Mark Steyn notes the political success of fascists in Europe:
[I]n the western half of Continental Europe, politics evolved to the point where almost any issue worth talking about was ruled beyond the bounds of polite society. In good times, it doesn’t matter so much. But in bad times, if the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain issues, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones....We do it a little differently in America. Remember Prohibition? How about when our betters decided that there was no legitimate dissent from the 55 mph speed limit:
On the day of the European elections, the Toronto Sun’s Lorrie Goldstein responded to my observations about his recent column accusing Tamilphobic Canadians of racism. “I wish,” sighed Mr. Goldstein, “Steyn would spend more time disagreeing with what racists say and less time defending their right to say it.” But that’s kind of a crowded market for a pundit to get a piece of the action in. I mean, Canada surely doesn’t need one more delicate flower shrieking “Racism!” at every affront to the multiculti pieties. That hypersensitivity is what’s helped deliver more and more of the European vote to “fringe” parties. You want to talk about immigration? Whoa, racist! Crime? Racist! Welfare? Racist! Islam? Racistracistdoubleracist!!! Nya-nya, can’t hear you with my two anti-racist thumbs in my ears!
Already, the European political class is congratulating itself at holding the tide of neo-nationalism to the low double-digits.
[T]he newly imposed 55 mph speed limit was actually slower than the quickest average speeds of point-to-point travels of Erwin George "Cannon Ball" Baker in the first half of the 20th century. In 1933, Baker drove coast to coast in a Graham-Paige model 57 Blue Streak 8, averaging greater than 50 mph, setting a 53 hour 30 minute record that stood for nearly 40 years. If this could be done by a single man driving on bad roads and through villages, a team of two or more experienced (and even professional race) drivers, driving a modern car on safer and wider intersection-free highways that bypass towns, should be able to do it quicker without taking unacceptable risks apart from getting a speeding ticket, by cruising at 90 to 100 mph.The natural American response to tyranny is defiance. The tyranny of the "delicate flowers" -- and indeed, they are capable of tyranny! -- is best met with a sort of joyous defiance.
Another motivation was the fun involved, which showed in the tongue-in-cheek reports in Car and Driver and other auto publications worldwide.
The initial cross-country run was accomplished by Yates's son Brock Jr., Smith, and friend Jim Williams beginning on May 3, 1971. The first running was done in a 1971 Dodge Custom Sportsman van, called the "Moon Trash II". The race was run four more times, on November 15, 1971; November 13, 1972; April 23, 1975; and April 1, 1979. The most remarkable effort certainly was by American racing legend and winner of the 1967 24 hours of Le Mans, Dan Gurney, winning the second run in a Ferrari Daytona. Dan himself put it best, saying: "At no time did we exceed 175 mph."
Steyn is a master of it. We'll need more of that spirit in the years to come.