Presumptive Idiots

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There was a time – it wasn’t long ago – when you could reach into your car through the open driver’s side window, turn the ignition key and start the engine. There are a number of perfectly sound reasons for doing this – as for example when you are working on the engine and need it to be running to check/adjust the timing.

But the main reason is – was – the presumption you’re not an idiot.

That presumption no longer applies. And that’s why – if you own a new car or a car that was made since roughly the 1980s – you can only start the engine if you first place your foot on the brake. Which of course requires that you sit inside the car in order to start the car.

Similarly, in a car that has a manual transmission – if you managed to find one with one. You now have to push the clutch in before the starter will engage. It does not matter that the transmission is in neutral; it does not matter that – courtesy of this “safety” device – it is no longer possible to use the starter motor to inch the car forward, which might be handy in certain low-traction situations. What matters is that you be kept “safe” – from yourself.

There are other examples. How about the way the stereo in most new vehicles turns the volume down so low you can’t listen to what you were listening to – for the duration of the time the car is reversing? The way the GPS won’t let the driver input a street address unless the car isn’t moving (and thereby effectively defeating the point of having GPS). The way the seatbelt buzzer will berate the passenger to “buckle up” – when there is no unbuckled passenger.

Other than the bag of groceries you placed on the passenger seat.

Some hatchbacks harass you – with an endless buzzer – if you drive with the rear liftgate partially open – which is often necessary to be able to drive home with something in the cargo area that doesn’t fit with the liftgate closed. Some new cars will summarily (electrically) put the transmission in Park if you try to back up with the driver’s door cracked – so as to be able to see curb, etc.

This is, of course, really good for the transmission, too.

The latest thing is a reminder – of just how stupid you are presumed to be – that takes the form of a “check the back seats” warning light that illuminates every time you park and shut off the engine. Because maybe you forgot about the baby back there. A few people did. And now we’re all presumed to be that stupid.

This all began a long time ago. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when but – if memory serves – it was probably in the ’70s and didn’t begin with cars. If you were around for the ’70s, you probably remember when lawn mowers didn’t shut off when you let go of the push-handle. This meant you could grab a glass of water or attend to some other thing for a minute and not have to deal with the hassle of pulling the starter cord to re-start the engine. Riding mowers could also be left running without having to remain in the seat to keep the engine from stopping.

Then someone really stupid did something exceedingly stupid – such as stick their hand in the mower deck (perhaps to clear out a grass clog) with the engine running and lost a finger or maybe even their hand. Solution? Stupid-proof the mower by adding a “dead-man” handle that had to be firmly grasped to prevent it from being released. If released, the engine would shut off. Riding mowers got a similar-in-concept stupid-proofing in the form of a weight sensor built into the seat that would cut the engine if there was no weight on the seat. The problem was that shifting your weight while in the seat would sometimes cut the engine off, too.

But that’s not the real problem, of course. The real problem is the insulting assumption of imbecility implicit in such things. Which assumption became SOP for designing cars, too. You may recall the “sudden unintended acceleration” debacle of the 1980s – involving idiots and Audis. The former pressed – and held – the gas pedal rather than the brake pedal and the car didn’t stop until something stopped the car. The idiots didn’t get the blame.

The cars did.

It is now aggressively assumed that everyone’s an idiot. To such an extent as would have been unimaginable to the generation of Americans who grew up before stupid-proofing became a kind of fetish, when it was assumed that people who did stupid things would learn not to do them – in the way that a small child learns not to touch the hot stove. It’s actually rather surprising that kitchen stoves don’t have some kind of protective rail around their upper perimeter, to prevent children from learning a valuable lesson.

Learning from such lessons is how you raise up not-stupid people.

But that’s exactly what’s not wanted, as far as the people who say they’re only trying to keep us “safe.” But if that were true, they’d be encouraging us to learn not to be stupid – rather than treating us all as presumptively and irremediably stupid.

. . .

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  1. My 2007 manual transmission car has no safety interlocks, and I start it by poking my arm in the window frequently, precisely for the reasons Eric mentioned. Furthermore, lacking an interlock, I was able to drive it home when the clutch failed, by using the starter to get the car moving in 1st gear until the engine started up. I drove it clutchless for 200 miles from the track to home, involving highways, city streets, etc. If there was a brake interlock, I’d be calling the tow truck. You can totally shift without a clutch if you rev-match accurately.

    • Hmm, is this what is called “floating” the clutch? I used to be able to do that on my older, manual trans vehicles. That is, I could shift from one gear to the other without using the clutch pedal, at just the right moment. I would gently probe for the next gear (up or down), and could gently slip into the next gear.

      • I’m not sure what it’s called, but when the input and output shafts match speed, the gear just slips in, and it’s your job to make them match.

        With the clutch depressed, it’s easy, because the synchro-mesh gears use friction to bring the two shafts to the same speed. If you can’t use the clutch, what you do is just go to neutral throttle, pop it out of gear, and gently push against the next gear. As the engine slows, it’ll eventually sync up the shafts, and the gear pops in, no drama, just slow.

        Downshifts are a bit harder because you have to pop it out of gear, rev over your target RPM, and then gently push into gear as the RPM’s drop until it pops in.

        Not optimal, but it’ll get you home. If I saw a red light ahead, I’d just crawl super slowly in 1st gear with people honking and giving me the bird.

    • I DID THE SAME IN COLLEGE! Accurate rev matching and timing of the shifts is critical to pulling this off, but it can be done.

  2. Thankfully, with this newer vehicle I have, the volume does not turn down with my music when I am in “reverse”. And why in the world are the two connected in the first place? Got the seat belt nanny (ugh), but I can open the door up when reversing, and can do that without any alarm nanny shilling at me. But yeah, I do have that “check rear seat” notification when I shut the car off. When I first saw that, my first thought was, “some dumb fool left his/her kid in the back seat, so now we all have to pay for it with a dummy reminder”. Like reminding consumers that coffee is…!! If I have a passenger, they have to have their seatbelt on, lest the incessant alarm remind you (for saaaaafety) that said passenger does not have it on! It is the tire nanny that drives me nuts: Going from a warm garage to -40 below in the Winter, of course there is going to be a change of tire pressure. It is especially nice after work, and we all get the “square tire” thing going on. That tire nanny has a fit. Or the rear view camera, which let’s me know it is occluded”. Are there drivers out there on the road, that are this damned stupid, that they really need all these “reminders” and “safety” applications?

  3. To be fair Eric, you’re not stupid nor are most of the posters here however the vast swaths of the unwashed wooly fold are irredeemably retarded beyond belief.

    This was recently proven during The Madness. People whom I assumed were at least minimally competent were found to be fenceposts…

  4. I found another reason to get irritated with new cars. Sonic. Pull into the space and the proximity sensors go freakin’ nuts cuz there’s a screen to the left and a screen to the right. And holy shit there’s a concrete parking block thing and right in front. All for the want of a caramel shake.

  5. This an the rest of the nanny state is because we live in a feminized society (sorry ladies, nothing personal).

    Safety culture, equity, pronouns, sensitivity, fear of a damn cold, all lead to weakness.

    These are not signs of a masculine, strong, determined, confident society.

    Femininity has a place closer to the family and home. It does not scale.

    None of it will change until we tell these coddling caretakers to shove it and shut up.

  6. I am right now staying at a Marriott hotel with my wife and daughter. Just about an hour ago, the following notice was placed under my door:

    “Generally, we will honor your request for privacy; however, we reserve the right to enter the guest room for safety, security, and maintenance. All rooms will be entered on the 3rd day for a wellness check.”

    What the hell is a “wellness check”? Do they think that we’re too stupid to inform the front desk if the room needs maintenance? Or is this just their way of letting us know that we have no right to privacy, even though we are paying a lot of money to stay here? By the way, this is a beautiful luxury hotel.

    • ROFLMAO. Man,,, talk about arrogance. They just might get a welcome they were not expecting breaking into someones room.

      Thanks! I am planning a trip,,, Marriott is now off my list.

    • Hotels started doing this after the casino shooting, or something. Because the bad guy put up the “do not disturb” door hanger for, like, a week leading up to it.

      Yet again, everyone else gets punished for the bad behavior of one asshole.

      I had a middle manager once refer to a single event as a “pattern.” Sigh.

    • Suicides and other nasty shit. I haven’t seen that particular notice, but usually I only stay a night or two.

    • Damned! Next thing you know, they will also include, “we have a right to steal anything we want from your room” as a condition for paying to stay in said hotel.

  7. Back in the early days of the internet, the excellent website…
    …documented the accelerating lunacy.

    The ridiculous million-dollar jury award against McDonald’s for an idiot’s spilling of hot coffee was perhaps the most famous example. Now everyone gets warm coffee.

    The race to the bottom continues…

  8. The whole Audi “unintended acceleration” thing was always BS. But the funniest point of it was the 60 minutes piece where they were interviewing the CEO (I think) of Audi. I remember the look on Mike Wallace’s face when he asked why they couldn’t find the problem, and the dude says “We aren’t sayingk ve cannot find ze problem. Ve are sayingk that there iss no problem”.

    Well how do you explain it then?

    Zey are pressing za gas ratter than the brake”

    Dude was my hero. Only thing better would’ve been for him to smack Wallace in the melon with a rolled up newspaper.

    Funny how fast the same issue vanished on the Prius (When it supposedly did that), and the computer dimed out the owners as mashing the gas pedal.

  9. I replaced the radio in my truck with a Jensen touch screen, apple play, unit. Very cool.

    But when I start the car, I have to press the “I agree” link that appears with the disclaimer telling me I won’t fart around with the screen whilst driving.

    Until I do, that’s the screen I stare at.

    That’s the screen I’m distracted by as I take off down the road.

  10. Most, if not all “safety features” can be easily bypassed. A wire tie on the deadman lever of a lawn mower solves that problem.
    Safety switches or switches that negate a lawn mower or tractor’s ability to cut in reverse can be “jumped out” or just disconnected to negate these “safety feaures”.
    In most cases, “easy peasy”…

    • Normally I’d agree with you. But I have a buddy that has a lawn care company where his employees constantly injure themselves by doing just that – tie wrapping the safety lever down.

      People are just stoopid, causing the rest of us to deal.

      • You can’t just “ty-wrap” the safety lever down! If you did you could not easily kill the mower.

        You simply LOOSELY ty-wrap the lever so you can slide it off the lever and kill the mower nice and easy so you don’t snap the crank.

        • > You can’t just “ty-wrap” the safety lever down! If you did you could not easily kill the mower.

          If the throttle doesn’t go low enough to kill the mower, you can use a screwdriver to short out the spark plug…so long as the plug cable has just a metal clip on it instead of some insulated thingy.

          Been there, did that before the old mower without a dead-man switch was replaced with a newer one that had one. It was a pain in the ass for 10-year-old me to get the newer mower started with one hand while holding the bar down with the other. I’m sure the saaaaaaaafety nazis would’ve considered that a feature, not a bug.

    • My 2020 Ford (con)Fusion comes with many common “,S-a-a-a-a-a-f-t-e-e-e-e” features, like lane ASSist, side mirror proximity warning lights, back up camera, collision warning, front and rear, but also with that damned, annoying “auto-shut-off”. My earlier 2014 Ford (lack of) Focus had it, and I learned how to disable it, figuring the wear and tear on the starter and battery wasn’t worth the miniscule amount of gasoline saved, nor do I believe that having it or not made any difference in local air quality. I did the same with the Fusion as soon as I drove it home from the stealership, but returned there a few months later for its included oil change. Big mistake. Once I got it back, I saw that the feature was restored, and this time, I couldn’t disable it! When I called the Service Manager to complain, he replied, “oh, yeah, Ford had us do a firmware upgrade, it’s part of your warranty, this must have been one of the changes.” Just like that, something I DIDN’T ASK FOR.

  11. I can start my 2011 Dodge Ram without touching the brake…or even being in the seat. I can do the same with my 2014 Honda CRV. I guess these were some of the last vehicles that you could do that in. The newer Toyota 4Runner I rented when my Honda was in the shop required a foot on the brake, and there was no key to turn to boot…
    Lawn tractors have been like that for sometime, with “deadman” switches under the seat. When the old 86 Craftsman finally died, I got a new Craftsman (Sears was of course still in existence at the time, in the early 2000’s). I was cutting the grass and noticed a stick in my path that I didn’t want to mow over, and I put it in neutral and jumped off to grab the stick. And instantly the motor stalled, and I was like “Shit!”. I could do that maneuver in the 86 model.

    • On John Deere riding mowers, you can dismount and leave the engine running, but you have to set the parking brake first. I believe that also disables the PTO IIRC.

  12. [It is now aggressively assumed that everyone’s an idiot. ]- Article

    From my experience that rings mostly true,,, especially in politics. What we have today is insanity,,, and stupidity. A deadly combination. A casual glance toward Washington DC.

    I actually knew a person (a co-worker) that stuck his hand into the blade area of a running mower. Said he was used to the engine dying he just assumed it wasn’t running. Whacked off first two index fingers.

    I have never owned a car where the brake was required to be held to start. My 1998 Regal and a 2016 Frontier both start without pressing the brake. I did have a 1992 Sentra standard that you had to hold the brake to start, but only in gear ( Duh! ),,, not if in neutral, same for my Kawasaki Police motorcycle.

    A loose Ty Wrap on the handlebar takes care of the mower safety brake. The Toro Zero Turn was more difficult. Required an added switch.

    Most of the recent generations expect a nanny government to care for them. That said, I imagine most of us have done something pretty stupid so I usually give the benefit of doubt,,,

    unless the stupidity is a Darwin Award level event.

  13. EVs are a prime example of a bill of goods being sold to a technically illiterate public.
    One cannot refute or bypass the laws of physics or other scientific principles.
    The average EV holds the energy equivalent of approximately 4 gallons of gasoline.
    Expecting a 300 mile range is technically impossible due to variables such as heat or cold, hills versus flat roads, etc.
    Lets not forget the substantially increased amount of time it takes to “refuel” an EV.
    We already utilize the most efficient forms of portable energy–hydrocarbon products–gasoline and diesel fuels.

  14. ‘it is no longer possible to use the starter motor to inch the car forward’ — eric

    My old G-10 Chevy van used to suffer from occasional vapor lock in stop-and-go traffic on hot days — an affliction of carbureted vehicles. The engine compartment, located between the front seats, became a heat dome with no chimney for the hot air to escape.

    One summer day it stalled in traffic on a busy 5-lane street with a center median. No problem: I put her in first gear, cranked the starter, and moved out of the way into the center lane — ‘EeeVee mode,’ as it were!

    If need be, I could do the same maneuver today in my 5-speed manual Nissan Frontier, with the clutch interlock circuit permanently jumpered in the relay box. Otherwise I’d be waiting for the electrician, or someone like him.

  15. The only idiocy I ever saw repealed from a consumer standpoint was the 1974 seatbelt interlock. Today’s cars with all their saaafety features, haven’t reintroduced it to the vehicles. Just the annoying chime.

    I believe that the interlock is against the law.

    • I worked for the rental car division of a Seattle Buick dealer back then. That ‘74 belt interlock was hair tearing time. Nurmerous calls from stuck renters “yes I buckled it still won’t start”! Finally GM gave up the hack a quick jumper of a couple spots on the fuse block and DONE.

  16. ‘It is now aggressively assumed that everyone’s an idiot.’ — eric

    The apotheosis of stupid-proofing was reached with Boeing’s MCAS system in the 737MAX. Based on false data from a single angle-of-attack sensor, it jimmied the fly-by-wire horizontal stabilizer to force the aircraft into a nose-down pitch, despite frantic attempts by the pilot to ‘pull up, pull up’ on the stick — which unquestionably would have lifted the nose on any cable-controlled aircraft such as a DC3.

    Boeing’s toxic combination of stupid-proofing plus computer mimicry of the structurally-different previous-gen 737 (to avoid the cost of new simulator training) killed 346 people.

    Regularly interacting with a couple of retired Boeing engineers in my small town, I have to keep my mouf shut about my utter contempt for their former employer. Were I the president, I’d yank Boeing’s fedgov contracts and shut that p.o.s. down for good.

    • But Boeing is a MODEL employer. They have an excellent and pervasive DEI program and a commitment to not hiring white males unless they aren’t heterosexual.

      • I thought so! But I did not know, so thank you for informing me.

        Thank goodness, the USA is beginning to realize that political correctness and anti-white discrimination and anti-male discrimination KILL.

  17. I first noticed the screwed up lawn mowers in the middle 1980s. My dad had gotten a new one and I was the one to try and use the stupid thing.

    It is true that a corporation will make crap to cut corners, but I would rather deal with that than the pancepticon that we have created in the name of saaafety.

  18. Yes society has changed and will continue to change. To get more(all) to participate it is necessary to cater to the lowest common denominator. You’re not strong enough to turn the steering wheel well then we can give you power steering. You say you can’t learn to do manual shifting well then we can give you automatic transmissions and so on and on. You can’t keep up with the class well then we’ll just slow the class down. You can’t learn reading, writing and arithmetic to basic proficiency levels well then we’ll assign a tutor or just assign a pass/fail system or maybe create an AI system to help you along.
    Our population is being inundated with lower IQ individuals from third world countries. Our national IQ level is dropping. Oh yes there are some smart people in some of these third world countries but not enough to create and maintain first world status. White people are not reproducing to grow or maintain the population of Europe or USSofA well then we’ll open the gates and let in the third world to take our place because of the population/financial Ponzi scheme that needs to constantly grow.

  19. I jumper across the stupid interlock that kept the mower from going backwards with the blades running. Here’s a nutty idea, turn your freakin’ head around and see if where you’re backing is free of things you don’t want to back over.

    Whoever made the comment that this driven by foolish litigation is spot on.

  20. Eric: If you own a new car or a car that was made since roughly the 1980s – you can only start the engine if you first place your foot on the brake. Which of course requires that you sit inside the car in order to start the car.

    I’m not sure if this is correct for starting the car. In my 20 some year old cars you can reach in and start them (I do this to check for leaks after an oil change). I suspect I do have to push the brake pedal to get it into gear because one of them has an emergency push button to bypass the system (hidden under a removable cover).

    I suspect Shakespeare had it right on the cause of the problem and how to deal with it.

    • Hi Landru,
      I recently had a rental car with the feature Eric described – had to step on the brake before it would start. There’s a whole routine you have to do to get the stupid thing started; I almost went back to the counter for help before I figured it out. Tremendously frustrating and annoying.

      • I rented a Suzuki Swift 2023 model in Australia recently and started it up like my 23 year old Holden Statesman. Just turned the key and away it went. My Holden has none of the stuff Eric mentioned above.
        Recently got hit in the rear with the trailer being pushed up into the rear bumper. After 3 weeks I replaced the rear bumper with a spare from a wrecked similar car. Yesterday I went to cut the plastic bumper to rubbish it. The large dent in it from the wreck had sprung back into the bumper’s original shape. So when I put the replacement towbar on I will put my original bumper back on, saving me a repaint of the spare bumper.

    • I regularly reach inside my 2007 Envoy and 2012 Tahoe and 2001 Silverado and start them. No go with my wife’s 2021 Jeep and 2023 manual Crostrek.

  21. I have a young friend who is a Mercedes salesman in his early 20s. He was flabbergasted when I told him to start my diesel k5 blazer you have to floor it instead of hit the brake if its below 32 degrees as a kind of enrichment since there is no choke. He also didnt know how to use the rear view mirror dimmer lever for night driving, but was very impressed that the truck did not feel slow despite only having 165hp from that 6.2 detroit. (of course, I said wait till we get on the highway, then you will truly know how slow this thing is). The youth of today does not know the torque of a big v8, let alone a diesel.
    Also impressive is the fact that you can change from park to drive or reverse all without pressing the brake.

    • Reminds me of a guy in the 80’s who regularly shifted a manual smoothly without even using the clutch.

      I tried doing it a few times, wasn’t very god at it, but it could be done. ,,,Back then, anyway.

      • The guy who taught me how to drive a 10 wheel dump truck could do that. Even driving down the road at freeway speeds, with the hi/lo shifter he could run through all 20 gears, smooth as silk. And downshifting, thats where you separate the men from the boys. Its impressive to say the least.

      • I can do that on a harley- rather, I had to because the clutch cable broke anyway. Wasn’t the smoothest but I didn’t grind the gears too much and I made it the 15 miles home. Stop lights were the most annoying having to go the neutral then give it my best push start to get going without killing the engine

      • The old “crash box” manuals had to be shifted by double-clutching. It was an art, but once you got the hang of it, you could work that gearshift like a virtuoso.

  22. In fairness, a lot of the blame for “stupid-proofing” can be laid at the feet of stupid juries, who awarded morons big settlements for doing stupid things when greedy lawyers sued on the most flimsy of pretenses.

    And it’s also true that greedy corporate scum WILL put out unsafe or substandard products if they can save a nickel per unit by cutting corners.

    Remington made unsafe triggers for their Model 700 rifles for decades, and people died because of it. Remington always blamed the consumer and settled the cases out of court.

  23. While I get the sentiment, I have a nit to pick: restarting a push mower when left unattended. It’s not that hard; any healthy person can do it.

    However, the car interlocks can be a bit of a pain. My old ’06 Altima wouldn’t let you change the gear out of “park” unless the engine was running and your foot was on the brake. My ’15 Focus has the same thing. If you have to push the car for any reason, you’re screwed.

    Speaking of starting a manual transmission car, I remember having an issue with my old Subaru Justy. It had a 5 speed stick in it. While I can’t remember the issue, I remember having to leave it in gear until I had time to get it in the shop to be fixed. What I did was leave it in first when I stopped at a light. When I stopped, the engine would stall. When the light changed, I turned the key, got rolling, and then was able to slick shift my way up through the gears. When it came time to stop, I just slick shifted my way back down; to do that though, you have to rev the engine to match the gears’ rotational speeds. I don’t know if you could do that in a modern car-assuming you can FIND one with a manual, that is….

    • RE: “restarting a push mower when left unattended. It’s not that hard; any healthy person can do it.”

      Such a broad stroke of a brush. I’ve known several people quite capable of pushing a self-propelled lawnmower who could not summon the upper body strength to pull the cord, and known of some who could do it once, however; doing it several times while mowing was out of the question.

        • Myself, I have tried using a number of do-hickies & jerry-rigging to hold down the interlock on pushmowers (and other equipment like string trimmers & snow throwers) and they All were a p.i.t.a. to deal with, got in the way, etc.

      • Helot,

        Did they ever rotate their upper body to amplify the pull? That’s what I did, and I found starting a push mower or generator to be easy this way.

        • I collect relics from a better, vanished time. Before the 1960’s there were many cool ways of starting an engine not involving a pull rope. I have small engines where you wind up a spring with a crank, then press a button to release the spring and start the engine. Works much better than a pull rope. I also have run big water pumps with Detroit 3-53 diesels where you do the same thing by pumping a hydraulic Jack to wind that spring, it’s amazing how easily a 1800 lb mechanical diesel starts with no electricity.

          One of my favorites is a 1940s vintage self propelled gas powered reel type mower (you may have seen one in the movie Point Break). It does an amazing job mowing a lawn.

          • Well, the old, WWII German U-boats started their diesels with compressed air. I never knew about the spring starter though.

          • A reel type mower is actually the correct way to cut grass, because that’s what it does, it scissors the grass cleanly when sharpened and adjusted properly. A rotary blade shears leaving a damaged end that browns. Worked a summer lawn crew at the retirement center even the big dawg Toro three deck was all reels. Old folks had beautiful lawns thanks to good equipment.

            • Unfortunately modern reel type mowers are a PITA to maintain. The John Deere one at work (private high school) is down more than it works.

              But yes, when it does work, the grass is so much nicer.

    • Hi Mark,

      I hurt my shoulder a couple years ago (it’s fine now) but for a good year-plus, the act of pulling hard on a cord to start a mower or chainsaw was really painful.

      • I REMEMBER that! I’m glad your shoulder is all right now.

        I didn’t think of how shoulder problems could come into play, even though I’ve had them myself. I didn’t have shoulder problems until years after I stopped using push mowers. I haven’t had to use one in decades, so I don’t think about it now.

        I had issues with my left shoulder after getting hit with 480 VAC while testing equipment at my old job. It was subluxing, or partially dislocating when I did simple things like try to put on my jacket. That SUCKED! Thankfully, with the help of PT and a good therapist (a baseball pitcher in college who’d suffered shoulder issues himself), my shoulder was and is fine now. I lost some range of motion, but that was it; thankfully, it’s strong and stable.

        When I used to use push mowers, I always started them with my right hand, as I’m right handed and that’s my dominant side. I also twisted my upper body to help out; I didn’t rely solely on my arm to start the mower. If I had to start a lawn mower, I think I could do it left handed too; I’m that confident in my left shoulder.

        However, I don’t like being bothered with that, so I got a small enough place that I can manage with a manually pushed reel mower-no gas or engine needed. With the manual mower, I can finish in 15-20 minutes. Then, I take my cordless weed whacker to the edges to finish up.

        If I were to ever use a push mower again, I’d get a cordless electric; it’s easier to use, quieter, and needs no maintenance. I have a cordless electric snow blower, and I LOVE it! NFW would I ever use gas power equipment again.

  24. During COVID, people were also presumed to be idiots when we were told not to “Do our own research”, which in the before times used to be called READING. The funny (not ha ha funny) thing is, people who “did their own research” regarding COVID, Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, face diapers, and experimental jabs turned out to be RIGHT, while people who blindly followed “experts” such as Tony Fauci turned out to be WRONG and/ or have permanent damage of some sort from blindly following the Tony Faucis of the world.

  25. When my wife undo’s her seat belt to take off her sweater while we are driving causes the seat belt alarm to go off. I call that the *hot flash* alarm.

  26. DEI is the logical conclusion to all this. See, it’s not that children who went through the inner-city hellscape of public schools, no parents and no adults present weren’t properly trained to enter society… no, it’s that society is too hard, made intentionally so by white middle class Americans. So society must be dumbed down to match the level of the bottom 20%. Government solutions to problems caused by government, as usual.

    It didn’t start out this way. Back before the assembly line, complex machinery was built by skilled craftsmen. Ford’s assembly line didn’t work with these smart people on the line, because they found the work boring and repetitive (which it is). So look for unskilled workers who might not be all that adept at navigating the world, but can figure out how to tighten a lug nut if the air ratchet is preset to the proper torque. 8 hours of lug nut tightening doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it paid well enough to put food on the table and raise up a family.

    But then the Asian market, with its extremely cheap unskilled labor pool, devalued unskilled labor. So much for a middle class lifestyle screwing down lug nuts. That job was relegated to a machine. Sorry dummy, you have to learn to code…

    Carlin wasn’t wrong when he said they need people just smart enough to run the machines, but not so smart they figure out how badly f***ed they are. But the machines are pretty complicated these days, not to mention all the rules in place to operate them. The DEI answer is that the reason why you can’t slot a 65 IQ particular individual into any job in the plant is because the boss has to make the job easier, not that some people are better suited to skill jobs than others. So for now the answer is to load up on AI as the savior of the idiot. It’s an interesting bet, but then again, why would a company need people if the AI is doing all the thinking and the robots are doing all the assembling?

  27. There’s always a yellow light accelerator that meets up with a green light anticipator.

    Both pass the idiot test. If the light turns yellow then to red, you can still go, it’s one of those rules of the road. You have to follow that rule to avoid a collision turning left on a yellow when another car is going to go straight through the red light anyway. Just know that is what will happen if you don’t obey one rule everyone else follows.

    Lottery winners who spend 200 million dollars after winning 200 million dollars pass the idiot test, score 100 percent.

    • Technically you are supposed to take a split second and make sure the intersection is clear before you go on green.

      Note: This does not mean sit there and play in your phone for a while. Or stare at the intersection agape in wonderment and confusion.

  28. Expand this concept to other laws and it’s presumed that everyone is a suicidal killer.

    To paraphrase Bastiat, If people are so stupid and evil as to not be allowed to live their lives freely, why is it that all proposals from politicians, bureaucrats, social do-gooders and safety Nazis considered good? Are they not also members of the human race?

    • Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

      Easier to blame someone else for your actions than to blame yourself. Pretty much sums up human nature in a few sentences. God was the ultimate scapegoat, but after the liberals killed God they had to come up with a new one. White men seem to fit the bill nicely, being as gods in their ability to create from nothing.

      • Hit post too early. My point being the safety nazis never blame the operator for the accident. A scapegoat must be found, and it has to be a powerful one (deep pockets help too for the big lawyer fees payout). For the scapegoat, it’s just another cost added to the widget’s retail price. For the consumer, it’s an extra charge that prevents some from owning. For the “victim” it’s a chance to absolve themselves from their sin.

  29. My 97 Tacoma has a button on the dash that over rides the clutch/ignition switch. In case you are off road, and have NO room to roll back at all, you can start it in gear, for example.
    If I’m not mistaken, when Audi was accused of a runaway throttle, would not most brake systems stall the engine? Unless you aren’t standing on the brakes, but standing on the accelerator.

    • Hi John, of course you could always turn the key back to the accessory position. The steering will still be unlocked but the engine will shut off and you can coast to the side of the road with the vacuum still in the booster for ease of braking.

  30. Eric: “But if that were true, they’d be encouraging us to learn not to be stupid
    – rather than treating us all as irredeemably and presumptively stupid.”

    Coming out of government schools – the presumption of majority stupidity
    is spot-on. Forced to attend and forced to pay, a communist’s wet dream.


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