The Peoples’ Car


Ever since my rebellious days growing up in the sixties, I’ve striven to conserve to remain independent of my folks and still survive. Owning a car that I could keep running myself was instrumental for this purpose.

Some might label me as a conservative. I don’t accept that because so many self- proclaimed conservatives are extravagant with lives and cash when it comes to propping up the defense (sic) industry.

It is my classical conservatism that made me a Volkswagen fan starting in high school. My second car was a 1967 Beetle, bought brand new. Family subsidized the purchase but much of the cash came from my job at McDonald’s.

(A side note: Morgan Spurlock, who produced “Super Size Me,” has now confessed that the ill health he blamed on his 30-day McDonald’s binge was caused by alcohol addiction.)

I had a choice of a ’67 or a ’68 Bug and I opted for the ’67. The later model had those Ralph Naderesque fat bumpers, high-back seats, and smog devices that turned a slow car into a dog (no offense intended to you dogs out there). Those seats made it seem like an intercom was necessary to communicate front to back. The ’67 was the first year for the 12-volt system, making this the ultimate peoples’ car.

Unfortunately, that Zenith Blue bug, which cost $2,004.44 was destroyed by a Plymouth Roadrunner full of teenagers with 2,004 miles on the odometer. I’ve wanted another one ever since. For some reason, I’ve owned three 1959 Beetles. I once switched the engine in one in less than an hour, in a foot of snow. In researching for the Beetle we just bought, I found the record for the time it took for an engine replacement in a bug is under 7 minutes.

There is a belief that Volkswagen existed at the behest of Adolf Hitler. This is a myth, and a convenient one for people who hate Volkswagen because of what amounts to an act of civil disobedience when they altered the emissions for testing at the EPA. I correlate Volkswagen’s cheating to the sit-ins of the civil rights and anti-war movements of The Sixties. For many years before Hitler, German car companies were striving for a car that could be repaired and serviced by anyone.

The ’67 bug we found didn’t come with the 56-page operator’s manual but I found one on Ebay. In the manual it describes tightening the fan belt (by moving shims from between the pulley halves), adjusting the ignition timing, and adjusting the carburetor. Along with John Muir’s book, “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive,” a few basic tools could keep one mobile and independent.

It may be called “the peoples’ car,” but mobile and independent is the opposite of a society dedicated to “the people,” as used in today’s political dialog pitting “the people” against the individual.

Oh Deer

While driving home from Forum Club, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but four tiny hooves, a flash of fur, and $10,000 that won’t be spent to further Iowa’s economy. You have to wonder what goes through the minds of these deer that jump out of nowhere into the path of a speeding car. Are they depressed?

I am. To add to the down time and inconvenience, the insurance company now thinks “cash value” is $5,000 less than what identical models are bringing on the market. I feel scammed.

But the people in Iowa are being scammed to a much larger degree by the state and its protection of the “deer herd.” The most recent record I could find was the year ending in June of 2014. There were 28,710 vehicle-deer collisions. With an average cost of $4,000, that was nearly $115 million taken from productive use (or private investments) by the state government’s deer.

I don’t hate the deer. I love all of God’s creatures. Why, just the other day I stepped out of the shop to make a phone call. I saw Doris’ ears prick up. That Blue Heeler puppy shot into the grove that we had planted 37 years ago and caught a squirrel. We had been enjoying seeing the squirrel last winter, the first one ever since we moved here. It now has babies starving in some nest high up in those trees. I cried.

Did I send a bill to the state government for the damage their deer did to our car? Why bother? The state has no interest in serving its citizens. If they did they would have a bounty on deer, butcher them, and feed them in the state prisons to save money.

In Cedar Rapids there are too many geese. What do you suppose the city plans to do about that? Oil the eggs. Visualize for a moment, city workers crawling around trying to avoid the protective mother geese to paint oil on the shells to abort the unhatched goslings. There’s a lot of meat out there for the taking in a state that sends out checks to help feed the needy.

While these hair-brained schemes like “managing the deer herd” and goose abortion are going on, there are businesses in need of skilled workers. Why the lack of skilled workers? Because education in Iowa is managed by government instead of being free to respond to market conditions. And then I read in the paper that a politician wants to be “Investing in Iowa’s priorities.” I cannot think of a less trustworthy entity to trust with our investments.

There should be no deer season. Landowners should be the ones who decide the fate of the creatures on their property. And if the state wants to help the poor, they should find a way to access surplus resources before issuing checks to be taken to the grocery store.