Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Volvos

I owed you one last peon to hate, having taken last Friday off to get an early start on the holiday weekend. I thought about an entry dedicated to hating Jimmy Carter, but nixed it at the last second. It's not that I think him worthy of one of only five entries; instead, I worry that people forget that they should hate him, and my entry would have merely been a public service. It's kind of like when the Dallas Cowboys were 1-15, and you thought they were too pathetic to merit celebrating their low state. A couple years later they were winning Super Bowls. Not that Carter will ever be back in the sense of regaining the presidency, but he did win the Nobel peace prize, and people are starting to rethink their position on him. It's a mistake, but I'll save my reasons for another day. On to the more pressing concern: Volvos.

I hate Volvos. I also hate Sweden, where Volvos are made. Sweden is the one place in the world where socialism hasn't led to utter and complete collapse of the economy, along with the usual amount of political oppression. But I suspect it has more to do with the Scandanavian culture than the economic system. A Swedish economist once remarked to Milton Friedman that in Sweden there is no poverty, and Friedman replied that in America it is also true that there is no poverty among Scandinavians. A perfect comeback.

You have to understand a little bit about Sweden to understand the Volvo. The culture and economy are driven by an inordinate sense of egalatarianism, and it is bad form for there to be significant differences in wealth or income between citizens. This is why a person driving a 1994 Volvo station wagon looks no different than a person driving a 2004 Volvo station wagon - there haven't been any design changes in at least 10 years. God forbid that it be obvious that I have a shiney new Volvo, and yours still has an 8-track player.

Did you know that fully 25 percent of U.S. automobile costs stem from frequent changes in the design of the models? Here is a company, Volvo, that has only very recently discovered a design feature and technology that has been prevelant in the auto industry for decades - the ability to curve the elements of the car's body. For the first time (ever?) you can buy a Volvo that does not look like a box, although you can still buy the box. Given how little is spent on design, you would think that the Volvo would cost only 75 percent as much as comparable vehicles. That would be the American "Wal-mart" way, after all - pass the savings onto the customer and earn your profits through volume volume volume. That is exactly what Wal-Mart does, by the way, and aside from Halliburton, it has earned them the enmity of all Volvo-driving Americans, which is to say rich American liberals.

Because of course everyone knows that only liberals drive Volvos in America. And the Volvo in America is really a status symbol - it screams out "I am a rich liberal. I may vote Democrat along with the UAW, but I would never dare buy an American car, because that is so jingoistic!" At the same time, the rich liberal would never buy a car made by crass capitalists, so other foreign made cars are out of the question, as production no doubt involved some exploitation of labor (and the exploitation goes far beyond not registering your live-in-maid with Social Security, which is really a very minor infraction). Park yourself outside a tony private school in Washington D.C. (there are many), and I'd bet you'd see at least half of the kids being dropped off by a parent driving a Volvo, who no doubt fully supports the public schools for other people's kids. The Volvo in America is the outermost symbol of liberal hypocrisy.

Are the Swedes to blame for this? Perhaps not. But there is plenty of reason to hate them nonetheless. Here are a few facts about the Swedish culture that you probably didn't know:
- Despite having a fully sponsored and subsidized state religion (Lutheran), church attendance is about 5%;
- The state's schools and public services depict the few women who shun work to raise kids as "parasites."
- Sweden has the world's lowest marriage rates, one-half of births are now out of wedlock, and one-half of marriages end in divorce.
- Their teenagers boast the world's highest teen suicide rate.

This is what America would look like if the Volvo-driving liberals ever had their way.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a load of idiotic nonsense. peole drive volvos in america because they are cheap, safe, and reliable.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Hatcher said...

Oh. I hadn't thought of that. My apologies.

5:51 PM  

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