From Failure Blog, where I often go to remind myself that things usually don’t work out, comes this timely metaphor:
“At the U.S. Metric Association, we view U.S. metrication as having been merely postponed,” says Paul Trusten, Vice President of the 96-year-old organization, referring to this country’s lack of progress in converting to the metric system, making it one of the few holdouts among developed nations.
But the USMA — which promotes increased use of the metric system and aims for complete conversion — recognizes that it faces an uphill battle, as metrication (defined as the act of changing from imperial units of measurement to metric units) would require the kind of unified, long-term effort not seen in this country since World War II. But while metrication might seem a million miles — er, kilometers — away, the USMA has no plans to give up the fight.
“The nation has a long-term obligation to its citizens and institutions to fix, literally and figuratively, the nation’s measurement standard. We must overcome our old nationalistic prejudice against measurement change if we are to be full participants in 21st-century commerce,” says Trusten.
A coupla things:
1. There’s a US Metric Association? And it’s been around for ninety-six years? Wow. I had no idea how hard it is to kill a stupid idea. But, of course, from that telltale phrase — “nationalistic prejudice” — we know that this isn’t about a system of measurement. It’s about teaching American rubes a lesson.
2. Still: they’re not giving up? After ninety-six years? After, let’s face it, the most measured and quantified century in the history of mankind? We fought a world war, invented an atom bomb, put a man on the moon, flew at the speed of sound, networked the globe at fiber optic speeds, invented the smart phone….I could go on and on. We did all of these things without converting to the metric system.
Which just goes to show you: they’ll never give up. Our side thinks that people learn from failure. That when the welfare system fails, when the public schools can’t deliver, when subsidies and tax hikes and government programs all deliver perverted and upside-down results, the advocated for such things will wake up and say, “Okay, let’s try another way.”
But they won’t. They’ll just keep pushing. Like the person who thinks that if you disagree with him, it’s because he hasn’t spoken loudly enough.