The Government Safety Device That Kills You

Probably the most interesting thing about the (can’t help myself) exploding Takata air bag scandal is the doublethink it exposes.

On the one hand, we are told — in the literal/parental sense — that we will have air bags in our cars (like it or not) because not to have them is an unacceptable risk and “unsafe.”

Notwithstanding that when air bags were being developed back in the ’70s (and rejected by consumers, when consumers still had the freedom to choose) the manufacturers of air bags told the government of the very real risks to people’s safety that air bags posed.

Nothing is perfect in this world — and that includes technology, which includes air bags. They can save — and take — lives.

And have done both of those things.

The manufacturers of air bags warned the government of the risks, of the pros and cons. Specifically, of the risk to unbuckled and smaller stature/older people and young children posed by these explosive projectiles. The manufacturers urged caution — which the government in its usual way ignored. It was not government’s “safety” that was being put at risk, after all.

It was yours and mine.

With the predictability of the tide coming in, people were hurt — and some killed. Their lives were, of course, mere statistics — as Stalin liked to style it. No one in the government — none of the you-will-do-this-our-way- period — bureaucrats within the DOT/NHTSA regulatory apparat were ever so much as fined for their deliberate, knowing (and thus, by definition) criminal recklessness and negligence with other people’s lives. Joan Claybrook — to name just one name. She was head of NHTSA from 1977-1981 and one of the chief “nudgers” of air bags, knowing full well the risks involved (having been told all about them).


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