March 24, 2013

Remembering a Legendary Asshat

John Nestor was a man who followed the rules to the letter. Jonah Goldberg remembered this paragon of propriety in the opening of a recent column.


In the early 1980s, transit officials in Washington couldn’t figure out why traffic on the Beltway would grind to a near halt every day around the exact same time. The usual explanations didn’t fit.

Then it was discovered that a single driver was to blame. Every day on his drive to work, this commuter would plant himself in the left lane and set his cruise control to 55 mph, the posted speed limit, forcing those behind him to merge right. You can imagine the effects.

It gets better...

To his credit, this driver came forward in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post. The man’s name was John O. Nestor. He explained that the left lane was great; less traffic, less merging — why not ride it into work every day? Besides, he wrote, "Why should I inconvenience myself for someone who wants to speed?”

With that bit of daily narcissistic malice, this jackass was able to destroy the traffic in the DC area. The term "Nestoring" was coined by readers of the Washington Post to describe his antics.

It gets better worse still...

Fittingly, Nestor was a regulator at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Virtually no drug was worth the risk, according to Nestor. The FDA transferred him out of the cardio-renal-pulmonary unit to some bureaucratic backwater because he "had approved no new chemical entities ... from 1968 to 1972...


So this officious prick caused untold deaths because he stopped ANY approvals of heart medicine for 4 years. This does not count the deaths from any accidents he likely caused on the beltway or the people who got stuck in traffic in an ambulance and died on the way to the ER.

Mr. Nestor wrought all this misery by simply following the rules and exercising his lawful power over others. His comment about speeders belied the fact that Nestor was actually a bully. Devoid of empathy, he derived glee from hurting others with his passive aggressive mischief. His refusal to approve a single drug for the stated reason of fearing there might be harm speaks to either profound moral cowardice or fearful malice.


Jackasses are all around us. But few have had been able to make such a profound difference by themselves as Mr. Nestor. So today we remember a truly legendary asshat.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 12:36 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 Oh yeah, we gt a lot of those around here, who believe it is their DUTY to enforce the speed limit on others by driving in the left lane, in spite of the law that says "Keep right except to pass".  But unless you have a badge and a gun and are empowered by the state to issue citations, you do not have the right to enforce traffic laws on other people.

Posted by: Mauser at Sun Mar 24 07:04:06 2013 (cZPoz)

2 As a DC-are commuter, I must say one thing about his rational for staying the left-lane:  The right-lanes on roads here have an annoying habit becoming "exit only" lanes with little to no warning. 

If you're not in a hurry, and simply want to "go with the flow" of other traffic without a lot of lane changes or stress, you must avoid the right-lanes, and instead move 1 or two lanes to the left.

Posted by: Siergen at Sun Mar 24 10:25:33 2013 (Ao4Kw)

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