Worst New Car “Safety” Features

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Some of you might remember the ’90s sci-fi flick, Demolition Man. It starred Sylvester Stallone and portrayed a future world obsessed with “safety.” That’s our reality, today.safety lead

If you’ve seen the movie, you probably remember the scene where a car crashes and a gazillion air bags inflate. That was comedic back in ’93.

It’s our reality today.

Here are some other “safety” features you’ll find (unfortunately) in many new cars:

* Automatic transmissions that throw themselves into Park if you dare to try backing the car up with the door open.

Really. Seriously.

If you’re over 25, you’ll remember a time when people used their eyes and judgment to back a car up. Not sensors, remote cameras and LCD displays. Sometimes, you’d crack the driver’s door open, lean out a little, take a look and inch the car back. Several new cars I’ve tested recently (including the 2015 Chrysler 200 and several ’15 BMWs) will do something potentially catastrophic (to the transmission and your wallet) as well as incredibly peremptory and nannyish if you try that. The computer, sensing the door is ajar, shifts the transmission from Reverse to Park while the car is moving. This is done electronically, because modern car transmissions are moved from gear to gear by sensors and actuators controlled by the computer – not cables controlled by your right hand. This “safety” system cannot be disengaged, so forget about using your eyes and judgment to back up – and accept the computer’s overlordship.

It is just trying to keep you “safe,” after all.

* Blind spot object detection that can’t tell the difference between a car in your blind spot … and a tree by the side of the road. Or a high berm.Blind spot pic

Many – almost all – 2015 cars either come standard with or offer Blind Spot Object Detection… usually, with flashing yellow warning lights built into the rearview mirror and often accompanied by flashing warning lights in the main gauge cluster. The theory is the system will alert you to the presence of another vehicle to your right or left that’s “hiding” in your blind spot. The problem is these systems are brainless – literally. They use radar to sense the presence of an object within the car’s radius. But the radar (and the computer) cannot tell the difference between another car traveling in an adjacent lane and a tree-lined lane. So the buzzer is constantly flashing, which is of course distracting.

And that’s kind of not so “safe,” don’t you think?

PS: Wait and see what it’ll cost you if you ever damage one of your Blind Spot Object Detecting outside rearview mirrors… abu graib

* The Abu Graib back-up buzzer.

Lots of people hate the Toyota Prius for a variety of reasons, including the greenie preening and posturing. I don’t hate the Prius. But I despise the back-up buzzer. Put the car in Reverse and it beeps. Loudly, repetitively and endlessly… until you move the toggle shifter out of Reverse. The theory is that “safety” will be enhanced because the otherwise silent-running car might otherwise run over the feet (and other parts) of oblivious pedestrians. First, wouldn’t it be “safer” if people on foot (and in other cars) paid attention to what’s going on around them? And, secondly, it’s a lot harder to pay attention to what’s going on around you when your car is doing the equivalent of Chinese water torture, ding! ding! dinging! you to distraction.

* The Sandwich Sensing Passenger Seat.Sensoren, die sich dehnen lassen

First, the government countermanded the market’s verdict about air bags (most people didn’t want them enough to freely pay to have them). Then it ignored the warnings of car industry engineers, who told the government that air bags explode with great force and great forces exploding at close proximity to human faces might not be very “safe.” When it became impossible to cover up the mayhem being caused by exploding air bags, government mandated “smart” air bags. These adjust their explosive force based on input from sensors built into the car seats. In theory, the sensors sense whether a person is an adult or a child, wearing their seat belt or not – and so on. In fact, the sensors are so sensitive that they routinely mistake that foot-long hoagie you just bought and placed on the front passenger seat for an unbuckled child. This triggers the seatbelt buzzer (virtually all cars built since the early 2000s have these) which will not go off until you put your sandwich or laptop or backpack someplace else. Somewhere less convenient. Which is annoying. Which makes you tense and irritated. And tense/irritated people tend to react/judge situations less than optimally. But hey, you could always just buckle up your sammy … for “safety”

* Traction Control that’s too controlling.snow car

Sometimes, it’s safer to slip and slide a little. As when trying to maintain your momentum going up a snow-slicked hill. But in some cars with can’t-turn-it-off traction control, the computer will fight you every inch of the way. Cutting power, pumping the brakes (via the ABS). This makes it far more likely you won’t get up the hill – and may end up sliding back down… and into something.

Some of these systems can be turned off… but only if you come to a complete stop first. There goes your momentum. Others turn themselves back on once you reach a certain speed – and then cannot be turned off again until you stop the car again.

In the bad-old pre-computer days, you might have had to kick the car to get it to do something you wanted. These days, the car kicks you.exasperated

* Stereos that turn the volume down (or off).

So, you went to the store for some stuff. Get back in the car, turn the engine – and tunes – on, put the transmission in Reverse… and there go your tunes. The radio mutes. Because some twit in the bowels of NHTSA (or Detroit) decided – for you, as they love to do –  that “safety” requires the radio be off (or turned down to inaudible) while you’re backing up out of a parking spot. It takes a good long pause to turn back up, too. So you miss your song – or the discussion you were following. Which makes you tense.

Which isn’t very “safe.”

* Lawyered-up GPS.saaaaaftey!

Cars are increasingly just computers that roll. They boot up, just like your PC. This includes the “I agree” waiver/disclaimer that pops up every single frickin’ time you get in the thing. It gets old after the 50th or 100th time of “agreeing” to the various terms and conditions… and admonitions to “check surroundings for safety.” (Really? Where is “safety”? I don’t see him… or is it her?).

These disclaimers cannot be thrown in the woods like you would the label on a mattress or the ugly stickers affixed to household electronics when you first unwrap them. You’re stuck in a perpetual feedback loop. Allegedly, to keep you “safe.”

In actuality, it’s enough to drive you nuts.

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  1. Nepotism-the process of hiring mostly arrogant deadwood,that you cant get rid of(because you know blood is thicker then water and your beloved,trump extremely good senior workers,because they have to be good{eventually} after they are related to you and have to be good?)
    Thats one the things that will run me away from a company quicker then anything,having to put up with the double standard relatives create.The eyes of love suyre cover a lot of BS-kEVIN

  2. Not sure if this was mentioned already but 2015 Chrysler 200 does not automatically shift the transmission into park when the door is opened. It simply applies the park brake. Perhaps a little research might make your posts a bit more accurate.

    • Hi Pete,

      I may have juxtaposed the means by which the 200 did it with the way a recent BMW I tested did it. Either way, though, these “safety” nannies are incredibly annoying.

  3. Hi Eric, I’ve mentioned this idea before but I think it is worth mentioning again. The Car in a Box.

    It is illegal to sell a car without so many of these annoying safety mechanisms. But anyone can build and register a car without them, as long as the car isn’t sold to someone else. If I were more mechanically inclined, I’d probably buy parts for a car and then build my dream car. But I’m not.

    HOWEVER, if some clever mechanic were to sell “ready to assemble car kits” that are to cars what Ikea is to furniture, one could build their own car without all of these absurd systems.

    If someone were to do that, I’d be first in line to buy one. And it doesn’t violate the law … yet.

  4. “There is no means by which anyone can evade his personal responsibility. Whoever neglects to examine to the best of his abilities all the problems involved voluntarily surrenders his birthright to a self-appointed elite of supermen. In such vital matters blind reliance upon “experts” and uncritical acceptance of popular catchwords and prejudices is tantamount to the abandonment of self-determination and to yielding to other people’s domination.” – Ludwig von Mises
    Any of that sound like Clover to someone besides me?

  5. The govt is so stupid,they spoil it for everybody because of a few bad apples-if they could just sit on their hands a little bit,Darwinism would take care of a lot of the problem-Kevin

    • That would be fine if the Darwinism only took out the problem but what happens when the problem driving too slow in front of you swerves into your car because he didn’t check his blind spot as you try to pass and wipes out you and your family. I’m not a fan of all these “safety” features either but not all of them are designed just to protect the problem driving the car they are installed on.

  6. I solved the problem of car ‘safety’ devices. I quit buying cars after the government’s thugs aka cops confiscated my last car at gun point because of my lack of mandatory insurance and not putting an interlock on my motorcycle that could have killed me. I think I can control my ‘safety’ better than they can with their bogus laws and devices. Just imagine learning how to drive at a higher level than the average citizen to protect yourself from the lackluster drivers out there.

  7. I’m sorry but the Clover gene has been added to a lot of this generation I’m afraid-I have worked with a bunch of Guys who would gladly pull you back in the cauldron.if you managed to get a toe hold out,one of the last jobs I had the Boss challenged me to go home if I didnt like it,He was being so disrespectful and condecending,I walked out the door.
    I survived,just dont take to Bullying no more,at least the knees of my jeans are intact and my lips arent chapped.
    I’ve tried bucking the system more then once only to hear the crickets chirping when I turned for backup.So now my goal is to drop clean out of the Rat race in a very few years and hopefully make my way to Erics Colony in Serendip,Oz or wherever it maybe(no more airbags)-Kevin

    • Amen to that, Kevin! Unfortunately, we often have to go it alone….but the first time we do it, we learn what it feels like to be a man- and thus grow the nads to continue walking out, or not walking in to begin with. One has to be willing to stand for principle- even if it costs them. The Clovers are unwilling; but if we are unwilling, we become just like them.

      Gotta love the look on their faces when they give you an ultimatum, thinking you’ll meekly submit; but instead, ya tell ’em to shove it!

    • KM, right with you. I once refused to do something stupid the corporation I worked for deemed I should. I don’t remember the exact subject but my boss quipped “Hey, you can still get fired”. I told him he could get some backbone and fire away, I was looking for another job when I found that one. You could have heard a pin drop even with all those ovens and compressors going. Everybody just stared. So did I, and he turned and walked away.

      Evidently he was talking trash but I wasn’t.

      I didn’t play the game to their liking but never did anything they could fire me for without a real shitty happening. He tried to force me to come to safety meetings right in the middle of my night shift. I knew he couldn’t write me up enough times in a year to fire me so he had his second in command write me a demerit for my record. When that didn’t work, he had him write me two(but it would still be one short for the duration), one for not coming in and one for having had too many demerits they had to write. I called him out on that, face to face right in front of everybody. I said that was “The most chickenshit thing I ever saw anybody stoop to”. He never said a word, another one of those very silent moments. I was hot at the time but I meant every word I said.

      Months later I came in on evening shift and the little suckup said “Damn, I can’t believe it, you broke their back”. I didn’t have a clue as to what he was speaking of. Broke their back on what? asks I. Safety meetings he says, they are discontinuing them for people on midnights.

      All I said to get this going was I had pulled right out in front of a pickup(close call, I was still asleep)going home from a safety meeting. It really did scare hell out of me since they slid right up to my door and I was so stupid from being asleep I had nowhere to go. Cars were coming in the opposing lane and some dick pulled up behind me blocking me from backing up. He asked if it was before or after the meeting. I said it was after, going home. More of this and that but he kept on so I told him “Reckon what a jury from F…..county(where I lived)would say to me getting hurt coming back from a safety meeting?” I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He’d always pull this crap right in front of everybody. He’d have been better off to do it privately but he was scared of me. FEAFEFH’s as Ed would say.

  8. A nation of clovers begets targeted engineering to compensate for the stupidity of it all!! Talk about a continual feedback loop!

    People need to realize that driving is a 100% attention activity. How many people actually turn to look at their blind spot before executing a move? How many people use their turn signals for every change in their trajectory movement? How many people get distracted by their personal non-driving activities? Etc.!

  9. Funny too; all these “safety features”- and yet I’d bet that at least 50% [and probably way more] of accidents could be eliminated if people would just keep their eyes on the road!

    So what do they do? They mandate that cars be equipped with all these “safety features” which make people feel safer and invulnerable; and in many cases, which actually hinder safety, as Eric noted, by having things which obstruct visibility (like huge pillars) and having more flashing lights and buzzers and gizmos to further distract the driver; or to make him rely more on things other than his own senses!

  10. Yet another aspect of modern life which has gotten ,strike.toway past the point of insanity. And it’s only going to get worse. And I guess the average Clover doesn’t care, ’cause people continue to pay their money for it all- even where the goobermint doesn’t dictate it. Electronic shifting, now available on BICYCLES is all the rage…pay $1000 more for your bike so you don’t have those pesky old-fashioned cables; and derailleurs that could easily be adjusted with the turn of a screw, but which are instead now controlled by a computer?! Oh…there’s that word again- “controlled”- not a foe to the average turd today- but something to be sought-after and paid extra for- and if the gov’t doesn’t decree they must have it…they volunteer for it.

  11. Regarding the “I agree to indemnify and hold harmless” disclaimer on GPS units, the Tomtom I have does exactly that. The problem is that it takes so long to initialize that by the time it forces me through the disclaimer screen, I’m already in motion and now fumbling blindly for the “I agree” button so the stupid thing can make itself useful.

  12. The “19th Amendment” – the gift that keeps on giving. Placing Miss Wormwood in total authority over every last detail of our lives – all for our own good, of course.

  13. Lots of people hate the Toyota Prius for a variety of reasons, including the greenie preening and posturing. I don’t hate the Prius. But I despise the back-up buzzer. Put the car in Reverse and it beeps. Loudly, repetitively and endlessly… until you move the toggle shifter out of Reverse.

    I heard a story from Sweden a few years ago, where they are more advanced in these matters. It seems that The Powers That Be there decreed that motorcycle indicators should trigger beeping automatically, for pedestrian safety. They also decreed that pedestrian crossing lights should trigger beeping automatically, for the sake of the blind, to let them know when it was safe to proceed. The result was an epidemic of blind pedestrians stepping in front of motorcycles at corners – in the name of safety.

  14. Re: Salt,I had an accident going up Afton Mtn , right at the first bridge starting up the mtn, a woman in a Suburban got cut off in the hammer lane now the good Lord only knows why she came to a complete stop and didnt go on,now I was traveling below the speed limit due to construction going on the mtn,Guys started hollering ,by the time it registered and I slammed on the brakes the old wore out 4door truck slid perhaps three wheels across the bridge and I rear ended an unfortunante woman who was driving a Hyundai Accent it totaled her car,which absorbed the brunt of the impact and only marred the paint on the Surburban(whose driver caused the accident to start with) now guess who got the ticket(I did) the woman in the Surburban apologized and drove off,none the worse for the altercation(why in the heck didnt she go to start with,rather then sitting in the left lane) anyway the state trooper was really understanding and just charged
    me with following too close(which I gladly accepted all things considered) So I cannot tell anyone what a safe following distance is(3 or more car lengths certainly wasnt enough,the boss seemed a bit miffed about his junk,so I simply do not volunteer to drive His trash now(I had to pay the ticket out of my pocket too)
    Dave I hate convex mirrors-Kevin

  15. Add those items to an ever growing list of “technology” which I think is more or less superfluous: Automatic headlights (DRL), automatic wipers, “adaptive” cruise control (is it really that hard to hit accel/coast buttons usually located on the steering wheel?), automatic climate control systems, “Shaming” technology (i.e. angry beeping when one goes over 2km/hr without a seat-belt on, and those displays on hybrids that tell you how awful of a driver you are to drive the vehicle over 25mph because it’s bad for the environment); I thought it was bad a few years back when at the NAIAS Lexus was showing their new “infotainment” system which allowed you to check Facebook in the car. Give me convenience or give me death as the Dead Kennedy’s noted.

    I think automakers should sell cars in two distinct categories:

    Responsible driver/owner edition (for those who us who know how to drive, and take care of the vehicle. Comes without any “I’m with stupid” technology, only electronics that make sense, easy to use, and backed up with actual knobs, buttons, and sliders.)

    “Soccer Mom/Clueless Moron” edition (Eric might call it “Clover Edition” for people who’s idea of car “ownership” is put the gas in, push the pedal & go, and that’s it; Those who never change the fluids; tires don’t get rotated and replaced until all the rubber is gone, and the belts have wore down and they pop [which they’ll try to fix using a can of “fix-a-flat” instead of a full/partial spare.]) This edition would be cheap to produce since all you need is a touch-screen for everything (no buttons, sliders, or knobs), and a console with only a speedometer and a gas gauge (no tach, no oil pressure, no temp, no battery gauges to get in the way of reading those tweets that J-Lo just gained 30lbs.)

    All this junk is part of the “I’m with stupid”/”Don’t think, we’ll think for you” school of driving; largely to free up the drivers hands so s/he can respond to that text message they just got from their “bae.”

    Ford did the blind spot system right on some of it’s cars: it added an extra mirror at a different angle to the side mirrors, so you can see the blind-spot. Works better than those “blind spot” sensing systems I would say, but the clueless won’t like it since it means they have to actually look at the side mirrors instead of the radio when changing lanes.

  16. I own a 2010 Prius and I did not buy it in order to be green. I bought it for the 50 miles per gallon. The idiotic backup buzzer I had disconnected at the dealer. it’s a simple matter of them setting a computer switch. I had them turn off all the buzzers.

  17. I laugh about the back up alarm. 20 years ago they were made mandatory on most construction sites here. Bobcats, dozers, even pickup trucks had to have them on some jobs. Well you can imagine the annoying racket when you have dozens of machines working.

    The safety people realized it got to the point that nobody paid any attention to the infernal things. You rarely see them anymore.

    One “safety” feature I hate on motorcycles is the fact both mirrors are convex. Try and find a flat rearview mirror for a bike? My old Norton had one,

    • Thankfully I have not lived in the sitty for some time. The backup alarms on the trash trucks in the early am were the pits.
      On the other hand, I have seen a few Big Mamas that should have them.

  18. In my opinion the A-pillar airbags are dangerous. In my 2007 Camry the A-pillar is now so darn thick that it obscures objects (people, cars, bikes). I fail to see how reducing visibility is a “safety feature”.

    Crosswalks are the worst because people and bikes are effectively hidden from view if they are on the opposite side of the A-pillar. I wonder just how many accidents have been cause by this worthless little air bag.

  19. Though a safety issue all in all, this is OT, and here’s what happened. Friday, day after Thanksgiving, I was heading home, traffic at times between moderate and heavy on I-40 from Charlotte towards the coast of NC. Speed limits vary between 55 and 70 depending and most of the time everyone was above that, averaging 75-80 with a few darting lane to lane doing the dance, but mostly everyone getting along quite well.

    I was in the 911, left lane at the moment, generally staying in the flow and where it opened up in front of me would move along, not clogging the lane up. Except for the few darting-dancers I never saw anyone being – unsafe. I have it all on my dash-cam.

    Around Raleigh, yeah… the blue lights. Seeing as how I got pulled I wondered just what is unsafe about 70 whatever versus a slower 70 whatever in a posted 65 zone. Arbitrary and capricious but that’s not what this is about. I was now stopped well off the edge of the road, being my safety-minded self, with his blues-a-flashing behind me.

    I handed over my DL and was fishing in the center console for the Reg when there was a screech of tires and BLAM… a truck rear-ended a van right next to us in the left lane.

    There are those who hit their brakes when a flashing blue is noticed. Others rubberneck. Some do both. Human nature in action; being distracted. Put the two together in proper order, the truck-guy now laying on his breaks because the Van-guy in front is evidently where his truck wants to be, and it’s Chaos theory in action, like a butterfly flapping its wings creating a hurricane elsewhere. I note this simply because only one thing was different here than, say, a quarter mile back… the State Trooper, the Butterfly, and his flashing blue lights.

    He now had more to deal with than me, “Please slow down, sir,” he said, as he left to begin being a real public servant. I fully believe the proximate cause of the accident was the Trooper. Even Occam’s Razor, by my logic, would agree as the only thing altering the “all things being equal,” cal it the Chi everyone was experiencing on the road, and till then quite safely, was him. In short, the most dangerous aspect of that trip was the Trooper.

    • Salt – I would agree with you, but Clover would not, because it was he or one of his cousins driving that van. He would claim that the truck driver was a dangerous libertarian moron, driving too fast. Not even recognizing, let alone acknowledging, his share of the blame for unnecessarily slowing in front of a semi.

      • well, the rubbernecker/braker was being stupid, and careless, but the one hitting from behind was even worse…… not maintianing safe following distance. Still and all, it WAS the copper caused it. WHY do they insist on maintaining their strobe flashers during the whole stop? I rememver the old CHP protocol….. the left side searchlamp was white, for finding things, and also had a red bulb could be activated. That single red bulb, visible ONLY to the car in “contact” and perhaps a few who bothered to check their rightside rear mirror after they passed, was all the signal needed to maintain the sop. Once that red was turned off, you were free to go. And there were never the sorts of panic stops, lookie lous, etc, as in your case. No, they want to make as big an ego-stroking scene as they possibly can to justify their sorry existence. Make the tax payers aware “I’m here, I’m keeping you safe…… (never mind “and broke”)

        • A friend came on a wreck on a narrow winding road. There were so many flashing lights he was blinded and hit a tree on the edge of the road. Now we double up with the flashing lights and have two accidents within spitting distance. It was the Poh Lease stopping a big rig in traffic on I-20 this week that had traffic jamming on brakes and piling up since the rig had no real place to get out of the way, barely beyond the white stripe(inches). Traffic was so thick in 4 lanes nobody could do significantly faster speeds than anyone else so why pick on the trucker? One good reason is the pigster is guaranteed by law the trucker is unarmed. Lots of drivers got mugged and killed after that law was passed.

  20. My 2011 Yaris has the most useless warning buzzer of all time: damn thing starts alarming if the wheels are slipping. What is the purpose of this? To remind me not to drive sideways? Because just EXACTLY what I need if I’m having control issues is to be startled — thus distracted — by some stupid alarm. Not to mention it goes off all the time; I’m pulling around a building at like 5mph on uneven ice and slide in a predicted, controlled manner? Beepbeepbeepbeep.

    Actually, ALL beeping alarms and warning buzzers can go in the woods as far as I’m concerned. Useless, obnoxious, and patronising. The only one I actually appreciate is the alarm warning me that I’ve left the headlights on. And that one can’t go off while I’m driving!

    Antilock brakes are the worst thing. Only the government could possibly think it’s a good safety feature to rig the brakes so they make the car not stop.

    • My E 350 has ABS.. my first edition of them ever. I hated them. The only three times I’ve ever come close to wrecking that thing was on a slick wet road when a signal changed, I grabbed a footful of stop, the ABS kicked in, I tried to modulate (habit, and I do it VERY well thank you very much) and the stupid things forgot to come back on when I still had some pedal pressure applied. I let up completely, tried again… and nearly sailed into the intersection…. flashing the main beams and laying on the horn. Thankfully cross traffic was/heard, and waited for me to stop and back up to clear. Another similar incident some time later cemented my disgust for the system. Finally, after six years and about 200K miles of my ownership, the stupid system quit working. The warning lamp is on in the instrument cluster, and the brakes work perfectly as a non-ABS system. I can now modulate myself, and prevent skidding, and maintain control again. I’ve thought that if the servo or brain ever died, I’d never spend the cash to replace (they both look to be rather dear…..) I’ll just get the fittings, perhaps bend up a few pipes, and bypass the whole stinking mess.

  21. Eightsouthman,yes its almost impossible to keep the safety features working in the field.The Cat articulated hauler I used to drive had a joke for a back view camera(you could see very little) and it didnt last long.
    A spotter is a good idea as long as they dont try to tell you how to cut the wheel-(wild gestures shut me down)-Kevin

  22. I despise anything that helps me drive,my knowledgeable friends keep insisting that ABS shortens stopping distance(maybe under certain conditions) but when I got my 99 Frontier(with the ABS from hell) I decided to check it out(after a few but pucker instances on icy road) I started testing it on snowy roads,I could drive normal and self modulate the brakes and consistently stop shorter without ABS,I even said to myself-built in prejudice error,so I increased the speed ten mph then the ABS TEST BENCHMARK.I was still able to bring the vehicle to a halt quicker.
    Having learned to drive in front heavy Ford F-100 one wheel drive pickups,I dont appreciate Nanny state showing me how to drive on slick roads(interesting observation-the first vehicles you usually see over the hill around here during bad weather are big SUVs and 4WD trucks-Kevin

  23. I’ve been seeing backup cameras on big rigs. Finally, something that makes sense. But, it ain’t mandatory. Tractor backup lights however are. Why? Because some bureaucrat decided it would be a good revenue collector and it started in this state Sep. 1. Backup lights on a tractor, teats on a boar hog. Back up lights on a trailer makes sense if you can keep them working. Mandating a helper to assist your backup would create lots of jobs and increase the cost of everything you buy. Don’t even know why I said that. Some damn clover will see it and start a write in campaign and we’ll all be saddled with ex(if there is such)crack-heads, chain smokers, el-stupidos to let us know what’s behind us. Of course they’ll stand right behind the trailer where you can’t see them so we’ll be saddled with lots of wrongful death suits. Not a bad idea if they used Po Lease or Lawyers or DA’s or Judges for the job.

  24. Term limit all the bureaucrats. The longer they get pay checks the more stupidity they will dream up to keep the pay checks. It is a maxim of any government budget to increase the empire.

    Demolition Man? More like the movie version of Edgar Cayce’s predictions – Idiocracy.

    • Better yet, anathematize their claim to authority over us. This is my personal mission. To render this business of some people dictating to other people how they shall live, what they may (and may not do)… as despicable and loathsome as sexually abusing children.

      • Exactly.
        As you know, this is the logical conclusion derived from Boettie’s “Discourses.”

        Collectivism is, in my view, the best, broadest term to encompass the core of the disastrous trends of the past 150 years. Whether we call it Progressivism or any of the subgroups of socialism (Marxism, Fabianism, Nazism, or Corporatism), it’s all a secular religion that frames a monopoly organization of men (called the state) as an Earthy god, transcending the limits of its parts to render a whole that is in every respects worshiped as God, and whose organizing principle is political activity.

        Here at the apogee of political organization of mankind, the stacking of absurdities has reached levels no reality-engaged person could possibly have predicted.

      • Some 70 years after that little dustup on the Commons at Lexington way back in 1775, a gentleman who had been in Captain Parker’s militia that morning was asked why they were out that morning, what they were after. After a few questions to which he answerd “no…..”, the questin was put: “well, they, WHY were you out that morning?” His response perfectly summed it all up: “They had a mind to tell us how to live, and we had a mind that they wouldn’t”.

        So, you are dead centre ten ring.

        • Hi Tionico,


          I wonder, though, whether that spirit has been bred out of man for good?

          Oh, there are outliers and black swans here and there. The people here, for instance. But they are dust in a mighty wind. People – the vast majority – seem to crave “safety” as much as they lust to direct other people’s lives. Rare is the man (and even more rare, the woman) who sees the reward in judicious risk… and respects the next man’s right to do his own thing, whatever that might be.

            • RE: “Think I hear a Wild Turkey calling.”

              Kewl. A.K.A. cool.

              It’s hard Not to hear the call of the wild while reading these threads.

              …Afterall, we’re surrounded.

            • RE: “I wonder, though, whether that spirit has been bred out of man for good?”

              Is it any wonder that the atheists haven’t been successful?

              Isaac Asimov wrote a book about that, in it he wrote that, “Christ, We, and Wo” were the only names permitted.

              …Think about that. …


          • RE: “I wonder, though, whether that spirit has been bred out of man for good? ”

            Mutts and purebreds?

            > “The Ender of empires”.

            Thank goodness for that.

    • Hi Ross,

      I was talking yesterday with a guy who shall remain nameless because he’s a big wig at a major automaker. He agrees with us. That idiot-proofing is being marketed under the guise of “safety” and it is ruining cars for people who are not idiots. But there’s no stopping it. The train has overspeeded, the hill is steep and the brakes have failed…

      • I live at the terminus of a 3 mile long dirt/gravel State road which is about the width of a school bus. My nanny state Subaru creates a mind-numbing noise if I don’t have my seatbelt engaged, regardless of whether I am parked (engine running on a cold day) and waiting to pick up a passenger. Due to stomach problems the seatbelt is uncomfortable for me to wear. I was faced with 3 choices:

        1) Capitulate. Wear the seatbelt even though it provides no safety benefit and causes discomfort.

        2) Resist. Disengage the seatbelt and “tolerate” the shrill electronic pulsating noise

        3) improvise. Reach over, take the passenger side seatbelt and insert it on the drivers side.

        Don’t get me started on the “hill holder” feature of this vehicle.

        • I feel your pain, Aaron!

          Just so happens I have a ’15 Legacy in the driveway right now… and (apparently) the Lane Departure Warning cannot be turned off….

              • I’ll pass on that one. The road between I-70 and my house is 2-1/2 miles of curves, including 4 turns, 3 blind curves, and a semi-blind single lane bridge. And the county just repainted all the center stripes. Including, as you have noted elsewhere, more double lines than previously. I’m almost surprised they didn’t double stripe the bridge.

          • Long time good friend of mine just got one of these…. he’d had it about two weeks now, and he still calls me when he’s out driving in it to gush and rave about the “stupid factor” dog and pony tricks the thing can do… including the lane change warning. So far, he likes it. Of course, he’s the one who brought along his GPS to plug into MY vehicle when were working on a project together in my state. I knew exactly where we were going, and that stupid thing would NOT shut up. What it didn’t know was that we needed to come in my the road in back of the establishment, as that is where the material we were after could be loaded. I finally yanked the plug out of the “lighter” socket. I knew precisely where we had to go, and how to get there. The ride back to the job site was blissfully peaceful… and he eventually got over the thing’s wretched voice no longer hollering at me because I didn’t take the turn it thought I should. Which was most of the time.

          • I am truly sorry that you have such a car. I have a ’10 model and I regret almost every mile I have driven with it. I should have kept my 03 Jaguar.

  25. Isn’t part of the problem the lack of glass in modern cars? Doesn’t glass weigh more than plastic or sheet metal? Thanks, Uncle!

    I wouldn’t mind the back up beeper so much if it really gave some indication of distance away from an object. If I can use a machine to find a break in a fiber optic cable several thousand meters away within a few meters, why can’t my car announce just how close I am to the side of the garage?

    • Glass is being removed more for crash protection than weight I think. But less glass of course means not seeing as much which is a safety hazard.

      • Brent, I’d have to disagree with you. The first thing to go in new And old cars for performance models is the regular glass. Notice one of the major changes on the new track model Camaro was glass. I suppose glass reduction would be a plus for safety, in that you have more steel structure around you but as someone else pointed out, not being able to see as well is a big deal. When weight reduction is the foremost thing, then steel is replaced with plastic, carbon fiber, aluminum, etc. I’ve replaced a lot of glass. It does weigh quite a bit more than metal. And now we have those CS plastic runners for gears in windows to reduce weight even more so those types of regulators shitcan frequently. Like most here, I can take that 1/2 lb hit for a motor and geared regulator instead of those plastic things that operate the door glass. But then, I like an anvil to reform things.

        • Because of passenger trucks structure in cars had to move upwards. Passenger trucks don’t seem to be suffering from glass reduction. The belt lines started moving before the CAFE changes so it’s either safety or just styling IMO. Plus I got a glass roof on my Mustang, although as an option it is probably only a few cars.

  26. I suppose if I were foolish to buy one of those cars I would be removing the wires to the buzzer, and the globes from the lights, or substituting blown globes for the lights. But since most men these days don’t know what a screwdriver is, they just have to put up with the distracting noise. Kind of like the shaking stick in the airplane that causes the pilots in an emergency to be overloaded to the point they just freeze and can’t fly the plane.

    • Today’s modern buzzers are integrated into the audio system, you can’t disable them without disabling the stereo. For a time, GM had their radios so integrated that if you removed them the computer would trigger a bunch of fault codes. So after market stereo installers had to jerry-rig the head unit under the dashboard.

      Don’t know if that’s still the case, but given the high integration of the sound system in most vehicles now, I’ll bet the after market is going to be hurting eventually.

  27. Eric, have you tested the sandwich sensor in the VW front seat? I have found my Jetta does a good job of telling the difference between an adult and a 5 year old in a booster seat or a backpack with a laptop and it turns off the airbag when it should. It claims to use some way of sensing capacitance and even lists which car seats should work with it to automatically disable the air bag. The last Toyota I drove (2014) did not and would keep the air bag hot even with a little kid in the front seat because the booster seat was pushing down on the sensor just the right way. Same kid seat and kid in the VW disables the airbag.

  28. the first thing we do, let’s __________ all the __________.

    drink, whiskey
    bed, harlots
    hogtie, clovers

    kill, lawyers? – there’s nothing to be done with either of them that’s in the top billion of my to do list even

    sonus silentium


    The poetic lyrics use the imagery of light and darkness to show how people’s ignorance and apathy destroys their ability to communicate with each other even on simple levels.

    The song’s theme is man’s inability to communicate with man. Communication occurs only in the most superficial and “commercial” level (the market in which the “neon sign” is representative).

    There is no serious understanding because there is no serious communication – “people talking without speaking – hearing without listening”. No one dares take the risk of reaching out to disturb the sound of silence.

    The poet’s attempts are equally futile (“my words like silent raindrops fell within the wells of silence”). Try as he may to awaken the others. He is rather like Plato in the Allegory of the Cave.

    The people everywhere are content to bow and pray to a neon god they’ve made. Though the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls, they remain unmoved from their reality TV and watching the game.

    The existentialist poet endures a frustration with humans in general. With sheeple who are content to “hear without listening,” and are neither willing nor interested in focusing on anyone or anything too intently.

    Sheeple are not willing to go beyond the superficial, but instead passively accept the world around them as it is provided to them. A world where no one “dares disturb the sounds of silence.”

    The narrator has had a revelation, a vision, that has awakened him from this superficial, merely shadowed world. He rises, and walks alone as the man in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave story does, and he sees the light.

    He tries to coax others out of their cave of ignorance and look beyond the surface of things, to see the light he sees. But his “words like silent raindrops” fall. His attempts are futile. In a world where meaningful communication fails, the only sound one hears is silence.


    “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel was from their debut studio album, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM (1964). The album was a commercial failure and led to the duo breaking apart, with Simon returning to England and Garfunkel returning to his studies at Columbia University.

    In 1965, Tom Wilson, the song’s producer, remixed the track without their knowledge, overdubbing electric instrumentation with the same musicians who backed Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”. The remix single was released in September 1965 and hit number one on the Billboard charts in December 1965, leading the duo to reunite and hastily record their second album.


    Simon stated in interviews that the song was written in his bathroom, where he turned off the lights to better concentrate. Alone, playing the guitar, I was able to sit by myself and play and dream. I used to go in the bathroom, because the bathroom had tiles, it was a slight echo chamber. I’d turn on the faucet so that water would run and I’d play. In the dark. Garfunkel summed up the song’s meaning as “the inability of people to communicate with each other, especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other.

    The Watchmen – The Sound of Silence

    • Very nice exposition, Tor. 🙂
      Wasn’t it self-evident to most of us? (IE, here.)

      But we HAVE been outside that cave. 🙂 It’s the other dumb who condemn Socrates – because he speaks the truth.
      Clover et al.

      Who are best harvested with a blowtorch. The “value of human life” may be an immutable concept.
      But I’ve moved past thinking all people are equal, even in worth.
      Sorry, the “develomentally impaired” who will never do more than drool on themselves? What sort of life is that, in the first place? Neither the human, nor the life, are worth anything – they are INCAPABLE of reaching a human cognizance, or of showing cognizance.

      We euthanize our pets, using the same justifications… rover can’t pee or sit (and add an h), can’t get up or down stairs, and we can see the ginchy muscles, the limping, the whimpering, the pains in their spine… Etc, etc. etc. Can’t eat, can barely sleep, can’t excrete.

      Same for capital punishment.
      God will judge you – we’re just saying you’re too dangerous to remain amongst the rest of us. (E.G., Socrates + hemlock, at The State’s command.)

      Why are the Conservatives against abortion, but FOR Capital punishment – but the Liberals are FOR abortion, and AGAINST Capital Punishment?
      [Problem is, a child has done nothing; a criminal chose their path, assuming a reasonably just system. Makes Liberals out to be COMPLETE morons. We can tolerate the sinner – we cannot tolerate the (perfect/unadulterated) unborn! They’d embrace Freddy Kreuger, but abort Christ. There is no dealing with this sort of mental illness, you just kill it and move on.]

      Would it not make sense to remove those who can never contribute to society?

  29. “First, kill all the lawyers.”
    I know it’s a throw-away – but so are cars these days.
    And the woman wants to keep the Kia new and put the mileage on the buick. Economically it mgith make sense, but DILLIGAF? Buick rides better, though it needs a few blemishes removed (blower’s giving us issues – fogged-up windshield is really a safety hazard in Boston right now.)

    but the buick fits people and materials, and the Kia… rolls. And beeps. And has satellite radio, but also all the sensors I neither want nor need.
    I LIKE the green monster, close to the ground, not as “crush-proof” in the rollover position – but I can SEE out of the damn thing.

    BTW, Eric: nit-picking, but in Demolition Man, it wasn’t airbags – it was styrofoam. The entire car filled the rough equivalent of styrofoam beads, but they stuck together – leaving a block of foam around the body.
    Funny how Stallone’s character didn’t inhale any…

    but because it causes cancer in 5 years, it’s not going to be the GOVERNMENT’S fault, of course… YOU must’ve done something wrong (like driving…?)

    Stand now, or fall forever…

    Hello darkness, my old friend,
    I’ve come to talk with you again,
    Because a vision softly creeping,
    Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
    And the vision that was planted in my brain
    Still remains
    Within the sound of silence.

    In restless dreams I walk alone
    Narrow streets of cobblestone,
    ‘Neath the halo of a street lamp,
    I turned my collar to the cold and damp
    When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
    That split the night
    And touched the sound of silence.

    And in the naked light I saw
    Ten thousand people, maybe more.
    People talking without speaking,
    People hearing without listening,
    People writing songs that voices never share
    And no one dared
    Disturb the sound of silence.

    “Fools” said I,”You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows.
    Hear my words that I might teach you,
    Take my arms that I might reach you.”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell,
    And echoed
    In the wells of silence

    And the people bowed and prayed
    To the neon god they made.
    And the sign flashed out its warning,
    In the words that it was forming.
    And the signs said, ‘The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
    And tenement halls.
    And whisper’d in the sounds of silence.


    Contrast that with:

    People can no longer cover their eyes
    If this disturbs you then walk away
    You will remember the night you were struck by the sight of
    Ten thousand fists in the air

    Read more: Disturbed – 10,000 Fists Lyrics | MetroLyrics

    And contrast Disturbed’s “the guy” with Cremator, Blacksmith of Hell (Chaos comics) for the visual. 🙂
    I see a trend developing, the question is, are we echoing in the sounds of silence? Or working to remove the problems?


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