This morning I was rubbing my hands together in giddy glee over the finding that the Nintendo Wii is not environmentally friendly, or at least, is not perceived to be that (Nintendo’s crime against the environment seems to be mostly related to a failure to divulge information about being clean, which is different from a substantiation of evidence about being dirty). My comment was,
The anti-corporate pro-enviro hippies, are hopefully going to be locked in a huge fracas with the video-gamers and therefore with the kid-dumbing-down people. I hope. It’s always fun to watch the anti-achievement types feast on their own.
Hundreds of thousands of e-mails have poured in and called my attention to…
…alright, nobody’s uttered a peep about it. But it nevertheless occurs to me, even though this is The Blog That Nobody Reads, that I should expound.
Surely you’ve noticed, haven’t you. The people here stateside as well as across the pond in Europe, who are so quick to rap us across the knuckles for taking out Saddam Hussein — offer little or no alternatives for us to defend ourselves in any other way from the threat of worldwide terror. Oh yes, I know, many among them will say we were “distracted” from the “hunt for Osama bin Laden” when he was “in Afghanistan.” They imply in a bullying way, but usually do not come out and say word-for-word in any true sense of commitment, that had we focused on Afghanistan they’d be behind our defensive efforts a hundred percent.
These are the very same folks who are all gung-ho about going after the globular-wormening ManBearPig, insisting that the climate of the earth is changing, we homo sapiens are the cause, it’s a done deal, the “science is settled,” and hey even if this turns out not to be the case it’s just as well that we act as if it is.
You can see where I’m going with this now. They insist that the benefit of the doubt be awarded to the course-of-action that involves doing…on this issue over here…and the option that involves not doing on that issue over there.
People like me, on the other hand, are “inconsistent” in the opposite way; I think we should not do, here, and do, there.
Who is more properly inconsistent? Well, the most jarring empirical evidence, which is people-gettin’-killed, it seems to me is on my side. This thing over here hasn’t killed anyone. That issue over there has killed thousands…oh yeah, oh yeah, I know, no solid evidence connecting Saddam to the terrorist attacks, but that’s kind of my point. These people, in addition to being inconsistent, are nuts. The “no evidence” is just as good as “close my eyes and yell la-la-la-la I can’t hear you.” The people who say we should act even though we don’t know anything, about ManBearPig, are the same ones who say we should not act because we don’t know anything on a different threat that really has killed people.
So my point is this: Since there are so many of these people, and they all agree with each other in near-lock-step about both Iraq and globular-wormening ManBearPig…two issues on which their mindsets conform to completely opposite philosophies about how we should behave on important issues when certainty is not forthcoming and doubt is rampant. In fact, we can toss in a third issue without upsetting this solidarity one bit, I notice: Guns and self-defense. People who are pro-global-warming-curtailing, are anti-Iraq, and pro-gun-control. The consistency from one pair of ears to the next, is just amazing. It’s north of 99 percent. So I say, let us look for consistencies in the arguments. Let us look for common threads that are sustained among these three issues, in the way all these people perceive them and grapple with them. Are there some?
I see one.
Before I get to that, though, let’s inject a fourth issue in a round-about way…and let us do this, by exploring one of my favorite web sites: TrafficCalming.org, where you can learn how to thwart, obstruct, derail and generally bollux-up the efforts of your neighboring human beings to…well…to move their asses from one place to the next. Which means, now, just about anything else anyone would be able to do once they get there.
This deepens, but does not broaden, our chore of looking for common threads. If you think it’s settled RIGHT NOW that we should do something about globular wormening, but we need to shut down the War on Terror, but we need to grab everybody’s guns and lock ’em up — you probably think traffic calming is a wonderful thing. If you roll your eyes at it like I do, you probably think ManBearPig is a big ol’ scam, you probably think Saddam Hussein was just as much a dangerous spoiler jackass in 2003 as he was in 1993 & it’s a good thing he’s gone, and you think the Second Amendment actually means what it says: Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
So traffic calming, you see, fits right into the mold.
Traffic calming consists of operational measures such as enhanced police enforcement, speed displays, and a community speed watch program, as well as such physical measures as edgelines, chokers, chicanes, traffic circles, and (for the past four years) speed humps and raised crosswalks.
Chicanes, traffic circles, speed bumps and raised crosswalks.
What are these things? Well, they are devices that make traffic safe by making assumptions about you, the driver, which in turn cannot be borne out as legitimate or truthful unless they are analyzed in a purely statistical venue. If you go faster than X speed, you must be dangerous. If you can be bullied and cudgeled and coerced into going slower than X speed, you must be safe. If it’s three thirty in the morning and nobody’s around, why, that don’ matter none. You have to go slower than twenty-five miles per hour, and once we make you drive that slowly, surely some lives will be saved.
It sounds like it came from…from…could it be? Why, yes it is!
European traffic calming began as a grassroots movement in the late 1960s. Angry residents of the Dutch City of Delft fought cut-through traffic by turning their streets into woonerven, or “living yards.” This was followed by the development of European slow streets (designed for 30 kph or 20 mph) in the late 1970s; the application of traffic calming principles to intercity highways through small Danish and German towns in the 1980s; and the treatment of urban arterials in areawide schemes, principally in Germany and France, also in the 1980s. [emphasis mine]
Gotta hand it to those Europeans. The European ego isn’t one bit bruised by the fact that we yankees came up with the telephone…the car…the airplane…the innernets. They’ve got their claim to fame East of Greenwich. When you’re a busy guy trying to get things done, relying on all this American technology to beat the deadline so that that other guy can beat his deadline so that the people depending on him can meet their deadlines…here come the Europeans to mess everything up for you!
Thought you were getting to Point B by two-thirty this afternoon did you? Not after our roundabouts and raised crosswalks get done. Now feel the wrath of the residents of Delft!
The really interesting thing about traffic calming, is its effectiveness is measured in traffic retardation on a miles/kilometers-per-hour basis, and a percentage basis — not on the basis of lives saved. I have to look at that a little bit funny. I have no choice but to do so.
I live in Folsom. We have our own “traffic calming” in terms of poorly-designed controlled intersections. Traffic lights that turn red just as you get to them, should you fail to exceed the speed limit by less than twenty miles an hour, and all that. You think that “calms” traffic, everybody in their shiny BMW’s having to stop constantly when they shouldn’t have to? Hell no. It turns them all into raging jackasses.
Sorry, fellow Folsom residents. You know it’s true. You know it damn good and well.
So on the notion that this makes traffic safer…I have to call bull poo. Even if you can pump out hundreds of studies showing the rate of speed has slowed. That’s a point in my favor, isn’t it? All the jackasses are spending more time inside city limits, after having been offered increased motivation for going all jackass?
There is a lesson here about human psychology. It is what ties together all these “let’s go ahead and stop global warming even though there’s no solid evidence we have to” types…in with the “naughty naughty naughty shame on you for taking out Saddam Hussein” types. It is what makes these two camps come together, even though their respective doctrines are 180 degrees opposed from each other. It is what makes them all such loud, bossy sunzabiches.
It is this:
When you’ve made the decision that the stuff you do in your life doesn’t matter and shouldn’t be given much priority, you rankle at the idea of the stuff anybody else does with their lives being given any more priority than your stuff. The traffic-calming measures, with all the phony egghead studies “proving” that things must be safer because the traffic moves slower — they are metaphorical, of something much deeper and much more meaningful. When you’re in this boat, you want everybody to stop whatever it is they’re doing. To slow way down…until they stop. And sit. There’s really nothing rational about it. It’s a primal urge.
You don’t want anybody to make it anywhere on time to be able to do anything. Because you know you aren’t doing anything.
You don’t want anybody’s kids to grow up with a feeling of self worth, since your own kids aren’t growing up that way.
You don’t want anybody to consume anything, because you can’t justify consuming anything yourself. You can pretend you’re disturbed about the prospect of the whatever-it-is being depleted…but the truth of the matter is, you just want all motion around you to stop. Because you yourself aren’t moving.
That’s why the people who want to take your guns away are the same ones waggling their fingers at you about “emitting carbon” and those are the same people who prattle on about an “illegal and unjust war” — we should presume action is warranted in the face of doubt on one issue, and not on another issue. And those are the same people who think traffic is automatically safer if the drivers are frustrated in the efforts to get where they want to go. And those people, in turn, are the same ones getting all peevish if you buy your nephew a toy gun for his birthday. And those are the same people insisting that if said nephew is acting a little bit weird, he should be doped up on drugs and put in a special program.
And that once you’ve eventually triumphed over the round-abouts and traffic circles and gotten where you wanted to go, and made some money from doing it…you should be taxed up the ass. It’s human potential. It offends them.
This is easily substantiated. Because once you open your mind to the evidence involved — it’s really a little bit silly to try to argue Saddam Hussein was harmless. So people aren’t angry about the fact that Hussein was taken down, because he was a harmless guy. They’re angry Hussein was taken down because taking him down was a worthwhile thing that some brave, but ordinary, people did. That really gets in the craw of some among us. And that’s the truth.
Now, if you’re one among those “googooders” as Mike Royko used to call them, here, via Boortz, are some places where you can raise your kid. Notice how eager these googooders are to share notes on this stuff. Again: When you aren’t doing anything with your life, you don’t want anybody else to do anything with theirs, and when you aren’t raising your kid to grow up to be someone with guts and courage and resourcefulness, you don’t want anybody else’s kid growing up that way either.
To give you a quick idea of how much location matters, consider this: Kids are six times more likely to die from a violence-related injury in Alaska than they are in Massachusetts. In California, public playgrounds must meet all federal government safety recommendations, but 34 states offer no standards for where your kids climb, jump and swing. Connecticut and 20 other states have made big improvements in school-bus crossings, while 13, including Nebraska and Arizona, are way behind.
2. Rhode Island
3. New Jersey
4. New York
Oh, joy! Enough rules to crumple into a big ball and choke a horse to death! Or at least you could…if it wasn’t a federal crime to choke horses to death on things. And my Golden State is number five!
Of course, as any knuckle-dragging red-state real-man daddy like me knows, there’s a lot more to raising a boy into a man than just making sure he reaches Age Eighteen healthy and alive and whole. Us guys know that…but unfortunately, some eighty-eight years ago we went and gave them womyns the right to vote, and wouldn’t you know it the uppity females done gone out and started doing it. Now we have taxes up the ass…and rules rules rules, you can’t drive anywhere over thirty miles an hour because of those damn roundabouts, and in a few years you won’t be able to buy a car that can go that fast because we’ll have used the “carbon emissions” excuse to yank real cars off the road.
But our pwecious babums is going to be all safe. Won’t know how to do a God damn thing, but they’ll be safe.
Now you know the common thread. The common thread is — that people are cattle, and really aren’t worth anything. They shouldn’t be taught anything, they shouldn’t be raised to deal with danger, they aren’t worth defending, they can’t achieve anything and if they can, they should never be given the opportunity to do it. Might as well seal the damn things up in a great big jar and poke some holes in the lid.
This explains why when you face off against someone who insists we never should have taken down Saddam Hussein, and you ask well what should we have done instead — you don’t get anything. Just a deer in the headlights look, maybe a few stammering statements about George Bush being a really bad guy and his grandfather was connected to Nazis. Nothing about what to do. These people don’t come from the Land Of Do. They’re all about being, not doing…being…uh…well, happy. There’s nothing more in their lives than just that. So they don’t want anything more in your life than just that.
Funny thing is, though, when it comes to the anti-defense plank — they do think some folks are worth defending. Just the bosses. The kingpins of society. And you probably thought they were egalitarians, didn’t you?
I beg to differ. They’re aristocrats through and through. Earls Lords and Dukes are worth defending…Vicounts, Barons and anyone lower than that, are not.
Mr. Heller, the good guy in DC v. Heller, delivered one of the best slapdowns we’ve ever read when asked about the “safe streets” of DC:
At that point, a reporter interjected: “The Mayor (DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty) says the handgun ban and his initiatives have significantly lowered violent crime in the District. How do you answer that, Mr. Heller?”
The initial answer certainly wasn’t expected – Dick Heller laughed. Ruefully.
Pointing at the Mayor who was making his way across the plaza, surrounded by at least six DC police officers, Heller said, “The Mayor doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t walk on the street like an average citizen. Look at him; he travels with an army of police officers as bodyguards—to keep him safe. But he says that I don’t have the right to be a force of one to protect myself. Does he look like he thinks the streets are safe?”
There was no follow-up question.
We bet there weren’t.
The anti-achievement anti-defense subjects have that in common too. The Wizened Elders who run our Bottle City are worthy of protection…we low-life scum, are not. They don’t think they’re worth it, and so they don’t think anybody else is worth it either.
Not unless you have six bodyguards or more guarding your pampered ass.
So you see, opposing the right to defend oneself and one’s family, opposing the privilege of driving to get somewhere in time, opposing the natural exigencies of life…ends up being, quicker than anyone imagines, opposing life.
These are the same blue-state numb-nuts who want good-lookin’ women to wear short hair and be fully clothed all the time. Like wearing a bunch of damned burqas. Hey, nuts to you. Here, choke on this:
Self-reliance. Achievement. Self-defense. Supporting what makes life possible, and makes life worth living. And, good-lookin’ girls with long hair in skimpy clothes. Stuff that real men like. That’s what America is all about. It is the American way.
This ultra-pasteurized version of lowercase-l “life”…this continent called “Europe” seems to be cultivating a rich culture in supporting that. Seems to be something like growing sea monkeys in bleach, but if that’s what toots the horn of my fellow lowercase-a “americans,” I suggest they move the hell there. Stop trying to turn this place into that place.
And take your stinking round-abouts with you.
Thing I Know #168. People with limited attention spans get peevish when they see other people doing a better job of paying attention; people who consistently champion peace over justice, get downright pernicious when they see someone else uphold justice.