Along For the Ride

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A guy was killed by his auto-piloted Tesla last week (new story here) and Uncle is looking into it. Of course he won’t do anything about it. Because “if it saves even one life” is very selectively applied. It applies only when whatever the danger happens to be is something Uncle wants to use as an excuse to impose yet another mandate.Tesla carsh 1

Never to rescind one.

See, for instance, air bags.

Or – lately – cars that drive themselves.

Uncle very much wants such cars and so is prepared to do nothing about their potential – and now actual – lethality.

Because, you see, the point is not that cars that drive themselves are “safe” (they’re not, bear with me) though that is much talked up (like air bags, which also aren’t “safe”) and used as the pretext for force-feeding them to us. Note that. We are never given the choice. Never offered whatever the thing in question is and allowed to weigh the pros and cons and then choose for ourselves. Free people are  not merely allowed such latitude, they are entitled to it. It is not bequeathed, conditionally, by political parents in a remote bureaucracy but respected as an inviolable moral principle.

In a free society, that is.Uncle pic

But we are not free except to do as we are told.

Back to this Tesla thing.

The “driver” (who wasn’t) in the recent lethal incident was reportedly doing something else besides paying attention to what was in front of him. In this case, a big rig making a left turn in his path of travel. The Tesla’s autopilot did not grok the big rig and drove right into it.

Right under it, actually.

According to Tesla, “autopilot is getting better all the time but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert.” (Italics added.)


Then why bother with autopilot?

Isn’t the touted benefit of cars that drive themselves this idea that “drivers” no longer have to remain alert? That they can take a siesta or play Candy Crush or watch a DVD or do some work on their laptops? If they have to remain alert, they cannot do those things, too.

Remaining alert means keeping one’s eyes on the road at all times – not occasionally. It means being prepared to react to changing conditions.

Like a tractor trailer turning left in front of you.   

The imbecility of all this makes my teeth ache.Tesla crash 2

Vehicular autopilot is often likened to autopilot in commercial airplanes but the parallel doesn’t parse. Airplanes don’t just take off and fly wherever, however. Their flight plans are filed in advance and strictly adhered to, their course (speed and altitude) strictly monitored the entire time. Spur-of-the-moment deviation is not allowed. The airspace is controlled at all times to keep one airplane away from another airplane. Pilots have very little latitude to control their aircraft’s flight path.

And that’s what we’re really getting at here.


Autopilot in cars makes sense if all cars are similarly under control. If you have to file a “flight plan” before you go anywhere – and your course is monitored and subject to control the entire time. Then it might be possible to avert incidents such as the one described above. The auto-driving Tesla would have known about the big rig’s intention to turn long before the turn ever occurred – and accommodations could have been made by each vehicles’s computer brain.

Lovely, if you don’t mind mind the idea of no longer being in control of your vehicle.hands free


For automated cars to be “safe,” it is necessary – mandatory –  that the caprice of human drivers be taken entirely out of the picture. Else, the vagaries of human imperfection will lead to accidents – and that is not “safe” and so Uncle will step in.

And human imperfection behind the wheel continues to worsen as less and less is expected of these human drivers as drivers. As even former basic competences like the ability to parallel park a car are no longer required because technology can handle that now. Every incremental dumbing-down – starting with ABS back in the 1980s through to the present day and cars that automatically brake, can come to a complete stop without the “driver” even touching the brake pedal  – has been at least tacitly an effort to get the driver out of the driver’s seat.

To render him a passenger.

It is possible that Tesla and Google and the rest of the juggernaut don’t consciously grok the fact that what they are pushing requires the driver to become a passenger. You can’t, on the one hand, fit cars with systems that invite the driver to stop driving – and at the same time expect him to “remain alert.”

You’re either a driver.

Or you’re not.

What’s it going to be?

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  2. I prefer cars that keep the driver involved. I have found with automatic transmissions and particularly cruise control and the like, I tend to get drowsy behind the wheel. Also, many cars have advanced sound systems that are high quality and allow you to drift into your own little world. But I’m not sure that’ such a good thing. If I want to drift off into my own little world, I have a stereo system in my living room for that, plus all the CD’s I can use. It’s just that when you are on the road, you should pay attention to your driving. Another bothersome thing is tinted rear windows. These reduce the driver’s side vision and make the car less safe.

      • Dear Eric,

        It is possible that Tesla and Google and the rest of the juggernaut don’t consciously grok the fact that what they are pushing requires the driver to become a passenger. You can’t, on the one hand, fit cars with systems that invite the driver to stop driving – and at the same time expect him to “remain alert.”

        You’re either a driver.

        Or you’re not.

        What’s it going to be?

        So very well said, Eric.

        In fact, this is a universal principle that applies to literally everything relating to self-ownership vs. government enslavement.

        It applies to gun ownership, to marijuana use, to sexual conduct among consenting adults. You name it.

        We are either people, or sheeple. We are either masters, or slaves. We can’t pretend to be sovereign individuals, yet simultaneously defer to the crime family with a flag known as “The Government”.

        What’s it going to be?

        • On that note, remember this?

          Michael C. Hall – Dodge Charger Commercial 2011 (Leader of the Human Resistance)

          “Hands-free driving,
          cars that park themselves,
          an unmanned car driven by a search engine company.
          We’ve all seen that movie.
          It ends with robots harvesting our bodies for energy.
          This is the all new 2011 Charger,
          leader of the human resistance.”

              • True enough bevin, true enough. I’d rather be a “Walk Hard” guy than one who has a computer do everything for him. It’s all I can do to not throw my phone out the window sometimes when it corrects my language. I changed stuff on it where it can’t back talk to me now so when it repeats back something I never said and asks again who I want to call I’ll still be in the pissed off mode and say You stupid cunt. Bleep, bling, You stupid cunt isn’t in your address book. Yes it is, call yourself bitch. Yes it is, call yourself bitch isn’t in your address book. Who needs this crap? Well, I have to use it, mandated by Uncle when I drive a big rig. So many things to piss me off mandated by gunvermin that don’t make me or anybody else any safer or live any longer, esp. me.

                Fedgov says I can only use a phone device if it only takes one button push lest I can be fined $2700 and the truck owner can be fined $11,000. Yep, that could wipe an owner operator out in a hurry.

                • Dear 8,

                  “I can be fined $2700 and the truck owner can be fined $11,000”

                  I have no doubt that is true.

                  The 64,000 dollar question though, is:

                  HOW THE FUCK DID THIS HAPPEN???

                  The answer of course, is that most of mankind never got past our ingrained habit of obedience to authority.

                  Etienne La Boétie goes on to make a case as to why people ought to withdraw their consent immediately. He urges all people to rise up and cast off tyranny simply by refusing to concede that the state is in charge.

                  “[The tyrant has] nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you. Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you?”

                  “Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.”


    • Great stereo, check. Black back window, check. Cruise control, check, Auto transmission, not so much. I find I can look in side mirrors and see what I need to see. I so rarely use an inside mirror I’ve been scared half out of what little mind I have left when I get a glimpse of a boat motor.

      Most days I see only the back of the cab when I look backward(no mirror). Been doing that for millions of miles. I’d say the most important thing is to pay attention.

      I once saw a guy passing me in a new Dodge pickup and they have pretty loud horns. When I next spoke to him he asked if he had scared me laying down on the horn when he was even with my door. I had to answer truthfully. I didn’t hear a thing. I knew he was there though since I saw him coming in my driver’s side mirror. Don’t know why they don’t teach that when people are learning to drive.

      • Paying attention goes against the insurance mafia policy of running up premiums on everyone just for the sins of a few really bad drivers.

    • I keep reading this comment and finally have to answer in regards to stereo. Probably in a 4 wheeler a stereo could cause immunity to horns and such but truck drivers can rarely hear a car horn, only if they have the window down. But a stereo can be a good thing. I like to put on road music, something to make the blood circulate and heighten the senses.

      I recently saw a fairly young guy in a big rig that was passing me who seemed to be fired up, cords standing out in his neck, his head thrown back a bit and appeared to be cussing with mouth wide open, fist hitting the steering wheel….and then I realized he was singing and well into it too. He was in no danger of being drowsy or inattentive. He was wired. I wished my radio hadn’t been on the fritz so I could have queried as to what he was groovin out on.

      I knew I wasn’t the only one to do this but it’s not often I see a trucker or even any other driver getting down. That’s one upside of a good stereo.

  3. I could easily write an inflaming article on this the way the mainstream media does with GM and Ford and some others so I know they can. They of course choose not to. After all TM saved money by not having radar at roof height. (that’s not reason IMO, IMO they just didn’t think of this situation because well TM seems to hire people without the experience)

    • Hi Brent,


      But – as I see it – the fundamental issue here is the dependence on technology rather than an attentive, competent driver.

      Have you notice how timid and over-cautious (as well as addled and inattentive) most drivers have become? No accident that this has occurred in parallel with the rise of cars that rely less and less on the driver and on a culture that more and more discourages initiative and heavily pushes “defensive” driving.

      PS: Did you get my e-mail in re your password?

      • Nothing from you that I saw. didn’t see anything spam either. Do I need to reset it or change it? I haven’t had any issues.

        Build a better idiot played a huge role here, but fundamentally Tesla motors didn’t do or didn’t do the FMEA correctly. It’s an engineering exercise to determine failure modes. If so their design would be different or not offered to the public. My guess is that GM and Ford are still working out issues like this one before they take something like it to market. They won’t get a pass from the media if what they put out is anything short of perfect.

  4. I like some of the high tech devices that make the car easier to drive. Who wants to go back to foot pedals or even do without power steering? I love blind spot monitoring. Especialy when my eyes need to be aware of what is in front of me and beside me at the same time. I like to be able to choose and control when these features are in use or not. I can do that with blind spot monitoring, but for how long?

    • Actually, truth be told, I liked the feel of old Detroit iron without power steering. I didn’t mind wrestling the steering wheel during parallel parking. It felt more secure at higher speeds.

      As far as blind spot monitoring, the older cars didn’t need it because their B and C pillars weren’t so thick in order to meet goonvermin roof strength requirements.

      • Yup… I can’t see out the ass of my car because the trunk is too high. Makes parking a pain unless I use the mandatory backup camera

      • Keeping a car on the edge of traction in a corner was more easily done with the much slower steering of manual steering. Those of my age well-remember the old stock cars and the drivers sawing on the wheel and they were making minute adjustments. When power steering began to come on sports cars a lot of drivers complained about lack of feel and steering being too quick.

          • There was a good aspect to manual steering though on trucks. Not everyone could drive one. I’ve been soaked with sweat getting one into a particular spot. I’ve seen guys get winded and have to take a break before getting one into a final spot. Now, you see elderly women driving a truck and people with virtually no muscle since it isn’t needed for some trucking, just driving a truck and not having to deal with the load.

            Back in the 70’s if I went 3 or 4 weeks without driving one, I’d sometimes get tight chest, shoulder and arm muscles for the first week or two when I resumed. This is the source of the stereotypical truck driver being muscled up, you had to be.

    • Best thing to ever happen to trucks was power steering since manual would let a front blowout overpower you trying to take that side trip you don’t want and reliable a/c. I see more belly dump trailers with rearview cams every day. I’d like to have about 3 cams on a trailer to address the blind spots, esp. when hauling wide loads like dozers, etc.

      I don’t want those cams mandated though since the word isn’t in on how durable they are and mandating them would just make them more expensive. Now, the expense of add-on cams is coming down but that trend would reverse if they were mandated……just like everything else that’s become criminalized to not have.

  5. If I can’t drive the car, I don’t want the car. A self driving car is like a wife who allows you no sex. The company and eye candy aren’t enough. I want the total package.

    To paraphrase the commercial–I don’t recall what car co.–when you turn on your car, does it return the favor? If my experience ends with turning the key, I’m not happy.

    • Hi Me,

      Did you read this part?

      “Air pollution, in large part caused by fine particulate fuel emissions, kills 48,000 people each year in France, some 400,000 in Europe and around 3.7 million worldwide, data published by France’s public health agency this month showed.”

      Do people actually buy this bullshit? 48,000 people killed annually in France alone?

      • Sure they buy it. Not consciously because the conscious part of their minds atrophied long ago, but the subconscious stores the soundbite for later regurgitation. (I long ago tired of pointing out to folks that spouting ‘40% higher emissions!’ regarding VW diesels was just rote stupidity. Usually followed by a blank stare when asked how many P.P.M. that is.)

        Even if the numbers are remotely true, banning the cars from Paris streets 8am-8pm is only going to reduce a bit of smog in Paris and nowhere else, so the numbers are basically irrelevant histrionics.

        What bothers me is that I very much doubt the folks behind this could provide anything close to a rational model as basis for the decision. Yes, newer cars are cleaner at the tailpipe but the TOTAL environmental cost of the car that will be required to be built to replace the old one?

        “Any car registered before Jan. 1, 1997, will be barred from the city’s streets from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.”

        Just for kicks, anyone want to guess when the Prius came out?

        Anyway, this is just another move towards forced consumerism economics. You comply, you will buy……BUY being redefined as ‘rent’ of course.

      • If that were true it would translate into a million people in Tx. killed by blowing dirt and pulverized cowshit. That would be a good deal if we could get it to only blow into the big cities. If it were 2 million it might keep up with immigration.

        • Hi Eight!

          Yup. 48,000 people is almost the total tab of 12 years of war in Vietnam. Supposedly achieved in one year in France … by car emissions.

          • eric, good morning. Don’t know if you could hear my fake cough(bullshit bullshit).

            It would take a virtual or even a real idiot to believe such. It reminds me of back when somebody started a Texas secession petition on the fedgov site for……well…..petitions. I got wind of it in just a few hours when it had over half the signatures required(250,000 I think)to be considered. Of course the signatures kept piling up and it eventually was reported by even those loath to report any bit of truth. Some dickwad who was in charge of that site finally issued a statement where he had the audacity to piss down every signers collar and call it rain by say “There doesn’t exist a means do do this”. I didn’t even need to get my handy pocket edition of the Constitution to call bullshit once again. What an affront to millions of people who KNEW better.

          • 48000 people almost the total tab? 48000 people is almost the American tab. Don’t forget the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong.

      • Those numbers came out of the ass of an expert so they are believed. Worse is anyone who doesn’t believe them will be ridiculed by the majority that does.

        I found that as an expert of sorts I can pull numbers out of my ass and people will believe them. I don’t of course, but I learned I could. So of course most humans with that power will abuse it. The power is easily taken away if people just think on their own but that takes too much work.

  6. Re: the search for a ‘risk-free’ society – life involves risk. If there is no risk in your life, you don’t have a life. You’re already dead.

    • The greatest terror in in a “risk free society” is the entity taking all liberties in order to create the riskless society.

      • Most humans seem to prefer a nice cage.
        They don’t understand that the people they allow to control things ultimately are, become, or are replaced by monsters who will slaughter them.

          • Greetings Bevin,
            Awhile back you commented that the Chinese people are more sheep-like than even the Americans. (That is a paraphrase.) Since that time, certain events in my life had caused me to realize that my spirit was off-track, so I did some research on the best course of action and I decided to learn about Taoism. I have bought a few e-books and a DVD set in order to learn more. (I have a very, very long ways to go yet) I have recently learned much to my surprise that a person named Lao Tzu actually founded both Taoism and Anarchism about 2600 years ago.

            Atheists in this group should note that Taoism isn’t just another religion that worships some sky god. There is no Taoism church. Don’t be afraid to check Taoism out.

            I also learned that many of the Chinese people still follow Taoism.
            Do you think Bevin that Taoism may be the key to introducing anarchism to them? I do not understand how taoists could ever become communists.

              • Thanks Bevin,

                That was very interesting. It appears that I would have already known the non-European version of the history of anarchic thought had I read some of the books by Murray Rothbard that I have downloaded. I am way, way behind in my book reading.

                • Dear Brian,

                  It’s ironic.

                  Although I am Chinese, I too learned about Daoist political anarchism through Rothbard.

                  I knew that Laozi and his intellectual heirs in China advocated “wu wei” or “doing nothing” of course. I also clearly sensed the affinity between “wu wei”, “laissez faire”, and Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand”.

                  That’s Chinese Philosophy 101a. But I didn’t realize the extent to which the influence of the ancient sages spread to the West. I thought it was coincidence.

                  To wit:

                  The laissez faire slogan was popularized by Vincent de Gournay, a French Physiocrat and intendant of commerce in the 1750s, who is said to have adopted the term from François Quesnay’s writings on China.[6]

                  It was Quesnay who coined the term laissez-faire, laissez-passer,[7][8] laissez-faire being a translation of the Chinese term 無為 wu wei.[9]

                  Gournay was an ardent proponent of the removal of restrictions on trade and the deregulation of industry in France.

                  Gournay was delighted by the Colbert-LeGendre anecdote,[10] and forged it into a larger maxim all his own: “Laissez faire et laissez passer” (‘Let do and let pass’). His motto has also been identified as the longer “Laissez faire et laissez passer, le monde va de lui même!” (“Let do and let pass, the world goes on by itself!”).

                  Although Gournay left no written tracts on his economic policy ideas, he had immense personal influence on his contemporaries, notably his fellow Physiocrats, who credit both the laissez-faire slogan and the doctrine to Gournay.[11]


              • bevin, a great article in LRC today, simply great. It is all truth, no conjecture and proveable in every possible way. Nothing is opinion, all fact. It should be broadcast worldwide forever.

                BTW, I got raked over the coals by wannabe Bush suckers for over a decade for saying these same things. And I can tell you for a fact, some people will never admit all of it. Oh, they can stand to bash BO but giving Bushco it’s due is just beyond them.

                    • eric, exactly right. It took all the abuses, lies and outright treasonous crimes committed and ignored by the entire just us system and the MSM to make everyone think that anything other than Bush had to be better. He is better in a couple ways so I’d give him the slightly longer rope and the entire Buscho a very short one. Dance MF’s dance……your feet are just barely touching the floor if you can stay on tiptoes forever.

                    • Hi Eight,

                      Yup. The Chimp and what the Republicans did with him earned them both my undying hatred. The GOP lost any basis for making any claim, however tangential, that it is the party of “freedom” that defends the individual against “big government.”

                      One of my secret reasons for enjoying this Trump spectacle is that he is destroying the flea-beaten Elephant. What he did to Jeb! almost made me like the guy…

                  • Meanwhile, Eric is right.

                    Obomber’s flouting of the constitution was made possible by Dubya’s flouting of the constitution.

                    Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.

                    Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.

                    GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

                    “I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

                    “Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

                    “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

                    I’ve talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”


                    • Morning, Bevin!

                      The Chimp was also the one who reduced national level politics to the level of schoolyard taunts and enshrined the archetype of the bully as the ideal “decider.” His success – when at the top of his game – also revealed that the American public responds to this. Those of us old enough to remember the 1980s, even, are well-aware of the lowering (the coarsening) of national level discussions and the imbecilification (my neologism) of the public, which now “tweets” its emotional state in 30 “characters” (or whatever the exact number is).

                    • Dear Eric,

                      “Those of us old enough to remember the 1980s, even, are well-aware of the lowering (the coarsening) of national level discussions… ”

                      Indeed. I’m old enough to remember the 60s, when I was in junior high and senior high.

                      I can assure you few native English speakers wrote”their” for “they’re”, or “your” for “you’re”, or most pathetic of all, “to” for “too”.

                      I mean, how hard can it be to remember that “too” means excessive?

                      The film “Idiocracy” was not SF. It was not even a documentary. It was friggin’ cinema verite.

  7. As with the initial pitch for air-bags when They said you didn’t have to wear a seat belt with them. Well, that turned out to by a lie and we’re still stuck with the air-bags AND we have laws forcing us to wear said belts.

    I can only hope this all collapses, and it will, as peacefully as the Soviet Union.

    • Worse yet, you face body armor clad, semi-automatic weapons carrying state gunmen who put guns to your head and relieve you of your money in the name of “safety.” Like cattle at the slaughterhouse they funnel us into their surprise “safety checkpoints” where machine gun toting officers “keep you safe” by trapping us to make sure we are “being safe” .

      • Yet today nearly everyone is celebrating ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’! Their self-imposed blindness and hypocrisy almost makes me puke!

        • Hi Brian,

          Luckily, it rained here in the Woods, so the celebrations of “our freedom” were tamped down.

          As Harry Browne wrote in that article someone else posted here, it’s not that America is (yet) Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany, although it is well on its way to becoming something very much like them.

          It is that America is not much different from any other country in the Western world nowadays.

          It used to be.

          And that’s what’s tragic.


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