No sane person “hates” – as I have been accused of “hating”- electric cars or self-driving cars or air bags or any other technology or device. Hating them is as irrational as hating guns. They’re all morally neutral. Tools.
What irks is being force-fed electric cars, self-driving cars – and so on.
It never seems to be enough that a new device or technology is merely available. Put on the market by those who designed and built it – and then left to succeed or fail on the merits of the thing.
It’s always a totalitarian push that everyone will have “x” – want it or not.
Self-driving cars will follow this pattern.
But there will be a big difference this time.
Once they transition from futuristic technology to everyday viability – and we’re this close to that unhappy moment – proposals will be warbled (then laws enacted) restricting and ultimately forbidding the operation of non-automated cars on the government’s roads.
Elon Musk – the billionaire crony capitalist who loves the idea of directing the flow of history using coercion rather than consent – recently let the self-driving cat out of the bag. It will be done Because Safety. Here is the relevant quote:
“It’s too dangerous,” said Musk. “You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.”
People, in other words, cannot be trusted to behave responsibly on their own. They must be presumed irresponsible – incompetent. All of them. Every last one of us. Premise accepted – which Musk and his fellow coercive utopians will insist upon – and the next step is not only obvious but inevitable.
Within ten years, perhaps sooner, not one of us will be allowed to operate a “two ton death machine.” This will be forbidden. Not initially. But give them time.
Cars that do not drive themselves will first be vilified as unsafe, a threat to the children. This is already happening. Musk says the evidence is “overwhelming” that cars driven by us rather than by him (via computer proxy) are horribly dangerous.
Within a very short time – as the autonomous car pupates into a reality – the push to retire cars we’re allowed to drive ourselves (remember, government roads we’re privileged to use) will become a shove. It will begin with nudges, such as restricted lanes. Autonomous Cars Only. Just as was done – and is still being done – to encourage the use of hybrid and electric vehicles.
These will be expanded.
From one lane to all of them. The highways will be first. Secondary roads a few years afterward. Think I’m exaggerating? Ask Musk.
Or, ask Google.
Chris Urmson – Google’s director of self-driving cars (yes, they have an app for that – and so much more) told an audience at an auto industry event in January that he did not believe there was any regulatory obstacle for the introduction of self-driving cars, provided they met all the federal government’s crash-test and safety standards.
2017 Cadillacs will offer a “supercruise” self-driving feature that will turn drivers into passengers. Musk says all it will take to turn his fleet of electric Edsels into self-driving electric Edsels is a software tweak.
Self-driving semis are being trotted out on the highways of Nevada.
At the same time, financial “incentives” will be trotted out to encourage the accelerated retirement of “old fashioned” and “unsafe” cars that do not drive themselves. This could be done very effectively via insurance. Those who buy a Googlized or Musked car that drives itself will be rewarded with lower rates – Because Safety. Meanwhile, those who “cling” to their “old fashioned” cars that do not drive themselves will be forced (remember, insurance is mandatory) to pay ever-increasing premiums – also Because Safety.
These premiums will quickly balloon to exorbitant levels.
Most peoplewill no longer be able to afford to pay the insurance, without which it is illegal to drive the car. Presto – your non-autonomous car becomes two tons of functionally useless steel and glass.
Whether you – as an individual – have ever filed a claim or had one filed against you being immaterial as regards these mafiosi-esque extortions.
Because – as Musk would be happy to tell you – the individual is immaterial.
The collective, on the other hand, is very material indeed. “people” – not you, just “people” – cannot be trusted to safely operate a “two ton death machine.” There are accidents. Children hurt. Not perhaps by you.
What is material is the fact that some people get into accidents; that some people cannot be trusted to safely operate a “two ton death machine.” Those “some” will become the basis for laws that apply to all.
Those who don’t see it coming are fools. Because this is not new. It is merely the latest – logical – expansion of a principle already accepted by a majority of the population. And endorsed by the courts.
How else to explain TSA checkpoints, just for instance? Everyone is presumed a terrorist until proved otherwise. You want to fly? You will be required to submit. The difference – for now – being you may still opt out of flying and get where you want to go by driving.
Soon that option will be gone with the wind.
We will be required to accept passenger status – and pay for the privilege. Driving will cease to be.
We will be driven henceforth.
Carpe diem. While you still can.
I thank the Motor Gods I arrived just in time to experience the freedom of driving myself where I want to go, when and how I’d like to go. Without Elon Musk along for the ride. That classic hard rock tune Red Barchetta echoes in my head. I pity the youth.
They will never know.
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