May 27

An excellent read from one of the Wall Street Journal’s finest wordsmiths, Daniel Henninger:

How long before the midnight drag races return on dark and dusty roads?

When Barack Obama announced that the government will use its fist to wave onto the highways of America cars that get 39 miles to a gallon of liquefied switch grass or something, he said, “Everybody wins.”

Everybody? What country has he been living in? This marks the end of the internal combustion engine as we knew it, and it is the way Americans have defined, designed and literally driven much of the nation’s culture for as long as anyone can remember. Car culture is America’s culture.

Mr. Obama is fond of giving people iPods as gifts. I’ve got a playlist for Mr. Obama’s iPod.

Track 1: “Shut Down” by the Beach Boys. Clip: “Superstock Dodge is windin’ out in low/But my fuel-injected Stingray’s really startin’ to go. To get the traction I’m ridin’ the clutch/My pressure plate’s burnin’, this machine’s too much.”

Track 2: “Little Deuce Coupe” by the Beach Boys. Clip: “She’s got a competition clutch with a four on the floor, and she purrs like a kitten til the lake pipes roar.”

It’s 2016. Imagine a Brian Wilson ever thinking to write: “And she’ll have fun, fun, fun til her daddy takes her Prius away.”

We are being offered a different world now. One designed, defined and driven by a new set of un-fun obsessions — carbon footprints, greenhouse gas and alternative energy. This large transition passes before us, barely seen, as the gray water of public policy. Hardly anyone notices how much is being changed.

To put a stop to the new sin of spending too much time out on Highway 9, we are getting the mark-up hearings this week in Washington for the Waxman-Markey climate bill. It’s 900 pages long, dripping with thousands of Mickey-Mouse rules to reorder how we live. A Senate Finance Committee document last week on the Obama health-care plan proposes “lifestyle related revenue raisers.” Lifestyles like drinking beer. This is the “taxing bad behavior” movement. They get to define what’s bad.

This tension over how we live arrived before the world began standing on its head over global warming. The guys in the hemi-powered drones used to mock the granola and Birkenstock crowd. Look who’s on top now.

“Everybody wins?” Not quite. What’s winning is a worldview that goes deeper than the data beneath global warming. The gasoline cars they want to turn into scrap were about a lot more than the thrill of roaring on.

Read it all at the Wall Street Journal.

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3 Responses to “Henninger: Obama vs. The Beach Boys: Daddy’s taking the muscle-car culture away.”

  1. papertiger says:

    Track 3 for Obama’s ipod.

    Red Barchetta by Rush.
    First a little background.
    Set in the near future:
    Cities have grow verticle. At first what was an economic necessity has been coded into law. The housing condensation act is followed by the motor law, which bans the use of the internal combustion engine except for agents of the government and farmers. Whole generations of people have been raised without ever seeing an automobile. Transportation is limited to trains trams and buses. The reasons; climate change, peak oil, acid rains, ozone holes, have long been proven false, but it hardly matters. Life is so regimented that most people have no idea that it was ever not. Ecology first and recycle signs are hung in every shop window as a outward expression of submission; the tall nail gets hammered and a sign in the window seems a small price to pay in order to not draw the ire of the powers that be.
    This song is the story of an outlaw living on the fringe of Obama’s world, as seen through the eyes of his nephew.

    My uncle has a country place,
    that no one knows about.
    He says it used to be a farm
    before the Motor Law.

    And on Sundays, I elude the “Eyes”
    and hop the turbine freight –
    to far outside the wire
    where my white-haired uncle waits.

    Jump to the ground as the turbo slows to cross the borderline.
    Run like the wind as excitement shivers up and down my spine.

    Where down in his barn, my uncle preserved for me an old machine – for 50 odd years. To keep it as new has been his dearest dream.

    I strip away the old debris
    that hides the shining car.
    A brilliant red Barchetta from a
    better vanished time.

    Fire up the willing engine,
    responding with a roar!
    Tires spitting gravel I commit
    my weekly crime.

    Wind in my hair, shifting and drifting.
    — mechanical music,
    — adrenalin surge…..

    Well weathered leather, hot metal and oil, the scented country air.
    Sunlight on chrome, the blur of the landscape, every nerve aware!

    Suddenly ahead of me,
    across the mountain side,
    a gleaming alloy air car shoots towards
    me two lanes wide.

    I spin around with shrieking tires
    to run the deadly race;
    go screaming through the valley as
    another joins the chase.

    Ride like the wind, straining the limits of machine and man.
    Laughing out loud with fear and hope, I’ve got a desperate plan.

    At the one lane bridge I leave the giants stranded at the riverside.
    Race back to the farm to dream with my uncle at the fireside.

    ( Rush saw the future twenty years ago)


  2. […] this week, I linked to Dan Henninger’s column titled, “Obama vs. The Beach Boys“. I thought the column was excellent, but I wasn’t necessarily surprised when it […]


  3. […] The Wall Street Journal in response to this Dan Henninger column, and this video that accompanied it: Thanks for putting the blame squarely on the pointy heads of […]


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