Live Agent Connectivity

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Things necessarily begin somewhere.herts one

Usually, that somewhere is a backwater of some kind; only a few people are involved and the majority either are unaware it’s happening at all or they don’t care because hey, it’s not happening to them.

Until, one day, it does.

Over the road truckers were the first to be on the receiving end of speed limiters – and speed monitors – in their big rigs. And then came microphones – and cameras, too. For – of course – safety.

It is always for safety.

Because you can never be too safe, right?

Well, no one really cared much about Big Brother riding shotgun in Peterbuilts and Kenworths. Because most people do not drive Peterbuilts and Kenworths or even know anyone who does. Besides which, it’s for safety so how could anyone object?

But maybe they have rented a car recently. If so, their attitude may have shifted some once they closed the door and noticed the camera in their car. Well, it’s technically Hertzes’ car – but there’s the camera, regardless.

Hertz, it turns out, has been installing send-and-receive video cameras in some of its rental cars. Allegedly, to “activate live agent connectivity to customers,” says Hertz spokeswoman Evelin Imperatrice. In other words, like GM’s OnStar system except in addition to begin able to hear you, Hertz will be able to see you, too.hertz 2

The system – Hertz calls it NeverLost (version 6) – is currently “inactive,” according to Imperatrice. Of course, it can be made active at any time.

And bet your bippie will be.

Hertz would not have gone to the trouble of installing these cameras in its fleet if they didn’t intend to use them. Imperatrice admits this, if elliptically: “We do not have adequate bandwidth capabilities to the car to support streaming video at this time.”

Italics added.    

Ah, but that time will come.

“Hertz added the camera as a feature of the NeverLost6 in the event it was decided, in the future, to activate live agent connectivity to customers by video…”

Italics added again.

Keep in mind that Hertz (and other rental car companies) already monitor such things as speed. Some even fine you for “speeding.” These are not government tickets, but rather “fees” tacked on – or rather, charged to your credit card. The cameras can – and will – be used to see who’s behind the wheel (making sure it’s you – to be safe) and that you are driving safely – as defined by Hertz. Better not engage in any in-car hanky panicky. Electronic Imperatrice will be watching.

Recording, pic

Everything that goes on in the car. Audio and video. The sheetmetal has ears – and now, eyes. It’ll put a damper on your next six-hour road trip. Keep your eyes forward and the conversation light (and politically correct).     

Now, you may say – hey, it’s a rental car and no one’s forcing me to rent such a car. True. One can still “opt out,” so to speak, by not renting a car from Hertz. But it is probably inevitable that all rental car companies will shortly fit their cars with video/audio “connectivity” – and then you will have the same choice when it comes to rental cars that one has when it comes to flying anywhere in the land of the formerly free: Put up with it (groping/searching and now recording) or find some other way to get where you’re going.

Probably, slowly.

As in, on foot.   

Of course, even then, someone will probably be watching – and recording. In order to keep us safe and protect our freedoms, the government (federal and state) has been putting cameras – well, everywhere. And private businesses, too. It has been triggered – and accepted – in both cases out of a deliberately fostered mania that there are mortal “threats” everywhere. From street criminals (even though violent crime is actually declining and has been for many years) to the ever-present “terrorists” who hate us for our freedoms but by now really ought to love us given how little freedom we actually still have.jpeg 1

America, like every declining society before it, has gone neurotic. Fear rules. And fear is always exploited. Scare ’em witless, then tell them what to do. Stalin’s chicken.

How long will it be, do you suppose, before the video monitors almost all new cars already have will also feature “live agent connectivity”? Keep in mind that virtually all new cars – and those built within the past decade or so –  have the capability to record your speed, how “aggressively” you accelerate (and brake) as well as whether you’re wearing a seatbelt or not. All current-year luxury cars and most mid-tier cars have some form of onboard “telematics” or “concierge” system that puts you in touch with a friendly OnStar rep (or his counterpart at Lexus, Hyundai, Ford, etc.) and he in touch with you.

The cameras are just the next – the inevitable – step.

If it’s good for the truckers, isn’t it good for us, too?

Who could possibly object?

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  1. I have plug and play trackers on my Taxi cars. The drivers know they are there. I don’t care about the minor technicalities of every day taxi driving. When I got the trackers a little over 2 years ago, i did so because of the benefits and time savings of being able to know where the car was within 50 feet or so, because of problems I had in previous years of drivers telling me they were broke down “here……”–here being 15 miles different from where they were actually broke down.

    Technology is great. It save me a lot of time and money. On the flip side, technology is horrible. It costs me a lot of freedom and money.

    The one common problem in all technology is government. When government is eliminated, there’s really not much to complain about. If government didn’t heavily regulate and intervene in the rental car and insurance business, this technology wouldn’t be much of an issue for the most part. But we have government and a government favored corporation like Hertz, doing the test run for a program that government would love to “perfect” and apply to everyone. For saaaaaaaaaftey, as Eric would rightly say.

    Fuck em. And fuck their wet dream world they want me to reside in.

    • Yes, it’s the one size fits all control freakism that ruins tech.

      Take for example, all the intersection cams here in Vegas. if they were truly public property, they’d be awesome. Look, there’s the kids driving down the strip on their way out of a nightclub. They’re only 17 years old, I’ll have to talk to them.

      Or maybe you pay a fee, and you and your vehicle don’t show up on the cams. $50 bucks a year for “Don’t tell on me” in car app. Money well spent. In a free market universe where there are five hundred different app stores because all telecoms worldwide can compete where they like.

      In a non-crony market, Uber would be good for many taxi business owners. They could integrate the best of both systems and use their local knowledge to their advantage. Disruptive tech would be welcomed, not feared and quashed via the political means. Because its all a sham and not just simple app made in a garage by some spunky teenagers.

      No two track system where the Elon Musk of Uber, whatever his name is, doesn’t get a franchise to help big federale brother collapse yet another private industry and control us all by wire via silicon valley cyberpatsies.

    • You got it Ancap. the problem is that government limits the players. This corporatist system allows companies to behave this way. What are you going to do? Take your business to the three approved competitors that have the exact same policies and practices?

      • EMP the cars, and firebomb the people?
        Far more effective.

        Stop playing nice – wolves do not concern themselves with the opinion of sheep.
        to TPTB, YOU are SHEEP. They are the wolves.

  2. tell hertz to shove the cameras up there ass and don’t rent from them until the cameras are removed. its none of there stinking business what is spoken about with your family or whom ever is in the car. don’t rent from them and boycott them.

  3. What kills me is how they sugarcoat all this technology. On-star’s ads pandered clearly to their audience:

    For the Clueless:
    Idiot: Oh no, I locked myself out of my car. *calls On-star panicked*
    On-Star: We can take care of that right away. *car unlocks*

    For the “I’m afraid of driving”
    *car crashes*
    Announcer: In the event of a crash, On-star will call 911.

    For those terrified of losing their stuff
    *stolen car speeds away, and then shuts down while the cops close in*
    Dark, authoritative voice: in the event of a vehicle theft, On-star will remotely and safely disable the vehicle, and give you peace of mind.

    It’s an old sales trick, if they can scare the bejesus out of people, they can scare the money out of them too. That’s one of the ways all this “technology” is sold off to people.

    The rest of it follows the “profit/protect the bottom-line” route. Some rental corporations like Hertz have loads of infrared/laser scanners at their larger locations to scan every car that goes in and out of the facility; every nick, scratch, blemish, and scuff can get charged to your credit card (unless you bought or have insurance against such trivialities.) Supposedly Hertz has a blacklist against people who owe the company money (from accidents, etc. Usually due to the fact the person driving the vehicle wasn’t the “authorized” driver with the insurance) and haven’t paid up, but until they do (if ever), the company has outstanding payments owed. So I bet this camera crap they’re putting in the cars is gonna be equipped with “face recognition”, “iris recognition” or some other “biometric” technology to make sure that only “authorized” drivers can drive the thing. Watch for “fingerprint scanners” on the key-fobs next.

    That’s where the “plug this device into your car and save money” stuff from the insurance companies come in: scare people into driving “like a good citizen” so they don’t have to pay out for accidents. The cameras in retail stores are mostly used to spy on employees: 10% by loss prevention departments to catch the thieves, the remaining 90% used by the management to sweat the workers who don’t work fast enough (gotta squeeze as much labour out of that minimum wage!) Speed camera sold to politicians who can now say “read my lips! No new taxes”, while promising that only bad drivers and other disgusting people will be forced to pay…until everyone starts getting tickets and complains, and the rest of us figure out how to beat the system and the system loses money left and right (which is indeed happening.)

    By the time they force everyone to submit, the masses will have long accepted, and willingly will bend over and take it. I love it when people embrace this stuff with that “I’ve nothing to hide, I have nothing to fear.” And then get the shaft when they end up losing their lawsuits (“the blackbox radar in your car states you were following Mr. Hootenanny’s car with less than 3” of space, while exceeding the speed limit…”), their cash (“you went 1 picometer over the speed limit! Fine $175! Pay on your way out!!! Next!!!”), and their personal dignity. I also love it when this whiz-bang stuff craps out, rendering the car undriveable: just a 4,000lbs paper-weight. Make something idiot-proof and someone will make a bigger idiot.

    “The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.” – Mr. Scott, 2284.

    “The decay and disintegration of this culture is astonishingly amusing if you are emotionally detached from it.” – George Carlin, 1999

    • I took my kids to see Thomas at the Local Railroad Museum a few years ago. A mom was backing her Crossover SUV type car out of a spot. She was having all kinds of trouble because she was listening to the backup impact warning from the car and not using her eyes. She had two car lengths between her and the building and the car was telling her she was going to hit it. I stopped and told her she had plenty of room to back out. She said “…but the car is telling me I don’t.” I stood there and waved her back all the while she had panic in her eyes because the car was sounding the alarm. I’m not sure who was the bigger drone, her or the car.

      • I have seen this first hand myself. I immediately began to wonder how such people make it to adulthood, but then I am reminded that they haven’t.

        • Back in the 90s the Police “Waterbug” Chevy Captice cost in the low teens to produce(around 14K I believe) and in the 2000s a pretty nicely equipped Duramax(4wd-Duramax,reg cab,longbed,etc)Chevy pickup a fair amount south of 30k,so the state gets deals we cannot hope to approach.At least it makes our tax dollars go furthur.

    • Good stuff mang.

      How to sell using fear

      there are two primary considerations that control how threatened we feel:

      Perceived Vulnerability – Translation: ‘How likely is it to hurt me?‘

      Perceived Severity – Translation: ‘How bad will it hurt?‘
      If people feel that they are likely (high vulnerability) to be hurt badly (high severity) they will feel threatened.

      But is this enough to get them to take action?

      Research shows that there is a third element that plays an important role in a person deciding whether they will take action to avoid a threat.

      Listen up because this part is important. After all, it’s the action (purchase, donate, subscribe) that the marketer is after.

      This third element is called efficacy. Efficacy is a person’s perception as to whether or not they can do anything about the threat. Those that feel they have no control, will take no action.

      – That’s also the challenge for this website, I’d wager a wild guess.

      Most of us aren’t here because we love cars and bikes. There’s other better-funded venues for that passion.

      It’s because of fear of losing our liberty. We wonder how vulnerable we each are to this loss. We wonder how severe this loss already is, and how much worse it is going to be.

      To some degree or another we acknowledge Eric’s expert opinion on this matter. And agree he’s a great guy and ubermensch as well. But the question for him, is how does he convince enough of us its worth parting with our limited supply of cash to support his efforts.

      What is needed to turn me upside down and shake me up enough that I start dropping my lunch money on the ground for easy retrieval.

      My personal fear is being incarcerated or entered into the system as a major criminal of some kind. What, if anything can a blog do to alleviate that fear, I wonder but am unsure.

      Doing the right thing and paying my own way aren’t even in the realm of possibility in my view. There are so many other priorities I should be paying first, a child I had with a girl from a bar I see only in passing, and over overdue IRS payments as two instances, there’s no way I can part with even $1 in actual money, unfair as that is.

      I dare not even be seen as a person who has any means of paying such funds. As a protective necessity, I have no bank accounts or tangible wealth whatsoever in my name at a bill collectors disposal. I work only as a 1099 vendor. I have not even a cell phone or utility or anything in my DHS approved name. I still live quite well. But I am a delinquent tho largely non-existent entity in the eyes of the US federales. My apparent status as the deadest of deadbeats needs to continue being the apparent case for the foreseeable time being.

      As a sales prospect I offer only: buyer of unavoidable necessity. Buyer of something helpful in preserving my freedom and continuing my existence outside of the cages and corrals of the federal prole farmers and cattlemen.

      Notions of honor, duty, and moral standing with my fellow man are long abandoned chimeras for me.

    • Driver’s licenses also started with truckers. It was an issue of “safety”. Do you feel safer for having a driver’s license?

      • Safer? I don’t know abour that. I’ve had my license a long time now, so maybe they don’t do this anymore. But I never figured out how being able to parallel park made me or anyone else safer. Just a weeding out process, like English 101 at a large university.

    • Well I guess I’m guilty of considering Eric one of the “ubermenschen”there are a few others using this site that qualify too,I dont blow smoke lightly.Some of these posters could be right out of the mind of Ayn Rand,I keep hearing that the powers that be want to do away with woodstoves!(talking about a potential blackmarket),darned if you do ,darned if you dont-the last time I checked wood and buffalo chips,were zero net greenhouse(If everybody has to use a heatpump NOX emissions will hit the ceiling,love the smell of extremely hot combustion)I guess the message is they want less of us,crammed in concentration zones.
      Has any of those Greenie weinies ever stopped to consider,that we are the top of the food chain?I love me wee beasties too,but I honestly feel that we can accomadate the natural world and eat our cake too.We are not the problem,we are the solution.

  4. Is the camera out easy to spot? Flip it off, then put a piece of tape on it. Better yet, just don’t use Hertz.

    • They say it’s not “active,” that it can be turned off… but I (based on precedent) am certain their ultimate goal is to have them all on the time, or activated at their discretion. They want full monitoring capability.

      • eric, or either it’s on all the time and being put on hard drive. Key words, motions and uses of controls would note that as an “event”. Makes it easy to see all the things they want to. Fuck You and Motherfucker would obviously be words it doesn’t respond to since there are now a couple generations that have a double handful of words other than those they use to total communication. Oh, and Bitch and bitchslap and the many variations thereof.

  5. Reminds me of “Progressives snapshot”.well looks like the water temperature is increasing so slowly,the Froggies wont jump out.Slowly but surely ,Clover is winning-everyone wants to be safe,dont they?(sarcasm intended)

  6. Jeez this cries out for agorism. I’ll rent you my car I don’t need it this week. Craigslist. Facebook. whatever. People can do these things without hertz or whothehellever

  7. Ken White of Popehat is an actual fascist. Originally he worked as an LA prosecutor. Lately, he’s been working as a federal criminal defense attorney.

    I am a federal attorney, ask me anything – reddit

    Housekeeper Who Stole a Bag of Frozen Meatballs Facing As Much Jail Time As Steubenville Rapist – politics

    [–]KenPopehat 1364 points 1 year ago
    No. No. No. No.
    Once again people are confusing the maximum possible sentence with the remotely probable sentence.
    Sentencing doesn’t work like that.

    what a skeevy creep this voldemort soul sucker Ken White must be. It creeps me out just typing his putrid blood and roses soaked name.

    Sometimes you people are like the guy at < Hannibal Lecter’s dinner table making comments about how tasty your own brain tastes.

    One more Ken White gem:
    Related note: I am a very white guy married to a very white girl. We have three very Asian children. People talking to us will look around to make sure the kids are not in earshot and whisper seriously “Do they know they are adopted?” These people vote.

    As if the voting is the problem, Ken. What about the heartless lawdemons who pay their mortgage using the souls of CPS abducted children as their currency.

    Fred Reed is a large diamond in the weedy unknown rough.

    Ken White is a scratched cubic zirconia chip in a 100 megaton pile of feces


    And Fuck the Pope’s 20 gallon hat too. What the jigaboo jungle jehosaphat kind of shit is that gotdam pope’s hat and all his other shaka zulu bling bling holy hiphop hoodoo for jayzuss really about?

    Sorry for the interruption. Go back to your scheduled deprogramming.

  8. I have tons of ‘hertz’ points for free rentals….but I cant stand them. I don’t even want to use the points, and this gives me one more reason not to (although I have 2 words for the camera- electrical tape). I have ‘national’ points for free rentals as well, and national is far superior- namely because you are free to choose what vehicle you want and you’re not assigned something. Plus hertz considers a Buick a luxury car(which is really is but that’s not the point) and does not consider a Cadillac a luxury vehicle you can use points for. Cadillac is ‘premium’ and you always have to pay. With National you can get a Buick on a regular day once you get status. This is just annoying when you want to take your favorite lady out for a date night and cant get the caddy

    • About 30 years ago hertz was getting caddy’s and lincolns for about 2$K since they were such pieces of shit and nobody would buy them. My point being, if everybody could have paid that for one they’d have sold huge amounts. 2$K, it takes a major shit and you dump it. It was a tightly held secret for awhile but just like anything mega-corps do somebody’s gonna drop a dime on them.

      BTW, Enterprise so Soooo much cheaper than the others it’s a no-brainer unless you’re out to impress and that’s a no-brainer in itself(de plates boss, de plates).

      • I have often wondered what cars actually cost to manufacture. Not the wholesale price but the actual bottom line price to finish one.

  9. I think that many car rental companies will be reluctant to impose something like Hertz’s NeverLost system.

    For instance, few insurance companies have rushed to push that nasty in-car spyware that Progressive tries to promote with lower premiums.

    There’s profit to be made by offering backlash alternatives to the atrocities pushed by one or two of the Biggest Dogs.

    • Yes, reluctant. How many companies have similar-to-Progressive spyware discounts. I’m not going to research it, but there’s no way Progressive is the only one.

      Looks to me like there’s only two other companies of consequence, #1 Enterprise, and #3 Avis.

      Here in Vegas, cabs are REQUIRED to have in cab cameras. Which of course is suicidal, since lots of people don’t want to be on camera doing the things one does in Vegas. So now car services and limos benefit.

      Uber is the least regulated, yet also the most regulated. Since your account is tied to a credit card. And smart phone ID. And all your destinations are logged and the data is retained.

      It becomes an exercise in madness at some point. Perhaps a new science is required. Surveilogy, so we can study and analyze how much we’re tracked, who is tracking, and what the results and permutations of all this tracking end up being.

      How Uber tracks where any driver and any one time user is at in perpetuity

      • All of this “1984” technology coming at us, our liberty increasingly straitjacketed, yet libertarians of the ilk just can’t get enough of it. Sorry to beat a dying horse, but this is one reason why I’m a paleo-conservative and not a libertarian. A conservative has grounds for rejecting changes such as we’re seeing, while libertarians have no answer for technotyranny because it comes through the free market, is popular, and doesn’t contravene the non-aggression principle.

        Indeed, libertarians see old-time conservatives as backward, stick-in-the-mud, anti-progress fuddy-duddies who want to squelch human creativity. That’ll probably be their last free thought before they learn to love Big Technobrother while weeping into their Victory gin.

        • I’m a Jurassic Whig man myself. JK.

          Well La Dee Freakin Da. We’ve got ourselves a Paleo Conservative living in an M Class Mercedes SUV next to us libertarians down by the river. Welcome Willkommen mein froinds.

          It’s all a moot point tho. But lets start the mootin and hootin. Cause the truth is, the various American political groups are all part of the same vanquished and utterly conquered peoples.

          It’s like saying you’re a Big Teepee Sioux instead of us pathetic Long Canoe Sioux. Who the F cares, chief? Why does the World Polity care what you call yourself as you drink away your welfare warfare checks and dance your old rain dances and recount your old buffalo gal stories to the unwashed broken back warriors of battles lost long ago.

          You foolishly thought that because you got on a hot streak, and conquered one group after another, that the same thing would never be done to you. Well wise up, Pocahontas, you can either Sucka Jew WeeWee or Smoke another PeacePipe, because you’re irrelevant and have no redeemable value to anybody.

          You’re not even needed as cannon fodder. The Japs Koreans and Chinese build drones for that using German and Italian know-how. You’re just straight up paleo-extinct is what you mostly are.

          If you’re paleo conservative, where conservative has to do with spending of the commonly appropriated wealth, that’s one thing. We can still have a philosophical discussion. But not from any imagined catbird seat of decision making.

          Any political talk should be done while holding the truth firmly in your mind that you’re nothing more than a potential Slumdog Millionaire. Though its unlikely you’ll ever even get a call to answer those questions on a Bollywood Dog and Pony game show reality series.

          How much do you expect those in power to ethically extract tributes from their subjects. How do you propose they do it ethically and with minimal invasiveness. That is what I care about.

          If you’re conservative in the sense that there’s one right way to live, well that’s a problem for me.

          What mental mutation took place that changed classical liberal and laissez faire conservatives into fanatics with a monopoly money printing press spending us all into eternal insolvency and ruin.

          Paleo Con Core Beliefs:

          Rich Lowry says its a deceptive buzzword obscure the truth its a recent ideological creation of post-Cold War politics.

          the survival and enhancement of a particular people and its institutionalized cultural expressions. that is what the paleoconservative movement claims to be about, while never addressing the inconvenient fact that there’s zero chance of things returning to how they once were:

          What paleoconservatism tries to tell Americans is that the dominant forces in their society are no longer committed to conserving the traditions, institutions, and values that created and formed it, and, therefore, that those who are really conservative in any serious sense and wish to live under those traditions, institutions, and values need to oppose the dominant forces and form new ones.

          Sam Francis wrote:

          We believe that the United States derives from and is an integral part of European civilization and the European people and that the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character.

          We therefore oppose the massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples into the United States that threatens to transform our nation into a non-European majority in our lifetime. We believe that illegal immigration must be stopped, if necessary by military force and placing troops on our national borders; that illegal aliens must be returned to their own countries; and that legal immigration must be severely restricted or halted through appropriate changes in our laws and policies

          – How is that going to help. The Europoors are mostly worse off than the Americafats.

          Its not a matter of words and firmly held beliefs in your head. People are however they are, leave em be unless they trespass, and then shoot an arrow in their knee or whatever else it takes. Its a matter of letting go and accepting the things you can’t afford to change. Which is nearly everything. Just stop believing in it all. Now that would be the start of something paleo awesome.

          • A long reply just to say that I’m right, but that being right doesn’t matter anyway.

            The point is the same: given that technotyranny breaks no libertarian rules as I stated above, there’s nothing he can consistently say against the brave new world coming down the pike.

            • The one who is “right” is whomever is getting results and achieving freedom, no?

              They might both be right. Both be wrong. Or one is right one is wrong. The way to know, is to observe and measure what is working and what is not.

              Technotyranny may not break the fake rules, but the real rules, as I see them, is no force against me ever for any purpose.

              Thus, a competition to decide who is going to install the surveillance cams in my neighborhood has nothing to do with capitalism or any kind of freedom.

              Techno is always just a thing. A product. Or a voluntary service.

              Tyranny is any fake moral system that claims the mantle of authority. Thus elected libertarians who execute their duties as expected are tyrants. Elected paleo conservatives who execute their duties as expected are tyrants.

              A construction company that puts in bids to a government to do work on a school or prison is not engaged in capitalism. But only tyranny.

              Techno and tyranny can not be joined.

              Libertarian and rules can not be combined.

              Both of these are a contradiction.

              You are already not free to do anything meaningful and productive. The Brave New World already came down the pike and became our world long ago. It’s already a completed process.

              Can you go to unoccupied unowned and and build a teepee or a canoe. No, you cannot. You’re no more free than were the Native Americans once the Eurosurpers arrived.

              It is only loyalist busybodies who are free to succor favor with the state. And misandric cybermadmen who are allowed to create new technologies within narrow parameters.

              To be free, is to rebel and disobey. To be a stone cold violator of each and every statist meme and percept. It is not someone who sips on a can of State approved cola while reading the memoirs of Ron Paul or Barry Goldwater and imagines he is a kindred spirit of the eternal freethinkers of the never arriving golden future.

              Technotyranny – The Brave New World

              Ok, America. Drop the cheetos, put down the remote, and wake the f**k up. What was once a free, enlightened constitutional republic seems to be morphing into some kind of tech-dominated totalitarian state of the kind envisioned by George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, or in any number of science fiction movies. Except it might even be worse than that because the actual technology being deployed is more powerful than anything portrayed in any of those works of fiction.

              Don’t agree with me? Consider some of the latest news and information concerning the growth and evolution of our techno-surveillance police state, or, as I like to call it, the Borg:

              – This line of thinking, I would call: Gonzo Complacency. Much ado about doing nothing much.

        • Hi Ross,

          You may well be right. I sorely hope not, but I acknowledge the possibility, that the points you make are valid.

          As a romantic, I love the idea of smashing central authority to pieces; of a society in which the ebb and flow of countless free individuals freely agreeing (or not) determines the shape of things.

          But is it realistic?

          Won’t the eternal enemies – lust for power and money – inevitably create blocs that will use coercion (ever increasing) to further their own ends?

          On the other end of the scale, can the “watchman” – a strictly limited government – prevent this or is it a contradiction in terms?

          Perhaps the best we can hope for is some muddled middle ground (a “mixed” economy, a constitutional republic) for as long as it can be maintained?

          I believe this is what at least some of the founders (the not-evil ones, like Jefferson) were after. Franklin understood, too.

          It is axiomatic that nothing is perfect in this world.

          This includes, I suspect, political and social arrangements.

          Libertarian ideals are absolutely viable at the individual level, but may not scale. This gets back to the issue of density. Perhaps there are just (quoting Phil Collins) too many people making too many problems?

          I can deal directly with my neighbor; he and I know one another and can work things out between us. But what about all those people in town? I don’t know them, they don’t know me. They want schools for the children (their children) and since they outnumber me (and outvote me) they can – and will – force me to “help” fund said schools.

          This scales.

          Und so weiter….

          • I hope I’m wrong, for all of our sakes. And the night watchman state has already failed.

            It is frustrating to think that it’s free enterprise and private companies who are leading the charge into technotyranny. I see that Google has just throttled as of yesterday, a very important web site; a private entrepreneurial company is acting just like the federal government.

            Maybe Animal Farm is a better parable for our times than 1984. The farm animals looked from farmer to pig and back, and couldn’t tell the difference.

            • How does one bee go his own way and deviate from the swarm? Buzz contrary to the hive?

              That’s the dilemma, I think.

              Too damned many people. It makes individualism implausible by dint of sheer numbers. We get carried along by the mass, like it or not. And inevitably, there will be “leaders” who speak for (or claim to speak for) the masses.

        • Hi Ross,

          “Techno-tyranny” as you call it is much more likely to happen with a state than without one. We have seen the state bully supposedly private companies to cut off funding sources for Wikileaks. We’ve also seen the state bully the telecom industry into complying with the Bush demand for warrantless access to phone and e-mail conversations. Why do tech companies do this? I would answer that they fear the wrath of the state more than they fear the potential loss of business due to consumer dissatisfaction. Without a state (minimal or otherwise) “techno tyranny” would have economic consequences. Companies would emerge that would offer alternatives to those companies engaging in “techno tyranny”.

          You clam that paleo-conservatives can consistently argue against the “brave new world” coming, but libertarians cannot. This makes no sense. Some libertarians argue against many things that don’t violate the NAP (drug use, prostitution, pornography, etc… ) but they don’t want those activities prohibited by the state. You seem to be implying that a minimal state could protect us from “techno tyranny”. This seems absurd to me. Any state, minimal or not, will use its’ power to pressure tech companies and the media to censor information that it deems dangerous. Absent the state, companies would be beholden to the desires of its’ customers.

          Now, you may be right that most people would favor censored information and choose it in a free market. However, many people will not. So, absent the state, there will always be a market for alternative information, and some people will choose to support it.

          The state always has its’ own agenda. It cynically manipulate the desires of people by falsely claiming that only it can protect or deliver those things that people want. This is true whether one is a dedicated interventionist and proponent of wealth redistribution, or if one is a “paleo-conservative” advocate of the “night watchman” theory of government power. The state will use those beliefs to increase its’ own power, because it can. In fact, “minarchists” are part of the problem because they advocate that there must be an institution that has a monopoly on the legal use of force.

          Absent such an institution, people would have to personally bear the risks and costs of being aggressive. Most people understand that it is easier and safer to get what you want through cooperation than force. However, these same people are more likely to choose force when they can delegate the risk to an outside entity (the state). As an example, the wholesale destruction of American Indians did not begin until the “settlers” had the option of delegating the risk of violence to the armies of the Federal government, which was radically empowered by the conclusion of the “war between the states”.


      • The answer is to relinquish control of the vehicle and yet insure it via private contract. Say you call your insurer and say you are borrowing a car from a friend and need it insured…

  10. “If it’s good for the truckers, isn’t it good for us, too?”


    how’bout all our noble “public safety” personnel & vehicles.

    Surely the police should eagerly lead the way adopting this wonderful safety technology.

    All government vehicles would also benefit immensely from this safety innovation. And public confidence in government would soar as we see hard evidence of what those hordes of public servants actually do all day in their taxpayer provided vehicles.

  11. Inactive hardware I think is to put objectionable things in the realm of conspiracy theory kookdom in the minds of masses. For instance, smart meters. Their intrusive abilities are a “conspiracy theory” to the general public but if one actually reads the marketing materials, the specifications, the IEEE papers, and so forth their abilities are pretty much everything the “conspiracy theory kooks” say they are. Of course some things get over stated and others under stated, that’s the nature of word-of-mouth, but there is a solid truth behind it.

    The power companies promise not to use these features. Well until they do. Until they use them and are caught doing so and its put on mainstream media it will be a conspiracy theory and at that point, like the NSA, it will be joked about and then accepted.

  12. They’ll say it’s for insurance purposes — which would be their insurance, not yours.

    It’s so Hertz can see who was driving to prevent abuse – they don’t need live streaming video for this, just for it to take a snapshot when the car is started, or the door closes, or if there’s high-g event, or perhaps every few minutes just-because.

    They can use this to show who was behind the wheel during a crash, or a speeding ticket, or going through a toll booth (“It wasn’t me!” “We have a photo of you driving. Pay up.”)


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