Ralph Peters slaps it, tells it to just shut the fuck up awready.
The video below moans about the substandard efforts of various car manufacturers to harass people sufficiently to wear seat belts. Note that I did not say their seatbelts. Which I did not say for the same reason I have never said anyone ought to wear their “masks.”
This is not pedantic. It is vitally important.
The use of “their” is very deliberate. It is meant to convey – and to assert – a kind of needful symbiosis. That a seat belt – or a “mask” is almost a part of us and heaven forbid the intimation of disassociation. What is wanted – and intended – is for the person being addressed to immediately feel obligation. And shame, for not wearing “their” seatbelt or “mask.”
But it is just a “mask” – or a seatbelt. An object, nothing more. Unless, of course, you do claim it as yours – in which case, that’s up to you. But the very last thing those who use their – or your – want is for you to make up your own mind and exercise choice, yourself.
Anyhow, it ought to be agreed that everyone has heard – a lot – about wearing seatbelts, asserted to be theirs. Much of it from their cars, which in many cases will not stop reminding – another obnoxiously, insufferably passive-friendly abuse of language – to wear their seatbelt even when it is ridiculously apparent they have purposely decided not to. Anyone willing to endure the repetitive chiming/dinging – often a loud and jarring chiming/dining – for the sake of not wearing the damned things clearly doesn’t need a reminder.
He knows perfectly well that he’s not wearing it – and doesn’t want to.
Civility would leave it at that. Would, in fact, have let it go well before that. But safetyism is relentless. The chiming/dinging must continue for longer, louder. Perhaps forever – or at least for long enough that the victim of this harassment cannot stand it any longer and gives in, by bucking “his” seatbelt.
Also the passengers. All of them. Shotgun, of course – but now also those in back. Safetyism has decreed chiming/dinging for everyone in the vehicle. So even the backseats are no longer safe harbor. The driver is put in the same position the government puts the store owner, who is forced to act as tax collector for the government. Just so, the driver of the cars coming off the line will be forced to become the government’s nag, pestering the people riding in back to wear their seatbelts – in order to save his nerves from the unendurable racket of all that chiming/dinging.
Treating normal, healthy, perfectly competent and capable American adults as if we were empty-eyed, mentally challenged diaper draggers who won’t survive a few more minutes without the protective cocoon of a constant, government-provided overwatch and micro-micro-micro-management of our every smallest twitch or blink is how the Nanny State creates the perception of itself as indispensable, serendipitously seducing the more weak-willed and biddable but nonetheless reasonably intelligent among us into thinking warm, cozy thoughts of how much gosh-darned easier life would be if only our good friends in government would just help us out a little throughout the course of each day! Why, there oughta be a LAW!!
Next thing you know, the very idea of choosing not to “buckle up for safety” the instant you climb in the car, each and every damned time you do, and keeping yourself strapped into place—even if the car is stationary and the transmission is in Park, the parking brake engage, no less—now strikes all too many otherwise normal, otherwise sane people as OUTRAGEOUS! IRRATIONAL! IRRESPONSIBLE! INTOLERABLE! A reflex action so natural they’re no longer even aware of it, so deeply has the conditioning been drilled into their brains, the reckless, selfish misdeed now an actual, honest-to-God crime which is punishable here in NC by a fine totalling over two hudred bucks, all told (as of a few years ago, NC dot Gov now charges transactions made with the State—drivers license, registration and plate, title transfer, and yes, vehicle-related citations and fines. As if the original fees for all those things weren’t ALREADY a de facto tax themselves, Gawdammit!
This new policy, mind, enacted at the same exact time that they also decided to double or even triple all fees on those same “services” they’d started adding tax on.
But even that ain’t the end of this thing, our final stop on the Safety First! Express. Peters knows as well as you or I where the smothercating embrace of Safetyism ends—it doesn’t.
Soon, it will be more. Heck, it already is. But it will be more than we can imagine. There will never be an end to it.
Safetyism pushes itself beyond all previously acknowledged boundaries of civility that – once upon a time – formed a kind of perimeter around the person (and property) of the individual, past which government was not allowed. Better said, beyond which government had no rightful authority.
Today, after 50-plus years of safetyism, there is no boundary beyond the reach of this inhuman doctrine, which forms the basis of what has become an inhuman society, in which no one is free to be let alone, ever – because it might not be “safe.”
And to think, it all began with a seatbelt, all those years ago.
Actually, no, not exactly. It began well before the coordinated nationwide push for seatbelt mandates began, with state laws requiring motorcycle riders to don uncomfortable, unsafe, slapdashedly made, vision-restricting, neck-torquing “safety” helmets sweeping the land back in the ’60s. The seatbelt push, spotty and obscure enough not to notice, really took flight in the late ’70s/early ’80s, originally sparked by FederalGovCo’s arbitrary decree that all US automakers must install airbags by some date certain or other, which I have long since forgotten. The automakers studied the problem and realized that putting those airbags in—a new, quite expensive technology at the time, something of an untried and unknown commodity which American motorists didn’t want or need, a product whose add-on cost every trustworthy industry survey and/or poll flatly said an overwhelming majority of America’s car buyers just flat weren’t willing to pay—would jack up the sticker price of every new American car by between five and six thousand bucks per…this, at a time when the price for a new car wasn’t a whole helluva lot more than the price of the airbag install, something your average Joe Everyman was smart enough to notice and object to vehemently, and 2) new-care sales numbers were way down, thanks to several factors:
- Detroit had been caught flat-footed by a huge influx of Jap crap on these shores, a bruising, unforeseen competition caused mainly by the Saudi-contrived fuel “crisis” just a few years prior
- Adding fiscal insult to crippling injury, the Jap crappers weren’t subject to the seatbelt mandate at that time, tying another hand behind Detroit’s back when it was already punch-drunk and reeling from its Asian competitor’s fierce onslaught
- For another thing: Nobody was much interested in purchasing an American car back then anyway; despite my Jap-crap ribbing earlier, the fact is that those Hondas, Toyotas, and Datsuns of the era were solid, long-lived, dependable cars, if also smaller, lighter, and susceptible to much greater damage in a crash. The Japanese makes all boasted superior build quality, along with quiet, smooth-running engines that ingested their ever-more-expensive and -harder to find go-juice in polite, dainty sips, an unattractive contrast with the mighty, manly V8s Detroit was still cranking out in number at the time. As enjoyable as they were to drive, those engines swilled fuel like a union longshoreman who just clocked out and will be cashing whatever pitiful pittance he has left of his paycheck at whatever dingy dockside bar is closest to the shipper’s warehouse where he works after tonight’s boozy, bare-knuckles blowout chugs his brown likker.
American cars, in even more unflattering contrast with their fleet-footed, wily, and capable Southeast Asian competitors, had declined steeply from the dizzying peak of their ’50s-’60s Golden Age. American cars of the ’70s, frankly, were absolute junk. Expensive to run; shoddy construction; obsolete design and moldy-oldie engineering; overly heavy (hey, we NEEDED those powerful V8s, just to get those damned pigs on down the road at a reasonable pace); sloppy handling and mushy suspension that left you rocking, rolling, and wallowing through the curves instead of aggressively slicing your way in and out of ’em. These are but a small sampling of the gripes people had about the Blue Ovals, Bowties, Byuricks, and P.O.N.T.I.A.C.s (Poor Old Nigger Thinks It’s A Cadillac—heh) of the ’70s. The electrics were primitive and tetchy, the carburetors persnickety and weird, the steering loose as a goose. The cars had become untrustworthy at BEST.
Plus, a disturbing number of the American models were just plain ugly.I mean, who was it whose dubious auto-design creative gifts brought us vinyl roofs, for fuck’s sake? Worse, the Landau roof—utterly pointless; looking like it was conceptualized on one of the worst, most excruciating Hangover Sundays of all time; haphazardly designed; prone to rust underneath the fabric quickly and completely; a meaningless embellishment with absolutely no function or purpose whatsoever beyond doing a piss-poor job of trying to look like something it can never be.
- Or how about those massive, waddling grocery-getter station wagons? Y’know, the ones with the cheap, fake-wood paneling in a sloppy, half-assed parody aping the classic Woody wagons from the late ’20s (!!) up into the mid-’50s?
- The sudden, explosive expansion of the market for compact, well-built fuel misers mostly unconcerned with traditional American-style must-haves like bucketloads of rubber-shredding horsepower, plush interiors, lots of chrome, and come-hither good looks came as a total shock to the poor American manufacturers, and their sleepy response to the astonishing success of the invaders very nearly killed the American auto industry completely. After all, the market for the kind of car on offer from the Land of the Rising Sun didn’t even exist here until the 70s; before then, you could’ve called it a “niche” market, maybe, if you were the generous type and weren’t above stretching the truth almost to its breaking point. So, that being the case, you can’t fault Detroit entirely for the near-fatal debacle.
On the other hand, Detroit had certainly helped its own downfall along, getting all fat and lazy, lapsing its quality standards so severely that their existence became merely theoretical; certainly, they weren’t being applied, not by anybody. The unions demanded, and got, salaries so extravagant and out of proportion to the job requirements that they ended up reducing the world’s most stable, successful, and market-dominating industries into a tottering, feeble, confused wreck—aimless, incompetent, wholly unable to even identify where the American Dream they had embodied and enabled for so long had gone so terribly wrong, much less how they might make things right again. The collapse and near-death of the American auto industry was so catastrophic, so far-reaching, that it brought the once-proud city of Detroit—once one of the most prosperous, well-run, beautiful, and admired cities in all the world—down with it. Today, the industry has for the most part recovered, albeit not completely; American car makers will never again stand in unchallenged domination at the very pinnacle of the industry as they once so confidently did. The city, on the other hand, suffers under kleptomaniacal, corrupt, and self-serving leaders, black Democrats whose entire focus is on thieving and grafting their way into great wealth, have only worsened the plight of their city and its barbaric citizens. Its middle and upper-middle class population long ago fled the decaying and increasingly unlivable urban shithole en masse for greener, safer, more civilized climes, leaving crumbling ghettos full of feral and uncivilized Negro savages—layabouts, gangbangers, and irredeemable dope fiends left to their self-created squalor and anarchy to gnaw the last rotting bones of once-great Detroit.
But I digress. Anyhoo, the car makers worked out a deal with the goobermint’s crew of shakedown artists and strongarm men: government holds off for a decade or so on those airbags they want so much, provided Detroit could persuade a specified number of states to legislate mandatory seatbelt use as a first step, allowing hard-beset car makers a little breathing space, which they can use to tool up for the blasted bags. Thus, the deal was done. Now as it happens, NC was one of the first testbeds of the Constitutionality of this new, heretofore unthinkable regulatory overreach. Auto company attorneys carefully shepherded the case all the way up to the Supreme Court, where it was speedily approved without much fanfare or controversy. Whereupon everybody just clammed up. The media coverage of the heretofore sharply controversial issue stopped, the op-ed pages went dark and quiet. Nobody seemed to feel like discussing things further. After a period of mysterious silence, everybody moved on to the next big thing.
So the desired useful precedent had been set; the unthinkable had now become Law, landing a knockout blow against freedom, privacy, and self-determinatio—a vicious punch attenuated somewhat by assurances from the self-same snake oil salesmen who drafted it, promoted it, and got it into lawbooks that the thing had been conceived with an ironclad guarantee that violations would only ever be a secondary offense, meaning the cops couldn’t pull you over for a seatbelt infraction alone. They could only write you up for the seatbelt offense after having stopped you for a primary offense. Also, the seatbelt requirement would apply to drivers only, not passengers. It would carry a measly ten dollar fine, assigning no bank-account-draining license points for a violation. Pretty innocuous, right? Such a minor, trifling, harmless thing. Nothing worth getting one’s panties in a wad over. Nothing that should cause concern for those who take the Constitution and their rights seriously. Right?
My, ain’t it funny how things change. In the beginning, almost everybody pretty much ignored the new legislation, motorists and cops alike basically just carrying on as before. Then the insurance companies started to squawk, the hectoring TV commercials, explaining the vitally critically vital importance of wearing your safety harness so’s you won’t die began to run. Then, all of sudden, seatbelt tickets started to be handed out, to the stunned disbelief of the motorists who were issued them. Some overly zealous Joe Friday dreamed up the Click It Or Ticket weekend, three days on which entire police departments would gallumph on out in search of thougtless perps, a clear and present danger to the lives of everyone in the same zip code they presently occupy, hoping to jerk a knot in their asses. The inevitable mission creep emblematic of all government endeavors slowly but steadily advanced, until now every motorvatin’ scofflaw stands a chance of earning himself a hefty 200-dollar reminder that he better by God get with the program, or else. And, just as with every other for-your-own-good government encroachment on the presumed rights of its subjects, the inattentive, too-trusting frog has been thoroughly boiled.