May 31, 2005
So, what with the advent of the silly term "NASCAR Dad" and the recent kerfuffle over Robby Gordon's complaint about women drivers being lighter, so their car will go faster (Yes, I know that he was talking about Indy cars, but he drives NASCAR now), I got curious about the rules that govern NASCAR. Now, apparently, NASCAR doesn't release its rules publicly, but the folks who put together "A Yankee's Guide to NASCAR" have ferreted out a lot of them, and compiled the basics.
I don't have the patience to watch car racing or (or full cricket matches), but the NASCAR rules are pretty interesting reading if you like technology. What I found most interesting is that there are a lot of rules for car weight, horsepower, and technology imposed almost entirely to ensure that the winners are sorted from the pack by the team's talent and their luck on the day. Just because you can afford an Indy car that could beat the hell out of all those stock cars, that don't mean that you get to race the Indy car against the stock cars. That view, that talent and luck on the day ought to win out, is the liberal position.
Liberals are comfortable with inequality of outcome. We're comfortable with the notion that some people are smarter or stronger than others, and that they'll succeed while others fail. That's pretty much the luck of the draw. We're even comfortable with a fair bit of starting-point inequality -- some people are lucky enough to be born into better circumstances, and the cultural price to really level out those kinds of inequalities (even if it were possible) is really just too high for most people to contemplate. But our support for things like public education and some publicly-funded bottom to the income scale which falls well above starvation is based on a pretty simple notion: Talent and luck on the day should be more important than which car you can bring to the race.
Liberals: We're for NASCAR Rules.
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Liberals are comfortable with inequality of outcome. We're comfortable with the notion that some people are smarter or stronger than others, and that they'll succeed while others fail. That's pretty much the luck of the draw. We're even comfortable with a fair bit of starting-point inequality -- some people are lucky enough to be born into better circumstances, and the cultural price to really level out those kinds of inequalities (even if it were possible) is really just too high for most people to contemplate.
This is a joke.....right?
Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | May 31, 2005 7:16:25 PM
Actually liberals are not at all comfortable with the idea that some people are smarter than other people. And they are even less comfortable with the idea that some groups of people are smarter on average than other groups of people.
Posted by: James B. Shearer | May 31, 2005 7:31:27 PM
Good post, nice analogy.
Suffice it to say your previous commentors would not win any NASCAR races.
Posted by: abjectfunk | May 31, 2005 8:15:35 PM
Now you see why they keep these rules hidden: if released they would ruin the unhindered-DIY illusion of NASCAR and run contrary to the laissez-faire mentality of middle America
Posted by: drew breunig | May 31, 2005 8:27:06 PM
Mmm, I dunno ... weren't liberals [and I am one] the ones who so viciously ridiculed Gordon for suggesting that Danica Patrick's car should be weighted to give her the same raw material to contend with that a driver twice her size would have? If we're for "NASCAR rules" [i.e., equality of opportunity, roughly], then I think we would agree with Gordon.
Gordon may well have been speaking out of prejudice and misogyny [I have no idea whether he was or not] but if we're for "NASCAR rules" then we're substantively on his side on that matter.
I know this doesn't affect your substantive point, but it makes it an ill-timed analogy to go spreading here and there.
Posted by: chrisbrody | May 31, 2005 10:54:36 PM
ChrisBrody - If you read the NASCAR Rules link, you will see that in fact NASCAR *does* weight-adjust cars for lighter drivers.
Gordon was complaining about the Indy car rules, where they don't do that.
Posted by: paperwight | May 31, 2005 11:20:11 PM
You could be racing to a false analogy here. While liberals might be comfortable with NASCAR rules, that's a long way from defining liberals as a group that uses them.
Posted by: opit | Jun 1, 2005 12:16:37 AM
Oh, I see, so it's like Democrats = NASCAR, Republicans = Indy Car. Obviously I would have had to click the link to make the connection. Thanks.
Posted by: chrisbrody | Jun 1, 2005 2:19:05 AM
And no disparaging remarks about cricket please. It is the real sport of kings!
Posted by: Altus | Jun 1, 2005 9:48:46 AM
Altus - cricket highlights (the 2 hour evening kind) are fun. Full cricket matches, I just don't have patience for, not having been raised in the sport.
Posted by: paperwight | Jun 1, 2005 10:30:49 AM
By far the most interesting thing about NASCAR rules is the fact they change on a whim, almost week-to-week during the season. You might argue that Bill Frist is simply taking his cues from NASCAR.
Posted by: Tim | Jun 1, 2005 11:28:55 AM
Having disdained NASCAR for many years - thinking it was demolition derby, I wanted to open my mind to the rules and see if the 'formula' made sense to me, because they certainly ARE NOT stock cars. The NASCAR wesite, under "tech" was anything but. Everything else was simple-minded palaver quoted by bucolic fans.
... I feel my disdain was justified
Posted by: Korn | Jun 26, 2005 4:37:10 PM
Maybe NASCAR would take a adjustment...
Posted by: Juno888 | Jun 20, 2007 3:06:57 AM
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