This is not one of those rants that “the world’s getting too damn complicated” (although it is, in my opinion). However, allow me to draw your attention to a couple of videos that illustrate my point, which is that simplicity does not mean “shoddy” or “primitive”, or anything like that.
Here’s the first video, about the wonderful Vespa scooter/moped and the men who created it.
Towards the end of the video, the narrator draws the very apt comparison between the Vespa and the Mini, which Jay Leno lovingly describes, in his inimitable manner.
And is there place in the modern world for simplicity, as Richard Hammond describes by the experience of driving the Mazda MX-5 Miata*? Of course there is.
*Why, I wonder parenthetically, did Mazda go with such a long mouthful of a name for so simple a car? “Miata” would have been fine; “MX-5” likewise, even if less evocative, so why concatenate all those descriptive terms into a string that only boring motoring journos will use anyway?
Note too that I’m talking of simplicity of use, i.e. as experienced by the end user. A bolt-action rifle is far simpler a piece of engineering than its semi- or full-auto counterpart, but even I — a die-hard boltie fan — will admit that an M1 Carbine is far easier to use than a Mauser K98k: load it up, pull back the bolt, and it’s trigger time, compared to load, work bolt, pull trigger, work bolt, pull trigger etc.
Or, to wrench this thesis back on topic, it is undeniably simpler to drive a car with an automatic transmission than one which requires rowing through a manual gearbox, as long as one prefers steering over actual driving. And if one is doing the daily morning commute to the office in stop-start traffic then yes, it’s a lot easier with an automatic.
Inside each of us, though, is a fundamental need not to have to tax our intellect or bodies to perform mundane tasks, although I think that choosing complexity over simplicity is a fundamental and personal matter of wanting to be in control of mechanical devices. Nobody would be buying bolt-action rifles or cars with stick shifts otherwise, given the facility of the alternative.
Paradoxically too, as the world becomes more complicated and more complex, there is a persistent urge amongst people to “simplify” their lives, to cut back on both material possession and activities. I think that’s a good thing, especially as one gets older. When parents become empty-nesters, the hassle of maintaining a large house often turns into a desire to move to something more fitting [sic] to the altered circumstances — not just for cost reasons, but once again, for a life of fewer complications.
Nothing wrong with that. I’d never contemplate buying a Vespa, of course, because I don’t live in a built-up urban area and I don’t have a death wish. And I already possess a little Fiat 500 with a stick shift, so if push came to shove I’d be perfectly happy to use that as my only means of transport (I “borrow” it from New Wife every chance I get).
But I’d still rather shoot a bolt-action rifle than a semi-auto (other than in times of errr urban unrest, when the old AK or SKS would obviously be preferable), and I’ve already expressed my preference for revolvers over pistols, recreationally speaking.
Just a simple soul, that’s me — but it’s a simplicity by choice rather than by governmental edict.
I told you all that so I could tell you this.
Allow me to introduce yet another rancid bitch (in the Hillary Clinton mold) who wants to tell us how to live our lives.
President Joe Biden’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday unveiled new fuel efficiency standards, which acting administrator Ann Carlson said will “reduce harmful emissions.” Carlson has long stressed the need to force Americans to live climate-friendly lives. As an environmental academic at UCLA, for example, Carlson published a 2007 piece titled, “Only by Requiring Lifestyle Changes,” which argued that people would not reduce their energy consumption “voluntarily.” As a result, Carlson wrote, the U.S. government must “induce behavioral change” by implementing policies that “make the bad behavior more expensive.”
In a similar 2009 blog post titled, “Save Us From Ourselves,” Carlson called on Americans to “use less electricity, take more public transportation, consume less, live more simply and so on” to fight climate change. Carlson argued that most people “could benefit from a simpler life” but will not “engage in dramatic behavioral change unless forced,” highlighting the need for government intervention. “Governments and markets need to take steps to make us pay for the full costs of the behaviors in which we engage … they need to limit our infrastructure choices to energy efficient ones,” the Biden administration official wrote. “In other words, we need to be saved from ourselves.”
My immediate thought is to have this foul watermelon bitch dragged from her “temporary” office and hanged from the nearest lamp post, but of course that’s never going to happen.
Alternatively, Congress could reduce the NHTSA’s budget by fining the agency per day the equivalent of her annual salary as long as she remains as the “caretaker” administrator — although that’s about as likely to happen as my first suggestion.
What, I ask, is the point of not confirming someone for a position when they can simply act as a “temporary” head of an agency and de facto determine policy and regulation in the absence of de jure? Or did I miss something here?
Anyway, I’m so sick of all this “coercion” talk emanating from the mouthpieces of our beloved government. Forced to wear masks, forced to stop using gasoline-powered engines, forced to quit using incandescent light bulbs, and forced to submit to any number of horrible and senseless rules and regulations that would make Gulliver in Lilliput look like a free man by comparison.
Most of all, I’m really fucking sick of being forced to pay taxes which fund the salaries of all these petty gauleiters.
All appearances to the contrary, I’m actually a very patient and tolerant man, but I have to tell you that my patience and tolerance are wearing very, very thin.
And I bet I’m not the only one.