The nation as a whole is moving towards stupidity. If Darwin was right (and he was, by the way), we will be a country comprised of soft-skulled idiots with no sense of balance. Every day society makes it easier for idiots to continue living. We protect them, guide them, even admire them. This has got to stop.
May 23, 2001
May 23, 2001
Last night, Brian and I were watching a program on the History Channel about the manufacturing of aircraft during World War 2. Women were riveting while balancing on aircraft frames with no protective glasses, midgets (I kid you not) crawled inside wings to push rivets through with no regard for physical safety. Nobody complained, they just worked their asses off for love of country. Patriotism aside, these people were in real danger. Today a dozen safety commissions would have regulated those factories to a crawl. I'm all about safety, but the only governing regulation controlling those workers was common sense. If you shot a rivet through your foot it was your own goddamn fault for pointing it there. Not the rivet gun manufacturer's (for not having a safety), or the factory for not training you better. You just knew that if you pointed the rivet gun at your foot you were going to feel some pain.
Part of the reason we have so many stupid adults is the fact that they're not thinning out in childhood. (I'm about to come dangerously close to Dana Carvey's grumpy old man character, so hold on...) Back in the day, there were things like six foot tall jungle gyms shaped like rocket ships embedded in a concrete foundation. It was every healthy child's goal to climb to the top of that death trap. Often children fell, if they were lucky, they landed on another kid. However, they were much more likely to land squarely on their ass at the bottom of the playscape. Sure, they cried a little bit, but the next time they scrambled up that metallic skeleton, they sure as hell held on a little tighter and watched their footing a little more carefully. If they didn't they were stupid. If they were stupid they probably weren't going to make the cut anyway.
Today, the closest thing to those heaps of scrap iron shaped into spacecraft is the playscape (much more politically correct than "jungle gym", eh?). Gone are the metal slides that would reach temperatures of 200 degrees fahrenheit, melting the outer layer of skin off of any child that dared brave it's perils. They have been replaced by brightly colored, curvey plastic slides. Anything even remotely sharp has either been filled down, covered with rubber or removed. Playgrounds are covered in some bizarre soft rubber material so kids can fall down with out skinning a knee or bumping their heads. How can we expect children to understand that falling down is dangerous if it really doesn't hurt that bad?! It's more dangerous for little Timmy to walk down the street with his mother than it is for him to run full bore, headlong into a pile of his favorite toys.
We were never required to don a helmet before mounting our training wheel equipped, banana seat sportin' Schwinns. Our only hope was to throw ourselves in the direction of the nearest lawn in the event of a bail. Skateboarding was a different story, even I wore pads when attempting to skate. A helmet though? No way! Those things were too damn expensive... but I knew my limits and respected them. Sure, I smacked my head many times, but I'm pretty much o.k. today. That's where the soft-skulled idiots with no sense of balance come in.
Kids today live without fear for their actions. If they fall they're protected. If they make a mistake, chances are they can try it again without harm. They are sheltered from the gore of daily living. They never see the horror of the real world. I remember when an anvil falling on a coyote was a laugh riot. Today no animator would even dare draw that. They be sued and fired in an instant. Kids a so protected that they wouldn't have to common sense to know that they shouldn't drop an anvil on their little brother. Because some kids have lived without fear for the results of their actions they decide that they can march into school and start shooting. They don't know pain, they don't fear the outcome. They never fell off of their bike while doing 30 mph downhill. Maybe that would have knocked some sense into them.
If these idiots do make it to adulthood (and they have a lot better change today than they did 10 years ago), they will do anything they can to prove that they do not deserve to exist. They are the ones that don't know that coffee is hot. Thank them for the fast food coffee cups the words "Caution!!!! HOT!!!!!" blaring at you in 20 different languages. They are the ones in their giant SUVs talking on their cell phones while rolling along at 10 mph under the speed limit. They are the one that are still driving those SUVs on tires that were recalled because they explode causing rollover accidents. It is those people that make life difficult for people with a grain a common sense.
It is time to stop holding everyone's hand. If the oven is hot, don't stick your head in it. If we let common sense rule, our rulers might have common sense.
Further information and related links:
Tire recall ad
The Darwin Awards
Chrome Ribbon Campaign
Voluntary Human Extinction Movement