Can the English-Speaking nations prevent full metrication?
Janet Devers from London's West End is facing fines of up to $130,000 and the possible loss of her business because she was caught by the government selling veggies by the ounce and pound. She has opted for Jury by Trial, and will appear before Snaresbrooke Crown Court on 28th April 2008.
AS AN OLD STANDARD IMPERIALIST (SI), The Monarchist opposes the wanton abandonment of our traditional weights and measures, and stands foursquare against compulsory metrication. We will not sit idly by and watch the Janet Devers of the world be tormented like this, whilst bearing witness to the gradual destruction of the mile, the pound and the pint. In defending our way of life, we heartily endorse the work of the "Metric Martyrs" to stem the Jacobin axe of statist tyranny.
Metrication is unnecessary, unpopular and contemptible. Despite years of metric teaching, the overwhelming majority of people still think, not in metric units, but in miles, feet, inches, gallons, pints, pounds and ounces. They find traditional units of measurement more convenient, practical and efficient because they correspond to the human scale and the mind's perceptions. They evolved naturally out of generations of experience and embody a wisdom that cannot be overlooked in the rush for "progress". Imperial measures are very much a continuing and useful part of our cultural heritage.
By contrast, the decimal metric system is superficially easy, artificial, arbitrary and inefficient. Metric units are often too small or too large for everyday practicality. Someone who is 6 ft. 2, for example, suddenly becomes an unforgettable 1.87 meters or 187 centimeters, a pound becomes a frustrating .454 kilograms or 454 grams. The conversion process turns man into a machine, it forces us to live in a nuisance world designed by robots.
We cannot easily convert into the metric equivalent of feet and pounds, because a metre is too long, a gram is too light and a kilogram is too heavy. They are not part of our DNA, they are out of whack with human experience and our natural dimensions. The UK Metric Association can boast that it is "campaigning for a single rational system of measurement", but we know Chesterton would say it is the mark of insanity, it is reason without a root, reason in a void.
But no matter. These arguments are of small consequence to the hugely influential metric lobby, a relentless behemoth that is more indomitable in its views than the Flat Earth Society. Any lobby that has the enthusiastic ear of big government, big business and the big brains of the scientific community is not to be treated lightly. The appeal of metrics to the scatty-minded mathematician is understandable, as it is to the profit-motivated company, which is naturally disposed to reducing the size of its imperial-scaled products. But why governments eagerly line up to endorse all this madness, as has been their wont, and to deny the wishes, convenience, traditions and culture of the people they claim to represent, reveals a disturbing "democratic" propensity.
It is generally assumed that the human race led by the United States will concede the fight and fully metricate in the not-too-distant future. I happen to think this assumption to be wrong, and consider the continuing persistence of the English system to be more likely. Officialdom has done some aesthetic damage to our culture with indigestible signs and the like, but these have not successfully penetrated into our consciousness. From what I can gather, the Anglosphere has fought the rest of the world to a draw on this one, and there is reason to believe in some quarters that the process of demetrication is already underway.
The fact is traditional units are part of our language and history. They live in our literature and stories, they are part of our everday life. If we abandon them, we lose our cultural continuity, we lose a valuable treasure that was handed down over the centuries. Conservationists should oppose this vandalism and bankroll the freedom of metric martyrs like Janet Devers.
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Thursday, 17 April 2008
Can the English-Speaking nations prevent full metrication?