Thursday, July 9, 2009

Comment rescue: We will decide what you need (und you vill like it)

I love this interchange at Delawareliberal, interestingly enough in a thread on health care reform.

First, Tim Pancoast:

Glenn Beck, just like myself would be happy to drive in an innovative, efficient, fuel cell vehicle as long as it meets our needs. If it can’t go over 65, if it doesn’t have the seating, storage, or towing capacity that we need than we don’t want it.

Then the response from a commenter self-titled as DC:

First of all, most places don’t have speed limits over 65, so that shouldn’t be a consideration (nevermind the fact that hybrid cars can go faster than that).

Second, how often do you really ‘need’ the capacity for 7-9 person seating? Or, for that matter, towing? Much like the needs of suburbanites for SUV’s: none at all. I don’t think that driving from home to the grocery store includes a need for four wheel drive or 16 inches of ground clearance. That’s not need. That is however the typical American attitude: bigger is always better (bigger, more expensive, less efficient…. seems that we continue on the same theme).

So let's unpack this counter:

1) Most places don't have speed limits over 65, so that shouldn't be a consideration. Aside from the fact that DC doesn't seem to get out much (like riding on I-95 in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia where the speed limits hit 70 or 75), I love the self-sanctification that says the speed and power of the vehicle you purchase should be controlled by the government's regulations on how fast you can drive. Which ignores (among lots of other things) times when you need that speed to get out of the passing lane or to avoid an accident....

2) How often do you really 'need' the capacity for 7-9 person seating? I don't know, jerk, you tell me: there are six people in my immediate family, so I'd guess I need it any damn time we go somewhere with one of my kids' friends in the car or to be ecologically freaking sound and car pool. But what damn business is it of yours to determine what my family needs? Like the next one...

3) Or, for that matter, towing? See, DC doesn't think I 'need' to own my Coleman pop-up camper or to be able hook up a rental trailer to move my kids to college. In DC's world either the government pays for that, or we just don't do it.

4) Four wheel drive and ground clearance? Has it occurred to DC that when we get ice storms and essential employees have to go to work anyway [including my daughter] that four-wheel drive and a decent ground clearance is the only way to do so safely?

That's not need. Here's an idea for DC: STFU.

One of the essentials of individual liberty is the ability to determine for myself and my family what our needs are, as opposed to our 'wants.' And instead of the mindless conformity imposed by government bureaucrats that everybody has to use the same restricted flow showerhead and that my mom (who is 5' 1") needs government permission to have the airbag that would probably kill her disconnected, the genius of America has generally been predicated on leaving as many choices to the individual as possible.

Now, however, we are entering the nebulous world in which I cannot be allowed to choose not to enforce bike helmet wear on my children, because if they do get hurt all of society will have to pay for it (really?). And the government is making my choice for me that the pleasure I get from certain foods cooked in trans-fats has to be balanced against the extra years I could live on a diet of steamed broccoli (I don't know how long it would be, but it would seem like forever).

Here's what the czarist, behavioralist dweebs like DC and his/her ilk fail to consider: Americans will let you spend their money and their grandchildren's money, because we really don't have a concept of what a million dollars, let alone a billion or a trillion is. But eventually, if you start cracking down on my individual choice (suddenly labeled as 'wants' or even 'vices'), there is going to be political and social pushback in a big way. And I don't just mean libertarians here....

I have lots of liberal and progressive friends whose beef with social conservatives is that they want to tell everybody else how to live their lives in the bedroom while having affairs in Argentina or the bathrooms of airports.

I haven't quite figured out the difference between those social conservatives and the liberal elites who think gun control is a great idea (while being tailed by armed bodyguards), or who want to tell me what I can smoke, eat, drive or pour on my goddamn popcorn at the movie theater.


Townie 76 said...

Steve old buddy, hate to tell you the maximum speed limit on the Interstate in NC, SC, and GA is 70; although in GA if you go 70 you will likely get a ticket for going too slow!

A former Atlantian

Steve Newton said...

OK 70--coulda sworn I saw a sign for 75 in NC last year (maybe wishful thinking).

You're right about GA: I generally average 85-90 on I-95 in the spring and summer and am right in the flow of traffic....

Townie 76 said...


Old age is a bitch. . .!

R said...

DC's comment reminds me of the columnist a few years back whining about having too many choices in the cereal aisle.

There is such a gap between me and folks like them that I can't fathom how to bridge it.

Anonymous said...

Also, colorado, iowa, nebraska, and a couple other states have 70 mph roads. and since delaware is such a friendly biker state, i have to rack my bikes to be able to ride somewhere decent. plus, as many with second jobs that are purely for cash purposes, my jeep trails a couple lawnmowers, etc. so yea, i want capacity and towing capability. oh yea, my son's hockey team and baseball team need someone to carry their luggage. the one kid's family Prius doesnt do too good a job at it.

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