American Bemoans “Big Dumb and Blind” Truck Options, Demands Import of Chicken Little Trucks

You may recall my 2018 post about the supply-chain ethics of Toyota light trucks used for militant political destabilization.

Basically when technology gets battle-tested with life-and-death results, the optimal tools for the job become somewhat self-evident.

If driving around to shoot things is the job, then a light truck (before light electric-motorbikes arrived) repeatedly came out favored in many theaters of conflict. Night after night Americans tended to see in their news feed how armed militias around the world terrorized civilians thanks to the Toyota’s Hilux (instead of motorbikes).

Source: NYT “Without a Motorcycle in Kandahar, ‘You Are Like a Prisoner'”

And… somehow that turned to jealousy, then a demand in Kansas.

A southern Californian who moved recently has posted to the Wichita press that he really, really needs a light truck to feel free.

Many’s the time I’ve turned on the nightly news and seen Taliban or ISIS militants tooling around in mini-trucks, mostly Toyotas, with machine guns bolted to the bed “Rat Patrol” style. Every time I see that, I say to myself (or anyone unlucky enough to be in earshot) “There, that’s the truck I want” — minus the machine gun, which I’d only need if I were driving Kris Kobach in a parade.

There’s a lot to unpack in this opinion piece.

First, a snide reference to a notoriously political extremist Kansas’ Kris Kobach (KKK) is legit. I can’t ignore it.

Kobach campaigned for office by literally swinging a .50 caliber machine gun on a Jeep towards children already traumatized by school shootings.

Sad fact: the Kansas parade organizers had to point out to team Kobach that although the parade entry form expressly prohibits throwing candy (an unapologetic denial of freedom), it also shouldn’t have to prohibit someone terrorizing children with guns.

Kobach’s tone-deaf response to public outcry (from a bunch of gun-toting life-long Republicans, mind you) was he flashed his prohibition-era white privilege card — claimed his exact replica machine gun was to stoke hysteria and fear, yet unable to actually shoot bullets (or candy). He argued a tiny legal loophole exists in the Constitution just for people like him — privileged rich white boy — that determines who gets to play domestic terrorist and who doesn’t.

There surely is no worse politician than this Harvard-trained radical xenophobic nativist lawyer named Kobach, although I’m told the also Harvard-trained Meatball DeSandwich may prove me wrong.

According to [junior officer DeSantis’ supported] narrative, the dead men bound their hands and feet, stuck cloth deep down their own throats, fashioned nooses from strips of material, climbed on their washbasins with the noose around their neck and stepped off.

Hello there Harvard law graduates Kobach and DeSantis. Talk about a supply-chain that is sorely lacking any safety!

Anyway, back to talking about the problem with Toyotas.

Second, the author’s recent move from southern California to Kansas (that he freely admits) is foundational to the thesis of his complaint.

I grew up in very rural Kansas, living off the land with all the heaping amounts of trucks and guns you’d perhaps expect. Then, after a detour in between (e.g. travel through Europe and Asia), I moved out to California.

When I first read the jealousy-laced upwardly-mobile piece on importing trucks, I DID NOT hear the familiar voice of modest, hard-working Kansans grounded in utility and sacrifice.

That shrill gimme gimme, consumption competition just for public perception narrative is unmistakably, definitely southern California culture.

Mini-trucks — mostly Toyotas, but also Ford Couriers and Chevy Luvs — were once ubiquitous on the streets and freeways of southern California, where I lived from the late 1970s to the late 1990s. […] I once transported enough salvaged solid oak hardwood flooring to redo our entire kitchen.

Once. He ONCE carried a lot of wood. For a kitchen remodel.

Excuse me as I clean up, as I just vomited my home grown apple pie all over myself.

Driving pickup trucks on freeways everyday just so one day, ONE day, you can carry a load of fancy nancy kitchen remodel flooring, is the most Californian thing ever.

That is not a pickup truck job. Get a station wagon. Or rent a box truck. It was just a day and some kitchen clean flooring. Exactly backwards thinking.

Try hauling rotting wet hay, forest felled lumber, manure and dead animals every day and then — just one day — needing to drive 60 miles high-speed on a highway to the nearest hospital because your hand was dangerously mangled by tools. Tractors don’t get you there on time.

That is a pickup truck used for a real life lived every day.

See the problem with how the wrong “once” context feeds into constant truck worship?

More to the point, the whole lack-of-thought piece about light trucks centers on a fetishization of terrorists as power-projection (see Kobach point above).

…when it comes to buying a pickup truck, we might once again be as free as the Taliban.

Southern Californian white man claims he doesn’t feel safe sitting in his oak floored kitchen because he needs to buy some frivolous and unnecessary vehicle to park outside. He demands the kind of unconstrained consumption that he dreams comes under the fear-based toxic masculinity of terror groups.

Freedom versus fear. News at 11.

This chicken little author says he wants the “best” trucks for society, yet it is based on a measure of utility by armed groups causing societal disruption (not to mention a one-time kitchen remodel or new lounger).

That is really him thinking about what is best to address his own weird fears, and has little to do with helping anyone else. He doesn’t even need a truck, big or little.

Third, and perhaps most tellingly, the big stated reason for getting rid of big trucks is two-fold: they’re called dangerous to people/planet and they are called artificially protected by market regulation.

…because of an antiquated trade policy levying a 25% tariff on imported light trucks, in retaliation for a European tariff on U.S. chicken.

So the author is saying regulations on trade need to be removed and somehow the market will magically start to fix the environment, without any reason to do so.

How? By importing the light trucks favored for home remodels and terrorism…? It doesn’t make any sense and reads like The Onion. Basically the underlying white guy libertarian trope has been turned into a paper-thin argument of societal benefit from small trucks.

It’s the sad rhetorical tactic of taking things that others’ care about (people/planet) and slapping them like an easy label over a completely disconnected personal political platform.

You want a truck that people who hate government use? And you hate the government too? Write an op-ed that says removing government regulation on light trucks will achieve X, where X is whatever other people say they want.

As much as I am a fan of light trucks, way back in 2000 I became the first person in California to import a Japanese four door light truck (the DMV in Santa Cruz was VERY confused and took hours to classify my light truck as a car instead of big truck).

In other words I have very quietly and modestly achieved the exact thing that this author has been yelling at his TV can’t be done. My import feat never seemed like anything worth writing about, from 20 years ago to today.

Incidentally, remember the Naan-truck story of 2010? That’s the kind of stuff worth writing about.

I’d do an import again right now to prove my point, except it’s super easy to find light trucks in California despite any need for them being long gone. Ride an electric bike! Even my four-door light truck classified by Santa Cruz DMV as a car is nothing special anymore, as you’ll see in a minute.

I thus find none of this author’s published arguments convincing let alone amusing.

Bottom line is he shows a side of America that conflates constant ugly power projection by unfiltered media with some kind of personal call to grand utopian posturing about ending government regulations.

The real story here is nervous white men in their upscale remodeled kitchens watching relentless fear-driven news feeds of trucks and guns produces a culture desperate for such trucks and guns falsely tied to sense of safety, devoid of actual rational relationship to service, duty or utility.

Unkindness shouldn’t be a political platform.

Pushing anti-societal terror platforms as somehow kind to the planet is the kind of bogus mental gymnastics we see out of California fraud factories such as Tesla. Their big truck, marketed as an apocalyptic tool meant for battle with all humanity, has design flaws so egregiously bad it wisely has been banned by safety experts even before release.

Pretending societal benefits flow from owning a Toyota known for anti-government warfare… doesn’t sufficiently hide an underlying unhinged libertarian screed that someone wants cool toys to project supreme power over everyone including the government they heavily depend upon.

Now, I should give the author credit here too. He has made me realize Tesla clearly missed the boat on their true target market. They would have been far better off just putting their little badge on the Toyota light truck (like everything else Tesla “makes”) and selling them into the chicken Californians hiding from society in posh suburban bunkers of Kansas.

Perhaps I can’t say this all any better than Hyundai? Their answer already has been… go buy a Santa Cruz and get a life, dude. Maybe try fishing instead of watching scary news?

“Just enough truck”. In 2000 I imported the first Japanese 4-door light truck to California, thanks to the Santa Cruz DMV. In 2022 Hyundai announced general availability of the Santa Cruz light truck. A great option for someone still too scared to ride an electric bike. Source: Car and Driver

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