Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Politicization of the Chevrolet Volt

 Motor Trend has named the Chevrolet Volt the 2011 Car of the Year. Nonetheless, that hasn't kept "expert" conservative commentators like George Will from criticizing the car, although they haven't themselves driven it. Interestingly, George Will ignorantly calls the Volt a "government brainstorm" even though the car has been in development at least since 2006. But never mind, this seems to be the typical pattern with certain pundits; with such great rhetoric, there is no need to get your facts straight.

At $41,000, the Chevrolet Volt is a little expensive at this point, even after taking into consideration the $7,500 tax credit that purchasers will receive. But that is a familiar pattern with all technological innovation. The first model is always more expensive; typically, as the technology advances, manufacturers find ways to deliver the same or better technology at lower prices. This pattern is especially evident in computers.

Whether the Volt is successful or not, General Motors should be applauded for bringing a new innovation to market. It is only through experimenting with new products that technology advances at all. For example, many people doubted the usefulness of a tablet when Apple announced the iPad, but it has since taken off in a spectacular way. This is in contrast by earlier attempts to build tablets by other computer manufacturers. Sometimes it takes some time to get a product right. The only thing that is certain is that you will never succeed if you don't try.

Conservatives used to be known for having an optimistic "can do" attitude as exemplified by Ronald Reagan. Apparently, for some conservative pundits, those days are long gone. Instead of having an optimistic belief in doing great things in America, for example, high speed rail, we have political pundits that explain why such innovations are bound to fail here even while they succeed in China. If America is a country in decline, the culprit is a political system that has turned away from doing what is necessary for America to compete and win.

Well, as far as whether the Volt is any good, I think I will go with Motor Trend reviewers, who are more than capable of explaining their point of view,  any day of the week over the like of political pundits like George Will, who do not even bother to get their facts straight. Motor Trend knows cars, and what is more, they have actually had their hands on an actual Volt and driven it. That actually means something.

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