Why is that every major automaker who was – past tense – selling diesel-powered passenger cars in the United States no longer is?
Apparently, it is because all of them “cheated” on government emissions certification tests. Including Mercedes-Benz, which just recently “agreed” – that’s the word used by government when it successfully forces a target to submit by using threats of worse repercussions if the target refuses to “agree” – to hand over $6 million as punishment for “falsely advertising” the cleanliness of its diesel-powered passenger cars purchased by people in the state of Arizona.
At the federal level, Benz has “agreed” to hand over $2.2 billion, including $875 million in civil penalties assessed under the Clean Air Act and $546 million that went toward “fixing” the “affected” vehicles.
Mercedes no longer sells diesel-powered passenger cars in this United States, having been given a strong incentive not to.
Nor, of course, VW – which used to sell a lot of them. Toyota – which sells a lot of them outside the U.S. – may shortly be forced to stop selling them, too. All on the basis of the same claims.
But these claims were always just the excuse. Very much as the claim by a cop that he “smells marijuana” after he pulls you over becomes the excuse to search your vehicle. After he uses the excuse that you were “speeding” to pull you over in the first place. It’s really because he – or rather, the government he works for – wants your money.
And something else.
The excuses aren’t reasons – in the morally meaningful sense – for no harm has been caused by your driving 43 MPH in violation of a sign that says you are not allowed to drive faster than 35 MPH. Nor your having “smoked marijuana” – even if you actually have smoked it.
It is true that you “violated the law.” Well, so? Does that mean anything – beyond that the law was violated? It is against the law to tear off that little tag on mattresses, too. If you do it anyhow, have you done something wrong?
It is an interesting irony that the same government which will hound a person – or a company – for “breaking the law” in the most sententious manner imaginable is itself the most egregious violator of moral laws imaginable. It perverts the moral basis of law – the causing of harm – into its opposite. It does not matter that no harm was caused. Only that the law – whatever it is – was violated. That then becomes the basis for imposing harm, in the name of the law!
In this manner – and on this basis – people (and companies) that have harmed no one are punished, even persecuted – as VW surely was, having been forced to hand over more than $30 billion for having “violated the law” without the government having established any harm was done.
Such “violations” were once characteristic of the judicial systems in places such as the old Soviet Union, where Stalin’s prosecutor, Andrey Vyshinsky, is reputed to have said: Show me the man and I will show you the crime. Comrade Vyshinsky did an excellent job of inversion during the Moscow Show Trials. which were very real indeed – for those in the dock, who inevitably ended up in the ditch.
Indeed, the words spoken by Vyshinsky might have been spoken at the show trials of VW and Mercedes:
“The “heroes” of this trial have linked their fate with the fascists, with the agents of secret-police departments; these “heroes” have lost all scruples and gone to the uttermost limits of duplicity and deceit, elevated perfidy and treachery to a system, to the law of their struggle against the Soviet state.”
In other words, they “cheated” – the government’s word for not adhering exactly to both the letter and the intent of the law. VW was found to have figured out how to adjust the software that ran the computer that ran its diesel engines in such a way as to take advantage of weaknesses in the tests used by the government to “certify” – another government word, used to imply fitness that really means compliance – engines for sale, before they may legally be sold.
The “cheating” VW diesels – and Benz diesels – qualified as “clean” by having passed the tests. Mark that. They passed the tests. But the government did not want diesel-powered passenger cars to be available, especially inexpensive ones such as those offered by VW – for they made electric cars look ridiculous.
Which, of course, they are.
Circa 2012, I drove a diesel-powered Mercedes passenger car from my home near Roanoke, in SW Virginia, to Raleigh, NC – and back – without stopping for fuel, once. There was still plenty of range left in the tank, too – after having complete a round trip of more than 300 miles. The latter being about half the range of a TDI-powered VW Jetta or Golf, which could make the trip up to Washington, DC – and back – on a single tank. For about $23k, brand-new.
Such passenger cars posed an existential threat to the “electrification” of passenger cars. For just that reason their existence had to be ended. And so, an excuse was found. They “cheated” on government certification tests. It didn’t matter – to the government – that this “cheating amounted to fractions-of-a-fraction differences in the amount of the “emissions” at issue. No one is allowed to question whether 0.03 more (or less) of less than 0.05 percent (the figures are approximate) causes any harm, as opposed to running afoul of some arbitrary standard.
It is your obedience that is at issue.
But it also more than that – as regards this diesel business. They had to be put out of business, for the same reason the government will put out of business any rival to its authority. Diesel-powered vehicles being a deadly rival to “electrification.” They would have increased mobility, decreased cost and increased longevity (another reduction of cost).
In particular, the diesel-electric hybrids in development, which promised 80-plus MPG for less than $30k.
And so, diesel-powered cars were accused of being “unclean,” very much in the same way – and for similar reasons, when you stop to think about it, that people who refused to wear “masks” and take “vaccines” were so characterized.
None of it being true. But truth only matters when people respect it. When it doesn’t, all that matters is power – and the willingness to use it.
A.Y. Vyshisnky understood perfectly.
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