Rules and Rulers

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If they – those who rule us – were at least consistent, it might be easier to believe their rules had a purpose . . . other than to rule us.

Consider the juxtaposition of the cell phone and the in-car cell phone – the LCD touchscreen almost every new car comes standard with. Both are fundamentally the same thing – a touch/tap/swipe interface. This form of control requires visual concentration – you have to look at what you are trying to touch/tap/swipe because you cannot accurately do it purely by feel. It is literally impossible because the screen feels the same, no matter where you touch/tap/swipe.

And when it is moving, it is even harder to accurately touch/tape/swipe without really looking – because both it and your finger are moving.

This means your attention is necessarily divided between the screen and the road. You can glance back-and-forth between one and the other but it is not possible to keep your eyes on the road and the screen at the same time.

This is considered distracting – and is often illegal for that reason  . . . when it comes to the use of cell phones in cars. But it comes standard in almost ever new car. Even more cognitively dissonant is that people are encouraged to be distracted thereby since many of the car’s necessary functions cannot be controlled except via the touchscreen.

You don’t have to make a call or send a text. You pretty much do need to be able to turn on the defroster. Assuming you want to be able to see the road  . . . once you take your eyes off the touchscreen.

Isn’t it spectacular?

Actually, it’s revelatory. Of the true reasons for the rules. They are not imposed for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety or (lately) “health” but to rule us. The excuse is just that and usually obviously so if examined even a little bit – whether it’s Face Diapering and cattle-chuting or LCD touchscreening.

So what is the real purpose with regard to touchscreens? There are two of them, chiefly – one economic and the other political.

It is cheaper to build a car with a touchscreen to control most of its secondary functions that way than to build one with manual (knob/button) controls for each of these functions. A single touchscreen can be plugged in to a harness as the car moves down the assembly line more quickly and with less effort than the installation and hooking up (and checking the function of) several different individual physical controls for the same functions.

This saves money during assembly and increases profit at sale because a touchscreen is itself cheap even though it looks slick. Many are made by the same supplier and not even unique to the model of car they’re installed in. There is also the potential for more money to be made after sale, when the touchscreen goes dark and no longer controls anything. It’s not like a broken button for the climate control that can be easily replaced – by you.

It requires a new screen, replaced by the dealer.

There is also a more benign factor in play – which is that modern cars have so many features it is hard to find space for physical controls on the limited dashboard/console real estate, which would otherwise be peppered with buttons and switches. A single large touchscreen cleans up the car’s interior layout, which is a legitimate plus from the standpoint of both the car’s manufacturer and its owner.

But, there is another purpose in play that is more sinister. The political purpose. Which is served by not enforcing or even imposing the rules which apply to cell phones.

Touchscreens in cars encourage people to pay less mind to driving – in order to acclimate them to not driving at all, which is the end goal of those who rule us. Touchscreens are being used to purposely distract drivers – which serves the purpose of creating the problem of distracted driving. Which calls for the solution:

No more driving.

Which is the real reason for the use of touchscreens designed to to keep people occupied with distractions instead of focused on their driving.

The touchscreen’s very perplexity is its primary advantage in that it makes the driver yearn for a car that doesn’t require him to drive it, so that he can give full attention to the menu and all that entertainment.

It isn’t a coincidence that the rise and ubiquity of the in-car flatscreen dovetails with the rise – and hoped-for-ubiquity – of self-driving car technology, which is also dangerous but never mind… because it serves a purpose.

The two go hand-in-hand like government and legalized theft.

Note that the more self-driving the car, the larger its touchscreen generally is. And the more comprehensive, too.

Teslas, for example, have huge touchscreens; practically every control is controlled via touch/tap/swipe – and the driver is encouraged to cede control over the car – to the Autopilot – so that he can play with all the brightly backlit apps.

Keep them amused, you see – and you can keep them under control.

And that’s the rule for all the reasons.

. . .

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    • Bread and circus’s, bread and circus’s, 🍞 and 🎪. Always to keep the unwashed masses distracted, dumb, and happy. As our fearless leaders continue slowly turning up the temperature of the water in the saucepan all us frogs are collectively sitting in…Oy Very Goyim!!!

      • Hi Saxons,

        An interesting corollary of the degeneration of the American volk is the degeneration of its leadership. H.L. Mencken’s prediction, made 100 years ago, has come true. Absolute morons now rule us. Evil, yes. But also morons – and this can work to our advantage.

        What worries me most is a not-moron evil leader. A Stalin or Hitler. Luckily, those only show up every so often in history’s play. But we are overdue.

  1. It’s extra scary when you consider the automated driving tech isn’t ANYWHERE near ready for primetime. It doesn’t help that most of the user interfaces are clumsy and poorly designed too.

    But it will be forced down our throats anyway, ready or not. Today’s electronics are far too flimsy and fragile. If this tech wasn’t needed for the control that is coming, they would never allow it for being unsafe. It’s like the defective airbags they don’t allow to be disconnected.

  2. Eric, you are more familiar with all manner of touch screens than I. But, I haven’t seen any of these things positioned so they make it easy to use for the driver. That is, they all seem to be centered and flat on the dash, not angled toward the driver and situated near the driver’s right hand. Are any set up in such a way? Remember when even some cars had minor gauges angled toward the driver’s line of sight?

    • Remember when even some cars had minor gauges?

      Hey Hyundai, if you’re going to give your hot little sports hatchback wimpy conrods that cause it to burn oil like a son of a gun at mileages where any other car would be just getting started, at least give us a real oil pressure gauge, not a worthless light that comes on briefly after the engine is already wrecked! Sincerely, a guy who bought a used Veloster Turbo on a loan and then screwed up the engine in 3000 miles because he mistakenly thought it might have some oil left after that time.

    • Heck I remember when the HVAC controls were on the left side of the steering wheel. The wife’s too cold? Too bad! And the wrap-around dash, where there was a physical barrier between the radio and the passenger. Don’t like the Sunday Polka show? Then get out and walk to church!

      • Who DOESN’T love Polka? Happy music by any standard. The Too Fat Polka, Who Stole the Kishka? and of course, the Beer Barrel Polka are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. Maybe that’s part of our social decline along with black cars, rap “music” and face diapers. We are living in a death cult mentality that takes the attitude that every silver lining has a cloud. No wonder the world is so screwed up.

        Eric rides his motorcycle and others on this site, I’m sure, find other ways to seek out enjoyment in our short existence on this blue marble.


  3. I dunno Eric: As a practical matter, with the car’s touchscreen at arm’s length, I still retain a good deal of peripheral vision out the front (windshield) of the car. Whereas when I tap my phone… Hell, I need to have my reading glasses on while behind the wheel! Needless to say, because of that, I really don’t mess w/my phone much while driving.

  4. Many companies are marrying the electronic devices to the vehicle by the VIN number. For example I purchased a different speedo for my motorcycle (Harley Davidson). The unit married itself to the ECU within 100 miles. The other speedo was already married. This means the other speedo is junk. I cannot sell it because it will not work on any other motorcycle even though it almost new. This also means, down the road, I will not be able to buy used electronic devices because they won’t work. You are forced to buy new. If the company goes out of business or stopped manufacturing that device then you are screwed.
    Even companies that make accessories are doing the same. If I buy a diagnostic scan tool it will marry. Sometimes they will allow a second VIN if you pay more but if you want to check a friends motorcycle it won’t work.
    I purchased a fan operated oil cooler. The ECU controls the fan but they are all turned off at the factory. I had to pay $100 to have the dealer simply turn the function on.
    They are rapidly getting to the point that all repairs and maintenance will have to be done at dealers.

  5. It’s quite possible that touch screens are so ubiquitous in part because the rising generation does not have the slightest clue, or aptitude, how to operate any other type of control device. Such screens give them a seamless transition from phone operation to car operation. Myself, I don’t even listen to the radio when I’m driving. I consider the precise operation of thousands of pounds of steel, plastic and glass to be my one and only priority when I’m driving. Of course I am one of those who enormously enjoys doing so. Driving is not an annoying thing I have to do while transiting from A to B, that distracts me from my cell phone.

  6. Eric,
    The touchscreen v sailfawn conundrum hits the nail on the head. It’s part and parcel with the fundamental premise that GovCo’s rules, edicts, mandates and fatwas are not supposed to make sense. The more contradictory the better.


    Because the goal is to get people to accept, without question, whatever comes out of the mouths of politicians and bureaucrats (or any other orifice for that matter). The goal has been nearly achieved, except for The Remnant.

    “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”

  7. Meanwhile the law enforcers all have Panasonic Toughbook laptops mounted on Ram Mounts. Touchscreens are bad enough, ever try driving while using Windows 10? I know that some high end vehicles have some sort of mouse-like control for the screen, and I’ll bet it’s very difficult to see what you’re doing with it. Double that with a laptop. And every cop uses their phones while moving.

    The right answer is to just put the damn phone away, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Back before the modern slab style phone I had a Nokia N95. This phone could play music and podcasts before the iPhone or Android existed. It also had a T-9 keypad. I could easily spell out just about anything without looking. Easy. The answer might be to reintroduce the T9 keyboard as a Bluetooth accessory, with voice feedback. But then there’s still the issue of attention and mind focus, although out here there are still stretches of highway where you’re alone and probably be fine with a little distraction once in a while. Heck, it might even keep you awake.

    • Hi RK,

      I’ll take my usual heretical stand on this: I agree that distracted driving is bad – but there are many forms of distraction and I dislike singling out this – but not that. Punishing this, but not that. Especially when no harm was caused. That it might isn’t enough to rise to an actionable standard because if that is the standard, then anything is actionable.

      So, as with”speeding” and other such, my criteria is – did the driver cause harm? Did he lose control and cause an accident or injure anyone or damage property? If not, then as much as I might not agree with his actions or would behave differently myself, I do not seek his blood or his money because he has not cost blood or money.

      If he has, that is actionable – because objective, inarguable.

      Unlike might.

      • Some people are adept at counting cards. It isn’t illegal to count cards, despite what the pit boss might say, because you are doing it in your mind, not resorting to machines. Most counters are discovered by watching how they wager. I would imagine a scenario where someone else at the table is watching a counter and just mirroring them, and getting thrown out, while the counter (who knows he might be thrown out for being discovered) varies his bets enough to avoid detection.

        Who’s to say someone won’t be distracted by their own thoughts? Should that be a crime? Most of us have seen the “keep your eyes on my ass, not hers” bumper sticker with the silhouette of the curvy woman. Should someone be ticketed for glancing over at the sunbathing beauties that usually appear on the hill overlooking College Ave every spring?

  8. “Teslas, for example, have huge touchscreens”

    I was stunned the first time I saw a Tesla screen. The story behind how this monstrosity got approved will never get written, as all existing rules regarding “distracted driving” had to have been ignored. Musk would have been snickering over this one.


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