Atlas Shrugging

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It may be that Atlas is beginning to shrug.Atlas shrugged image

You remember Atlas. The mythical giant who struggles to support the world on his mighty shoulders. One day, his strength gives out. Or his will. His desire to bear the burden.

So, he shrugs.

Volkswagen just did exactly that.

The automaker says it cheated on federal emissions tests because company engineers considered it “impossible” to pass them.

Italics added.

Read that again.

A major-league automaker, with an entire engineering staff at its disposal, found it impossible to comply with the federal government’s emissions fatwas. It would have required unacceptable (to VW’s customers) functional compromises – or unacceptable costs.VW diesel 1

So, VW elected to shrug.

Screw the tests. Screw Uncle. We are in the business of building cars that must be appealing to our customers, such that they are willing to part with hard-earned money in exchange for them. If that means the cars are not “compliant” with the government’s endless laundry list of demands … well, so be it.

How long before others do something similar?

It is inevitable. Something has got to give.

Because the well is not bottomless. All the things demanded by government, someone’s got to pay for. And when there are no longer enough someones willing (or even able) to do so, the American economy will go the way of the Soviet economy.

This scenario was predicted by Ayn Rand 50-something years ago in her novel, Atlas Shrugged. In it, she depicted productive work as the object of persecution by useless-eating government bureaucrats, who imposed one unreasonable demand after another. Eventually, it became all-but-impossible to get anything productive done.VW scandal image

The productive decided to shrug.

Tailpipe exhaust emissions standards are just one example of real-world government demands that have become unreasonable – and which led VW to shrug.

Reasonable would be a requirement that 95 percent of a vehicle’s exhaust stream be free of noxious-to-health gasses. VW – and everyone else – met that standard about ten years ago.

It’s not enough.

It is never enough.

The demands always escalate.

Now 97 percent must be free of noxious-to-health gasses. And then 98 percent. When that bar is reached, they will insist upon zero emissions.unicorn farts

You can see perhaps where this is headed. A point is reached that is analogous to besting the four minute mile. It is doable, theoretically. But it is also much, much harder than breaking the five minute mile.

Back in the ’80s, reducing harmful exhaust emissions by double digits was not only doable, it was economically doable. Relatively simple things such as replacing mechanical carburetors with electronic fuel injection (which made it possible to maintain a near-ideal air/fuel ratio at all times) achieved remarkable reductions in harmful emissions in a cost-effective manner.

This was reasonable.

We are now in the age of unreasonable. Demands that fractional reductions (e.g., cutting back 1 percent by 25 percent) be achieved regardless of cost. Most people are unaware of this dynamic. The federal government simply issues its regulatory fatwa – and it is up to the automakers to comply.

This is not economically sustainable. It is the equivalent of demanding that all new houses be built such that they can withstand a Category 5 Hurricane or that every school kid demonstrate the ability to perform differential equations.Kip Chalmers from the movie

Like it or not, there are limits. Things that cannot be done. Not, at least, without bankrupting us all or causing the economy to come to a gear-grinding halt. Rand described this scenario in fiction half a century ago. It is now our reality. But people outside the industry do not see it.

In part because it has not been explained to them.

It’s not the VW’s diesels are “dirty.” There is no such thing as “dirty” new car, diesel or gas-powered.

It’s that they are not 98.5 percent “clean.”

And here’s the real dirt:

Even if VW – and everyone else – figures out a cost-feasible way to achieve tailpipe exhaust that is 98.5 percent “clean,” the Kip Chalmers of our world (read Atlas) will then demand 100 percent “clean.” Or, they will do as they already have – and begin to redefine the currently “clean” compounds (e.g., water vapor and carbon dioxide, which now constitute the bulk of the inert compounds in a new vehicle’s exhaust stream) as “harmful pollutants” and therefore subject to new federal fatwas.

This is already happening. The just-agreed-to “climate change” global fatwa, for instance.

The object you see, is not “clean” cars.

It is to get rid of cars.

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81 COMMENTS

  1. Ayn Rand’s Firefly

    – – –

    MAL: How come you didn’t turn on me, Jayne?

    JAYNE: Money wasn’t good enough.

    MAL: What happens when it is?

    JAYNE: When men reduce their virtues to the approximate, then evil acquires the force of an absolute, when loyalty to an unyielding purpose is dropped by the virtuous, it’s picked up by scoundrels—and you get the indecent spectacle of a cringing, bargaining, traitorous good and a self-righteously uncompromising evil.

    MAL: What?

    JAYNE: As long as you treat my loyalty as if it is available for purchase, it will be.

    ZOE: We can’t steal a shipment of medicine bound for a bunch of sick miners.

    MAL: I agree. What we can do is the job we were paid to do. Would you have me rob my employer on behalf of strangers unwilling to protect their investment?

    ZOE: Jesus, Mal.

    MAL: Do you agree that in a free society, men deal with one another by voluntary, uncoerced exchange, by mutual consent to mutual profit, each man pursuing his own rational self-interest, none sacrificing himself or others? That all values, whether goods or services, are traded, not given away?

    ZOE: I don’t think this has anything to do with whether society is free or not. It’s about –

    MAL: Everything is about whether society is free or not. If I am not free to act as I choose, then society is not free. There is no society without the individual. There is no freedom without the “I.” If I am not free to disrupt this shipment of medicine for profit, I am no better than a slave. If you demand I perform a selfless act for a group of strangers who mean nothing to me, you are a threat to my freedom, and I will deal with you as such.

    ZOE: You wouldn’t shoot me, Mal?

    MAL: No. But I would boycott you.

    ZOE: What does that mean, in this context?

    MAL: I cannot answer your question. I am on strike.

    [MAL sits down.]

    ZOE: What are you doing?

    MAL: Asserting my freedom.

    BOOK: That young man’s very brave.

    MAL: [scoffing] Yeah. He’s my hero.

    BOOK: Gave up everything to free his sister from that place. Go from being a doctor on the central planets to hiding on the fringes of the system…Not many who would do that.

    MAL: I am glad of that, at least. The man is an altruist, and refuses to exist for his own sake.

    BOOK: You think he should have left her there to die? Or worse?

    MAL: Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not rescue your sister from torture school. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without rescuing her from torture school. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, rescue by rescue, from any sibling who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: “No.” Altruism says: “Yes.”

    DOCTOR CARON: “These are just a few of the images we’ve recorded. And you can see, it wasn’t what we thought. There’s been no war here and no terraforming event. The environment is stable. It’s the Pax. The G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate that we added to the air processors. It was supposed to calm the population, weed out aggression. Well, it works. The people here stopped fighting. And then they stopped everything else. They stopped going to work, they stopped breeding, talking, eating. There’s 30 million people here, and they all just let themselves die.”

    MAL: I see no difference between this planet and any other.

    SIMON: Jesus, Mal, this is where Reavers came fr –

    MAL: Explain to me how the strangulation of men’s respiratory systems through Paxilon is any different from the strangulation of men’s ideas through government regulation.

    SIMON: I…

    MAL: If one upholds freedom, one must uphold man’s individual rights; if one upholds man’s individual rights, one must uphold his right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness; which means: one must uphold a political system that guarantees and protects these rights; which means: the politico-economic system of capitalism. All I’m saying, is that under true capitalism, this never would have happened.

    ZOE: People need to know about this.

    MAL: A free mind and a free market are the same thing. What people need are unregulated trade systems. And I’m going to give it to them.

    – A reading from the prophecies of Ayn Rand
    http://mb.cision.com/Public/MigratedWpy/98901/9164206/90d0b09af485250c_400x400ar.jpg

  2. You could explain it to them but their heads would explode.
    Most everyone under the age of 35 is a mentally retarded monkey-child parasite that is now too stupid to be free…Thanks to government school and TV programming. America will be like Venezuela or Greece within 15 years…There is no stopping the political terrorists now…They won.

  3. “The object you see, is not ‘clean’ cars.

    “It is to get rid of cars.”

    Afraid it’s much worse than that: it’s to get rid of humans altogether.

    From an article of mine: http://capitalismmagazine.com/2005/10/the-killer-bug-in-the-space-shuttle/

    Or just recall this dialogue–as metaphor for what moves the nihilist (see James Taggart)–from the film, _Tombstone_ (slightly altered for dramatic effect):

    Wyatt Earp: “What makes a man like [James Taggart], Doc? What makes him do the things he does?”

    Doc Holliday: “A man like [Taggart] has got a great big hole, right in the middle of him. He can never kill enough, or steal enough, or inflict enough pain to ever fill it.”

    Wyatt Earp: “What does he need?”

    Doc Holliday: “Revenge.”

    Wyatt Earp: “For what?”

    Doc Holliday: “Bein’ born.”

  4. I guess if tor can post that long stuff so can I. Here is my Hampton (IA.) Chronicle column for this week:
    Goodbye Dream Car

    To most people a car is a way to get around. Being from California, I’m supposed to consider it a statement. But I’m also a rebel. I never could bring myself to go out on a limb to dedicate my life to a car. I have utmost respect for the skill and patience to drive well and restore or maintain a car but I leave the complicated stuff up to others and enjoy it as a spectator sport.

    I’ve got a thing I inherited from my dad, admiration for ordinary people. That might be why my first two cars were Volkswagen Beetles, “the people’s car.” For a month that first ’59 had a dead battery and I could push it by the door jam, jump in, and pop the clutch. Oftentimes someone was nearby and would help out. With no mechanical knowledge, I could do anything on that car as long as I had “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive,” by John Muir. Principles in that book influenced me mechanically, for the rest of my life.

    Now it is different. Cars, although nearly as dependable as my brother-in-law, cannot be repaired by ordinary people. This industrial revolution thing, specialization, has gone over the top. It has stopped making us wealthier. And it has promoted ignorance.

    After driving this amazing Honda CR-V for miles and miles we were ready to upgrade for double the fuel mileage. The timing was perfect. Our dog, Wally, has a bad leg and has trouble jumping in the back. The car didn’t need to be so tall.

    Even though the Honda is extremely high quality, the Volkswagen was more so. The new station wagon had a manual transmission, a bigger back seat and most drivers were getting over 50 miles per gallon (seven mpg more than EPA estimates, unlike Ford’s C-Max that couldn’t manage seven mpg less than EPA’s numbers). We were scheduled for a test drive but the beans were ready to combine.

    In the meantime some grad students in West Virginia found that VW had used computer software to get good mileage and performance on the road and also change programs to pass emissions tests on a stationary test stand. The car nerd in me was devastated.

    I was all ready to go 800 miles on a tank, put it on cruise and not have some idiotic automatic shifting all over when it didn’t need to; a car I could actually drive instead of just guide. It would not have been perfect. VW eliminated the independent rear suspension to make room for the urea tank (the same year Ford finally put IRS under the Mustang). Ordinary people could never work on this, or any other modern car.

    Those who know me know my bitterness is exasperated by my hatred for Nixon’s EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Every time we turn around there is some new rule making things more expensive for ordinary people who have no idea where the added expense is coming from. The benefits of the EPA’s meddling are way overblown. Most environmental improvements stem from increased efficiency to meet market demands and settlements in property rights disputes such as pollution seeping across a property line.

    While I think VW was wrong to cheat on the tests, there are some facts that need to be considered. Consider who benefits. Volkswagen is ahead in diesel technology, foreign owned, and their workers here rejected a United Auto Workers contract. General Motors was bailed out by you and me in a sweetheart deal for the union. Their ignition key cover-up cost 124 U.S. taxpayers their lives. General Motors is owned by the government that regulates both GM and VW. Volkswagen and Toyota will both be fined more than GM for non-lethal and unproven violations.

    I also found these interesting facts about production of Nitrogen Oxides and the particulate matter that violated the EPA tests. An average diesel truck would have to drive 10 miles to emit as much NOx as a charbroiled burger. And a diesel car driven across the country 100 times would still not produce as much NOx as a flash of lightning, of which there are 1.4 billion per year. If diesel cars were as prevalent here as they are in Europe, Americans would save $20 billion per year in fuel costs and oil companies would sell that much less fuel.

    I don’t really care about a Volkswagen anymore. Last week a portion of their workers in Chattanooga voted to join the UAW. That, the cheating, and carrying a tank of urine (DEF, diesel exhaust fluid) around all the time, is just not enough to give up the CR-V. We got a ramp for Wally.

    • Nice article. Good research, I learned a lot. Googled the lightning thing, got NASA’s research. Very informative. I was pissed before, but now I’m crying. Unbelievable.

    • Good comment Fritz. You are correct about fire-cooked meat. I love it but rarely eat it. It really is one of the top carcinogens we eat, right up there with GMO foods and glyphosate, 2,4, DT and even newer ag chemicals.

      Did you know in Europe, the DEF is a cheap tablet you throw in a water tank? Sorta like that little tablet of chlorine in your pool cleaning pump system. And it turns out, it’s just as carcinogous or moreso. So now we kill the diesel drivers who have to handle the crap. Then there’s the problem of what to do with that box once emptied. I see the damned things everywhere but maybe in the barditch is the best place for them, dry them up, degrade them and let everything on earth breathe a bit of it, hopefully the highest concentrations will settle in DC.

      Nothing like condemning one thing as being hazardous and adding another even more hazardous material to supposedly calm the seas of harm of the first. It’s so much bullshit I just finally had to say it.

  5. I too wondered why VW did it, and thanks for this article – it explains at least part of it.

    I guessed it also might be that they actually *did* comply with the letter of the law, and thought that would be good enough. If the letter of the law said, “Pass these tests” and they did, then that should have been good enough. Normally the government response, if they weren’t quite the tyrannical bastards we know they are, would have been to modify the tests so dodges like VW’s would no longer have worked. But I guess we are now in the regime that complying with the letter of the law is not good enough. Ex post facto laws…

    Time for a revolution.

  6. any one that supports the communists in the EPA from those at the top to the people in the streets with signs should be forced to live in caves covered in leaves and scrounging for insects to eat. should be barred from using any thing made with oil etc which would be clothes food tools cars planes everything you touch

  7. hello mr peters,

    would you consider do a real world test of a govt legal vs street edition of the vw cars to show just how stupid the government mandates are in reality?

    many thanks

    • Hi Zero,

      I’d love to!

      What I’d really like to do is test drive the European Passat 1.6 TDI that is not sold here (because Uncle).

    • Hi TZ,

      I’ve argued for years that it ought to be a legally viable defense to demand that the prosecution produce a victim or evidence of harm caused; that this business of “the people” vs. you is morally indefensible and therefore ought to be legally impermissible.

      Law without a moral component is like a contract without the signature of both parties.

      • Eric,

        We all know what that bitch of a “contract”. It’s the implicit contract that uncle touts since he can never get a genuine contract.

      • EP: “I’ve argued for years that it ought to be a legally viable defense to demand that the prosecution produce a victim or evidence of harm caused; that this business of “the people” vs. you is morally indefensible and therefore ought to be legally impermissible.”

        To be blunt: “Arguing”, or whining, about the myriad ant-liberty actions won’t change anything. Old Army saying: “Do something – even it’s wrong”

  8. More evidence of the great global crisis, for how long will there remain, heartless deniers of the settled scientific facts.

    And how much longer will those who accept the inconvenient truths, fail to make the hard choices, and do the difficult things, every true expert realizes will need to be done, so finally we can begin to heal this troubled planet, and renew our environments, societies, and fellow living creature,s on the only home world we will ever have.

    The crisis I speak of, is Global Dumbing, the great planetary homicidal scourge, spread by those with only the lust of power in their hearts, and never with any human sense or affection for others, or this planet, one who care only about how great their authority and fame becomes. And damn all the consequences and creeping idiocy and incapacity its bringing us.

    No matter how terrible and life-threatening, all their stupid ideas and terrible policies are, for everyone, even for themselves and families as well. Nothing has yet been found, that can take their chubby genetically deficient hands off the levers of powers they’ve created. Nor any way to still all their lolling inarticulate tongues from licking clean, all the windows of all their ivory towers.

    The way to fight this Global Dumbing, is to hold fast to the idea that reality is never optional. That fantasies never seem true for long.

    In the end, all the astroturf campaigns, and every false flag catastrophe or disaster in the world. Whatever drivel they inculcate into far too many of us is ever going to alter the fundamental facts of physics and biology.

    No matter how widely, their latest superstitions and delusions are able to take root and enstupify however many billions of gullible and poorly reasoning human minds. It’ll accomplish nothing positive, but only hasten the demise and destruction of this amazing planet, we were born knowing how to protect and preserve.

    Won’t you please donate to the cause and stop humoring or even for a moment ever considering, even a single sentence, of any of this pollution narrative and malevolent factory fantasy dreck these morons keep inventing and then infecting so many enfeebled minds and stalled cognitive engines.

    You can be the machinery of change. You must never stop tuning and honing your gears, pistons, and pneumatic tubes of neuronal processing and rightful rationatings. You must be the heroes who finally bring and end to all this Global Dumbing. Before its too late, and the idiots turn this into another Krypton
    catastrophe..

    Krypton is a real star and planetary desolation scene. The Khryptonians were too stupid to save themselves, or their people.

    Don’t be an epic Kryptonian dummy. Act now and help bring back wisdom and intelligence, so we’re technologically ready for the known threats and limitations of the planets and stars that are nearby and are always undergoing changes and nearing extinction
    https://youtu.be/uZYLN_Ouu5U

    The red dwarf star designated for having the ability to support a Krypton-like planet is located in the constellation Corvus 27.1 light years from Earth.

    The star, designated LHS 2520, possesses a red, highly turbulent surface, somewhat cooler and smaller than the Sun. To find it in the night’s sky, amateur astronomers and Superman fans can follow these coordinates:

    J2000
    Right Ascension: 12 hours 10 minutes 5.77 seconds
    Declination: -15 degrees 4 minutes 17.9 seconds
    Proper Motion: 0.76 arcseconds per year, along 172.94 degrees from due north

    Look and learn all you Jor-Els at the remnants and horrific aftermath of the Kryptonian Ozymandias.

  9. I too was dismayed at VW’s shift to “apology” mode. They were in an enviable position to start swaying public opinion against the marginal intellect in DC.

    Personally, I would have been more impressed if VW had just walked away from the US market, much as Caterpillar did when the highway engine emission standards started going completely out of hand in 2009. Being a favored marque among the “there ought to be a law” crowd, VW would be perfect to lead the revolution toward common sense. Sure, there might be a few sniffles and feelings of betrayal, but I would venture to guess that there would be more than a few taking a closer look at their political belief structure when they wouldn’t be able to lease a new Passat.

    Sooner or later the EPA and their goons are going to go too far with their dictates. Given the historical precedent that generations tend to veer opposite their predecessors politically, we might see a considerable shift toward individual liberty and abandonment of the collective as generation x moves into positions of power.

    • “Given the historical precedent that generations tend to veer opposite their predecessors politically, we might see a considerable shift toward individual liberty and abandonment of the collective as generation x moves into positions of power.”

      Well thanks for that bit of hope. After thinking about it, I don’t think I’ve ever had a boss/supervisor who was a Gen X. I hope they can bring some positive changes as they take over.

      • As a former Gen-X supervisor, all I’ll say is that I gave it up when I realized that as much as the people above me talked about “empowerment,” that’s all it was. And I got tired of getting my fingers slapped when I let employees make their own decisions. Now I keep my head down, far away from the power centers, keeping the lights on in exchange for an hourly wage.

        The very few of my age who are moving up the ladder are every bit as useless as the Yuppies were in the 1980s. All flash and no substance. The few that do seem to get it are shuffled around the company much like IBM in the 1960s and 70s, so that the company can beat out any loyalty to their employees.

        Sad really.

        • I’ve said it before- we’re following the gigantic locust plague of the baby boomers and the “greatest” generation. They have consumed everything in their sight, hung around long after it was time to move on, and salted the earth with the droppings of their statism. What follows is starvation, mass death, and misery.

          And they are going to scream the loudest as the collapse continues and their commie payola systems wither and wilt. They will blame Gen X, and Y and anyone but themselves for being greedy, and stupid, and whatever else their stunted little minds can come up with.

          When in fact they’ve starved us of resources and kept anyone intelligent enough to buck the system well away from any chance of doing anything about it.

          • The only generation to enjoy the spoils of winning WW2 and somehow managed to fuck over countless generations after it. And hypocritical, being so anti-establishment in their youth, criticizing Vietnam and the illegality of drugs, etc. Then growing up and creating the police-state, starting plenty of pointless wars, and enforcing the war on drugs.

            Your analogy is perfect. They do criticize everyone but themselves. I don’t blame them all… but no doubt that the majority’s decisions will leave an immeasurable amount of blood on their hands.

            • “Then growing up and creating the police-state, starting plenty of pointless wars, and enforcing the war on drugs”

              You’re saying that ordinary, common people who protested the Vietnam war and the hypocrisy of the overbearing government created the police state, started the wars that followed the Vietnam war and waged the war on drugs/

              This shit was done TO us, not by us. A tiny handful of elites created the police state, started the wars and carried on the war on drugs. It had nothing to do with any generation.

              Nothing is done by any “majority’s decisions”, never has been and never will be. Sorry to intrude on Ernie’s fantasy and yours, but the two of you are firing down the wrong well.

              • I’m with you, Ed – because you’re right.

                It is always a small but powerful minority that determines policy in any society. The cleverness of “democracy” is that it hides this truth from the masses, who are gulled into believing they are “represented” and can “choose.”

                Nonsense.

                The average person has about as much control over what is done to him as an inmate in a very large prison who was given the opportunity to choose between Warden Smith and Warden Jones… but never given the option of leaving the prison.

                • Exactly, Eric. It’s a little dismaying to see otherwise clear thinking people expressing their acceptance of the democracy myth by saying that entire generations of people did this or that.

                  It’s like saying “WE are fighting a GWOT and WE are winning”. Such statements are usually followed by chants of “USA USA USA”.

                  As Tony Soprano used to say, ” It’s fuggin’ demoralizin'”.

                • So Eric since you and your friends are a very very small minority then why is it that you feel that you can push your inferior and unproven way of life on the rest of us? We do not want your privatized road system that will be far worse than anything else in the world. That is just one small example of the things you want to push down our throats. Eric, Rand Paul the self proclaimed Libertarian has the lowest poll results there are. Eric the people are voting against your plan but you say the minorities like you should have your way.Clover

                  • Clover,

                    If 99 people believe that 2 plus 2 equals 5 and just one person can demonstrate that it equals four, who is right?

                    We merely wish to be left out of your “plans.”

                    But you are like the rapist who blames his victim. “I needed to have sex and she has a vagina and would not give it up; look what she forced me to do!

                    • Tell a lie enough times and it becomes the truth. The elites use this exclusively. Look who owns the wealth and the MSM along with it. Every day the majority of people blame the wrong people for making their lives shitty.

                      The great Rand Paul libertarian(sic) calls for moving the age of retirement up, being a shill of the Zionist MSM owners while the expected lifespan of Americans is dropping. What could be better. Tax everyone to the nth to the day they die…..at work…..paying taxes.

                    • Morning, Eight!

                      Yup.

                      Back in the ’90s, Clintigula (even worse than The Chimp in some ways) shepherded the consolidation of the media in a handful of hands.

                      It’s been corporate-government shilling ever since.

                      I have wondered for years why it is that Libertarians with means (and they exist) don’t put some of their money behind an independent media. The left and right have that – in spades. Why don’t we?

                      This bothers me – on a philosophical as well as practical level.

                      PS: I wish I could grok the greed for money and power that seems to beset MSM “journalists” – who (it seems) will do anything their corporate masters demand, even though they have “fuck you” money in abundance. Example: Being told to “report” on the doings of the Kardashians.

                    • Big media requires government license.
                      Radio and TV are licensed. Cable TV is corporate controlled. Anyone who started something intellectually dangerous would soon find the plug pulled.

                    • “Big media requires government license.”
                      And why? Because gunvermin says so. Not only have they laid claim to the roads, but to the air and to the electromagnetic spectrum. Fish heads are too good for them.

                    • Eric you are free to be left out in our society. You are free to leave what was set up 150 years ago. Our founding fathers formed a government with a set of rules. If you choose to not follow our constitution then leave. No one is stopping you Eric.
                      Clover

                      As for the rest of the lies the rest are telling in this conversation, Trump has spent nothing on advertisement and he is one of the leaders. If you have a better message to get out then it could be done but you do not have a message. I asked for details of your plans and there are none.

                      If you want someone to follow you then come up with some details. No one here is even capable of explaining the details of your privatized road system. If you have a better plan then draw it out. Jeremy said that I fail to see the libertarian plan but I have seen no details on how it would work. How is a smart person supposed to follow a new plan that does not exist?

                    • Clover,

                      “You are free to leave what was set up 150 years ago.”

                      I hate to break it to you, but the Constitution was ratified in 1787 – not 1865.

                      Poor ol’ Clover.

                      See what I mean about government schools?

                      Now then, as regards the rest of your drivel:

                      A contract is only binding (morally – and legally) if the parties to it have consented to it. I did not consent to be ruled by the Constitution. Moreover, the government itself doesn’t obey the Constitution – so why should I be bound to do so? The only law – as you like to say – is whatever the hell they say it is.

                      Poor ol’ Clover!

                      “Eric you are free to be left out in our society.”

                      If only that were so! It’s all I want – but “tell me,” as you like to say, what will happen if I ask to be left alone on my land, which I paid for in full… I’m not harming anyone, not incurring any costs on others for things I use. Yet you and yours will not leave me alone, will you?

                      Why can’t you be honest, Clover?

                      On “details”:

                      We’ve explained it ad nauseam. We don’t want to control or direct anyone’s life. If you want to do something, fine. Go do it. Do it with those who freely agree to participate. But leave me (and others) out of it, if we don’t want to be a part of your “plans.”

                      Leaving aside morality for a moment – have you ever thought that perhaps your “plans” might not be so fabulous if it’s necessary to force people to be involved?

                      Or is it – be honest now – that what really matters to you is that others be forced to accommodate your plans, because they benefit you?

                      That’s it, isn’t it?

                    • what was set up a 150 years ago? You mean the end of Lincoln’s war? Despite the fact that Lincoln’s war put an end to the system the “founding fathers” created and what we have today is little like what existed in 1865 as I told you before, nobody is actually free to leave. The fedgov will tax you where ever you go and if you want to escape that, it certainly isn’t free.

                    • Thanks Eric and Brent now that you have displayed to us that you know what the constitution is then why don’t you follow it? Eric says he did not agree to it so he does not need to follow it. With that said Eric everyone then has the right to do whatever the hell they feel like according to you. I am sure that no one really agreed to not beating the stuffing out of Eric. I guess it is fine to do then. According to you, government employees can do whatever the hell they feel like unless they signed something that said they could not.
                      Eric if you fail to pay your property taxes or whatever then your property is sold for the taxes. If you fail to leave then you are trespassing on privately owned land owned by another individual. So according to your previous statements, trespassers can be shot. You would be the trespasser. The government would only get involved if there is a complaint by the new owner. So would you rather have the new owner shoot your ass or have a policeman haul you off? It is your option to have violence placed on you.Clover

                    • Clover,

                      What we’ve “displayed” is your grossly inaccurate knowledge of the history you attempt to quote (e.g., your statement about the Constitution having been ratified 150 years ago).

                      Of course, you breeze right past that – as is your habit when your deficiencies are pointed out and you know you can’t continue discussing the matter at hand without further embarrassing yourself. You aren’t even smart enough – apparently – to Google when the Constitution was signed before you posted your drivel.

                      How sad is that?

                      Or perhaps you really do believe it was signed in 1865. That could be. After all, you are a product of government schools.

                      Next item:

                      I did not say “Eric says he did not agree to it so he does not need to follow it. ”

                      I did say that a contract not agreed to by the parties is not binding on the party whose consent was not obtained.

                      You do believe in the consent of the governed – don’t you, Clover?

                      Or is that a lie, too?

                      Clover writes:

                      “Eric if you fail to pay your property taxes or whatever then your property is sold for the taxes.”

                      They’re not my taxes, Clover. No more than the money in my wallet is the property of a street mugger. Government – that is, people like you – simply decide they are going to forcible take my money – and if I do not hand it over, then they will attempt to take my property.

                      You’re nothing more than a thief not honest enough to admit what he is. Actually, you’re worse – because you’re a bully-by-proxy; that is to say, a coward. You haven’t got the guts to take anyone else’s things yourself. So, ferret-creature that you are, you vote for someone else to do it for you.

                      PS: Don’t you want your $20? All you have to do is provide proof that you’ve earned your money honestly (as I have) without using force.

                      But of course, you can’t – and so you won’t.

                    • Now you got it Eric. You showed that I did not give you the exact year the constitution was created. What you have said is that you have the right not to follow it anyway. Funny thing isn’t it that you are so worried about something you ignore. You have the ability to change your typos. You go change it like you do my other posts.Clover

                    • Exact year, Clover?

                      You didn’t even get the century right!

                      You’re fucking with the wrong person. Which no doubt is why you’re afraid to use your name, much less show your face.

                      I still have that $20 for you, by the way.

                    • One of the clear signs of Clover’s stupidity is her failure to acknowledge her ignorance. I know a lot, but am also well aware that I don’t know anywhere near all of it.
                      150 years ago, Lee surrendered at Appomatox. At that point, the Consitution, a voluntary association of independent States, was officially dead. So much for Clover’s ‘start’ date.
                      Also, the concept of consent predates the Constitution, it was part of the DoI. Lysander Spooner pretty much took care of that in 1867, almost 150 years ago (unless you are using Common Core math).

                    • Hi Phillip,

                      Exactly.

                      It’s possible to have an intelligent discussion with someone you profoundly disagree with provided both parties acknowledge facts (as distinct from opinions) and when an error is made – and pointed put – are willing to acknowledge such.

                      I’ve tried to point out certain things to Clover, in the hope that perhaps she might pause and reflect. For instance, her habitual use of the royal “we” (and “our”) when discussing politics. I’ve asked her: Who is “we,” Clover? A shifting aggregate whose unified voice/consent is somehow known to a “representative” who then has the right to issue binding fatwas upon every individual in a given area?

                      And so on.

                      Clover won’t openly discuss what she advocates. She smothers that in euphemisms and generalities; political speech (as Orwell explained) which is designed to make the unpalatable seem palatable.

                      This fact alone ought to tell Clover something about the nature of her beliefs. But what it comes down to, I think, is that Clover wants what she wants and that’s all she wants to know about. Anything contrary and she basically starts to stamp her feet and cry and screech that she can’t hear you…

              • Most ordinary, common people are Clovers. Like I was saying to 8, every generation is less free than the one before it. Usually because of the decisions and mindset of the previous generations – not just through formal voting “democracy”. I meant nothing against any Boomers that frequent here. You are not clovers…

                Take voting out of the equation. The majority was okay with the rising police state, the majority was okay with the wars, and the majority was okay with the war on drugs, if their party was doing it. Majority wanted safety more than freedom. Most were okay with wealth redistribution and entitlements. Who cares about the debt?

                Personally, I don’t think a tiny handful of elites can enforce their will on all the people. They need the help of the majority who went along with their actions, or they were just ignorant. Regardless, the majority are clovers. If the majority weren’t clovers, I don’t think these things would have happened, or lasted.

                • Hi Brandon,

                  Based on my survey of history – especially of the history of Nazi Germany (relevant here), I think it’s a mix of the two. Most people are herd animals who just want to get along. An elite can set policy if it has the support of a virulent minority. The herd simply goes whichever way the wind blows. The social pressure to conform – to not stand out – is extreme.

                  I read once an account given by a young Jewish guy who attended one of those mass outdoor rallies the Nazis conducted. He – the Jewish guy – described being caught up in the hysteria and without even consciously realizing it, found himself shrieking Sieg Heil! along with everyone else.

                  Last year, I attended a 4th of July 5k run. Before the run, there was an unctuous patriotic speech and everyone was pressured to recite the pledge. I turned my back and did not place my hand on my heart. I felt hundreds of eyes on me, disapproving.

                  And was very glad I had my Sig tucked under my shirt, just in case.

                  That said, I’d bet there were others in the crowd who felt as I did… but played along, out of social pressure to conform.

                  • “Before the run, there was an unctuous patriotic speech and everyone was pressured to recite the pledge”

                    At powwows, during Grand Entrance dance, the tribe’s Eagle Staff, and elderlies usually lead, followed by a color guard of veterans and active duty military. The MC always goes into the spiel about “fighting for our freedoms”, etc.

                    I usually wonder why indians, of all people, would honor the US military that way. I’ve never witnessed any reciting of the pledge at a powwow, and nobody pressures anybody else to do anything other than respect the humanity and the personal medicine of others present. Maybe such veteran honoring isn’t raised to the level of military worship in that venue, but it’s still there and seems out of place to me.

              • It was done to you. Few will argue that. But it was easier to stand against the statists then, and very few of you did.

                The only answer I know is to say no and ignore their cages and their laws. Part and parcel of that is the knowledge that sooner or later they will kill me. And then make up a fairy tale about why they did it.

                All lies in jest, til a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

                Peace to you and yours. Merry Christmas.

                • “It was done to you. Few will argue that. But it was easier to stand against the statists then, and very few of you did. ”

                  It was done to you, as well. It has never been easy to stand against the statists, but I’ve done that all my life along with thousands of others, my contemporaries of several generations. It hasn’t made a difference in any way that you could see or that you would accept.

                  The stanza is “all lies and jests. Still, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”. I was a teenager when that song , “The Boxer” came out. You got the lyrics wrong.

                  You were mistaken about the song lyrics. What else have you been misinterpreting? We all get things wrong sometimes. Don’t worry about it. How about another verse?

                  “Now, the years are rolling by me;
                  They are rocking evenly.

                  I am older than I once was,
                  but younger than I’ll be, that’s not unusual.

                  No, it isn’t strange, that after changes upon changes we are more or less the same.
                  After changes, we are more or less the same.”

                  Paul Simon, “The Boxer”.

                  Peace be with you, younger brother. Merry Christmas to you, too.

        • Well I would say that they need to retire eventually, but those at the top will probably stay with their cush jobs forever, until they die. But they WILL have to die eventually. Who the hell knows where we’ll be in 20, 30, 40, or 50 years though.

          • It was the boomers parents who were relatively free but not nearly so much as their grandparents or even their parents BEFORE they were moved in from the farms, en masse. Boomers were finally overcome. Not a great deal of us left but we’re, for the most part, the last people you’ll push around.

            We worked hard, put our asses on the line for ending Vietnam and got it shoved up our ass by Nixon. It’s been more of the same ever since. Sure, there are clovers and they vary in nature and numbers from area to area. Before the huge yankee influx of the 80’s into Tx., people here didn’t take much shit from anybody. Then the immigrants from Asia and other places were foisted on us by the millions. They were glad to bend over just to get a meal. And that’s how you get a compliant society. Overwhelm with immigrants, divide and conquer…..to some extent. It’s mainly the old Texans who will have it out with gummint, the cops, etc. YOU may think it’s an old cliche but we’re still heavily armed. I spoke with the elderly woman who cashiered at Wally last week. She said things were not to her liking but whoever might take issue with her would have to take issue with her 30/30 first. Right on!

            • I moved to Longview in ’83 and lots of pickups I saw had a bumper sticker that said “WELCOME TO TEXAS….NOW GO BACK HOME”. An old boy I worked with all summer asked me if I was from South Texas. I told him, no, South Carolina. He looked stricken and said, Damn, I didn’t know you were a yankee.

              That’s the first I heard that in Texas, you were a either a Texan or a yankee. When Natalie Maines said that she was ashamed that W was from Texas, I said, shit. He ain’t from Texas. He’s a Connecticut yankee, with nary a Texan ancestor.

              • Hi Ed,

                “Yankee” is a state of mind. Plenty of people who were born Southern and whose families were, too – yet they’re as much a Yankee as Hillary Clinton.

                Bill, for instance.

            • Morning, Eight!

              It’s interesting – and generally, true – that each generation looks back wistfully on the freedoms it enjoyed vs. now.

              I’m a Gen Xer.

              My generation can remember when schools did not not have metal detectors or “resource officers” (cops). When you did not have to “buckle up for safety.” When the idea of “checkpoints” would have been considered by most people something the East Germans had to deal with. Not Americans.

              Kids roamed freely, all day long. Without helmets. At my high school, there was a smoking arcade.

              You could buy an airplane ticket with cash. Did not have to show ID. Could get to the airport 5 minutes before departure time, as long as you made it to the gate.

              Cops carried revolvers. There was no such thing as a Tazer. It was not asking to be shot to get out of your car when pulled over for a traffic offense, walk up to the cop’s car – and try to talk your way out of the ticket.

              There were “head” shops – places where you could buy bongs and such. If they caught you with a bag of pot, it was a relatively minor offense.

              You were not required – threatened with violence – to buy “health care.”

              The idea of being compelled to piss into a cup as a part of a job interview would have been risible back in 1985.

              If anyone had called America the “homeland” in those days, they would have been thought a former camp guard from Treblinka or some such.

              • eric, I agree with you but an interesting thing did occur back in the early/mid eighties and that was pissing in the proverbial cup.

                I’ll name names so no one has to guess. A company called and owned by, Sid Richardson, a fair sized one. I knew several people who worked for it/him back in the early 80’s at a now defunct plant not far from Sweetwater, Tx.

                It became a piss in the jar employer to even those who had worked there a long time. So they made a company announcement(guess times were hard and they needed to downsize or just get all drones)saying they would begin drug testing but they’d never have one immediately following a holiday. The first holiday, 4th of July week-end passes, everybody shows up for work afterward and were literally captured, herded into an area where one by one they had to fill the cup. I knew one guy who hadn’t not been stoned in decades but he smelled a rat. He was practically there by himself after that day. Since that time he’s only done much harder drugs including lots of alcohol so he can be clean in 3 days or so. He’s still there, about to retire. Others went on to lives of crime since the local gendarmes were given their names and many got raided just as a fishing expedition, a very common occurrence in Tx. since then and now. Most companies are desperate enough to hire felons but not all. In actuality, they really don’t hire felons, just advertise such for whatever reason they have.

                I hope you looked over the e I sent about the Justice League and they’re fighting the Catch-22 just us system of minor tickets turning into jail time, loss of everything including a job and thus being unable to be employed even if they finally get out of the system. A great many never do since driving without a license will get you life……eventually.

                • “A great many never do since driving without a license will get you life……eventually.”

                  Or a death sentence by summary execution on the spot.

              • Eric, ever feel like you’re in some sort of Twilight Zone episode where you remember the past and nobody else does? Or wonder if the past you remember ever happened because most everyone else doesn’t? Or most people are in some sort of condition where what is today always was?

                It’s like nobody remembers any more. Talk about living in the 80s and people act as if that’s impossible. What if this and what if that and who would do it if the government didn’t and all the ‘what about the roads’ nonsense just to live the way we did in 1985. As if to live in 1985 conditions would be like a Dickens’ novel.

                The conditioning, has to be the conditioning. Either that or most people are non-player-characters and just follow programming.

                  • Hell Brent, me and Ed remember how good the 50’s were. People just bought and sold anything they wanted, anywhere they wanted. You only trespassed if you cut through somebody’s yard while they were in it and mostly not then. You were probably just following a path anyway. You could get in trouble hurting a fence or livestock but simply walking or riding a horse from here to there was accepted as long as you closed the closed gates you opened and didn’t close a gate you found open.

            • 8, every generation is less free than the one before it. Usually because of the decisions and mindset of the previous generations – not just through formal voting either. I meant nothing against any Boomers that frequent here. You are not clovers… Plus, this comment was talking about Boomers in positions of power – per the original comment from El Guapo.

              As for Texas, it’s a place I’m considering going (I know you probably don’t want any more people there). The United States is done and Texas is the most likely to secede, I think.

              • Brandojin, we need more of your ilk in Texas. Brian is a Texan now and although i can’t speak for everyone, I’m proud to have him.

                I doubt many people keep up with the secede movement in Texas but it continues to grow. Despite the elite’s attempt to disarm us, we continue to make inroads in protection of the 2nd, and as bad as it chaps the clovers, many of which come from the huge amount of federal troops here, most of which, in the armed forces method of deployment, are yankees based here.

                In the late 60’s and early 70’s I and my Texas friends met and became friends with lots of yankees, NYC to Maine and Ohiothat were in our same city being slaves of US through the military draft. We became fast friends eventually and some stayed to stake out a place where they felt free. I wish more would/could have stayed. But the ones that did , and eventually, it dwindled to a couple, one which became a true Texan. He passed away a couple year ago, a great loss to us all.

                Come on down. Brian and i will welcome you. I speak with Brian every few days and always enjoy it.

                In west Texas, for the most part, you can buy a chunk of land and do what the hell ever you want.

  10. Eric, I’ve never commented before but I just want to state how disappointed I am that the people at VW didn’t just tell the nitwits in DC: “We are done playing your stupid games. We are hereby giving notice that in 30 days we will be closing our US operations down, you can begin paying our former employees whatever you want out of whatever you can get from selling off our plants and equipment, and you can explain to our former customers that the reason they can no longer get service in the USA for our products is that you (bureaucrats} have made doing business in your country impossible. We (VW) will do business where we are appreciated and given fair treatment. Goodbye and good luck (you’re going to need it).

    • Hi Mike,

      Wouldn’t that have been something?

      I am no fan of Trump’s… except for one thing. He has punctured the balloon of political correctness. This is one of the reasons for his popularity.

      I am certain that VW would have been cast in the role of hero rather than schmuck had they done as you suggest.

    • Mike Moore:

      The reason that VW’s executives didn’t react the way you suggest is because they are hired salaried employees and not the entrepreneurs who built the company. Such a principled stand is probably beyond their comprehension. Their careers are advanced by them being good team players who do not rock the boat. They hope to eventually cash out their stock options and retire early with fat pensions. What’s the point of bringing the wrath of government and its media echo chamber down upon their heads over a mere principle?

  11. Emission requirements are generally arbitrary and politically motivated once you reach a certain reasonable point. Why don’t airplanes have catalytic converters? Airliners are huge source of pollutants. Many airplanes still burn leaded gasoline. One of the largest sources of nox and particulates are ocean going freighters, yet in LA they don’t want you to use a weed whacker or a charcoal grill.

  12. It sucks that VW is basically giving up on this scandal, and now begging for forgiveness. I actually admire them for “cheating” and looking out for their customers before useless government mandates. What they should have done when they were caught was to say, “so what”. And then lay it out to the public how the government is at fault for it all.

    What surprises me is how long they got away with it. Yeah, it doesn’t surprise me that the government regulators didn’t get it. But it took the greenies and their allies as long as it did to figure it out, and you never heard rumblings about how they suspected automakers of cheating.

    But it does show that even big business will be cowed by big government when it suits the politicians and the bureaucracy. Even they will regret their unholy alliance with the government someday. One day even the politicians will be cut off by the bureaucracy as they are the ones actually “running” things.

    • It could be nternational relations. D.C. Is angry with Germany and VW and they have manufactured this scandal to slap them down. They’ve known for years what VW were doing(electronic surveillance, anyone?) and looked the other way. Germany was going off the reservation towards Russia, and this is how the beltway morons struck back.

      They could crash the world economy with this stupidity.

  13. > Like it or not, there are limits. Things that cannot be done. Not, at least, without bankrupting us all or causing the economy to come to a gear-grinding halt.

    Boeing and Airbus can make a perfectly safe airplane. But the tickets will cost $20,000

    • A perfectly safe airplane will not fly at any price. It can catch fire sitting on the ground. And the critical factor is an engineering term called safety factor. Aircraft only work because it is acceptable to compromise safety for functionality. Same with cars, electricity, and indoor plumbing.

      A completely nonpolluting car will not go. Electrics take their poser from a power plant (burn coal, react something fissionable, use solar panels made by strip mining and traditional fuel burning, ad nauseum.

  14. Problems are never solved. Too much is not enough. Settled science. Lies are truth. Everything is too complicated to explain. Proposal must become law before we can read it. Opinion is illegal. Trial and conviction by pundit. Political lawlessness. Truth is false.

    1984, thirty years late.

  15. The object you see, is not “clean” cars.

    It is to get rid of cars.

    Exactly right Eric! They want us stripped of our mobility, crammed into high rise 600 square foot apartments in the city where we all will be under the jack boots of authoritarianism.

  16. Hi Eric i have interesting articles about autonomous cars. I think it is good that someone like engineer from one of the best tech university in the world says that full autonomous cars (without steering wheel and pedals) is very bad idea. Here these articles: http://news.mit.edu/2015/no-driverless-cars-1013 and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-a-mindell/driverless-cars-and-the-myths-of-autonomy_b_8287230.html
    And interesting is that Toyta dont want to build robo cars. Toyota will build cars with autonomous technology that will improve people driving skill: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/05/science/toyota-artificial-intelligence-car-stanford-mit.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0
    For me it is good news. Something changes. What do you think about this all? i will be gratefull for your response.

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