Corrupting the Youth

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When you’re facing a really big project – something like a total house remodel – it can be psychologically helpful to not look at the whole thing and instead concentrate on one thing before moving on to the next thing. That way, the project doesn’t seem so overwhelming and – before you know it – you’re making real progress.

Just so this project of reversing at least two generations of effort directed at alienating the rising generations from cars – and motorcycles. Almost no effort has been spared, shy out outright forbidding teens and twenty-somethings from driving – and riding.

Impediments include dragged-out licensing procedures followed by extended periods of limited or restricted licensing such that driving – and riding – are much less interesting to youth, who were once very interested in getting their licenses because they were once-upon-a-time able to get them right now – at 16 – and fully, meaning they had the same rights and privileges as any else. Including the right to go anywhere they liked, whenever they liked and with anyone they liked.

There were no restrictions – as now – that forbade a 16-year-old driver from having other sixteen-year-olds in the car, without 50-year-old parents in the car, too. No curfews that forbade 16-year-olds from driving after dark – or past 8 o’clock or some such arbitrary time.

Insurance – an expensive deterrent to driving –  may have been mandatory a generation or two ago – but it was also “optional” in that it was easy to “get away” with not being made to buy it because once-upon-a-better-time, all you had to do was check the box (this was with a pencil or pen, not a swipe or tap or mouse-click) that you had it. It was very hard for the DMV to check it because there was no real-time hook-up between the DMV and the insurance mafia, as there is now.

Cheap first cars were abundant, too. A wealth of old beaters, primer’d and rusty but running and affordable. A minimum wage that paid a third the current minimum was enough to be able to buy one. And the kids of two generations ago weren’t conditioned from infancy to fear cars as dangerous, the message conveyed by the “safety” seats the past two generations have grown up strapped into.

It’s a lot to reverse and it will take time. Possibly a generation or two. That seems like an overwhelming project when viewed in its totality. It’s less so when dealt with one at a time.

Or, two.

I wrote recently about having taught my 17-year-old niece to drive a stick-shift Miata, which is exactly the kind of car-medicine called for to reverse the disease process that has been progressing through the Youth since at least the ’90s. My niece being a perfect case in that she is 17 – and lives in southern California, the once-beating heart of Car Culture – and had yet to get her driver’s license.

Until I – and the Miata – intervened.

A couple of sessions in a church parking lot and she got it. Not her license. Something far more valuable. She will never forget it. No longer does she feel nothing for cars. For how can anyone feel that way about a drop-top Miata? She is now eager to drive – and is in the process of going through the hoops to get her license. She also already knows how to drive – even though she isn’t licensed yet.

Because she can drive stick.

There are few better tools for corrupting the youth. Excepting a motorcycle.

I used the lure of riding to corrupt another youth, the 19-year-old son of a friend of mine. This kid didn’t know how to drive stick, either. He now knows how to shift a bike’s gears, while managing throttle and brake; how to steer by leaning. He skipped high school and went straight to grad school, so to speak. He recently bought his first bike, a Suzuki SV650.

He’ll never be the same – thank God.

I see myself in him, the shadow of my much-younger-self. When I was young, this sort of thing was a given. Kids just went out and bought a bike – or a car. They did it because they could as much as because they wanted to, the two things closely bound together. It was just part of the culture – and a part of growing up, as owning and driving a car (or a bike) was essential to growing up.

How else to leave home? To go places of your own choosing, on your own time, whenever you wanted or needed to and with whomever you wanted to take along? Having to ask mom and dad for a ride is infantilizing – especially when you’re seventeen (or nineteen). It can mean never being eighteen, in the much-more-than-merely chronological sense. Prior generations were both legal and functional adults by that age – because they’d been on the road toward that status since they were fifteen or sixteen years of age. They behaved more like adults because they were treated as nascent adults rather than idiot children who needed to be “kept safe,” even if meant they never grew up.

My niece – and my friend’s son – are now free to go. Literally and psychologically. They have been converted over. What they now know, they will share – with their friends and (eventually) their own children.

This is how we get back to where we were. One thong – and one kid – at a time.

. . .

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  1. This article reminded me of part of the plot premise of Clint Eastwood’s 1982 spy thriller, “Firefox”. He impersonates a provider of boat engine parts with Soviet clients who’s also “defiling Soviet Youth, an enemy of the Soviet People”, and if the Air Force Intelligence knows, you can believe that DEA and Interpol already knew, as likely did the Soviet MVD CID. Each had their reason to not immediately “make the pinch”, which sets up Major Mitchell Gant, USAF (ret.) to be inserted in his place. Of course, since they couldn’t have two Leon Spragues in Moscow, the real one had to be eliminated without further ado. Gant is given a new identity, and the plot follows him out of Moscow, through Kazan and on his way to the secret air base where the Firefox aircraft is being readied for a demonstration flight…with the Soviet First Secretary in attendance! Obviously, the career prospects of the GRU “Polvoknik” (Kevin Colley) don’t look too good when the aircraft lifts off as the First Secretary (Stefan Schwabel) arrives.

      • Yes! Don’t ever underestimate what a young lady can do with a rifle. When my #2 “little goil” (now 35 and expecting her third child in a few weeks) was turning twelve, I learned that she was hoping for her own .22 rifle, as her older brothers each got one when they turned twelve. Up to then, I said, “but, she’s a GIRL…”, but I checked the ads, and the Old Sacramento Armory had Ruger Mini-14s on sale, so, needless to say, she was one happy kid, who slept with that rifle for nearly a month! Turns out, she’s the crack shot of the family, and she’s got her great-great-Uncles M1A2 carbine (the paratrooper version, illegal in CA, but she lives in Idaho), the same one he’d given five soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army their opportunity to die for their Emperor, during a jump into Luzon in 1945 where his battalion of the 11th Airborne participated in a raid that liberated the Los Banos interment camp.

        • Hi Douglas,

          Excellent! And I plan on doing the same. This sort of thing is a hugely effective antidote to all the rest. Puts a smile on my face and warms my dark heart every time!

    • Every. Single. Time. I walk out of the gas station, I Love seeing the poster on the wall which advertises the local mud bog get together.

      “Balls Deep in Mud”

  2. Son in law is taking the 13 yo grandson up into hills outside of town here and letting him drive the stick shift rig, he of course is thrilled. They belong to the local gun range and the grandson is getting proficient with 9mm handgunning too! Stand, draw, shoot, reload and go again. Some great videos from the range that are sure to give the pearl clutching relatives heart failure.

    Helpless is no way to go through life learning a stick shift is one more useful skill to learn.

  3. ‘two generations of effort directed at alienating the rising generations from cars’ — eric

    And tonight in the Capitol the effort grinds on:

    “In a few hours, we will formally begin the process of passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 by voting on the motion to proceed,” Schumer said.

    ‘That will then trigger up to 20 hours of floor debate, followed by votes on an open-ended series of amendments that could last throughout the night and into Sunday morning.

    ‘Schumer told colleagues they should expect to keep voting until the bill is finished, likely sometime Sunday.’ — the

    This bill extends the noxious $7,500 tax credit for EeeVees. Also, horribly, it will hire a vast army of new IRS auditors. The diabolical plan is to raise $200 billion by harassing our people and eating out their substance.

    Since the Senate goes on August recess starting Monday, theoretically it would take only one or two Republicans to mount a filibuster and run out the clock.

    But as we’ll likely see, when the decisive moment arrives and freedom hangs in the balance, there is (and ever shall be) only one Uniparty.

    • Jim,
      I’ve often referred to that line from the Declaration of Independence regarding the IRS, among the plethora of other alphabet bureaus. “He has erected a multitude of offices, and sent forth a swarm of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” If one reads the complaints against King George in the Declaration, and applies some thought, it is clearly obvious that the current crop of Psychopaths In Charge are guilty of most of them.

    • Hi Jim,
      I was hoping drama queen Krysten Sinema would put the kibosh to that bill but evidently she’s more concerned that the Wall Street hedge fundies might have to pay the same tax rate as us plebes. You know those auditors won’t be going after the 1%ers, that would be hard work, so they’ll end up harassing small business owners and middle class wage slaves. As John Kable mentioned the outrages the colonists had against King George are repeated on steroids for us today.

      • Hi Mike,

        I am in agreement with you regarding the harassment of small business owners and the middle class. But, I do ask where are they getting these auditors? The IRS has been trying to hire for years now with very little success. The IRS has some of the lowest morale in the nation. It is a horrible place to work.

        That the Treasury Department thinks there are 80k + auditors floating around is laughable. One, auditing is a specialized profession that takes years of experience. Two, most people have very little patience for it. It is weeks and months of reviewing the same books over and over looking for a pattern of deceit or ignorance. Three, the IRS must follow the GS pay scale. How hard does one think they are going to work for pay 30 to 50% less than what they can get working in private industry?

        The IRS of today is not the IRS of yesteryear. They have been completely defunded and depleted. It is impossible to even get a live agent on the line. Their systems are decades old and don’t even communicate with each other. They can’t even get 50% of their agents back in the offices to work. They are years and years behind on communications, returns, and reports. Technically, they can only go back three years, unless they believe fraud has taken place. They are three years behind in the processing of returns…what do they audit if it is not in their system?

        Private CPAs, EAs, tax lawyers, and accountants are going to eat these auditors for breakfast.

        • The IRS personnel management is DELUSIONAL if they think that (1) The Xiden (mal)administration will let them hire anyone BUT Negroes for these positions and that (2) they’ll prove as proficient as hiring taken w/o racial preferences.

        • RE: “How hard does one think they are going to work for pay 30 to 50% less than what they can get working in private industry?”

          I always thought it was just the opposite. That goobermint paid much more than the private sector, ’cause, they had to, in order to draw the talent.

          … If you’re right, I’m going to have to be giving some certain people I know, a Much harder time to GTFO.

          • Hi helot,

            No, the government’s base pay is usually significantly less than the same job in the private sector.

            Here is the 2022 pay scale.


            My guess is that most government employees are there for the benefits…Congressional healthcare, pensions, administrative leave, etc. Also, in government one doesn’t have to produce so it offers job security.

  4. And yet, when you turn 18 they can conscript you and send you off to die. Once you’re in fatigues you can drive any olive drab vehcile they decide to put you in. No curfew, minimal driver training and for sure any training you get will have a healthy dose of “army way” that will need to be unlearned in civilian life. And you didn’t learn to love driving for driving’s sake, so vehicles will strictly be commodity tools.

    One of the traditional strengths of the US armed forces is that we Americans already know how to do things like fire a gun and drive. Many of us can run a small boat or fly an airplane. Used to be military vehicles had a lot of common parts with civilian versions, so mechanics could wrench on them just like back home. Now the military has divorced itself from the marketplace, producing products that are completely unable to be repaired, just rip and replace. After the fall of Afghanistan right-leaning pundits were all a twitter about how we left so much equipment behind. But without a service contract the stuff will break down in months.

    As these skills wane so will the armed forces.

    • RK,
      “As these skills wane so will the armed forces.”
      The former not so good, the latter isn’t a problem for me. We aren’t supposed to have a standing army anyway. And for good reason. In the entire history of this nation, there have been only about twenty years in which the US military has NOT been actively engaged in killing people. Between 1860 and 1898, the Spanish American War, they were actively engaged in killing people within our own borders. First the Confederacy, and then the Indians.

      • When I read this article I thought about how it is said ~ that crowds go insane all at once,… and only, one by one, do people re-gain their sanity.
        Seems to me, something similar is happening.

        Anyway, I kinda get a kick out of the spammers & their English worse than mine. Your attempts to hack them back caused me to think of something I’ve had in my mind for some time, simply – imagination – & how Jon Rappaport mentions it quite often.

        “… the deeper you explore the concept of freedom, the more you realize that creating something new, and creating that occurs outside a tight chain of prior cause and effect, are very much a part of what freedom means. Understanding these factors should be liberating.” …

        I hope you’re able to use your imagination in conjunction with high tech web filters/’er whatever to get things how you want them to be.

  5. Great article Eric.Got my bike license at 14,restricted to 5hp or less and between 5AM to 9PM.Learned alot about thinking ahead,no cell phones to call someone if you ran out of gas or had a flat or myriad other issues as reliability in the early 70’s was nothing like it is now.Still riding and maintaining my bikes to this day,even did a SS1000 to get into the Iron Butt Association.

  6. The Puritans/Yankees/Progressives have done their best to outlaw fun. What happens is, when someone has their fun outlawed, whenever they experience some, they go all in on it. Like an iced drink on a hot day. like your niece did. Unless they have been beaten into submission. As in child abuse.
    The Psychopaths In Charge are trying to take all the magic in life away from us, and restrict us to the hell of cyberworld, where they pull all the levers. Of course it starts with the children.
    My home schooled grandson will be 14 in December. I intend to encourage my son to let him drive occasionally after that, if not sooner, if he continues as he has. He does shoot guns, but is not terribly enthusiastic about them. Rural two lane blacktop with nearly zero Sunday morning traffic, and virtually zero LE on the road, ever. I didn’t pick my property 33 years ago by accident. In two years, if I live that long, I will have lived half of my life here. And loved all of it, except the divorce. I would call myself “lucky”, if I hadn’t planned it.
    I learned your lesson in not focusing on the whole project in my 26 year career in construction. You can’t walk onto a bare 5 acre patch of dirt and focus on the whole job all at once. You solve one problem at a time, and move on to the next. I couldn’t agree more, if you want a kid to appreciate the joy of driving, put them in a manual Miata. They have been a major factor in the joy of my life.

    • As a Rust Belt Judeo-Catholic white (or olive skinned) ethnic, I can say that life is meant to be lived, and fun is meant to be had, even in the midst of toil. And we give kids fun in measured doses when they’re young so that they don’t go overboard as adults. I mean, Italian and Jewish kids grow up around wine, and even have a sip or three before puberty, so it’s no big deal later on. And I can’t speak for all of us, but we work hard to live and have fun. We cannot abide the Fun Suckers who try to take what few pleasures life offers. So you Puritan Fun Suckers can “Va Fa Napoli!”

      • Indeed Bryce,
        Cultures that imbibe wine and beer, have minimal alcohol problems. Whereas cultures that imbibe distilled spirits often do. Years ago I read this, and it gave me pause, as it listed Iceland as a distilled spirit consuming culture that had a LOT of alcohol problems. I suppose Russia has such problem as well. You can hurt yourself in a hurry with them. Could it be that both these nations have very long winter nights?

  7. I received an odd email the other day from igetit, which I signed up for years ago to access training videos for a 3D modeling program I was learning. It was a great resource, but now they appear to have gone off the climate-change deep end:

    “Future vehicles will be more Autonomous, Connected, Electric, and Shared (ACES). Remember this acronym, as it will be widely used in the elements of the mobility future. The global warming reduction targets to decrease emissions are the driving force for this paradigm shift. Vehicle electrification is not the only revolutionary increased levels of autonomy, connectivity and car sharing will also influence future vehicle design.”

    The puzzling construction of that last sentence notwithstanding, I think I do “get it.” In the ACES “mobility future,” you won’t control your vehicle, it will rat out your location every second, and you will live in constant fear of running out of juice. Or you won’t be able to go anywhere at all because it’s not your turn today.

  8. Way to go Eric. Keep it up. We must be liberators/educators to our youth.
    When my kids were growing up, I noticed a bunch of their friends that some got dirtbikes but didn’t know how to ride (correctly) or weren’t allowed to at all because they are ‘dangerous’.
    So I had the means and property to create a training track that my buds and I took a few months to clear 50+ trees for the little 1/10 mile flat track (for us too!) and a little training single track around it we called our TT course. Of course the adults used it and had mock flat track races, which we still talk about today how much fun it was.
    But the focus was getting the kids on the track(s) with our little 50’s and 100’s and teach them the art of dirtbike riding. I think we did 20-30 kids and while they didn’t like the drills, they pretty quickly they realized how more competent they were getting on manipulating the bikes. Some wanted more advance training, etc…. Some went on to race off-road and some of those are currently leading their respective classes. Win.
    The best, and most rewarding part for me was getting the kids to the training that their parents (usually the mom) that said ‘no way, bikes are dangerous’, but some also thought that quads were OK. Ahhhh, nooooooo, they are not. They are actually more dangerous riding in the woods where we live. So I set out to prove it and showed them a quad hitting a tree at 10mph and a bike doing the same. They gasped.
    Got their kids to the training, and again, some have become very competent and enjoy off-road riding/racing and the challenge/competition it brings.
    ps: most, if not all, of these ‘students’ are now young adults and they are turning into very good people. I hope my efforts were part of that.
    I now tell my very good bike racer son, that it’s his turn to teach/educate those youth around town the same thing I did back then. He is. And it’s easier for him now cause of the much younger age differential and he is pretty well known and respected around town.
    Some of those dads come up to me at restaurants, etc.. “thank you so much for what your son and you are doing”. Glad we can help and all we want to accomplish is teaching the basics the right way (and challenge the dangerous stigma, in favor of enlightening).
    And my friends do the same things in their towns.

  9. You’re doing good things with these kids Eric. Changing lives for the better. Maybe they’ll be more resistant to the agenda that eliminates private automobile ownership.


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