Sunday, November 22, 2015

Do Important People Drive BMWs?

Science Confirms that BMW & Prius Drivers Are the Worst

We have long ragged on BMW drivers for their terrible parking skills and general assholery, and Toyota Prius drivers for their holier-than-thou smugness. Now, it has been confirmed — through the miraculous power of science — that their owners are, in fact, terrible and inconsiderate motorists. 

Our old pal Benjamin Preston reports in the New York Times on a study done by the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California Berkeley which links poor driving habits and wealth. Basically, rich people are more likely to be jerks behind the wheel.

The researchers examined how motorists in California behave when approaching intersections with pedestrians, where they are required to stop, as well as how well they take turns at four-way stop intersections. 

What they found is that people in luxury cars, specifically BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes, were much more likely to flout traffic laws and go when it's not their turn at intersections. Said researcher Paul K. Piff: 

Mr. Piff said about eight of every 10 cars “did the right thing.”

“But you see this huge boost in a driver’s likelihood to commit infractions in more expensive cars,” he said. “In our crosswalk study, none of the cars in the beater-car category drove through the crosswalk. They always stopped for pedestrians.”

[...] “One of the most significant trends was that fancy cars were less likely to stop,” said Mr. Piff, adding, “BMW drivers were the worst.”

And in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the status-symbol Prius was marked down as a luxury vehicle, researchers found their drivers to have a higher tendency to commit traffic infractions than most. 

Listen, it makes sense when you think about it. The Rich are busy. They have places to be, things to accomplish, deals to execute, unlike The Poors, who are content to drive slowly and courteously as they waste their lives suckling from the teat of the government. 

So the next time a BMW driver parks across three handicapped spaces, or a Prius driver blows ahead of you at an intersection when it was your turn to go, don't get angry. That would be tantamount to class warfare. Instead, be inspired by their success and think of ways you too can aspire to their level of greatness. 

"The Rich are busy. They have places to be, things to accomplish, deals to execute, unlike The Poors, who are content to drive slowly and courteously as they waste their lives suckling from the teat of the government."
Sadly, there are too many people who believe this. It goes hand-in-hand with the idea of "important people."  In reality, no one person is more important that any other.  There are people who achieve more than others, either by diligence, passion, greed, fear, psychosis, or a deep need to feel important.  And there are people who, in turn, affect a larger number of people because of their social, political, or media placement.  

But George Lucas is no more important than the first human to eat monkey meat infected with the HIV virus.  The former has made more money and created popular "entertainment artifacts."  The latter has arguably been responsible for the illness and death of as many as 38.1million people world-wide.  So who's more "important"?  And are they more important than a woman in Fargo, N. Dakota who is an exemplary mother and citizen?  Do they have more value that me, or you?  I don't think so.  And I bet you don't either, whether you admit it or not.  

The idea of "important people" has done massive harm to people of the "unimportant" (read:"wrong") race, gender, nationality, social or monetary class, or religion.  Imagine thinking that a victim of the Titanic disaster is more important that a man in Botswana who died when his canoe capsized.  Who is more important - Nikola Tesla or Thomas Edison?  Neither.  Their achievements are another matter.  Though, the jury is still out on which will eventually have the greatest effect on science.

Darwin, Marie Curie, Freud, Marie Antoinette, General George Patton, Rosa Parks, Mozart, Queen Victoria, Van Gogh, Helen of Troy, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Marilyn Monroe all left a legacy behind them.  But as human beings they were no more important than the victims of the Hiroshima bomb, or  the people named in the last one-third of the credits of "The Godfather," or the inhabitants of a small village in Mexico, or the person who sat next to you on the bus yesterday.  It is only when we can see all individual humans as important, that our species will be able to reach its full potential.