I was listening to a kindred spirit, Foamy the Squirrel, this evening and he had a rant about stupid people. It was the usual totally over-the-top rant but he did have a point. I’m not sure he really made it though.

Here’s the rant for those who can take his wildness.

His point was that protecting stupid people with laws enforcing safety is dumbing down the entire race. We should let Darwin’s Natural Selection operate as intended. Well, we used to do that and while it was messy, idiots only did idiotic things once.

However, I’d go further.

My car has four wheel drive. Not all the time and (to my disappointment) it does not have a big lever to engage four wheel drive. The car does it all on its own. If the front wheels start to slip, it engages the back wheel drive all on its own.

It also has an automatic gearbox which I’ve decided is an idiotic machine. It changes up the gears far later than I would. Every time, I have gritted teeth as the engine revs climb and I’m thinking ‘change up, you bastard’.

I have only once tried to teach someone to drive. She paid for lessons instead.. You either learn it in the first five minutes or I give up teaching. I can teach you microbiology and I know it can take time because there’s a lot of it and some of it is hard, but a car only has a few buttons, pedals and switches. that matter. Mine has some I might never press… and it’s automatic, you don’t even need to learn gear changes.

The sunroof button (yes, the buggers make those electric too now) isn’t likely to get a lot of use in Scotland.

But I digress.

The car has all kinds of safety features that were once only found on Volvos. It means I can drive like a dick and know I have a better than average chance of walking away from a crash that will write off the car. I don’t drive like a dick because I blew my entire car budget on this one and can’t buy another one. But I could.

When I was driving my first car, a MkII Ford Cortina I bought for £75, it had no safety features. It barely had a dashboard. The steering was so loose I’d start turning the wheel a few metres before the corner. I took all the rubber plugs out of the floor to stop the leaks filling it with water and often drove it with only the driver’s seat installed. Sometimes it was even bolted to the floor.

It was a shit heap. So I drove very carefully indeed. If that car was totalled in a crash it was very likely to total me too.

Well okay, I did make the passengers jump now and then but the Cortina had corners you could see. Not like the modern ones where you can’t see where the front or back ends are. This was a rectangle when viewed from above and the driver had sight of every corner. I drove that thing through gaps with a quarter of an inch to spare each side. I wouldn’t do that with a modern car. The wavy lines look good but you’re never sure exactly how wide or long it is.

Nowadays I am older and a much more sedate driver (CStM will not mention TruckGate at this or any other point. It happened once and it was perfectly safe!).

I once drove a Ford Focus Estate for six months with nothing but the odometer functioning on the dashboard. I drove my Commer van in the same state for rather longer. Safety? Who needs it?

But to attempt to get back to the point, Foamy’s real argument goes beyond protecting stupid people. All this safety makes the rest of us complacent. Drivers who would have been careful drivers now think ‘well, I have seatbelts, air bags, side impact bars, I’m basically in a tank and I can take risks I wouldn’t normally even consider’.

It’s not just the idiots who crash any more.

It’s the same with tools. I have an electric sander (two, now, since I got a belt sander from my parents for my birthday) and they are festooned with things to stop me sanding my fingers off. I also have old style planes and saws that I am much more careful with because they have sharp edges and no safety features. I am much more likely to damage myself with the tools that have ‘safety’ features because the safety features should protect me – but they don’t always work.

Making safety a law was a bad idea. People expect to be safe all the time now. Even the ones who bang on about being ‘close to nature’. Nature is not safe. Nature is deadly. If you really want to be close to nature, try fending off an enraged badger naked and bare-handed. You have no chance. If you get stitched back together after that one, try a grizzly bear or a tiger – although if you are being all natural, no stitches.

Those are extremes. Total danger and total safety. Not so long ago, the human race had something in between. We called it common sense.

We didn’t go out in T-shirt and shorts when it was -10C and windchill took it down to -20C. We didn’t fight tigers naked. We didn’t drive with the belief the car was going to protect us with its safety features. We treated sharp tools – workshop and kitchen – with respect. We knew how to use weapons without bemusing the enemy by killing ourselves before they had a chance to.

For the upcoming generation, all that is gone.

Now, your personal safety is someone else’s problem and you can sue them for not doing it. Eventually, people will stop selling you anything you might hurt yourself with unless you sign a disclaimer first. Many of the new generation will refuse to sign so they’ll be carving the Sunday microwave roast with a spoon.

That assumes they still have roasts, what with acrylamide and the deadly bacteria imagined to be in everything. I think they can dish out boiled cockroach with a spoon safely.

There are books about the fall of ancient civilisations. They have a common theme. They died because they went soft. Scared of change, scared of anything that might hurt them, scared of death but waiting to die.

Even in fiction, it’s how great civilisations fall. Self hatred kills every one of them.

So did you think our Western civilisation would last forever? The Victorians thought the Empire was eternal and now we have British people wanting to apologise for it! I don’t hear those people demanding the Muslims apologise for the Ottoman empire nor for anyone else’s. That’s by the by, doesn’t matter. As the Brunnen G said, we deserve to die. They believe it as much as our Lefties, the difference is that our lefties don’t think it applies to therm.

This civilisation has run its course. Oh there will be another to follow, also believing itself eternal but it will die in time too. The Soviet Union, Rome, Etrusca, Greece, Egypt at the time of the Pharaohs, all were eternal and all are gone now. Time to move on.

I’m not scared by this. We will have a few fighters left, every time. There will always be those who rise against tyranny just as there will always be tyranny. They might lose but they will always try and there will always be more coming up the line.

Everyone is human. We are the same animal. We are a pack animal with a leader who is bigger and stronger than the rest. Somehow we got to the stage where the leader is more of a total twat than the rest but it won’t last. It never does.

The times, as Bob Dylan said. they are a-changing. For the better? Hahaha! As before they are changing to get to the same.

But there will always be that rebellious streak. Always.

If there is hope, it really does lie in the proles.


19 thoughts on “Stupidity

  1. I always like the quote that a late-night DJ I used to listen to (Nick someone – sorry, can’t remember his surname now, but he was very good) used to say: “If you legislate for the sake of idiocy, you end up with a system that’s only fit for fools.” Never a truer word spoken.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s been said more than once that to get people to drive more carefully, and thus reduce road accidents, all that’s needed is a very sharp spike mounted in the centre of the steering wheel. It would serve to focus minds splendidly.

    Having been a professional carpenter for many years, I have a multiplicity of tools – tens of thousands of pounds worth, most of them very sharp and lethal if used carelessly. When I buy a new tool, one of the first things I will do is to remove all the ‘safety’ features, because they more often than not impair the workability of the tool and obstruct clear sight of what you are working on. I personally think those ‘safety’ features make the tool more dangerous to use. And more difficult.

    That assumes they still have roasts, what with acrylamide and the deadly bacteria imagined to be in everything. I think they can dish out boiled cockroach with a spoon safely.

    The cockroaches also have the advantage of being high in protein, if a little on the crunchy side.

    But apparently very tasty, particularly with a side order of fried grubs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been said more than once that to get people to drive more carefully, and thus reduce road accidents, all that’s needed is a very sharp spike mounted in the centre of the steering wheel. It would serve to focus minds splendidly.

      Precisely what the logo of this (generally economics, sometimes socio-political commentary, if a little meek & mild) blog illustrates…


  3. My ageing Renault RX4 has a manual gearchange but also has four wheel drive which controls itself; I’d much rather it had a selector lever so it would do what I say. Similarly, if you stick your slushbox in D and leave it to it while knowing what it SHOULD be doing you’ll be driven to distraction. Regard it as a manual box with an automatic clutch, telling it what gear and when, you’ll be much happier.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve just changed my car and have no frigging idea where the front ends, the bonnet just almost vertically slopes – but you have the impression of fantastic visibility because out of the windscreen there just appears to be road.
    What I really object to about modern cars (apart from the lack of built-in ashtray) is that alarms are being used to enforce the law – if I don’t put on my seatbelt first a light flashes, then a moderate beep starts, then the beep increases in pace and volume until you can’t stand it and have to stop to put the belt on even if you’re about to reach your destination in a few seconds. If the alarm were just a gentle reminder it would stop at the gentle beep stage; instead it’s an enforcement tool :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can disable them, you know.

      Look for wires coming from the buckle end of the seat-belt, and unplug them. In the event of there being no easy access to demountable plugs, cut the wires. If you cut them, make sure you leave enough wire accessible to crimp connectors on, in case you want to sell at some future date.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tnx, Nisakiman, I have wondered. I’m just a bit hopeless with things like that – recently I wondered what the strange noise from the telly was and I’d almost decided to stop watching when I realised it was audio commentary and I didn’t know how to turn it off 🙂 (Please make allowances – once upon a time I’d have been a pensioner at my age….)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Or you could just get hold of a correctly shaped bit of plastic to shove into the receptacle so it thinks you’ve put the seatbelt in. 3D printers are wonderful these days…


        • Ah, now that’s thinking outside the box! Yes indeed, that would work, and be a lot less effort than my suggestion. That’s my problem – I approach everything from an engineering point of view, even though I’m not an engineer. Comes from taking everything apart to see how it worked when I was young.


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  6. I like my automatic car. I spend far too many hours stuck in traffic jams to want the pain of a clutch these days. As for when it changes gear, I don’t much care. I just sit back and let it do its thing. A car is a tool. The less I have to do to make it work, the better for me.

    A motorcycle on the other hand…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. As for teaching people to drive – either you have the attributes or you don’t. I do and did it for a few years. I prefer teaching motorcycles though as the students are more self-motivated.

    Liked by 1 person

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