The Barchetta: A better vanished time
The year 2018 year will mark the 50th of a musical band that affected my growing up in more ways than I can count: Canadian rock band Rush. When I was a teenager, I worshiped them. Their rare combination of musicianship, storytelling lyrics, and legions of loyal fans is something that can come from only a power trio with permanent, irreplaceable members.
Rush released its magnum opus in 1981 with Moving Pictures, a record many in the music industry consider one of the greatest rock albums of all time. The album contains what is certainly their most famous song, "Tom Sawyer." But lately, it has been the second song on the album that has affected me – a song about a car, called "Red Barchetta." The song is an adaptation of a short science fiction story by Richard Foster, called "A Nice Morning Drive."
Foster's story, which was featured in the November 1973 issue of Road and Track magazine, was a cautionary tale of how creeping regulation would have unintended consequences as early as 1982 – the year in which the story takes place. The main character, Buzz, owns what I assume to be an early 1950s Cooper-MG Barchetta roadster. Beautiful as it is, the roadster is a dinosaur in its time. Over the years, the government has piled on regulation after regulation, to the point that cars are large and unwieldy. They are built strong enough to withstand collisions and clean enough to stave off some imaginary environmental catastrophe, but they are not nearly as enjoyable to drive as the cars of old.
Buzz loves his car, and he takes it out to play chicken with the government-approved Modern Safety Vehicles, or MSVs. One day, he finds himself in a chicken match with two MSVs. He speeds along in his faster and more maneuverable car and, after several attempts by the MSV drivers to run him off the road, Buzz causes the MSVs to collide, and both are left stranded. Their drivers are safe due to all of those wonderful regulations.
Rush's song is more dystopian. In it, the unnamed protagonist has to avoid cameras or "eyes" to get outside the wire (government-controlled area). There, he visits his aging uncle, who surprises him with the brilliant Red Barchetta from a better, vanished time. He takes the car out for the infamous drive, during which he plays chicken with a giant "alloy air car," with the same result as in Foster's short story.
This used to be pure science fiction to me. Never once did it occur to me that the U.S. government would be telling us how to live like that. But here we are. Last year we had a corrupt U.S. attorney general considering prosecution of "climate deniers." We also had the Massachusetts A.G. demanding 40 years of Exxon internal company documents for that same bogus reason. From 2004 through 2012, the EPA set out to make Joseph Mengele proud by conducting potentially lethal exhaust breathing experiments on unsuspecting subjects. And we have the global elites screaming bloody murder at our refusal to allow hundreds of billions of our dollars (never theirs) to be redistributed to their beloved communist and socialist dictatorships, which can never produce any wealth of their own. Is it really all that far-fetched to think we might have to avoid "eyes" to go off-roading within the foreseeable future?
Draconian rules like this normally come from the left. And it is true that the left has taken some serious body blows lately – Brexit, Trump, and the Democrats' loss of over 1,000 legislative seats across the U.S. In fact, with the exception of social issues like marriage, conservatives and libertarians seem to be winning the messaging war. But we must never let up. Dealing with the left is a life sentence. They are insidious; vindictive; and, worst of all, patient. They will spend decades worming their way into every institution, eventually corrupting them all. We cannot always count on them to embarrass themselves the way they are today at universities and anti-Trump rallies.
We have to keep beating it into our representatives' thick skulls that every seemingly innocent concession to the left will result in another attempt to gain more power over the people they hate: us. Take your eyes off them for a second, and you may end up with their "eyes" on you. And they will never be fair and just if it means going against their demented narratives. That is who these people are.
Marco Milaneci is an I.T. compliance program manager in the semiconductor industry. He can be reached at mmblog [at] austin.rr.com.