(From an article behind a paywall), The British government has announced that U.K. businesses will once again be allowed to sell their products in traditional, British units of measurement, like pounds and ounces, instead of the metric system. This move is a win for freedom-loving people everywhere, and the restoration of customary units should be a cause for jubilation in the streets. The metric system has its origins in the French Revolution, as a way to stick it to the Ancien Régime. It didn’t go international until 1875, when a group of diplomats got together in Paris (which, historically, is a pretty good indicator that a bad decision is on the way) and signed the Treaty of the Meter. That treaty established the BIPM, an intergovernmental organization with a French name, to oversee a new, worldwide measurement system. Just like that, with the strokes of a few pens in Paris, centuries of history began to be erased. The French Revolution may have been over, but the mindset of the revolutionaries lived on. The French Revolution was a time when men were, in the words of Edmund Burke, “pull[ing] down more in half an hour, than prudence, deliberation, and foresight can build up in an hundred years.” The top-down imposition of the metric system did just that by erasing customary units. By “customary units,” I don’t just mean the U.S. customary system, but any unit of measure derived through custom. If you read about the origins of customary units, you’ll find that many of them are based on specific occupations, like brewing, farming, and surveying. They were invented by people doing their jobs who needed a way to measure things. They developed units of measure that were useful to them and persuaded others to adopt them for ease of commerce. Customary units eventually became standardized through a bottom-up process. They represent the wisdom of our ancestors, the accumulated experiences over the centuries. The meter represents the distance that light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. It was originally defined as a tiny fraction of distance along the earth’s equator. It’s so far removed from anything normal people do, it may as well have been invented by aliens. As Burke said, “it calls for little ability” to point out “the errors and defects of old establishments.” Indeed, it calls for little ability to say, “Base-ten would be easier.” Never mind that we tell time on a non-base-ten system and it works just fine. It’s not for lack of trying other systems, either: The French tried a ten-day week and ten-hour days for a while, but it didn’t stick. Or consider that the computer or smartphone on which you’re reading this post measures information in bits, a base-two customary unit derived from the days of punch cards and vacuum tubes. And there’s eight bits in a byte, oh no! (Customary units also have elements of humanity in their very names: One half of a byte is called a “nibble.”) . . By allowing customary units again, the British are striking a blow against that nonsensical and destructive worldview. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a cold drink — from a twelve-ounce can.