The Metric System: If We Give Them An Inch, They'll Take Away Our Miles
The metric system is inefficient, counterintuitive, and has been promoted by such evil people as the French Revolutionaries and the Soviets. More importantly, it lacks tradition. If measuring everything in tens - fun for mathematicians but useless in normal life - had been useful, our ancestors would have done it. The strange, arbitrary sizes of metric units are likewise useless outside a laboratory. In real life we constantly encounter things which are an inch or a foot long; as the essayist linked below points out, liters do not resemble any normal human drinking amount; and a mile is a distance which fits with the human mind. Nothing in the real world is a centimeter long, and a meter is too large to be usefully substituted for a foot or a yard.
In addition to its inefficiency, the metric system, with its scientifically constructed names, lacks poetry. The word "kilometer" is hard to use in normal conversation; "mile" rolls off the tongue so much more easily. And who could feel affection for a 2.54centimeterworm? What Englishman has ever stood another for a liter? And Jesus did not exhort us to go the second meter.
Finally, using historical systems of measurement helps to preserve culture. Whenever someone must convert their measurements or money to those of another culture, he is reminded of who he is and what his origins are. Aren't we supposed to value diversity?
But it would be all very well to allow scientists and importers, the only people who derive any legitimate benefit from this abomination, to use their systems among themselves, except that the enemies of culture and tradition are using it as an excuse to persecute the traditionally minded. Forcing one system onto the entire world at gunpoint appeals to those who wish to adjust the entire world to homogenity so that regional customs will not stand in the way for expanding government power, on the way to an eventual all-powerful world government; and to the handful of tycoons who make money from international trade, which damages the ordinary person and which is eased by the metric system because the tycoons don't have to spend ten minutes a day converting measurements on their calculators. (I am not opposed to tycoons, but recognize that greed can lead any man to do things that are immoral and bad for humanity, such as using the metric system.)
Orwell predicted this:
'I arst you civil enough, didn't I?' said the old man, straightening his shoulders pugnaciously. 'You telling me you ain't got a pint mug in the 'ole bleeding boozer?' 'And what in hell's name is a pint?' said the barman, leaning forward with the tips of his fingers on the counter. 'Ark at 'im! Calls 'isself a barman and don't know what a pint is! Why, a pint's the 'alf of a quart, and there's four quarts to the gallon. 'Ave to teach you the A, B, C next.' 'Never heard of 'em,' said the barman shortly. 'Litre and half litre -- that's all we serve. There's the glasses on the shelf in front of you. 'I likes a pint,' persisted the old man. 'You could 'a drawed me off a pint easy enough. We didn't 'ave these bleeding litres when I was a young man.' When you were a young man we were all living in the treetops,' said the barman, with a glance at the other customers. There was a shout of laughter, and the uneasiness caused by Winston's entry seemed to disappear. The old man's whitestubbled face had flushed pink. He turned away, muttering to himself, and bumped into Winston. Winston caught him gently by the arm. 'May I offer you a drink?' he said. 'You're a gent,' said the other, straightening his shoulders again. He appeared not to have noticed Winston's blue overalls. 'Pint!' he added aggressively to the barman. 'Pint of wallop.' The barman swished two half-litres of dark-brown beer into thick glasses which he had rinsed in a bucket under the counter. Beer was the only drink you could get in prole pubs. The proles were supposed not to drink gin, though in practice they could get hold of it easily enough. The game of darts was in full swing again, and the knot of men at the bar had begun talking about lottery tickets. Winston's presence was forgotten for a moment. There was a deal table under the window where he and the old man could talk without fear of being overheard. It was horribly dangerous, but at any rate there was no telescreen in the room, a point he had made sure of as soon as he came in. "E could 'a drawed me off a pint,' grumbled the old man as he settled down behind a glass. 'A 'alf litre ain't enough. It don't satisfy. And a 'ole litre's too much. It starts my bladder running. Let alone the price.'
Thankfully, at this time my country is one of only three holding out against this abomination, although we do use it for cocaine, the only substance for which it is fit. However, I fear this will not last. As such, I have a practical suggestion as to how to wipe it from the face of the earth:
I propose that all elected officials and government employees worldwide (except of course for policemen and soldiers, who actually do useful work) be compelled to stop their other pernicious activities and instead devote their time to going to all factories, places of business, and most of all schools and replacing all metric units with the traditional ones for their nation, for as long as it takes to correct everything.
After that, any of them who is caught in any way condoning the use of metric measurements should be hanged with a 6' rope.
SURELY the most irritating excuse produced for the European Commission's banning of British Imperial weights and measures is the claim that feet and inches, gallons and pints, pounds and ounces do not belong in the "modern world". This claim has never cut much ice. The USA put Neil Armstrong on the moon using Imperial measurements and continues to use feet and inches in designing space satellites. The most modern desk-top publishing computer programmes use fractions of an inch to measure letter sizes, and electronic weighing scales in supermarkets display pound and ounces on digitalised readouts. What is not so well known is that it is in fact the metric system, which is outmoded and flawed, seriously hampering efficient practices of measuring, division and tallying.
Please, read the entire essay. It is rife with examples of the inefficiency of metric measurements.
Sir Patrick Moore on his involvement in the Mars probe, from his autobiography:
The worst blunder of all was with Mars Climate Orbiter, a spacecraft launched in 1999 to improve our knowledge of the Martian surface. During the approach manoeuvre, instructions were sent to it in Metric units, blissfully regardless of the fact that it had been programmed to work in Imperial. The result was predictable: Farewell, Climate Orbiter. As I remember saying, this was yet another case of the evil of creeping Metrication!
Below are a few articles about decent citizens being persecuted for resisting metrication. Bear in mind that in England today, arsonists are not arrested, probably because the police are afraid of dangerous people, but they have the stones to harass elderly shopkeepers for using sane measurements.
Last July 4th, while Americans were celebrating their independence and freedom, England was busy seizing greengrocer Steven Thoburn’s weighing equipment in a raid after he sold a pound of bananas for 34 pence.
Pound for Pound, A Veggie Peddler Takes On the EU
LONDON -- London's East End is notorious for its criminals, from serial murderer Jack the Ripper to mobsters the Kray twins.
BATTLING butcher Edward Smith has finally lost his battle to keep using old-fashioned pounds and ounces at his South Yorkshire shop. Mr Smith, aged 64, who runs the family butchers in Thorogate, Rawmarsh, has spent the past three years fighting trading standards over the use of his old Imperial scales.
Three former Hackney Council inspectors have told how they were instructed to single out Colin Hunt, 60 - one of the original metric martyrs - and his sister, Janet Devers, 64, for "enforcement action" because the pair had campaigned against the ban on imperial measurements. One ex-inspector, who worked for Hackney for four years, said: "The manager told us that we had to teach Janet and Colin a lesson and focus our enforcement efforts on them rather than any other traders who used imperial measures or sold goods by the bowl. We knew it wasn't fair, but if we objected the managers just said we should do as we were told.
The government is acting to end the prosecution of so-called "metric martyrs" - traders who continue to sell goods using only imperial measures.
Background image provided by Margaret Price. The ruler belonged to her grandfather, who was English. She scanned it for me, saying, "What could be a better gift for a monarchist than an English ruler?"