:

    It’s funny. The public schools really should stop putting books like 1984 and Brave New World on their required reading lists. People might connect the dots.

    Not a chance. Publik skool ejookayshun [sic for indoctrination] has rendered the majority both 1) unable to read and 2) devoid of any of the critical thinking skills required to connect proverbial dots.

    Also, I’m not sure that Amerika’s publik skoolz even have required reading lists anymore, especially ones that contain classic literature like the works you cite. Way, WAY too “un-PC.”

    • How many cops are conversant with Bastiat or Albert Jay Nock or Rothbard or von Mises or Spooner or the collectivist underpinnings of the War of Northern Aggression?

    • How can a work be so famous and fail to affect the thinking of Americans? No people have have warned about out of control power more the world’s English-speaking people.

      • There were some good Russian authors as well.

        The Anarchists are right in everything; in the negation of the existing order and in the assertion that, without Authority there could not be worse violence than that of Authority under existing conditions. They are mistaken only in thinking that anarchy can be instituted by a violent revolution. But it will be instituted only by there being more and more people who do not require the protection of governmental power and by there being more and more people who will be ashamed of applying this power.

        How is this revolution to take place? Nobody knows how it will take place in humanity, but every man feels it clearly in himself. And yet in our world everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.

        Leo Tolstoy

    • One of the books we read in 9th grade was The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein.

      As for indoctrination, I agree that it’s what they do, whether they know it or not. This is why parents have to do their best to beat that crap out of them. Well not literally, but you know what I mean.

    • Dear liberranter,

      You wrote: Publik skool ejookayshun has rendered the majority devoid of any of the critical thinking skills required to connect proverbial dots.

      You’re right. Or as today’s students would say “Your right.”

      You wrote: Way, WAY too un-PC.

      Again, probably so. I’m showing my age.

  4. They keep putting new crap on a car that I don’t want or need while removing the things that I do want, like body side molding and vent windows.

    • Vent windows? You KNOW you’ve been around awhile when you remember the old man using his vent window to flick ashes from his cigarettes as I do. Plus the aluminum louvered window “shades” along with plastic car seats in the heat of Summer. Ouch!

  5. I always found it interesting that all the mandatory safety rules/equipment us mere mortals are forced to accept are optional for for those in power. I ran a taxi company in a small tourist town in NY for 10 years, and never had the madatory cell phone hands free device and for years it wasn’t a problem. One night one of our local LEOs (Lying Evil Oppressors) told me I better get one, I asked him why the PD were exempt from the hands free law, their cars had airbag disablers and a host of other exemptions, he said it was because of all the “special” training police go through. My bigest mistake was pointing out how the PD had wrecked 15-20 cars in the last 10 years and my drivers had wrecked zero.

      • I think Red Foxx beat him to that one it by a few decades. He had to go to court and commented that there were “more niggers there than in a Tarzan movie”.

        • According to Malcom X, Redd Foxx was one of three “reds” in Harlem in the early-mid 1940s. Redd was known as “St. Louis Red” while Malcolm X was the second one. The third one? I think he died or was exiled to the gulag.

    • he said it was because of all the “special” training police go through

      “Special training” for cops. Hmmmm, that must include learning how to:

      – Count beyond ten without having to unzip their flys.

      – Write at least at a first grade level in order to falsify official statements.

      – Lie in a manner that couldn’t convince a four-year-old.

      – Apply lethal violence against the disabled, elderly, children, women, and other victims incapable of fighting back, as well as against those who refuse to believe their unbelievable, intelligence-insulting lies.

      – Avoid situations in which they’re actually called upon to defend life and property against actual armed and dangerous criminals.

      – Turn situations that could easily be de-escalated and resolved by five minutes of simple negotiation into lethal and destructive debacles.

      – “Steal and conceal”

      Given the extremely difficult time most cops have with the first two items on the above list and from observation of their “driving skills” (more accurately, lack thereof), I find it impossible to believe that they can be trained to drive and talk on a cell phone at the same time without causing absolute mayhem on the road.

        • THey coddle and enable the cops.

          However, you can’t cut the cops any slack as they freely and voluntarily choose to be bullies and killers. Its hard to argue against that.

          If a man chooses to be part of a military or paramilitary organization, there is not much good you can say about them. It is the very quintessence of cowardice.

          Rugged individuals do not sign up to be part of the biggest, baddest gangs. Only losers do that.

          • Having acknowledged that, don’t you find it insane to provide them with bad laws to enforce? How many lives has the unlawful Drug War claimed so far. How much suffering has it wrought?

            If you desire corruption, bad law is the best way that I know of to get it.

    • Just another person who ‘talked’ who isn’t credible or doesn’t really exist. We are just konspiracy kooks and it doesn’t matter how many witnesses and whistle blowers and document leakers there are. It will all be disregarded by the vast majority as “conspiracy theory”.

      • Exactly. You could rub people’s noses in the most unmistakeably vile of shit until they’re coated in it and they’d still swear it was gourmet chocolate.

        • I was talking to someone the other day about big brother watching us…

          Conversation went something like this:

          Other Person: you’re paranoid bro
          Other Person: and even if they are who cares
          Other Person: if it prevents a terrorist attack
          Other Person: I’m all for it

  6. My motorcycle doesn’t have airbags or seatbelts. At least it’s still legal to ride.

    I wear a helmet by choice, since NH is one of the few states left that allows that choice.

    Now, let’s get California style lane splitting tolerated. :^)

  7. I recently bought a touchscreen multimedia/gps system for my older bmw. It had the option for backup camera. Since a backup camera is worthless for a Z3, I instead decided to mount my camera in the front grill so I can make sure to not smack up my new front bumper when I pull into parking spaces that have a concrete stop.

  8. If you are wondering how much bigger and more intrusive the Government Monster might become, consider the Sugary Drinks ban that is presently in the news. Rest assured, the monster will become as big at the People allow it to become.

    Fines feed law parasites.

    • Dear Tinsley,

      “Rest assured, the monster will become as big at the People allow it to become.”

      Exactly right.

      There is no upper limit to how big the Leviathan State will become. It is not subject to moral or legal constraints. Statists talk about morality and law, but care not a whit for either.

      The sole limiting factor is hard economic reality. Stein’s Law. If something is unsustainable, it will end. Unfortunately only bankruptcy will end the Obamanation. Fortunately, economic bankruptcy WILL end the Obamanation.

      Conventional government is basically an unstable system. It is a positive feedback loop that invariably goes into runaway mode. It eventually over-revs and blows up, like a steam engine without a governor.

      The analogy is nearly exact. The only difference is the steam engine deals with mechanical energy. The government deals with political power.

      • You’re right, Bevin. What is really horrifying to realize, when one dwells on it for even a minute, is that the sheeple majority will literally demand that “the government” do EVERYTHING to ensure “safety” and “security” even after the Great Collapse, even after it becomes obvious even to a newborn infant that The Present System is a complete and utter failure. By EVERYTHING, I mean assume absolute, complete, and total power over Everyone And Everything, the imposition of complete and total subservience, at the point of guns and predator drones, in the name of “the greater good.”

        While I still agree with the idea that it is at least theoretically possible to turn the majority around to the concepts of liberty and self-ownership in the long run, I’m not certain that there even is a “long run” any more. Given the pace of events, and given the obvious fact that the clover majority still subscribes to the Der Staat Ueber Alles mentality even as the present system collapses before their very eyes, I don’t see any cause for optimism.

        • That’s why I choke when people talk about the cause of liberty being a multi-generational task in order to turn things around. No! That ain’t ever gonna happen. People will long forget, the more people there are the more that won’t even be aware of what’s going on, and by the time another generation has rolled around you’ll be further enslaved and cursed for being cowards and not “doing something” when you had the chance. Call me cynical but history bears me out.

          • Dear MOT,

            “That’s why I choke when people talk about the cause of liberty being a multi-generational task in order to turn things around.”

            It could be, only not in the way people meant it. It could well be a post-apocalypse multi-generational effort, after the worst has already happened.

            “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
            — Confucius, Chinese social philosopher

            Unfortunately mankind usually only learns by experience, which is the bitterest way to acquire wisdom.

            This was true of the USSR, which imploded as a result of its runaway positive feedback loop.

            This was true of mainland China, which learned the hard way under Mao the folly of extreme collectivization. Fortunately Deng Xiaoping saw the light and “took the capitalist road.”

            This is now true of the USSA, with its coming dollar debacle and economic collapse.

        • Dear liberranter,

          “I’m not certain that there even is a “long run” any more. Given the pace of events,”

          I agree. If Marc Faber, Jim Rogers, Doug Casey and others are right, and I think they are, the S is going HTF sooner than we think.

          The Neocon “champions of democracy” gloated when the former USSR imploded back in 1989.

          But 2012 could be the counterpart of 1986, 1987, 1988, i.e., the lead up to 1989, only this time for the USSA.

          An implosion of equal magnitude could well be in the offing, only this time a democratic dictatorship instead of a Communist dictatorship.

          • Follows a snippet from a book titled, THE NOBLE TRINITY that I self-published in the 1990s.

            *snip* There is no more profound example of the futility of government sanctioned violation of human nature than that of the late Soviet Union. After only seventy years, the greatest—and most horrible—socialist experiment in history imploded from the pressure of its own flawed philosophy. It would have collapsed sooner but for a national solidarity caused by a brutal war with Germany. The military establishment left at the end of the war enabled a brutal regime to endure long after the foreign enemy was vanquished.
            Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, an enormous parasitic bureaucracy was left in America without an Evil Empire to justify its existence, making it necessary to create a new evil. Prohibition and Regulation now decree that our personal vices now make us the enemy of The State.*snip*

          • Dear Tinsley,

            “an enormous parasitic bureaucracy was left in America without an Evil Empire to justify its existence, making it necessary to create a new evil.”

            Yup. The old “enemy deficit” syndrome.

            No peace dividend for us. Gotta justify all those carrier battle groups and NATO.

            Domestically, the War on Drugs. Abroad, the War on Terror.

            The role of Emmanuel Goldstein, public enemy number one, is successively filled by Saddam Hussein/Osama bin Laden/Muammar Gaddafi/Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

            And lest we forget, across the Pacific, there’s always China. The old reliable Yellow Peril. Ming the Merciless. The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. Dr. No.

            It’s funny. The public schools really should stop putting books like 1984 and Brave New World on their required reading lists. People might connect the dots.

  9. Q. What motivates the legal imposition of force?

    A. Money.

    If you do not have a copy of Bastiat’s THE LAW*, get one and refer to it often. It’s Critical Thinking at it very best.


    *THE LAW can be found on the internet and downloaded free of charge.

  10. 2 milenia ago the states were ruled by astrologers. our modern systems of written slavery and official masters are equally baseless.

    you can learn the same amount of useful info from mystic meg or the federal register and cspan.

    nothing american is trustworthy anymore it is all bad astrology.

    you have to navigate and chart using your own reckoning and interpretation.

  11. Seeing the words “Joan Claybrook” triggered my gag reflex. It’s been a long time, but not long enough, since that sour, homely marm proposed seat belts for motorcycles and other intelligent proposals.

  12. Quotung: “reasonable” minimum standards for brakes, tires, lighting and other safety related systems should be imposed on manufacturers”.

    They are- by CUSTOMERS.

  13. Eric et al;

    “Vicktor Vladimov” is a troll. It’s either “Victor” or “Viktor,” spelled the same in Cyrillic. Second, it’s not “Vladimov” but Vladimirov (i.e. son of Vladimir or, literally, of Vladimir).


    • I figured that when he (it?) corrected my spelling…Nobody named Vladimov is going to correct someone’s English word spelling 🙂

      My comment was general and not aimed at it (him?), by the way.

    • Dear Ivan,

      Thanks for sharing that. Much appreciated.

      I Googled “Vicktor” because the spelling looked awfully fishy. Usually one sees only “Viktor,” as you noted. But not being Russian I hesitated to say anything. Ditto “Vladimov.” Alarm bells went off with that too.

      To me, the way people are named affirms our common humanity. My late father was stationed in the Middle East for a number of years. He clued me in on Arabic names. The “bin” in names such as “Osama bin Laden” is the same as the “ov” in Russian names. It too means “son of” or just “of.” Bin also takes the form of “ibn.”

      Also, the “bin” in Arabic names is the same as the “Ben” in Hebrew names such as Judah Ben Hur or David Ben Gurion. The name “Benjamin,” which can be a given name or surname, actually derives from the Hebrew name “Ben Yamin,” or “son of Yamin.”

      Chinese names are different in this respect, but similar in other respects. The Chinese also have names that derive from nature or occupation.

      The Chinese surname “Lin” as in Jeremy Lin, means “Woods.” So if basketball star Jeremy Lin were Anglo-Saxon, his name would be Jeremy Woods.

      The Chinese surname “Wang/Wong” as in Vera Wang, means “King.” So if the famous dress designer Vera Wang were Anglo-Saxon, her name would be Vera King.

      Incidentally, for those who don’t know it already, the Russian name Ivan may sound very “foreign” to many Americans. But actually it is a cognate of the extremely common English name John, the German name Johann, the French name Jean, the Italian name Giovanni, or the Spanish name Juan.

      I’m an opera fan. I was sorely disappointed to learn the name of the great Italian opera composer “Giuseppe Verdi” in English was “Joseph Green” or merely “Joe Green.” What a letdown!

  14. I’m a damned good driver at age 76. What I’ve lost in quick reflexes I’ve more than made up for with Situation Awareness.

    Since having my cataracts removed I can see well at night and I often forget to use my reading glasses at the computer.

    I stopped riding motorcycles several years ago when it stopped being fun. I’ve been hit twice but never suffered a concussion or a broken bone. When a cab driver nailed me on Rampart Street one evening, quick reflexes made it possible for me to raise my left leg an instant before being broadsided. This happened only two weeks after undergoing a laminectomy for a herniated disc.

    Lucky? Nah, just tougher and smarter than most of the numbskulls infesting planet Earth.

  15. “The thing we were talking about is “safety” equipment – and whether “safety” (reduced risk, based on general data, etc.) justifies forcing people to do X or purchase Y.

    If you believe that it does, then how (and where) do you draw the line?”

    I believe that “reasonable” minimum standards for brakes, tires, lighting and other safety related systems should be imposed on manufacturers, not so much for the safety of the purchaser, but for the safety of the other motorists on the road. I’d be delighted to have all safety equipment that relates only to the purchaser be optional and a la carte.

    I oppose minimum mpg standards. I support “reasonable” emission standards….but we have already exceeded what is reasonable re emissions.

    And we’re in agreement re motorcycles. You have every right to ride one, and assume all the risk. What is really hard to refute is that it “is” more risky… far.

  16. Make yourself no illusions, the driver less car is coming soon; it will be safe and eco friendly and perfectly boring. But the constitution talks about the pursuit of happiness not fun.

    • I’d be ok with that (for others, if they want it) but I have this nagging fear that it will become mandatory; that driver-controlled cars will be outlawed as other than static displays and museum pieces once the driverless car (and “intelligent” highways) become technically feasible and commercially viable.

      It will be argued that driver-controlled cars are “unsafe.”

      Wait for it…

      • Dear Eric,

        “I have this nagging fear that it will become mandatory.”

        Gee Eric, why in the world would you fear that?

        Joking aside, you’re dead right. It’s the clovers’ ne plus ultra.

        Everything that is not forbidden shall be mandatory. Everything that is not mandatory shall be forbidden.

        It always comes back to psychology, to the desire for control. Control means safety.

        But the key is control of what?

        Attempts to control Nature in the service of Man is psychologically healthy. It is essence of civilization and technology.

        Attempts to control other men to assuage one’s own sense of insecurity on the other hand, is the psychopathology of the clover that we spoke of earlier. It is what motivates power hungry politicians, who couch their psychopathology in terms of “public service.”

        The only reason few people call them on it, is that the sheeple share their mentality.

      • Was reading on an engineering blog about autonomous cars. They have driven 300,000 plus miles with one accident, and that was when the test car was rear ended by a careless driver! Much of my work is with older airplanes, but the new one can take off, fly, and land with no human at the controls. I forsee the day when all passenger planes and cars will be robotic. Our cheif pilot says people will refuse to fly, but existing technology will go the way of the elevator operator. I’m sure you are too young to remember these guys,

  17. Eric, you’re not trying to imply that the huge difference in fatalities per mile is because there are so many unskilled motorcyclists? Surely there is a relatively equal proportion of unskilled car drivers. But they don’t die at anywhere near the same rate. 😉

    • I’m only saying that generalities don’t necessarily apply to individuals!

      Example: I have no doubt my risk of crashing – on my bike – is lower (considerably lower) than the risk my mother-in-law will crash in her car (because she has – repeatedly).

      How’d we get off track, anyhow?

      The thing we were talking about is “safety” equipment – and whether “safety” (reduced risk, based on general data, etc.) justifies forcing people to do X or purchase Y.

      If you believe that it does, then how (and where) do you draw the line?

      Leaving aside the moral issue of applying force to people “for their own good” ….

      If motorcycle riding is generally more risky than driving, then by the same logic, mediocre drivers are more risky than high-skilled ones. Why not make “safety” mandates apply only to those who cannot demonstrate a certain level of competence?

      Hey, maybe that’s not such a bad idea!

      Seriously, though… my “safety” is no one’s business, properly speaking, but mine. I am not looking to infantilize anyone – and would prefer not to be infantilized myself.

      If I cause someone harm, by all means, hold me to account. Otherwise, I’d really like to be left in peace to go about my business – and will be glad to extend you and everyone else the same courtesy in return!

      • Eric, it’s the doctrine of prior restraint that’s come to dominate the policies of western society over the past 15 or so years. It’s why the US was able to invade a sovereign nation and occupy it without cause because something bad *might* happen. The real tragedy is nobody went back and held the chicken-little’s accountable. Now there’s moral hazard!

        People don’t complain much about motorcycles until they hit one and usually the motorcycle loses. No harm, no foul.

        On the other hand the idea behind “diver distraction” and other preemptive policies seems focused on the idea that if you’re doing something (like operating a cell phone) while driving, there’s a chance you’ll harm me (who of course is not operating a cell phone). Therefore, since you might theoretically harm me, I will give permission to the armed thugs to hunt you down, fine, jail or possibly kill you if you’re observed using a cell phone while driving. You don’t have to actually do anything that harms me; I assert that the act of using a cell phone while driving is sufficient for me to cause you financial, physical or perhaps even mortal harm.

        The entire argument is stupid. If you’re afraid my cell phone is distracting, you need to be driving with my wife in the passenger seat, my kids in the back and the dogs in the bed. It’s utter and complete nonsense.

        But soon it will be the law.

        • “diver distraction”. I like that. I’ll keep it 🙂

          “chicken-little’s” on the other hand should be plural rather than possessive.

        • Scott,

          You draw an excellent parallel between prior restraint externally – foreign policy-wise – and the same applied internally. It’s of a piece with the all-too-true notion that if we tolerate brutal policies toward “foreigners” then we can expect to be brutalized eventually ourselves, right here.

          Hat tip, sir – top drawer!

          • Thank you Eric, though it isn’t a great insight. It seems almost pervasive. You talk about it all the time when you critique the “safety” and “it’s for the children” philosophy. It’s preemption, victimless crime. “Thought crime”.

            It’s the essential argument of the gun control lobby; if you have a gun it’s more likely you’ll use it to kill somebody. Since killing people is almost always bad, you shouldn’t have a gun.

            No attention gets paid to the millions of people who have guns and never kill another human. None at all. You *might* do it, therefore we’ll just stop you before you do.

            Eventually they’ll decide to stop you from all sorts of things. Right now I have a whole group of people who’d like to stop me from having a gas grill because they think my propane tank might explode. I know, it’s stupid.

            But they’re doing it. So far it’s cost me around $15,000. That’s the direction we’re headed.

    • Have you ever been on a bike (MC) and ridden the road?

      Do you know that over 65% of MC fatalities are wearing helmets?

      Do you know that most MC fatalities are cars hitting Bikers, not Bikers hitting cars?

      All I can say is…

      If not, then STFU.

  18. Like them or not, airbags have saved a lot of lives. And I like them, and want them in all my cars.

    Backup cameras won’t save 1% as many lives as airbags have.

    I was thinking of when I “might” like to have a backup camera. First case is if I had a big ass SUV. Second case is if I pulled any kind of trailer. It would make aligning/connecting the hitch and ball Much Easier.

    But I don’t fit either of those scenarios. So I don’t want one.

    • Mike, you should have airbags if you want them, and backup cameras. I’d even say you should have a GPS based navigation system that doesn’t turn itself off when you put the transmission in Drive. Go for it. No problem.

      But I don’t think you should tell me I *must* have all those things you like. I’m not you.

      • Read carefully. I didn’t tell you you “must” have airbags. My point was to compare how frivolous backup cameras are (in regard to safety) compared to airbags.

        I’d love it if more features were optional, not mandatory. I’d like it if they were available a la carte, instead of bundled in massive option packages. To clarify, I was saying that I’d gladly pay for 6 airbags as an option, but not backup cameras.

        Try not to be hallucinating phantom statists where they don’t exist. You have plenty of real ones to worry about.

        • I took the comment in context, and stressed the distinction between liking something and a “De Facto Mandate”, which was the headline. I’ve read plenty of your comments and I don’t labor under the delusion you’re a closet statist, I was amplifying the point of the article.

    • Air bags have also killed people – granted, not many – but nonetheless. And thousands have been injured by them. It’s pretty insolent for some (politicians, regulators) to make this cost-benefit analysis for others – and against their will. And then demand they pay for it!

      As Scott says: If you desire air bags, you have every right to buy them. The technology ought to be freely available. Mandating them is something else, however.

      Hell, it would also “save lives” to require that everyone who rides a motorcycle be required by law to wear full body armor, boots and gloves – not just helmets.

      Do you support that?

      Maybe cars should also have speed limiters – after all, it would save lives. How about very aggressive traction/stability control that cannot be turned off? It, too, would save lives? Etc.

      • I don’t support any safety mandates for motorcyclists. They have opted to vastly increase their risk of death/injury in any collision, compared to a car driver. If they don’t care any more about their safety than that, I don’t either.

        And if you think about what you have written in your previous posts, you “know” they are not going to install speed limiters. Much more profitable to keep issuing speeding citations.

        • Of course, many cars already have speed limiters set to 120mph, or so. And I generally don’t oppose that, because some aspect of their design, usually tires, is not built to safely drive any faster, even if you’re Dale Earnhardt Jr.

          But they are not going to install limiters pre set at something like 65mph. Not profitable for the municipalities or the insurance companies.

          • So long as it’s not mandatory – and so long as I can remove/defeat whatever the item is without fear of a thug scrum descending – then it’s ok by me, too.

          • My 928 doesn’t have a speed limiter but it does have a rev limiter. I found that out while I was testing a suspension change. I had it in manual and left it in third, but when I crossed 120 mph the rev limiter started shutting down cylinders at 7200 rpm. I thought I was going to die until I figured out the problem and upshifted.

            • Yup!

              Though it’s still possible to mechanically grenade an engine. A few years back, I attended the International Motor Press (I’m a member) track day at Pocono. A journalist killed a new BMW by grabbing the wrong (lower) gear and failing to de-clutch in time!

        • But why not – as a matter of principle?

          You’re granting en exemption for bikers… well, why not an exemption for everyone?

          PS: I’m being facetious – jut to make a point.

          PS PS: While it’s true a biker is at much greater risk of being injured or killed if there’s a wreck, it’s also arguable that a skilled biker is at less risk of actually wrecking (or even being hit) than the typical driver out there.

          I’ll take a skilled, aware rider – or driver – sans “safety” idiot proofing over a low-skilled, inattentive driver swaddled in idiot-proofing “safety” equipment any day of the week!

            • Mike, c’mon…

              That’s Clover group-guilting.

              Not all riders are equal in skill or awareness.

              It’s exactly like saying “old people” are poor drivers. Well, sure, some are. Then again, some are not. Bob Bondurant’s a pretty old dude… but I can tell you from being in the seat next to him that he can still out-drive 99 out of 100 people 50 years his junior.

              The larger point being: I know my risk is lower. I can prove it. I’ve been riding a long time – more than 25 years – and haven’t been down yet.

              Maybe I am just lucky….

          • I think everyone should be allowed to take their own risks and that includes anything and everything. I no longer drive street bikes. I still go out and beat on dirt bikes. Why? because I like being on a bike. I don’t like being on the road on a bike with clovers. (or deer) My cousin was killed on her bike a few years ago. Some clover ran a red light and creamed her. Another one of my friends is in a wheelchair.

            Although I will say this. At least from local reports snowmobiles deaths are always high, as are boating fatalities.

            Fishing is actually the most dangerous sport in the US. it’s not going to stop me from fishing, but if I take a kid out and they don’t know how to swim they will be wearing a life vest.

            • Sure!

              I’ll steer clear of the ocean, myself – because I prefer to be closer to the top of the food chain!

              You go in the cage… cage goes in the water… shark in the water…

              -Capt. Quint

          • Eric, I bet a million bucks I can drive better than Bob Bondurant. Driving on the highway is not your ability to control a skid when you know one might be coming up ahead or the ability to drive 150 mph around a track with 100% concentration for a short period of time. Driving on a highway is all about proper decisions, alert for possibly hours of travel for the unexpected and fast enough reflexes to handle the unexpected. I really think a guy almost 80 years old is not that capable.


            • I’d love to put that to the test, Clover!

              Shall I put in a call to Bob? He’d embarrass you right quick.

              Oh. That’s right… I forgot. You’re too much of a poltroon to even use your real name.

              The truth is you have no stranding whatever to comment on driving. You’re just some anonymous troll. Bob, on the other hand, is one of the best drivers out there. He’s proved it – unlike you.

              Even if Bob is only 30 percent of the driver he was in his prime, he’s still 100 percent better than you.

              I say that as someone who has ridden with him. I know what the guy can do – even in his 70s.

              You, on the other hand, don’t know a goddamn thing!

          • Funny one Eric. Where is the test going to be? The race track? First I tell there is no race track on the highway we drive every day except for the road rage drivers and the motorcycle riders that drive twice the speed limit through traffic. Oh, that reminds me of one of the last videos of that driving. The bike was on the ground when the camera viewed the bike the second time. Would you call that driver a good and safe driver also at least until you found him on the ground? What a joke you say of how safe motorcycles are. The first week or two of warm weather of the year you already hear about multiple local rider deaths.


          • Clover! Welcome back!

            So lets take the points one at a time:

            1) I can drive better than Bob Bondurant.

            Tough one. I can’t afford to pay Bob for the challenge match. I have to say I can’t, though I have tried. For the record I happen to know I can’t drive better than Richard Petty either, but my well delivers a lot more water than his does so it doesn’t bother me. Whe you get to our age, it isn’t about who you were, it’s about who you are. Now, I’ll say right up front that Petty has a nicer house and a whole lot more grass than I do. He also probably drives better. But *I* have a better well.

            Hopefully that’s settled.

            • I’ve met Bob (and ridden with him) several times. Once was in a Ford van. The guy can do a lot with an Econoline, let me tell ya!

              It would be a real treat to put Clover to the test. I’ve offered to meet him at VIR (or any track of his choosing) for a demonstration of his skill behind the wheel vs. mine. So that he can show us all what a great driver he is – so we can respect whatever he has to say about driving.

              As always, Clover is all talk. About everything.

              A pussy, too.

              But, we allow the furtive little troll to post – sometimes – for the humor value and for purposes of intellectual vivisection.

              It highlights what we’re up against.

              Clover is an archetype, but you will find him at PTA meetings, your HOA, the DMV… and of course, out on the roads. He’s that car up ahead, refusing to move right, with the line of other cars stacked up behind him.

          • When, not “Whe”

            Sorry to involve you in this debate Richard, I hope you take it in the light hearted way it was intended. I don’t really have a better well than you anymore, I sold the ranch a couple years ago. I was the fellow down by Terri’s place at the end of the road, the one with all the horses.

            And I’m pretty sure my well *was* better. Probably still is 🙂

          • Scott, what I am saying is that on the roadway I am probably a better driver and safer driver than Bob. I would probably say that unless he has lost it totally he would be better on the race track than I am. Driving on the race track and daily commutes of minutes or hours is not the same as racing. In fact race car drivers have a far greater percentage chance of getting into an accident than I do on the highway and it is proven with statistics. Daily commutes is not about getting the maximum out of your car without losing control because if you need to get the maximum out of your car each day you are driving far too dangerously around others in the first place. Also there are few race tracks that have the common road conditions that we have. Ice, snow packed roads, road rage drivers, little old ladies, teenage drivers. Driving on the road each day is not about competition but driving together safely.


          • Dear Eric,

            Clover writes:

            “what I am saying is that on the roadway I am probably a better driver and safer driver than Bob.”

            Remember Mr. Magoo, the cartoon character? He was blind as a bat. He would wreak havoc around him wherever he went as people were forced to go out of their way to avoid hitting him.

            Clovers drive in ways that often cause those around them to have accidents even while they themselves escape unscathed.

            Clover may well be the beneficiary of this “Mr. Magoo Syndrome.”

          • Re: clover on July 25, 2012 at 11:44 am

            Clover, through your defending of various drivers over on clovercam it has become very clear that you believe in an all too typical american version of safety. That safety comes from others avoiding you instead of you driving such that others do not have to take action. You have repeatedly defended the practice of pulling out into traffic and changing lanes such that others have to brake, change lanes, or otherwise take action to avoid a collision. This is fundamentally unsafe.

            Counting on others to avoid you is unsafe because it requires an action on the part of someone else you cannot control. Sure you can try to control them through the state using cops or manipulating their desire not to crash, but ultimately you can not insure they will take the action not to crash into you or that the action will be successful.

            You’ll never see a race car driver lumber out of the pits 20mph+ slower than the traffic on the track and just force his way in making others brake to avoid a crash. However that’s exactly what you have stated is acceptable driving on the street.

            I’ve ridden with people who drive to your standards Clover, it makes me very nervous. They don’t accelerate for merges. They pull out slow. They sit in the left lane doing under the flow speed. I’d rather ride with Mr. Bondurant.

            Eric, speaking of vans…
            Sabine Schmitz’s Nurburgring Van challenge

          • Brent did you go to any of those professional help sessions? You need it badly. Anyone that chooses road rage as a statement of who you are needs help. Tell us Brent, does Bob promote road rage driving?


          • re: Clover Submitted on 2012/07/25 at 10:07 pm

            I notice your post is content free and 100% troll. I see you want to be put back into the ‘patch’ real badly.

          • Clover –

            Your comment about the relative driving skills of you and Bob suggest to me you haven’t spent much time on the track. You know you have to be licensed to drive real tracks? Laguna Seca, Sears Point, Watkins Glen? There are club sponsored opens but they always have a pace car and if you pass it you’ll get thrown out.

            The road I drove every day when I commuted, and the one I drive once our twice a week now that I don’t, is quite challenging. It’s about 18 miles of very well engineered mountain road running from sea level to 2700′ then back down to sea level. Laguna Seca has nothing on this road and I say that from experience. But I will also say that time spent at Laguna Seca is, in my humble opinion, *well* spent in preparation for driving it. I don’t understand why you think advanced driving skills are irrelevant to the open road. That’s not something I could ever agree with.

            If you have no advanced training, I doubt very very seriously that you would be more skilled than someone like Bob Bondurant, who teaches advanced driving and has been employed by the likes of the US SS (that’s “Secret Service” not the old German variety) to train them in evasive driving techniques, which are specifically tailored for open road drivers.

            I’m not trying to be a putz here, but it doesn’t sound like you know what you’re talking about.

          • Bevin & Eric –

            The Mr. Magoo School has brought us the Smoovee, which is essentially a civilian tank, the purpose of which is to fully cocoon incompetent drivers with a predilection for running into things at high speed.

            Since I own and operate a Smoovee, and in deference to other readers, I’ll mention their secondary characteristic is they haul a lot of crap around. Being American and having been born in the 1950’s, I have a lot of crap to haul around. I’m not all that interested in surviving an accident while I’m hauling my crap, but my dog is and she’s managed to gain control of my frontal lobe using some kind of weird dog energy. As a result I’m her slave and can’t be held responsible for my actions.

            This message was brought to you by my dog, who really likes her Smoovee.

        • Bikers care for their safety but they accept a trade off; they are free. 25 minutes to commute to downtown LA instead of 80 minutes. You add that during a full career and the time you gain is years of life.

          • Fabian, I routinely drive 16 miles and it takes me 20 minutes driving very safely and no interstates unless I want a change or a weather problem. I guess that saves years of life also and pretty much negative stress. To me the hour plus commute some people have is not worth a 25% increase in pay.


          • 16 miles in 20mins.
            My typical drive is ~9miles, it also takes 20mins. Looks like you drive faster than I do. So much for your self proclaimed slow driving moral high ground.

          • Lets see, 9 miles and you need to drive 85 mph and do it in 20 minutes? I guess that goes to show that driving slower can get you there faster.

          • Re: Clover 2012/07/25 at 10:27 pm

            Clover, once again you show you failed HS physics or perhaps the school decided it was over your head and you didn’t take it at all.

      • They tell me 70% of motorcycle deaths are due to head injuries. What they don’t tell people is that 70% of automobile deaths are also due to head injuries. Gee it would make sense to make car drivers wear helmets too. Or better yet, outlaw mandatory helmets for all vehicles. Now they tell me that cell phones are distracting. So is listening to talk radio, or a passenger, or yelling at your kids in the back seat. The ultimate distraction I have ever had was car sex while driving! Is that against the law too? Maybe the prudes who write the laws have never experienced, or even thought of that possibility yet!

        • Exactly.

          So many of these laws are arbitrary (as well as tyrannical). A Clover will target some action/activity he personally does not like – but will leave alone actions/activities that are fundamentally no different in terms of the potential effects or results.

          For example: Drunk driving. That’s the new Holy Crusade. But alcohol is by no means the only source of impairment. Why no Senior Driving checkpoints, for instance? Ultimately, of course, it doesn’t really matter whether the guy who T-boned you was liquored up – or fumbling for a candy bar he dropped on the floorboard. But the Clover wants to single out the liquored up driver as somehow more culpable than the distracted/addled/incompetent driver.


        • Al, while bicycling I have had drivers pull their car within inches of me so I could hear their gospel of the foam hat. However, actually looking at the numbers, if I wore a foam hat (‘helmet’) while bicycling I would have to wear one while driving, climbing stairs, using a ladder, and large number of other activities.

          As far as distractions go, it is one by one because those who demand control over other people know they are often the bad drivers. That’s why the whole system is so ass backwards. They want the other guy punished, but what they do is just fine. In some cases only when they do it. That’s why we have driving perfectly with a 0.0801 BAC as a serious crime while driving poorly and even crashing because of simple incompetence or sucking on megasized HFCS drink while eating chemical food is just an “accident”.

          So they will pick off various items as ‘sins’ of driving one by one selectively avoiding their own. Bad driving will still be legal unless of course one of the illegal sins is present along with the bad driving.

  19. ‘Cause when love is gone, there’s always Justice.
    And when Justice is gone, there’s always Force.
    And when Force is gone, there’s always Mom. Hi Mom!

    — Lauri Anderson, “O Superman”, from the album “Big Science”

    I don’t know if you’ve been following the new “distracted driver” folderol but it appears the NHTSA are about to pass federal regulations defining the type of electronic devices that can be installed in cars and how they may be used. Apparently car buyers aren’t brite enough to figure out they shouldn’t be texting their facebook friends while driving, and as many as 14 States have failed to pass legislation making this practice a citable offense.

    It seems obvious to me auto manufacturers are trying to get a lock on the design of audio, video and computer system interfaces in cars. Once it’s done, there won’t be any variations allowed, even when new and innovative designs get dreamed up by apolitical engineers.

    What a strange and horrible future we have in store.

        • I like Viktor, it’s nice to have someone represent the opposition. It really doesn’t do any good at all for us to sit around and argue the finer points of liberty with ourselves.

          Preaching to the choir o to speak 🙂

          • I second that.

            In screenwriting classes they always teach you that a genuine hero requires a worthy villain.

            James Bond needs Goldfinger. Superman needs Lex Luthor. Batman needs the Joker.

            Vicktor is not THAT worthy. But he’s worthier than his predecessor What’s His Face.

            I felt bad about rebutting him. It was sort of like shooting fish in a barrel. Unsporting.

  20. Working as a process/manufacturing engineer I always tried to make processes/procedures and tooling obvious and least likely to be done or used incorrectly, a funny thing happens along the way to making things “idiot-proof”, there always comes along a better “idiot” who proves the old definition of the word to new/lower limits.

    • I call it building a better idiot.

      I have a theory that for many things people form a bell curve distribution around the expectation or minimum required. Keep lowering expectations and minimums and the bell curve shifts downward. Perhaps not in a one to one relationship, but it downward none-the-less.

      • I call it the “kick me here” syndrome; the more time you spend explaining why you don’t want people to do something, the more time they spend trying to figure out how to do it.

    • Yes making things idiot proof is difficult. The one thing that immediately popped into my mind was the claymore mine. It has large raised letters that say. Front towards enemy. You would think simply labeling it front and back would do the trick. Apparently not.

      One time this idiot Lt. of ours got the bright idea that we would take about 20 of them and line them up in a row and blow them up at a bunch of targets. I stared to daisy chain them together so he could blow up the targets. He tells me he wants everyone to blow up one. So then I rewire them all to each individual’s “clacker”. At the last minuet he decides that he wants to go first as a signal and then have everyone else blast their’s off right after. So he sets his off, all the other ones fall over, then 19 guys hit their clackers and send about a billion BB’s flying in just about every direction except the targets.

      My point? Everyone gets a case of the dumb shits once in a while. Some people abuse the privilege.


        • Thanks, Bevin. After the BB’s stopped raining down I got a good chuckle too. The Lt. didn’t think it was funny though.

          Murphy’s law applies all the time on everything.

          Private snafu was also a funny one.

      • Great story, Brad. But isn’t “idiot Lt.” redundant? lol

        Honestly, I’ve never seen more or worse cases of the dumb shits than I did in the good ol’ USMC. A fellow disillusioned officer and I used to say that the only difference between the Marine Corps and the Boy Scouts was that the scouts had adult leadership.

        • Dear Brad, Mike, et al

          I must say it’s nice to have you military vets on this forum.

          You guys have the street cred to silence any warfare statists who might play the “But did you ever serve?” card.

          Intellectually speaking it’s not necessary to have served in order to firmly oppose military adventurism. The logic against killing innocent foreigners in their own land stands on its own merits.

          But eyewitness testimony from those who have experienced firsthand the folly of military adventurism adds tremendous emotional weight to arguments from our side.

          Semper fi!

          • Thank you, Bevin. I agree that those who would criticize veterans who are against foreign aggression have it backwards. They should instead question those (such as Cheney, Gingrich, Hannity, Limbaugh, et al.) who never served but who are eager to send my kids to die for their dream of American hegemony. Which group’s experience better prepares them to make a judgment on the issue? In case of doubt, I refer people to Smedley Butler’s “War Is a Racket”.

          • Dear Mike,

            My understanding from articles published at LRC is that many or even most of the troops in the Mid East have already served out their terms of enlistment.

            Nevertheless they are being compelled to stay on in flagrant violation of their contracts. They are no longer volunteers. They are now conscripts. They are draftees. Or more bluntly, slaves.

            All of which merely reminds us that the sins of man invariably have a common origin — the violation of the non-aggression axiom.

          • Dear, Bevin. You are 100% correct that you don’t have to have ever served to understand the immorality of anything but a completely defensive war.

          • Mike,a friend of mine used to talk about the private company I worked for the same way. He said it was an example of “children working without adult supervision”. I loved it because it was so true.

            We did end up mostly building the internet though and we got sort of rich doing it so I guess the joke was on him!

            Here’s to children playing without adult supervision!

          • Dear Bevin, The guys that can’t get out are under what is called a “stop loss” policy. They can be held passed their ETS date. (Experation, term of service) Most of the time it’s only for specific jobs and for people who still have obligations under contract. ($500 bucks a month extra for stop loss) For instance if you sign up for four years, you still have another four years to fulfill your contract. However, if you are in combat they can extend that. I doubt right now that many soldiers are being held under stop loss. I could be wrong. They don’t use it that often, right now, in the past they did it a lot. They do use it to convince people to re-up.

            How it works is that if you refuse to re-up they will threaten you with stop-loss and possibly stick you in a crappy unit. It’s actually an empty threat, but most guys don’t know this. Stop loss is not generally selective. They of course also use all kinds of other ways to get you to Re-up. Guilt is one way. How dare you leave? Your friends are counting on you! What is your family going to do without this income? Do you want them living on the streets? Etc, etc. Possibly the most compelling is the bonus system. Depending on what you re-up for it can be huge. 10X your monthly pay X the years you re-up for was the most I have seen offered.

          • Dear Brad,

            “De Oppresso Liber. This was my last unit’s motto. Talk about an oxymoron.”


            I took French in high school and college rather than Latin.

            How do you say “To Oppress the Free” in Latin?

          • Dear Brad,

            The guys that can’t get out are under what is called a “stop loss” policy.

            Stop loss.

            That’s the term I was Googling frantically for but couldn’t remember.

            Interesting. Thanks for sharing that.

          • Dear Bevin, “Nemo liber aliis oppressis”

            No one is free when others are oppressed.

            That’s about as close as I can get, but it’s a better motto, in my opinion.

            It might make a good Libertarian tattoo.

          • The problem is that most americans are not intellectual about it. They are emotional about it. So the only people that have a chance of getting through are the ones they worship, those they thank all the time… after all if it wasn’t for government and its wars the sun wouldn’t rise in the morning or something like that.

          • Dear Brent,

            “The problem is that most americans are not intellectual about it. They are emotional about it.”

            True. Most members of the Great Silent Majority do not lead “examined lives.” They simply absorb the premises floating about within their culture.

            The sad thing is that most self-styled members of the intelligentsia imagine themselves above all that. They fancy themselves “original thinkers.”

            But the facts speak otherwise. These orthodox mainstream intellectuals, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, simply can’t wrap their heads around the idea that any political system, in order to be just, must reject coercion.

            They cling to the familiar, even when it is pointed out that the political system they stubbornly cling to like a security blanket requires coercion, and is therefore morally indefensible.

        • My father “served” 30 years in the Marine Corps. He retired when I was 24. I spent my entire life up to the age of 20 years old around Marines. I can confirm the Corps is bursting at the seams with dumb shits. I attended high school in Okinawa, Japan. I can’t even even begin to count how many fights I’ve seen and sometimes been a part of against angry off duty Marines. Some of my worst memories are of me and my buddies defending ourselves against these guys (while they’re not in uniform). Most seemed like street thug gangsters that wear camouflage from 9-5.

          • Hey Dom –

            My dad served about 35 years with the air force and navy. He died when I was 26 from plutonium poisoning.

            I can confirm that some of the other services are “bursting with dumb shits”. Some of my worst memories are of my dad dieing of hepatitis after a bad blood transfusion in Seattle.

            You just have to let it go. There really isn’t any other way.

          • @Scott

            I hear you and I have let it go. What I failed to mention was the awesomeness of the entire adventure of being a military brat. Sorry about your pops. My pops is still around, but we don’t communicate.

          • @Dom –

            Sorry to hear you and your dad don’t talk much anymore. I have a love/hate relationship with being a military brat myself. I got to live all over the world but I never had any long term friends and I got in a lot of fights. I promised I wouldn’t move my kids around much and I didn’t, but now they spend all their time traveling. I think it’s better that way, they travel for fun but when they come home they have friends they’ve grown up with. I never had that.

            But it was one hell of a ride! I once did 4 countries in 4 years (that assumes you consider Virginia a country, which I do). But that was a personal best and back then (when I was 15) I recovered from shock faster 🙂

          • Like you guys I spent half my childhood growing up overseas in 3rd world countries which had both good points and bad points – but I think the most positive(and infuriating) result is that I have a vast appreciation for the concept of both freedom and self reliancy which is greatly lacking in the general population.

            In third grade I had no problem jumping on my bicycle and riding around half lost miles from home, not speaking the language and no worries whatsoever…(I still do that now on my motorcycle – as Spanisn seeks to be a primary language in South Floriduh.)

            It is sad to see what rampant cloverism has done to this once great country, which is now just packed with fools and us disgruntled patriots.

        • Dear, Mike. Yes it is redundant. Not every Lt. I ever had was an idiot, but most of them were. The hardest part was that many of them simply wouldn’t listen to those that had more experience. They learned it all in West Point. Fresh out of High School they went to College, took a bunch of classes and then were put in charge. (they were still children) The good ones were willing to take advice and understand that books didn’t equate to experience.

          • Spot on, Brad. During my nearly two misguided decades as a seagoing legionnaire in Uncle Sam’s Yacht Club, one of the most exasperating –and frightening– things I contended with on a recurring basis was the “Academy grad” mentality. That is, guys and gals indoctrinated by four years of “We are the Superior Human Being And Our Country Is The Superior Nation” mentality. These creatures literally could not bring themselves to by guided by the advice of a lowly senior enlisted person, even when I resorted to what was essentially stick figures, parables, pantomime, and animal grunts and groans to point out how obviously wrong their decisions were, decisions that almost inevitably got them into deep trouble. It dawned on me too late in my career that the only way to reach these shallow, self-centered creatures was to make them think that the “right way” to do things was their idea and theirs alone. By that time, however, I was so thoroughly disgusted with the entire system that I was on my way out the door and no longer cared. I can only imagine in horror what these young creatures (Ensigns, most of them, when I dealt with them) morphed into as they advanced through the system – and what hideous damage they’ve done through the foolishness they’ve continued to engage in.

  21. Osama bin Laden and his terror group Al Qaeda:

    “Submit to Allah or die”

    Barack bin Obombya and his terror group Al Government:

    “Submit to the State or die”

    What’s the difference?

  22. Actually the automakers fought the mandate for airbags. And it didn’t happen until Claybrook was long gone from that office but of course still popping up.

    The automakers plain out told the government their mandate would kill/injure people. The media portrayed the automakers as evil. The bureaucrats decided they knew best. People died. We now have the kludged BS we have today.

    But I think that was the last time they put up a real fight. Since then regulation has been strictly for competitive advantage or to get along politically.

    As far as backup cameras go, as soon as a mandate is proposed the work must begin. Waiting for congress to actually pass it means not having time to do it. Congress critters as a rule have never made anything but money. That is they don’t know what it takes to make a product. Just tooling lead times for the plastic trim can be three months if everything works perfectly. So 2014 MY mandate, is essentially start working on it last year for an integrated system like this.

    Serving customers is hard work. Customers are fickle and can be mean and unreasonable. Competition is always there for them to go elsewhere. Government can change all that, make competition not product but politics. The trouble is, government always comes out with everything in the long run that way.

    Corporate creatures understand politics. That’s how people rise up in american corporations by and large. Making the company money through creating product is not how it happens any longer and not for decades.

    So when corporations are run by people who understand politics and relationships but not product, how do they compete? Through government, the ultimate expression of politics, relationships, deals, etc.

    • “So when corporations are run by people who understand politics and relationships but not product, how do they compete? Through government, the ultimate expression of politics, relationships, deals, etc.”

      WE will never know exactly how many barrels of American blood are on McNamara’s hands. Most persons will do dreadful things when not checked by consequences to themselves. So when should an incompetent decision maker like McNamara be taken to the nearest vet to be put to sleep or perhaps simply be beaten to death on the televised Five O’clock Follies?

      McNamara died old and rich. He even profited by publishing a confession of his error years after the American victims of his incompetence lost the only lives and limbs they would ever have.

      • The winners of a political competition system are usually the worst humanity has to offer.

        I believe in a product based system where those who best please others rise to the top. However I find most of humanity wants to play the political/social game which I have no interest in.

        • The winners of a political competition system are usually the worst humanity has to offer.

          As the old saying goes, “shit and scum always rise to the top.”

          • How does disgusting trash like Goot Ningrich keep getting reelected? Gawd, what a putrid excuse for a man.

            I gave up on voting years ago although I would have bothered to vote for Ron Paul.

      • Why piss on Robert’s head when Shrub is still walking around with an SS guard collecting unemployment? There are folks who lost live and limbs in the past 5 years because of that guy. McNamara’s dead.

  23. More corporate bashing Eric…really? Seems that someone who makes a living off of advertising clicks and writing about products supplied to him by “Big Business” shouldn’t have strong opinions against the very hand that feeds him…what a hypocrite.


    • I bash corporations that don’t operate on free market principles. What I criticize is corporatism, Vicktor – big business partnering with big government to screw the average person – not free market capitalism.

      I thought I made that distinction clear enough in the piece.

      And hypocrisy? I’m one of the few car writers who doesn’t recycle the press kit talking points. I try hard to provide a fair – and honest – evaluation of the cars I test drive. That’s how I make my living. I don’t use force to make others provide me with a living.

      That’s another distinction you apparently missed.

      • I think you will find most publik skewl retards can’t make that distinction. It is exactly what publik skewls are for!

        • Eric,

          The point of your article was very clear…no misunderstanding whatsoever. However, my point was you make a living and accept money from corporations, your employers, who engage in the very practices you criticize. For many of these corporations, I’m sure they’ve come to the conclusion that it’s more cost efficient to work with the government on some matters than against it.


          • Viktor:

            You are trying to undermine my criticism of corporatism by making the claim that I am somehow complicit by dint of the fact that I’ve been paid during the course of my working life by corporations.

            That’s a straw man argument. Here’s why:

            There is a difference – a big one – between my being paid by a magazine (or earning money via ads on this site) and a corporation getting in bed with government to force people to buy its products, or subsidizing them. No one forces you to read my columns – or visit this web site. But we’re all forced to subsidize corporate welfare – and higher prices for such things as back-up cameras and air bags.

            You will argue that I am still somehow “no better” because, after all, I partake of the booty – via the money I earn as a result of my writing.

            Well, then all except the independently wealthy are equally guilty – because virtually everyone else gets a paycheck or some form of compensation associated with corporate wealth. It is all but unavoidable. There is no more moral stigma to it than cashing your tax refund.

            The point you miss is that I advocate ending all such corporate wheedling. I openly oppose these give-aways,subsidies and transfer payment schemes.

            Now, if I were getting paid to promote mandatory back-up cameras – or the government bail out of GM – then you’d have a point!

            But since I don’t – you don’t.

            You write:

            “For many of these corporations, I’m sure they’ve come to the conclusion that it’s more cost efficient to work with the government on some matters than against it”

            Yes, indeed. “Work with” – that is, collude for mutual advantage (money and power) using force to achieve these ends.


          • Dear Viktor –

            It has to do with choice.

            I, for example, make money off of investments, some of which were brokered through the likes of Lehman Bros. (rest in peace), Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Solomon Smith Barney. Because I make money from those investments, by your logic, I should not be critical of Timmy Geithner or Hank Paulson, who gave several trillion dollars to those very same banks.

            But I am critical. I don’t believe in what Eric calls “corporatism” and what I refer to as “mercantilism”, both of which are more commonly referred to as “fascism”, which is the marriage of private enterprise and state sanctioned violence. The best examples of fascism in the 20th and 21st centuries would probably be the United States, the United Kingdom (Klingon), the USSR and the People’s Republic of China. I’m critical of all these regimes, however I’m forced to co-exist with them to the best of my abilities in order to survive. This doesn’t mean I like it, it’s just a fact of life. One of the ways I compensate for the situation is by discussing the shortcomings of those geopolitical organizations whenever I have the opportunity.

            I hope this helps you understand how a person might profit from an entity s/he doesn’t fully support.

            By the way, I like your handle. I rescued a bat that had crashed into my living room window and fell stunned to my deck a few years (maybe decades) ago. For awhile he lived in a shoe box. When he recovered he flew away, but for a time I had a bat named Viktor.

          • BrentP…are you lost or what??? What are you even talking about? Do you really think you won a debate, because the person you debated with decided that you were clueless and gave up trying to reason with you and asked the question…“Why aren’t you doing something about it”?

            That question is certainly not a diversion. It’s simply a test to see whether or not you practice what you preach. You don’t have to enter into politics to practice the beliefs you and Eric spew out on a daily basis. Do you jump in your car and instantly put on your seatbelt? Why not disable your air bag and remove your seatbelt, if you don’t think you should have to use them. It’s still your choice to do so. Nobody MAKES you wear a seatbelt. Could you be pulled over for not doing so? Sure. Could Patrick Henry have gotten hung for his firebrand speeches against the King? You bet! But he still did it because it’s what he believed in. So in the end you have to ask yourself while true patriots like Patrick Henry were ready to die for a cause they believed in; you are probably too scared not to wear your seatbelt or disconnect an airbag because it might cost you a few bucks. I don’t know about the others, but to me that’s just cowardice for such a trivial belief.

            Also, with regards to your comment about winning a debate; people like you cannot be reasoned with…it’s pointless to try. An intellectually superior person quickly decides that it’s probably a waste of time to debate with someone like you (who when they know they’ve lost and cannot win, resorts to bully tactics), and moves on. This doesn’t mean that you won a debate.

            And why is it so important to you that you win a debate? Nobody is keeping track…nobody cares. And I’m not saying that you are a bad person for doing nothing and keeping to yourself, you created that thought in your head. But to me it does reveal much about you. I mean hey, if you want to help yourself and not worry about helping others, while going around complaining about everything, that’s up to you bro…here in America you have every right to do that. However, if you don’t want to hear that “tired” mantra ever again….I’d suggest you stop complaining!!!

          • Brent, you said “what’s right isn’t a popularity contest” and that made me think, which is always painful for me.

            For years I’ve been railing against folks who support the idea that anthropogenic “global warming” (or climate change, global cooling, etc.) was a proven fact and the debate was over because a consensus had been established. Typically the argument then devolves into which side has the better scientists. Credentials get offered and trashed, reputations slimed, entire institutions razed to the ground. it’s a general mudfest.

            Rarely does anyone point out that science isn’t about consensus, it’s about what’s right. Truth if you will. Thousands of scientists who firmly believed the Earth was the center of the universe were proven wrong by one man with a telescope. Thomas Kuhn has written a book on this subject and it’s worth reading.

            Questions of human law are more difficult. Tinsley Sammons frequently distinguishes between what is legal and what is lawful; by that I believe he tries to draw attention to the difference between what is “right” and what is written in legislation. It’s a tough argument to defend but one I support.

            Laws that require “enforcement”, which literally means “to compel observance or compliance with” are popularity contests. Karl Marx advanced the opinion that it takes no more than 30% of a population to change the order of a society. I would guess it takes less than that if the people who’re pulling the levers and turning the knobs know what they’re doing. My point being that while what’s “right” in the eyes of humanity might be closer to a popularity contest than what’s “right” in terms of science and engineering, the contest is still “democratic” and all it takes is a well organized minority to win the day.

          • Re: Viktor 2012/07/26 at 3:24 pm

            Your opening paragraph is pure trolling.

            The arguments you are making are irrelevant to the topic at hand. They are a personal attack that has nothing to do with practicing what a person preaches. Going out into politics, what is considered “doing something” is preaching, not practicing. The doing comes after the preaching wins office. I practice principles stemming from the nonaggression principle in my daily life and have for years before I even heard of the nonaggression principle.

            As making someone wear a seat belt, etc, I have had cops directly threaten me on a number of such issues so yes, they do make you or else. Obey or else. Accepting the ‘or else’ by sufficiently resisting the state is a totally different thing than practicing principles.

            Now you could call obeying the state in the face of life-altering or ending ‘for else’ for resistance cowardly, but it is irrelevant to anyone except those who preach such resistance. But that hasn’t been preached here. Going to prison or dying over these things also won’t “do something” because nothing will change because of it. It probably won’t even make the news. Doing something is only valuable when it accomplishes something. Writing, speaking out, etc is the best avenue to do so. Open resistance comes naturally from there. But you already realize that, which is why you make personal attacks. Why you argue to discredit and bully into silence.

            Bully tactics? That’s what you are doing sir, not I. I have not insulted you, belittled you, or anything of the sort. I have simply discussed the sorts of arguments you present and show how they are simply not relevant.

            Your last paragraph is simply absurd bullying, belittling, and trolling. I deal with invalid arguments by showing how they are invalid. When I was younger I would fall for them and be diverted into defending myself personally. Diverting me into defending against personal attack is what you tried to do with three of the four paragraphs. The fact remains that this ‘what are you doing’ argument is intellectually invalid. It’s simply a fact that by not following these diversions into personal attack eventually results in those making the attacks give up or admit they simply believe in violence to make others live a given way.

            So are you going to go away or admit you believe in violence as the basis of organization for society? Because those are your two choices.

            And no, I am not going to stop or are you and your kind going to make me?

          • Dear BrentP,

            Actually, I have a third option, which is to continue to disagree with you and write about it on this site, so I don’t think I’ll be going away anytime soon…unless of course Eric decides to block me. Sorry bro.

            Anyway, I don’t recall asking you a question in any of my posts/responses to Eric, so please remember sir that it was YOU who chose to engage yourself in this discussion not I. It is also YOU who chooses to resort to trolling, belittling, bullying, and threats instead of having a reasonable discussion concerning the relationship between our government, corporations, and consumers. And, if you can’t handle a response from someone who points out the absurdities of your own response, which you made ALL about yourself and your debate tactics btw, then don’t post anything to that person. Take it as you give it out or don’t give it out at all.

            Now, you say I’m guilty of trolling, belittling, and bullying, and resort to personal attacks, but I respectfully disagree. You see BrentP, I am merely responding to being attacked by you. You are so blinded by your own opinions and views and are so obsessed with winning a debate that you created in your head, that you don’t even realize when you are, in fact, committing the same negative behaviors you accuse me of. How else do you explain these comments:

            • The winners of a political competition system are usually the worst humanity has to offer.
            • “So are you going to go away or admit you believe in violence as the basis of organization for society? Because those are your two choices.”
            • “And no, I am not going to stop or are you and your kind going to make me?”
            • “To irritate people who take this line with me, I say assume I don’t do anything.”

            Um, no sir, I’m not going to admit that I believe in violence as the basis of organization for society and there is really nothing you can do to change that. I’m also not going to go away, just because you can’t handle someone who disagrees with your opinions.

            You see, getting in to politics, running for office, volunteering for or supporting a cause you believe in, or participating in a grassroots movement are just some of the nonviolent ways you can try to change things you disagree with, instead of complaining about them incessantly. And not everyone in politics is in it to preach nor are they the worst humanity has to offer, as you have so arrogantly pointed out in your previous posts. Who are you to judge?
            Many of them do care, many of them are in it for positive change, despite your warped perception and beliefs.

            My point was, and remember it was in response to your previous post gloating about your debate skills, that if you aren’t going to put yourself on the line, make some personal sacrifices, and try and help solve the problems you see by suggesting a better way to do things and get involved, you are going to have to hear that tired mantra “what are you doing about it” time and time again, each and every time you complain. I wasn’t at all threatening you when I said this “However, if you don’t want to hear that “tired” mantra ever again….I’d suggest you stop complaining!!!”, I was simply providing a suggestion for someone who was tired of hearing the same old mantra…you know trying to help out. But, you took it as a threat for whatever reason.

            The question “why aren’t you doing something about it?” is valid, particularly when directed at someone like yourself, who appears to go around complaining about everything (I assume this based on your previous post). It sure is a lot easier to complain about the way things are done, blame the system, and label an entire group of people as the worst humanity has to offer, then to actually get involved and do try to do something positive, now isn’t it.

          • Re: Viktor Vladimov Submitted on 2012/07/30 at 6:15 pm

            “Anyway, I don’t recall asking you a question in any of my posts/responses to Eric, so please remember sir that it was YOU who chose to engage yourself in this discussion not I.”

            Viktor, welcome to internet discussion.

            “YOU who chooses to resort to trolling, belittling, bullying, and threats instead of having a reasonable discussion”

            I did no such thing. Why do you lie? I simply pointed out what your arguments are and how they are invalid. I have been polite. You have not.

            You see BrentP, I am merely responding to being attacked by you. You are so blinded by your own opinions and views and are so obsessed with winning a debate that you created in your head, that you don’t even realize when you are, in fact, committing the same negative behaviors you accuse me of. How else do you explain these comments:

            None of those are trolling or attack by any reasonable interpenetration. The first is simply restating what has been stated by many, politics does have the worst rise to the top. If you take offense at this observation then simply put discussion with you is impossible. The rest are out of context and I think you know full well what you are doing. It’s rather dishonest, and much like “Clover”. You have diverted way off topic. You are not challenging my arguments, you are challenging my analysis of your arguments. You are demanding I defend my character, which is diversion. Your arguments are invalid for the reasons I previously stated.

            “Um, no sir, I’m not going to admit that I believe in violence as the basis of organization for society and there is really nothing you can do to change that. I’m also not going to go away, just because you can’t handle someone who disagrees with your opinions.”

            What is this supposed to mean? I really don’t care what you do. I presented why your arguments are invalid. It appears you don’t like that. That’s too bad. Your arguments are still invalid.

            “My point was, and remember it was in response to your previous post gloating about your debate skills, that if you aren’t going to put yourself on the line, make some personal sacrifices, and try and help solve the problems you see by suggesting a better way to do things and get involved, you are going to have to hear that tired mantra “what are you doing about it” time and time again, each and every time you complain. I wasn’t at all threatening you when I said this “However, if you don’t want to hear that “tired” mantra ever again….I’d suggest you stop complaining!!!”, I was simply providing a suggestion for someone who was tired of hearing the same old mantra…you know trying to help out. But, you took it as a threat for whatever reason.”

            Your argument is still invalid. Simply put, what I or anyone else ‘does about it’ is not up to your judgment if it is sufficient or not. It’s a diversionary tactic. It’s not a real argument. What I do personally is simply irrelevant. Assume I do nothing. How does that make my argument any less valid? How does it make it valid if I decide to run for office? Want the argument from someone who “does something?” listen to Ron Paul. Do you accept the same arguments from Ron Paul because he “does something”? I doubt it. It’s an irrelevancy. It’s an attack of the person, an attempt to discredit, emotional nonsense.

            “The question “why aren’t you doing something about it?” is valid, particularly when directed at someone like yourself, who appears to go around complaining about everything (I assume this based on your previous post). It sure is a lot easier to complain about the way things are done, blame the system, and label an entire group of people as the worst humanity has to offer, then to actually get involved and do try to do something positive, now isn’t it.”

            I’m not going to get into a moving carrot game with you. Where I say I do ‘x-y-z’ about it and you say that’s not good enough. If doing something meant something, you should accept the arguments made because Ron Paul makes pretty much the same ones as made on this site by Eric, myself, and others. But of course his 30 year effort doesn’t mean you go and accept the same arguments from him, now does it? It’s simply irrelevant. That I should go pound sand until you’ve decided I’ve ‘done something’ and then my arguments will have weight? It’s laughable. Ideas and arguments have merit on their own or they don’t. It doesn’t matter what a person has or hasn’t done.

            Or is this just going to be a dick measuring contest where I present what I’ve done and you then present something you’ve done that’s greater and that somehow magically makes your ideas better? Again laughable emotional nonsense. Social manipulation. Nothing more.

            Let me know when you can actually formulate and defend views instead of just repeating tired old discussion enders.

          • Eric,

            Using force…really? Isn’t that a bit extreme? A little overly sensitive?
            Nobody is forcing you to buy anything. And what makes you think working with, instead of against, the government hasn’t led to cost savings passed on to the consumer? BTW…I’m not arguing for Big Government…I’m all for small government, lower taxes, and responsible spending, but our government is necessary and working with it towards the same goal is ideal…and that goal isn’t always to “screw” you over as you seem to believe.
            Oh and by the way, as a taxpaying citizen, I’m pretty sure my hard earned dollars went to help pay for the form of medium (the internet) you use to get your message out.

            • Not in the least!

              If I want a new or even remotely recent vintage car (air bags have been mandatory standard equipment for almost 20 years now) then I am required by law – I am forced – to buy the air bags. Not just buy them, either. I must also by law keep them in operating condition for the life of the vehicle. If I remove the air bags, or render them inoperative force will be applied to me.

              Force is applied to the car companies – who install them in their cars – “or else.”

              I am forced to subsidize them in the form of increased sticker prices, increased maintenance costs, higher insurance (due to air bag replacement costs) as well as reduced vehicle life as a result of air bags (a deployment can easily render an otherwise fixable car economically not worth fixing).

              Government is force. It functions not by persuasion, but by coercion. Period.

              You reveal much when you state “… our government is necessary and working with it towards the same goal is ideal…”

              Our government? Speak for yourself!

              Necessary? According to whom?

              What goal? Yours?

              My goal is liberty – being free to choose, to deal with others on the basis of mutual consent and free association.

              This is quite distinct from the goal of the government. And perhaps yourself as well!

          • Actually Viktor, we tried pretty darned hard to keep government and tax paying citizens out of the Internet. We really did.

            We had to make concessions to get into the telco space, which was pretty much a government sponsored cartel. Al Gore represents the “joke” and I’m sure you’ve heard it so I won’t repeat it here.

            BGP continues to be a thorn in the side of government. The day it falls will be the day we concede defeat.

          • Vicktor, government -is- force. The words are essentially interchangeable on a practical basis.

            Furthermore it appears that you are using the ‘live without’ as a choice to avoid government’s force. The problem is that not even mountain men can avoid the government’s force any longer.

            When someone who goes out into the wilderness to live a 19th century mountain man lifestyle still has to deal with property taxes, business regulations, and so forth and so on how anyone can say government doesn’t force us seems absurd to me. The government doesn’t even leave the Amish alone anymore.

            So what does ‘do without’ as an argument mean these days? Choose as the government demands or choose death?

            Taxes do not pay for the internet. The internet did not come from government. The internet is a lot of people doing their own thing and paying to do so.

          • So, it’s all about what YOU want…screw what anyone else wants? Isn’t that what you are really saying?? Not much of a team player are you? Shocker.

            You know you are right about one thing, I assumed you are an American citizen, which would imply that when I say “Our government” I’m referring to yours as well, but apparently that is not the case…or is it? And if it is, have you ever served in the military? Ever been outside of the states? Boy, those Europeans seem to be working wonders with their economic system don’t they?

            You state “Force is applied to the car companies – who install them in their cars – “or else.””, so based on this statement from you do you now agree with what I said in a previous comment that corporations have come to the conclusion that it’s more cost efficient to work WITH the government then against it? This is what I meant by working with the government, when necessary.

            p.s. It’s a fact that I am forced to subsidize the efforts of GM, as is every tax paying American citizen, and you write reviews on==for their products. Which means I’m being forced to pay for your reviews of their products.


            • No, Vicktor – it’s about individualism and liberty vs. collectivism and coercion.

              I interact with people on the basis of mutual consent – I don’t dig “teams” held together by coercion.

              Do you prefer to interact with others on the basis of mutual consent – or coercion?

              What I want – for myself and you, too – is liberty. Free choice. Not force. That’s what it’s all about.

              How is it “screw you” to say simply: You buy what you want (and do what you want) and I will do what I want and buy what I want – but please, don’t force me to do what you want – or buy what you want? Or do you believe I am “screwing” you by objecting to doing/paying for what you want?

              What’s wrong with live – and let live?

              On the government: It is the greatest violator of our liberties extant. It has not been the protector of even minimal liberties since at least 1861. Americans have virtually no rights or liberties any longer – just a few conditional privileges. You own nothing (and neither do I) other than the clothes on your back.

              Think about it.

              Why venerate the entity that systematically reduces you to a serf? Or do you believe we’re “free” in this country?

              The government does not represent me. It certainly does not operate with my consent. I am compelled to submit and obey – and so are you. I just understand the nature of the relationship – and it disgusts me. You, apparently, are “proud to be an American, where at least you know you’re free…….”

              Or think you are.


              “Working with the government” is very different from being forced to comply with the government, or complying because one is under duress.

              You use evasive language to try to avoid dealing with the ugly truth.

          • Vicktor,

            It seems in addition to the ‘go without’ you have brought up other collectivist pro state notions of military service and getting rather close to love it or leave it. The problem with these so called arguments is that they are simply done to end rational discussion.

            Having been outside the USA and knowing many people from many countries, I see the US federal government implementing many things that are reasons many of those other countries have economic problems all the way through being well, horrible places to live period.

            Practically every time I object to USA being turned into something else I am told to ‘love it or leave it’. Why do I have to leave to experience something else? Something else is coming here.

            Anyway working with government doesn’t turn out well in the end. It simply puts off the end.

            PS: If it turns out like Europe we’ll be damn lucky. Look at Detroit. Probably close to what the future looks like.

          • “Oh and by the way, as a taxpaying citizen, I’m pretty sure my hard earned dollars went to help pay for the form of medium (the internet) you use to get your message out.”

            I’m pretty sure some Jews escaped from Nazi Germany by traveling on the AutoBahn, which Adolf Hitler built.


          • Dear Eric,

            YOU HAVE FREE CHOICE. Nobody is forcing you to buy anything. You can choose to buy a vehicle with a back-up camera as a standard feature or you can choose not to. It’s pretty simple actually.

            Also, what I meant when I said that it is sometimes better to work with then against our government (I’m going to assume you are an American citizen, so please forgive me if I’m wrong), was that it’s probably be cheaper in the long run for corporations to work WITH our government than against it on many issues, with the goal being to produce a safe product while mitigating risk…that risk being potential lawsuits.

            And your rant below is absurd….

            “On the government: It is the greatest violator of our liberties extant. It has not been the protector of even minimal liberties since at least 1861. Americans have virtually no rights or liberties any longer – just a few conditional privileges. You own nothing (and neither do I) other than the clothes on your back.

            Think about it.

            Why venerate the entity that systematically reduces you to a serf? Or do you believe we’re “free” in this country?”

            It’s pretty easy to sit behind a computer screen and complain about air bags and car cameras? Not so easy to actually get involved and try to change the way things are being run with our government…but if you really cared about it you would. If you don’t like the way our government is being run, do something about it? Volunteer, run for office, etc? Otherwise, you can’t really go around with any credibility labeling everyone and everything associated with the government and corporations as evil…

            It seems to me the only time you actually care about the way our government is run, is when it impacts your little world and your pocketbook…


            • If all cars are required to have “x” then I am forced to buy it if I want a new car – and eventually, a used car, too.

              Which means, if I want a car.

              I gave you the air bag example. They’ve been mandatory for about 20 years now. Which means, to avoid air bags, one’s only option is to buy a car that’s more than 20 years old.

              The issue here isn’t the equipment – air bags or back-up cameras. That is, I have no issue with them being offered as available equipment. It’s when government mandates the equipment be installed. I don’t need or want air bags and would prefer not to buy them – or subsidize them, either. Let them succeed – or fail – on their merits.

              You say my rant in re the government is “absurd” – and then fail to address or rebut any single point made. Instead, you accuse me of not “doing something about it.” Well, I am doing something about. I write columns promoting the ideas of liberty and individualism; I point out the evils and absurdities of collectivism. Ideas matter. Just look at how much progress has been made by Ron Paul and other Libertarian advocates.

              And again: Speak for yourself. It’s not “our” government. Maybe it’s yours.

              Sure as hell isn’t mine!

          • Actually Eric, what’s really at issue here is your opinion regarding government mandates, in general. What do you think of them? Why do you think our government requires air bags? Malicious intent?

            • I’ve explained at length what I think of government mandates. It’s none of the government’s business – properly speaking – to mandate anything! Let consumers decide. Let free people freely exchange. No more crony/cartel capitalism. No more Big Government in bed with Big Business.

              What is the government? It is organized force, controlled by a small minority of people – typically control freak assholes who think they have a god-given right to impose their views of how to live on other people.

              What gives these people the moral right to threaten other people with violence? And that is exactly what they are doing. If I am a car company and build the cars my customers want – rather than as the government dictates – men with guns will shut me down. If I wish to remove the air bags from (cough) “my” car, men with guns will come after me, too.

              The only legitimate function of government – as Libertarians see it – is keeping the peace. Everything else is illegitimate – tyrannical.

              Why does the government require air bags? Power – and money. As always.

          • Vicktor, you have once again hit upon another tired mantra. The “Why aren’t you doing something about it”. I get this one a lot.

            The basis of this comment is that somehow the views of the person it is being aimed at are invalid unless he enters politics or works as an activist or something. That we all have to stop or throttle down our productive lives to be in politics. It is simply absurd. It’s designed to put the target on the defensive and drop debate about the topic at hand.

            The great thing about this charge is when the target comes back and says he’s done this that and the other thing is to tell the target it’s not enough. The whole line is bullshit.

            To irritate people who take this line with me, I say assume I don’t do anything. In arguments on taxation for charity I’ll say ‘assume I am horrible selfish person that will do absolutely nothing to help my fellow man’. Then I ask their moral basis for killing me if I sufficiently resist their demands upon me for their good works. Usually they will go back to ask what am I doing. I keep up, assume I do -nothing-. Eventually they either just stop participating or they admit to the violence that backs it all. Either way I win the debate.

            The ‘do something’ is a diversion. It’s a refuge for someone who is losing the debate on the merits. So what if a person is doing nothing politically? What’s right isn’t a popularity contest.

      • You don’t even understand what you wrote. The cameras cost nothing. The LCD screen is used for GPS (no mandate, just consumer demand and a way for opt in added value to the car company.)

        Peters decries the lack of horsepower, but any 4 cylinder engine has more power than an 6 or 8 from 20 years ago> When was the last time you drove an underpowered vehicle?

        Stupid, asinine belly aching whiners.


        • If it cost nothing why was it an option (and not a cheap one) for the new car I purchased last year? The electronics package was over two grand and the camera was charge on top of that. There was a camera only middle ground.

          The fact is that it isn’t free. Nor is it anywhere near as easy as you state. My years of product development engineering tell me so.

        • Scott,

          Er, not every car has an LCD display – because not every car has GPS. Many do not, in fact.

          But once cameras are mandated, they will have to have the LCD screen. All cars.

          And the estimated cost per car is around $300.

          That’s not even getting into down the road costs, when the LCD display craps out. Or do you think the LCD display will last forever?

          Bottom line: Another expense added to the cost of owning a car by our Dear Leaders – and amen’d by people such as yourself.

          I suppose I’m a sophist for pointing that out.

          • Think of the new market opportunity: Plastic screens to cover the LCD to prevent scratches on the LCD.

            I would like a reliable car that gets at least 30mpg cty.

            The simpler the better. Some features that I would want:
            AC, 5 or 6sp manual geared for 2000rpm@ 64mph, ≥ 30mpg cty, radio w/aux port, built so I can do work on it (I do not want to go to dealer for every little thing).

          • you’re silly to think that the industry doesn’t want this, it’s profitable for them. You’re also naive to think that auto lobbies don’t drive this. Occasionally gov’t gets a concession or two, but gov’t doesn’t dictate to business, it works the other way around.

            There’s not problems with this, but mostly it’s to keep smaller competition out of the loop. But if Eric actually listened to customers (check out Ed Wallace, your superior) they really want GPS. Further, the screens are being brought to control the entire system, synching in other electronics.

            Gov’t may well intrude and limit these screens as they can be distracting, but Eric is a ideologue who really doesn’t understand economics.

            For instance, you, like too many libertarians conflate utilities markets with free markets. You don’t even know the difference. (hint, free markets have alternatives, multiple distribution channels and competition. Utilities don’t. That’s why banking and the post office are so similar. In the free market the customer is always right, that’s not the case with the electric or phone company, you have no choice and they treat you like it.

          • scottindallas actually trots out the tired old “natural monopolies” argument, which FA Hayek among others demolished over 20 years ago.

            He gets on his high horse and pontificates:

            “… you, like too many libertarians conflate utilities markets with free markets. You don’t even know the difference. (hint, free markets have alternatives, multiple distribution channels and competition. Utilities don’t… ”

            I guess he didn’t get the memo.

  24. It’s really not that hard people. Preferred ways to park a vehicle, in order:

    1) Pull in, pull out.
    2) Back in, pull out.
    3) Pull in, back out.

    99% of the time you will be able to use either 1 or 2. In the rare case when you need to use 3, walk around the vehicle and make sure there’s nothing in your path (which should be done for 1 and 2 as well). It takes all of 5 seconds out of your life, if that. After having this drilled into my head by my employer I just do it. Instead of heading straight to the driver’s side door, I head to the passenger side and walk around. A few steps at most.

    Over the years, I’ve chased off a few cats and a dog or two. Never a kid, but it could happen.

    As for backup cameras, I’m fairly certain they will have blind spots, or distort so badly you won’t be able to tell where anything is. The sad thing is they’ll probably use the backup camera as an excuse to make the side view mirrors even smaller.

    I guess turning our head to look out the back window is too much of a chore, what with our bad backs and all.

    • I’M 81 years old and can’t turn my head around like a younger person. I do extra things to make sure I’m safe. You will find out if you make it this far.

      • Harry, I think you are missing the point.

        Why should I, a “younger person” who can turn my head around, be made to buy something that I dont need? When I get to the age/physical condition where I cannot turn my head around, I can then choose to purchase that option.

        • just because you’re illiterate and following a sophist who doesn’t even understand his own argument doesn’t mean we should pity your idiot ass. The cameras cost nothing. The LCD screen is used for GPS (no mandate, just consumer demand and a way for opt in added value to the car company.)

          Peters decries the lack of horsepower, but any 4 cylinder engine has more power than an 6 or 8 from 20 years ago> When was the last time you drove an underpowered vehicle?

          Stupid, asinine belly aching whiners.


      • “Get Out And Look.”

        Makes sense to me. But as a crusty old Redneck I’d word it differently, like: Git yore sorry stinking aiss outa th’ gawddamned vehicle and look.

        • Loose crotchfruit are a hazard!

          In our old neighborhood (cul-de-sac) there was a fambly two houses down from us whose numerous small kids were left to run amok, unsupervised. They had one small boy who I think may have been a little spayshull. I found this kid in my garage several times, fumbling around my engine hoist – with 500 pounds of Pontiac 400 hanging off it – and my motorcycles on egg crates awaiting this or that part. I had to shoe the little dude outta there multiple times. The idiot pahrunts did nothing about it. I got used to always checking to make sure the kid was not asleep behind my back tire before I put the car in reverse!

          • Or as Monty Pythons YellowBeard would call it “Prawn of my loins!”

            But, seriously, only a few days after being assaulted by a cop in my own living room, a five year old boy sadly drowned in our neighborhood HOA’s pond not a stones throw from my house. The parents were somehow ignorant of their childs whereabouts for a good 45 minutes and the family where they were staying with at the time would let their young daughter run wild through the area with no supervision. She would repeatedly ask in the past if my youngest would come over to her house to play whereupon I’d gently turn her down but inside I was saying “Not only no but hell no!”

    • I was riding in a car with a backup camera yesterday. I was watching the cam while the driver used her mirrors to back into a parking space. Believe me, the mirrors give a much better idea where you’re heading.

      • I drive a new car (sometimes two or three) every week; I have driven thousands of new cars. I can tell you, from vast personal experience, that the view provided by the back-up cameras is inferior to the view provided by your eyes. The camera view lacks perspective and depth; it does not have the peripheral view your eyes do. It is both lazy and dangerous not to use your eyes (and mirrors) rather than trust a 4-6 inch LCD screen.

  25. Yep, this is really stupid. Back up cameras make sense if you have a suv, but a sedan? please. Look in the mirrors. I see no reason why I have to buy a car with this option. I don’t have kids and I don’t run over time. If I run over your kids, it means the parents weren’t controlling them well. They shouldn’t have been on my property playing in my driveway anyway. Insensitive? Deal.

      • I have no doubt at all that your retard kid (a redundancy in your case, to be sure) will become a statistic of the type described here – with or without your beloved mandatory “safety” measures.

    • I bought a crew-cab long bed Toyota Tacoma last year, and specified that it had to have the backup camera. Not only does it help with backup up this very long vehicle, but I tow a trailer often and the camera makes hooking up to a trailer a snap. It’s invaluable.

  26. Kathy recently joined me in retirement. Anticipating some recreational traveling we shopped for a new car last week. $tunned and di$gusted, we’ve decided to keep using our 2005 Altima and our 2002 Corolla until it is no longer economically feasible to maintain them or until we croak, whichever comes first.

    Methinks that the UNANIMOUS DECLARATION and Bastiat’s THE LAW should be required study in America’s high schools. I further think that every high school grad should know how to create and file court papers. The first unlawful requirement to be attacked should be the Filing Fee requirement. With that accomplished, it should not take very long to see whether or not an armed revolution is necessary to continue fulfilling the Promise of July 4, 1776 when the Second Continental Congress approved the UNAMENDABLE!!! Unanimous Declaration. No Power that contravenes the Principles underpinning the Unanimous Declaration has lawful authority. Philosophically I find it to be a much better debating tool than the dangerously amendable Constitution.

    WE [ought to] hold these Truths and cherish the Nuremberg Precedent.

    • Me too, Tinsley –

      There’s just too much stuff I don’t want in a car being force-fed to me.

      I’m not interested in 4-6 air bags, an LCD “infotainment” system or GPS. I don’t want an EDR – or a mouse. No “keyless” ignition, either.

      It is becoming very hard to find a new car that doesn’t have some or even all these things.

      So, I’ll pass.

      I’m surprised more people aren’t doing the same.

      • Dear Tinsley, Eric,

        Ditto. I never even bought a car that had air conditioning!

        Call me a hair-shirt reactionary, but I would be perfectly happy if they were still making cars like the 68-70 Plymouth Road Runners. Bench seats, rubber floor mats, 426 Hemi, four on the floor with Hurst shifters.

        But that’s just me.

          • Dear Eric,

            With all the mandated gee gaws, automobile owners are in danger of losing sight of the bottom line purpose of a motor vehicle, which is simply to get one from point A to point B. Preferably as fast as possible.

            Everything else is secondary, tertiary, even irrelevant.

            What you really want is something you can hop in, turn the key, and go — fast. Each time, every time.

            Ultimately a car does not need to be a media center. It does not need to be a wet bar. It does not need to be anything except reliable and quick transportation.

            I’m reminded of that when I see how automobiles are used in Third World countries.

            One usage that fascinates me is the way the militias in Somalia used the reliable as hammer Toyota Hiluxes and Land Cruisers as weapons platforms for .50 caliber Browning M2 Machine Guns.

            They have firepower. They need to combine that firepower with mobility. They mount the gun on the vehicle. Presto. Problem solved.

            Contrast that with the way the Pentagon designed and built the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle. See the hilarious political satire, “The Pentagon Wars” to see what I mean.

            Pentagon Wars – Bradley Fighting Vehicle Evolution

            • Good morning (or rather, afternoon) Bevin!

              Yeah, that’s my attitude, also.

              But ours is a minority view, apparently.

              Part of the reason may be a function of the modern driving environment. For most people, driving has become a chore to be endured rather than a pleasure to be savored. Whether because of inescapable traffic – or omnipresent cops – driving is, I must concede, much less enjoyable today than it was in my youth.

              Since actually driving is either less possible – or illegal – people demand soporifics: In-car entertainment systems that rival the best home systems. LCD displays to play with. Sail fawns. Internet access. Something to keep them distracted – or otherwise occupied.

              Another factor, more subtle, is that the car is a very mature technology. Today’s “entry level” car has tremendous capability relative to what even a high-performance, high-end car was capable of as recently as 25 or 30 years ago. The entry level car also typically has included as standard equipment features that not too very long ago were considered luxury features – such as AC, power windows and locks, cruise control, electric rear defrost, etc. How then to differentiate the “entry level” from the “luxury” car? Add gadgets! Electric climate control rather than mere AC. A mouse input and LCD screen with “menus” – rather than mere knobs and buttons. Etc.

          • Dear Eric,

            If it were purely market forces that were leading to this result, I would say, “So be it. The consumers have spoken. As a good free market capitalist, I can live with it.”

            But the fact is the heavy hand of “The Government” is all over these gee gaw laden new vehicles.

            To wit, the back up cameras you mentioned. The latest in a long line of insults we have had to endure.

          • Hence why a late model ride should be LEASED rather than bought. It’s cheaper since the practicality of “drive it forever” is all but gone for anything produced since 1996 (when OBDII wad adapted). Even the viability of keeping many vehicles in the time period 1975-1995 is questionable. If they’re RWD, with a solid engine family, then yes, you’ve got a chance to keep it going forever.
            Big “Gubmint” and the major automakers have colluded to the point that the shadetree mechanic is a relic, whether intentional or not. It would not surprise me if someday something like a vintage VW Beetle will be outlawed on the grounds of “safety” or “emissions”. Then vintage car owners will either have to scrap their old rides or put them on trailers.

      • I’ve said it for ages that all of these unnecessary gadgets are expensive distractions from the fact that the beast is a heavy gas guzzling, and now GPS spying, tax on your freedom. Will they be happy to have all the serfs on mass transit? Oh hell no! Because then they’d tax you even more because of the so-called “burden of demand” placed on said systems. It’s all a scam.

  27. “…ergo, the possibility of even one idiot behaving like, well, an idiot requires the entire country of 300 million-plus be idiot-proofed”.

    Idiots will always find a way – it is an unstoppable force of nature….

        • The Declaration of Secession from the British empire should not be besmirched by grouping it in with the federal constitution.

          We should not forget, however, that what drove so many of our reverred foundinng fathers was the opportunity to practice an amerikan version of mercantalism.

          • “Ding ding ding ding…” We have a winner! Yes. Thank you for stating the obvious and what I’ve been saying for many years.


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