What’s Wrong With Assistance?

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There’s nothing wrong with a little assistance  . . . if you need it. If you asked for it. Offering to help a little old lady cross the street, for instance. That’s sweet. Boy Scouts are taught this. Well, they were – before the Boy Scouts got kiboshed by being forced to admit girls.

Another rant, for another day.

But try to imagine a hand on your elbow that you didn’t ask for. When you’re not a little old lady – and don’t need any help.

It’s insulting – and tyrannical.

And it’s exactly that kind of “assistance” you’ll find in almost every new car. You can’t say no – without saying no to the car. And the car “assists” whether you asked it to or not – and whether you need it or not.

Control over our cars is being taken away from us under the ruse of assisting us. It’s a ruse precisely because it’s not “assistance.” It’s peremptory control, unasked for and largely unwanted. Note that “assistance” tech such as Lane Keep Assist, Steering Assist, Emergency Brake Assist and other such are not for the most part options that people can buy if they are interested but rather shoved down the buyer’s throat as part of the standard equipment package.

Very much the same as ASS – Automated Stop/Start “technology” (as it’s advertised) is fast becoming something you can avoid without avoiding a new car.

But this begs the question: If these “technologies” are so desirable then why aren’t they optional? Surely, if they were so very desirable, people would freely pay extra for them? Why not give them the opportunity to do so?

Some will say: But virtually all new cars now come standard with air conditioning and power windows; are you suggesting people are being forced to buy them, too?

Well, yes!

You used to be able to buy a car without AC or power windows – which meant paying significantly less for the car. It’s one of the reasons why cars used to be financed over three or so years rather than six, as is typical today.

You also paid less for gas – since less mechanical energy is needed to run an engine that doesn’t have to run an AC compressor; the car also weighed less – typically by more than 100 pounds, which is no small reduction. This also helped the car use less fuel. And of course, there’s one less thing to service, which saved you money that way.

Of course, this doesn’t make money – for the car company and the dealership. In fact, it costs them money to make a given model of car with – and without – AC. One-size-fits-all is cheaper to make, but they can charge you more for it.

Which is why they stopped making cars with AC optional – that came standard with very effective under-dash vents (and wing-vent windows) which kept you almost as cool as AC – but for free.

Without those underdash vents and wing-vent windows, a car gets insufferably hot – if it hasn’t got AC. Therefore, all cars now come standard with it. You’re kept cool. But your wallet is lightened.

Some will say that almost no one would skip AC, even if they could. Well, it’d be interesting to see whether they would, if they had the option not to  . . . without roasting to death being standard equipment.

Airbags are perhaps a better example because they were offered as optional equipment before they became mandatory equipment. When buyers were able to skip them, most did.

Which explains why air bags were subsequently forced on them.There is little doubt many people would skip air bags, if they could – because they did. Especially now – because of general awareness of both the risks and the costs of air bags. One relatively minor, otherwise repairable accident and the car is totaled because of the disproportionate cost of replacing several air bags.

The same force-feeding is happening with “assistance” technology. Almost as soon as it was invented, it got foisted – probably because outside of a few neurotics morbidly fixated on your “safety”  – what the youth refer to as “Karens” – not many normal people would freely pay to be controlled; to have their driving pre-empted and countermanded by software written by some geek unknown to them, who presumes them to be nearsighted, slow-witted morons unable to control a car competently themselves.

Which, of course, begs the most important question of all:

Why is anyone genuinely in need of “assistance” allowed anywhere near a car at all? In plain language, if you lack the competence or attention span or willingness to competently control a car yourself without “assistance” then you have no more business behind the wheel than a person unable to swim has in the deep end of a pool.

But competence – and sense – are becoming as rare in the Corona’d States of America as literacy and numeracy.

Which answers the questions begged.

. . .

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Inside baseball. I only read titles these days and never pay a nickle to kind ol’ Eric Peters who is only proprieter here. All other subcontractors are part of his Je ne suis pa (surrender frog for I not Present indicative modern French – I now negating word. )

    Je neigh say kwah. I meet my wife in bar 23 years ago. A black ghetto bar she upper middle minnesota upper class lady once loving had her nose broke by 4 adolescent gang orented young kids in North Minneapolis. (place with longest bridge in wolrdl. North to NordEast minneapolis bridege go frojm Africa to Pland dontcha know you betchya.)

    English not unicode like mandarin same page chineeze dirty knees look at these (mostly nipple nice unique suppple chinky dinky nipple) but big eurocow american swinging blue jean udders you non puritans know what i say be racist be a rationist. Rationating 100 time more important than english ASCII american english babble. No skyscraper, no rationating for one thing. (example one when double is two this double total of 5 times this being 2 is 32 this is binarybreakwaters for starters we just big boasting bags of water i go now sayonara konnichiwa mata haba dosvodanya adios ciao bella tutto fazcio nunzio so kentucky trailerpark no platic id fucky how west virginia non virgians gentleman jim beam whisckey may preakness filly in the sheets of kkk car klub go autobahn E P Autobahn everywhere a fucking sign why you read

    say all in
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    I trade all our lives for one purer

      • Nunz, one thing’s for sure, I feel like I’m on steroids these days. I won’t lie, I’m one mad mofo and I wish drugs, any drug, had anything to do with it. I could quit taking a drug. I can’t quit thinking though.

        • BTW, I’m sittin here looking like I was in a fight with a bobcat and the guy trying to shoot the cat didn’t really care where the cat was when he was shootin. Nothing like a good case of Shingles and MRSA fightin for one side of your body.

  2. Eric,

    When you talk about “assisting” it makes me think of having a “personal assistant”. Or, Servant. What is upside down in this phraseology is that a Servant Obeys the Master, not like this stuff. The servant is in control. This also applies to the term “Public Servant”. This term is used by politicians and bureaucrats all the time to imply they are at your beck and call while in reality they push you around with impunity. [See AGW].

    It’s this kind of destruction of the language that Orwell wrote. 1984 and Animal Farm were intended as warnings. We now see those in GovCo took them as business plans.

  3. Wanta really melt down on a very hot day? Drive one of those aero big rigs with the a/c out. Even with the windows down you can’t get any air. As the day heats and the parts of the truck heat, it becomes a huge heat sink and roasts the operator.

    • 8, one of my first cars was a ’76 Camaro (6 cyl.) with non-working A/C. Same deal. The entire back of any shirt I was wearing was perpetually occupied in it’s entirety by sweat that entire summer! Not even a hint of a breeze would enter that car!

  4. I remember my first vehicle with ABS. Growing up driving on ice all winter taught me how to control my own brakes. I now hate ABS and Traction control and ASS. It still freaks me out when a vehicle does something that I’m not controlling.

  5. “Which is why they stopped making cars with … very effective under-dash vents (and wing-vent windows) which kept you almost as cool as AC – but for free.”

    Under-dash vents — man, does that bring back memories of childhood happy motoring with the grandparents.

    Now under-dash vents are as scarce as hand-crank starters and rumble seats.

    Gov hasn’t yet twigged that closed vehicles with recirculated air spread the deadly virus, just as surely as buses and subways did in plague-stricken NYC.

    Under-dash vents must return, if we want automobile passengers to arrive alive at their destinations, rather than sliding helplessly off their seat onto the ground at the destination, crushed by the corona curse as the radio ironically belts out “Another Man Done Gone.”

  6. The austerity we are being forced into may solve the problem, if new cars continue to be made at all. All of us who are unfortunate enough to live in the real world are going to take a hit. If the makers want to continue to sell cars, they will have to cut the price substantially. If the Sociopaths In Charge give them permission to do so.

  7. give me a car with no airbags, no electric windows, no air conditioning, no central locking, no auto stop, no heated seats, no reversing noise, no seat belt alarm and loads of other rubbish i don’t need. Still got a 1983 vw polo 1100 and it’s pretty basic as a motor but runs great. I have an Astra twin port as well but only use that for a long run. The polo is bullet proof and will out live me

  8. Power Steering is the oldest form of “Assisted” Steering, and is almost as old as the automobile itself. However, most systems were cumbersome, expensive, and impractical for general use. It wasn’t until 1951 that power steering began to be offered in mass production cars, starting with Chrysler. Until then, it was just a matter of providing leverage by making a larger steering wheel, and many a luxury ride of the 1930s and 1940s were nimble and required little effort to turn. But it was also a world of short trips and most cars rarely saw more than 60 mph in their lives.

    I have this electric assisted steering on my 2002 (con)Fusion, and it’s taken some getting used to. Supposedly it helps with traction control and all that, but in winter driving, especially bombing across Nevada and Utah on US 50 in the dead of winter to see my “little goil” before she embarked on her LDS mission, I found it to be, if anything, little “assist” and more distraction. So is the auto-shutoff for when I’m stopped at a light…I’ve learned how to apply a soft touch on the brake pedal to keep the engine idling when I KNOW the delay is short. Starters can be a bitch to swap, and I’ve done my share, but I don’t want to even THINK about this monstrosity. At least the got-damned thing has a 3-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.

    That 71 VW Beetle as a fixer-upper into a daily “Kommuter Kafer” is looking BETTER all the time!

    • I grew up driving in the early 70s. I had a Rambler 770 Classic with power steering. A large steering wheel. For my short height, I had to extend my spine to see over the top of the wheel or slide down in the seat to see under the top of the steering wheel. Made the car uncomfortable for me to drive after just a few minutes. Now cars have smaller wheels which gives me a view of the road without stretching or compressing immovable bones in my body.
      I used to prefer cars without air con. Now I need the aircon because I have dry eyes and opening windows leads to lots of dirt entering my eyes and having to drive with one eye closed. I also drive a large car with power windows and can open windows while driving. Something impossible with manual windows. I noticed a few decades ago that driving with open windows leads to a temporary and large loss of hearing in the ear nearest the window. No wonder I like AC so much now, even though starting out driving I didn’t need it.

      Driving with open windows in cars less than 30 years old leads to drumming noises that become quite irritating after a few seconds. Loss of fuel economy as the air entering the car has to be pushed out of the way or an air dam is created. Windows up and AC on leads to better fuel economy, quieter cabin, and less fatigue, and making driving a pleasant task. The AC quickly removes condensation on interiors of car windows in rainy and cold weather quite quickly. I have found power windows to be much more reliable than the old windup windows of 60s and 70s made cars.

      So I like these features and have no animosity toward them. Especially as i get older.

  9. Australia has a lot of cars that are desireable, yet they wish to shift with their left hand. It takes a special type of stupid to go against 99% of the world to save face. By the Divine Right of Kings I am a heir amongst the lineage, I am related to Adam and Eve. If the reality is so cleary retarded why should I beg the a sovereign for permission for anything?

  10. I can’t stand that there are not options but over all I like all the assists except lane departure and auto stop/start. Luckily, on my 2020 vehicle the lane departure is able to be permanently disabled and the auto stop takes about 3 seconds to be disabled, or just push the brake either lightly or heavily and it doesn’t engage. I absolutely love auto vehicle hold and the smart cruise control.

  11. Did you know the dumberer and dumberer actor is the very same as Deeks from NCIs Los Angeles? Wierd. I’ve noticed that other than the light fare half-hour shows: Two and a half men, Big bang theory, if they are an hour long they are all cop/investigative shows. Laud the heros apparently. totally not propaganda.

  12. (Corona’d States of America) Is this the CSA that some people (Including the lawyer from the $5 FRN) were worried about leaving the USA to go their own way? 😉

    Well written Eric. It would be nice (even ideal) if there was a basic car available. It would be a cheaper option for those that want a new car, but can not afford even the current base price of cars. Not much incentive for the Car maker or gov’t to do this, but one can dream. (One reason I was interested in the Elio — Although I doubt if it ever will be sold to the general public .)

    • Hi Mith!

      If there are any upsides to the Corona’ing of the USA, one such my be the return of the Basic Car. Because millions of people will not be able to afford today’s cars. Of course, the object of the exercise is to stop driving, period.

      Well, to stop us driving, period.

  13. NOTE: Please read and watch this video without delay, as google an YouTube may decide to remove it at any time. The audio volume is low, and at some places the video may may jump back to the beginning, so you will have to not what minute mark you were watching, so you can advance the video to that point, when you restart it.

    Two emergency room physicians. “Millions of cases, very small number of deaths.”

    Must see video. It’s long. Every minute is pure gold.
    Doctors provide differing opinion on shelter-in-place order, say county should reopen

    https://www.kget.com/health/coronavirus/doctors-provide-differing-opinion-on-shelter-in-place-order/?winst=1587747886152&of=0

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