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Ed Driscoll

‘Chevy Volt Crowned European Car of the Year’

March 6th, 2012 - 2:35 pm

Apparently the Pelosi GTxi SS/RT Sport Edition had to be disqualified after winning too many years. But as Ben Shapiro writes at Big Government, in a post with a headline that sums up the Government Motors electro-stinker perfectly:

It was just a few days ago that General Motors announced it was killing the Chevy Volt. The King Was Dead. Well, long live the European King: today, the Geneva Auto Show named the Volt its 2012 Car of the Year. The Auto Show said that the car was a “mature product … the first example of an electric vehicle with extended range.”

Here are the facts about the Chevy Volt. According to Chevrolet, “Volt is unique among electric vehicles because you have two sources of energy.” You can even drive “an EPA-estimated 35 miles” without gas! Which means you can hit the 7-11, Whole Foods, and pot dispensary in one trip before having to recharge for three hours. About a month ago, those vaunted batteries jolted the Volt, necessitating the call back of 8,000 Volts sold in the U.S. Why? It turns out that after crash tests done by federal safety regulators, the batteries burst into flame.

A lot more fun than the battery bricking, I guess. And speaking of fun, as the video at the top of the post highlights, the right ad man knows how to turn GM’s bug into a feature

As Samuel Gregg writes at the American Spectator, obsessions with radical environmentalism and crony corporatism (is there any other kind?) are but two of the facets of “The American Left’s European Nightmare:”

Then there are the pointed criticisms of the European model expressed in a recently released World Bank report. Outside the parallel universe inhabited by Occupy Wall Street and assorted fellow-travelers, few would accuse the World Bank of harboring many radical free marketers, let alone the “neoliberal” bogeymen regularly conjured up by European politicians.

Among other things, the report refers to weak work incentives, anemic entrepreneurship levels, feeble venture-capital markets, over-regulated service sectors, European businesses choosing to stay small to avoid compulsory unionization and extra red-tape, labor markets crippled by powerful restrictions on companies’ ability to dismiss employees, research and development steadily falling further behind America, and on-going declines in annual work hours. The report also notes that Europe, with just 10 percent of the world’s population, accounts for an astonishing 58 percent of the entire world economy’s spending on social protection.

Such is the long-term economic price associated with what amounts to many Europeans’ near-obsession with securing economic security and equality through state action. It also has made a continent that once literally ruled most of the world into a textbook example of the basic un-workability of the Social Democratic dream.

Hence, it’s little wonder that Krugman and others dismiss those who warn of disturbing parallels between Europe and America as having “no idea what they’re talking about.” The purpose of such remarks is to shut down discussion — just one of American liberalism’s many illiberal traits — in the face of awkward truths and facts.

In a way, we’re been here before. Prior to Communism’s defeat in Eastern Europe and the former USSR, many American liberals were in denial about the performance of command economies. Another Nobel Laureate, the late Paul Samuelson, argued in the thirteenth edition of his renowned textbook Economics, that “the Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and thrive.” Providentially, this edition was published in the year, ahem, 1989.

Such tragically mistimed observations, however, reflected decades of ignoring the realities of life in command economies. In the tenth edition of Economics (1976), for example, Samuelson claimed: “It is a vulgar mistake to think that most people in Eastern Europe are miserable.”

Vulgar? A mistake? Well, I guess all those secret police, informers, “re-education facilities,” barbed-wires, and Soviet troop concentrations in the “workers-paradises” were just there for decorative purposes.

In the real world, of course, there are genuine arguments for us to have about what Europe’s present drama means for America. Even some of Krugman’s New York Times‘ colleagues have engaged such questions, albeit rather tentatively.

…And some haven’t, as Clay Waters writes at Newsbusters. “NYT Mag Writer Delights in ‘Dizzy Exuberance’ of London Rioters: Promotes Socialism, Annoying Subway Riders,” in a piece that sounds like something out of an underground alternative rag from the ’70s:

Novelist (and Socialist Workers Party member) China Mieville wrote the main essay for the London issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine, “‘Oh London, You Drama Queen.’” According to him, London is a mess of racism and youth alienation, and only free public housing and celebration of loud music on the tube will save it. He also excused last summer’s burning and rioting, motivated by a “deep sense of injustice”: “Youths taking TVs, clothes, carpets, food from broken-open shops, sometimes with dizzy exuberance, sometimes with what looked like thoughtful care.”

Even the photo captions are replete with leftist smuggery, contrasting an old-fashioned butcher with a bleak-looking dance club: “Smithfield Market, in Central London, is rooted in the past./The scene at Plastic People, a club in Hackney, looks to the future.”

I wonder what American retailers who pay for to advertise in the very expensive real estate in the Sunday Times magazine think about its writers’ cavalier attitudes towards shoplifting and looting?

Incidentally, the Times article and its author’s love of euro-squalor dovetails well with an observation James Lileks recently made about the mid-’60s François Truffaut version of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. “Here’s what I find interesting: whenever the sci-fi movies of the 60s and 70s wanted to set something in a horrible totalitarian world, they just shot on location at a government housing project.”

Of course, as Glenn Reynolds writes in the Washington Examiner, “The future will be better than we think if politicians don’t ruin it:”

Who looks after society as a whole? Our political leaders are supposed to, but things don’t always work out that way. As P.J. O’Rourke comments: “When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.”That’s right, and one finds members of both parties on the take. The more powerful the government, the more tempting it is to purchase influence — and, in fact, if your competitors are buying influence, you’ll have to respond in kind in self-defense.

And when everyone responds that way, the burdens on innovation, new business formation, and wealth generation keep growing.

Several decades ago, science fiction writer Robert Heinlein observed: “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances, which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all Right-thinking people.

Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as ‘bad luck.’ ”

Will our “luck” turn good or bad over the next few years? A lot depends on what happens in November, and after. Especially after.

Which could well be problematic no matter who wins in November.

Related: “The [British] government has finally seen through the wind-farm scam – but why did it take them so long?

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