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A Ford in Paris (Public Board)

by ,ndo, Shit for brains, Tuesday, September 01, 2020, 02:36 (24 days ago)

A bit of fun. Excerpt from Rose Wilder Lane, The Discovery of Freedom: Man's Struggle Against Authority (The John Day Company, New York, 1943):


A friend and I bought a Ford in Paris. A French Ford, made—or perhaps assembled—by French mechanics, whose skill is unsurpassed in the world. I do not know what wages were paid to the men who made that Ford, nor how they lived, but I do know how skilled French workers, in general, lived, because I have friends of the French working class.

Their wages enabled them to live—where their class-status kept them, anyway—in the workers' quarters of the cities; that is, where the narrow streets are filthy with human excrement, because the tenements have no plumbing; where their food was bread and cheese and sometimes horse-meat; where their bedrooms have no windows because of the high tax on windows, and their teeth rot away in their jaws—for how can workers afford dentists?—and two of every three of their babies die less than a year old.

Taxes made the Ford cost in dollars twice what it would have cost in these United States; to a Frenchman, the price was a fortune. It was an ordinary Ford, then the butt of thousands of jokes in America. In Europe, our owning it announced (preposterously) that we were wealthy. A French worker, by careful planning and good luck and months or years of sou-pinching thrift, might own a bicycle.

Having bought this splendid Ford, my friend and I set out to get permission to drive it, and to drive it out of Paris and out of France. We worked separately, to make double use of time. For six weeks we worked, steadily, every day and every hour that Government offices were open. When they closed, we met to rest in the lovely leisure of a cafe and compared notes and considered ways of pulling wires. Exhausted, we rode home second-class in the subway. (Workers, of course, ride third-class in Europe.)

One requirement was twelve passport pictures of that car, taken full-face, without a hat. I exaggerate; regulations said nothing about a hat. But this was a Ford, naked from the factory; not a detail nor a mark distinguished it from the mil lions of its kind; yet I had to engage a photographer to take a full-radiator-front picture of it, where it still stood in the salesroom, and to make twelve prints, each certified to be a portrait of that identical car. The proper official pasted these, one by one, in my presence, to twelve identical documents, each of which was filled out in ink, signed and counter-signed, stamped, and tax-stamped; and, of course, I paid for them. One was given to me.

After six hard-working weeks, we had all the car's papers. Nearly an inch thick they were, laid flat. Each was correctly signed and stamped, each had in addition the little stamp stuck on, showing that the tax was paid that must be paid on every legal document; this is the Stamp tax that Americans refused to pay. I believe we had license plates besides; I know we had drivers' licenses.

Gaily at last we set out in our car, and in the first block two policemen stopped us. European policemen always go in pairs, so that one polices the other. I do not know whether this makes it impossible to bribe either, or necessary to bribe both. I never tried to buy a policeman.

Being stopped by the police was not unusual, of course. The car's papers were in its pocket, and confidently I handed them over, with our personal papers, as requested.

The policemen examined each one, found it in order, and noted it in their little black books. Then courteously they arrested us.

No one had told us about the brass plate. We had never heard of it. The car must have a brass plate, measuring precisely this by that (about 4 x 6 x 1/4 inches), hand-engraved with the owner's full name and address, and attached to the instrument board by four brass screws of certain dimensions, through four holes of certain dimensions, one hole in each corner of the brass plate.

My friend wilted on the wheel. "It's too much," she said. "Let's chuck it all and go by train."

"Gentlemen, we are completely desolated," I said. "Figure to yourselves, how we are Americans, strangers to beautiful France. Imagine, how we have planned, we have saved, we have dreamed and hoped that the day will arrive when we shall see Paris. At the end, here we are. We see with our eyes the beautiful Paris, the glory of French culture and French art. Altogether naturally, is it not? we seek to conduct ourselves with a propriety the most precise. In effect, gentlemen, what is it that it is that we have done? Of what fault it is that one accuses us? You see our passports, our cards of identity, our permission to enter France and to remain in France and to enter Paris and to live in Paris, and, unhappily, to leave France and to depart from Paris, for all joys must end, is it not? That is life. In fact, you have well examined all these, and you see that all are altogether completely in order, is it not? And the receipts for our rent, and for our window tax, and for our foreigners' tax, and for our income tax, and the quittance of our lease, all well-made, is it not? all well viewed by the authorities. Good, that is that. But, it must be, the good logic always, is it not? It sees itself that we, we have committed no fault. It is not we who lack the brass plate; it is the car. Gentlemen, one must admit in good logic that which it is that is your plain duty; arrest the car. Good. Do your duty, gentlemen. As for us, we repudiate the car, we abandon it, we go—"

We were detained. The policemen accepted my logic, but courteously they said that the car could not stand where it was; parking there for even one instant was forbidden. My friend suggested that the salesman would take it back. Courteously the policemen said that, without the brass plate, the car could not move an inch from where it stood; that was forbidden.

"In all confidence, gentlemen," we said, "we leave this problem in your hands." We hailed a taxi and went home.

Mysteriously next day the car was in the salesroom. In two weeks the brass plate was beautifully hand-engraved. Exactly two months after we had paid for the car, we were able to drive it.

Of course we could not simply drive out of Paris. We were stopped at the city limit, "the barrier," while an official measured the gas in the tank and wrote the number of pints on our permit to re-enter Paris. This arrangement allowed us to choose the road by which we returned, for the permit was good on any road.

When we came back, the gas in the tank would be measured again, and we would pay the Paris tax on any pint we imported. That is just, isn't it? Should we, the wealthy who owned a Ford, be permitted to bring gasoline into Paris untaxed, while the middle classes paid the tax on the gasoline they used to clean their clothes?

These incidents illustrate the commonplace. Europeans, and other people everywhere, take such regulation for granted. If sometimes you fail to be as patient as they are, they say in surprise, "But naturally, it takes time to get permission."

Ask why you can't lift an innocent finger without permission, and your lack of the simplest reasoning power baffles them. One must always have a permit; how else could the authorities maintain the social order?

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Thanks. Amazing essay.

by Pepe the Programmer @, Süm Fäggöt and Disloyal Actual Retard, Tuesday, September 01, 2020, 12:14 (23 days ago) @ ,ndo

This is a great explanation of the cultural and political differences between the US and old Europe.

Those people are a continent of cucks. They don't comprehend freedom even to the extent to have a notion of when things seem excessive. Europeans have ingrained serf mentality.

This is exactly the pattern of behavior that the left is working to instill in Americans.

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I vill trransmit this information to Vladimir.

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Paris Than & Now

by Hillarys Colon, Tuesday, September 01, 2020, 21:42 (23 days ago) @ ,ndo

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