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.