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Commentary

Nanny State Bans Porsche from Selling New 911 with Manual Transmission

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If you are a Porsche fan living in California and happened to order this year’s 911 GT3 six-speed manual option, your voluntary transaction has been nullified.

“The seven-speed PDK gearbox will be the only transmission offered in California with the 911 GT3,” Porsche announced in a news release, according to Car and Driver.

Its six-speed manual option is outlawed.

The prohibition stems from California’s drive-by noise test. While the automatic passes, the manual fails — but not because of the car’s inherent noise level. Instead, the state employs a flawed testing method.

California’s Code of Regulations stipulates that each vehicle must pass a test produced by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The testing methods are intricate, measuring a vehicle’s highest noise level by size, horsepower, peak acceleration rate and gearing.

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Manual transmissions are required to trigger full-throttle, while automatic transmissions are forbidden to operate under the same condition.

In the case of the GT3 six-speed, the test’s guidelines require it to run full-throttle nearly to redline in third gear, while the automatic must test in first gear. In the end, the microphone chip which measures drive-by noise registers the same engines and exhaust systems as different.

What is this regulatory nonsense?

The bureaucratic dribble, according to Car and Driver, was most recently revised in 1998, leaving Porsche’s car on the island of misfit toys. Despite there being a new set of SAE standards available, California has yet to update its regulatory requirements.

Should California update its regulations?

Some will be quick to remind you that suburbia is safer when it is quiet. Should we simply ignore the fact that these regulations are ill-reasoned?

The situation would be easy to shrug off if it were simply an unfortunate consequence for Porsche. But the outright folly of California’s bureaucratic overlords obstructs a person’s prerogative to engage in a voluntary transaction on the basis of a methodological error.

A threat to liberty anywhere is an affront to liberty everywhere, even when it only restricts one’s ability to acquire an automobile with a manual transmission.

To the dismay of those who prescribe value to human liberty, advocating for it as a preeminent ideal may appear to boil down to nothing more than a proclamation of “I do what I want.”

This is not the tack defenders of liberty should take.

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Government regulations are merely an extension of the state’s legal authority, but they are often drawn on arbitrary grounds by specialists and “experts” who do not act in the interests of the American people. Government agents are not tasked with defending life and liberty; they are tasked with manifesting the government’s role in people’s lives.

This theme encompasses the entire government and its prescribed role in society.

Governmental paternalism is a form of state coercion, consisting of policies and practices that restrict liberty and infantilize the population. The burden of dependency is shifted from the individual and community to the state, cementing the divide between ruler and ruled.

For Porsche and the car-loving Californian, government paternalism is apparent under the guise of outdated automotive testing guidelines.

Californians ought to reject these guidelines and admonish a government that dictates what they can and cannot buy.

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Brett Kershaw is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. A graduate of Virginia Tech with bachelor of arts degrees in political science and history, he is a published author who often studies political philosophy and political history.
Brett Kershaw is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. A graduate of Virginia Tech with bachelor of arts degrees in political science and history, he is a published author who often studies political philosophy and political history.




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