Almost everything you buy is crap. Crap and garbage, slapped together from the cheapest material possible, made by low IQ virtual slave labor in third world nations. People with no ownership in the company or the product, often probably not even understanding what the product they produce is used for, are going to churn out an inferior product. What is worse, most of that inferiority is by design, all part of the cycle of buying new crap to replace the crap you bought six months ago and already broke. Designed obsolesce and intentional overcomplexity are hallmarks of modern manufacturing.
Case in point. I am no one’s idea of a mechanic. Even the basics terrify me. I can change a flat tire and I know how to change my oil but I still go somewhere to get it done. But I try when I can to do little stuff. We had two simultaneous tail light issues on two different vehicles, one due to me backing into something and breaking the taillight fixture on my truck and one thanks to a burned out rear turn signal on our big van. On the big van, it is (hopefully) just a burnt out bulb but on the truck the whole thing was cracked. Still worked but it looked bad. So here is the repair process on both:
The truck is a 2005 Dodge Ram 1500. I ordered an entire taillight assembly, brakes/running/turn/reverse lights in the frame. To replace it I dropped the tailgate, pulled out two bolts, popped a retaining clip holding the power source, swapped the light assembly and put it back in place. Two screws back in and done. The whole thing took maybe 5-6 minutes from start to finish.
The van is a 2016 Chevrolet Express 3500, the big one ton 15 passenger van. To replace the turn signal on the rear you need to get the taillight assembly off. There are two 10mm bolts to remove. Simple, right? Not so fast. There is a third bolt to remove. But to remove that, you have to pull off a piece of the plastic trim held in place by yet another bolt. And of course the plastic assembly doesn’t come all the way off so you need to swing it out of the way as best you can so you can jam the socket under the plastic and unscrew the bolt. Now the taillight assembly is loose but it is set on a pin so you have to wiggle it around until it comes loose. Then and only then can you access the bulbs and the first time I did this I found that the bulb Amazon said would fit did not in fact fit my van so the new one comes today and I have to do it all over again. It is at least twice as cumbersome and difficult to replace a single bulb as it was to replace an entire light assembly.
An 11 year difference in manufacturing resulted in a far more complex process. This is true across the board. Look under the hood of an older vehicle. You usually can see everything you might ever need to work on right in front of you and easily accessible. Opening a hood on a newer car and you find everything is assbackwards and requires a mechanic to fix.
People get a little thrill from buying stuff so feeding them a steady supply of cheap crap to buy gives them that same little dopamine fix every time. So they feed that urge with cheap consumer goods that we all know will need to be replaced quickly.
It wasn’t always this way. For example, lots of old appliances still work after many decades of service. One thing that Americans and Europeans have always done well and still do is making guns. Lots and lots of them. I saw this video yesterday and found it absolutely fascinating….
According to Wikipedia, over 2.3 million American made M1917 rifles were produced and presumably were all made just like the video shows. No computers, no CNC machines. They were made by hand by craftsmen. It cracked me up that some of the guys working were wearing ties to make rifles. Millions made, by hand, and they had to be uniform and reliable enough to use for combat purposes and to fire mass produced ammo. That is harder than it sounds. I don’t know why but that old timey manufacturing just really fascinates me. I was born a century too late.
We still make guns in America. Virtually every AR-15 is made here and are made of interchangeable, basically universal parts. The volume is staggering. Anderson Manufacturing makes around 800,000 stripped lower receivers every year (as of 2017, it is probably much higher now), using state of the art CNC machining. I have shared this video before but I really liked it….
Say what you will about Poverty Ponies but Anderson makes solid stuff, like Palmetto State, Ruger and Smith & Wesson, and of course the higher end places as you go up the line to Aero and Rock River, Stag Arms, Adams Arms, Daniel Defense, Colt and Sons of Liberty Gunworks. That isn’t to say there aren’t crappy manufacturers in America, there certainly are and there are some brands of AR I won’t stock, but generally they are very well made. This is another cool video I just ran across today from Mrgunsngear at DRG Manufacturing. They make AR parts, the one robot they show makes 13,000 bolt carrier groups per month. ….
Americans don’t have a monopoly on firearms of course. The Chicoms make some crappy guns, the Japs made some shotguns and rifles for Browning for a while, and of course Mother Russia cranks out Arsenal AKs and others that will last long after I am dead. But Europeans and Americans are the best in the business by an enormous margin. My boys at Beretta in Italy have been doing it for over 500 years and their double guns are second to none, the higher end ones being literal works of art like this one
Magnifico! That video gives me chills every time I watch it.
Still there is a unique culture when it comes to firearms for heritage Americans. Guns are what won our revolution and the conquest of the North American continent. They protected our homesteads from Indians and put food on the pioneer’s tables. Fathers teaching their sons to shoot and hunt was a rite of passage for so many American men and those homegrown marksman then went on to use those skills in Europe and the Pacific. Our guns are part of who we are and the craftsmanship that goes into making those firearms is as much a part of America as the Constitution, apple pie and Chevrolet.
That is what the gun-grabbing neo-Bolsheviks don’t understand. It isn’t just “a gun”, it is a physical manifestation of who we are as Americans, the true Americans who are descendants of dissidents and pioneers from Europe. It represents to us liberty and independence. For me to relinquish my firearms would be to voluntarily enslave myself to the whims of tyrants. I won’t and tens of millions of heritage American won’t either. It will mean bloodshed to try to make us. From my cold, dead hands isn’t just a bumper sticker slogan.
While we don’t make nearly as much as we used to in the U.S. and what we do make is of increasingly dubious quality, one thing we still mostly do in America and do as well or better than anyone else is make firearms. Whether the craftsman forged receivers by hand or use CNC machines, it is still a craftsmanship to be marveled at and accorded honor.