“Autonomous” Cars . . . and Social Security “Contributions”

Within 12 years, only 5 percent of the driving done in this country will be done by “autonomous” drivers — according to a study that is getting huge play all over the mediascape.

That is to say, only 5 percent of the driving will be done by people like you and me — ordinary people going where we like, when we like and controlling the car ourselves.

That is autonomy.

Sans the air quotes.

Not this Orwellian doublespeak about cars programmed by others and so controlled by others and which drive themselves without our input and which are subject to outside intervention contrary to our own wishes being characterized by the media as — ahem — “autonomous.”

That’s an inversion right up there with the “patriot” act — and Social Security “contributions.”

Anyhow, we are assured by an outfit called RethinkX — which styles itself a “think tank” but which I’ve never heard of (and I’ve been a working journalist covering policy issues for more than 25 years now) that the stampede to turn over our keys and give up our driving autonomy is both organic and inevitable. That within a dozen years, only a tiny minority of desperadoes will still operate their cars themselves — assuming of course they are still allowed to do so.

I am not buying it. The organic and inevitable part.

I smell a rat.

The shove — much more than the loathsome “progressive” egghead authoritarian Cass Sunstein’s infamous nudge — toward cars driven by others-than-us is too obviously artificial. This study smacks of propaganda. It appears intended to create the aura of inevitability and the impression that to “cling” to our old truly self-driving (by ourselves) ways is sad and pathetic, like the Amish and their horse-drawn buggies.

It also mentions not a word about the real reasons why people are becoming disillusioned with both driving and owning cars — the expense and hassle. Both creations of government — its endless rules, fees and mandates. The first creeping and now galloping nannyism, always in the name of safety.

Which of course, so-called “autonomous” cars will enshrine — much as the GOP has cemented the “role” of government in the micromanagement of our health by replacing rather than repealing Obamacare.

I’ve seen this Mexican donkey show before.

I am betting the RethinkX study is funded by interests interested in pushing us into cars that drive us most un-autonomously. This has been the goal — explicitly stated — of certain interests since at least the time of Ralph Nader’s ascendance and gaining traction inexorably. It is the dream of those who would trample what may be the last truly free thing left to us — even if only intermittently.

Our cars.

Which is to say, our mobility.

Controllers loathe the random coming and going of people free of their control.

Most especially in a car owned by them — and not rented by the hour (the other shove/nudge behind all this; there is huge money to be made by shove/nudging people to pay by the hour — via Lyft and Maven and so on — rather than to buy and own a car).

In a driven-by-us car, we can drive as fast as we wish — assuming no armed government workers in the vicinity. The joy of acceleration — as much as we like, as fast as we dare. To not be part of a collective, a herd. To go our own way.

From a certain point-of-view, this is as outrageous as the pre-income tax days.

What is wanted is an income tax version of transportation.

Just as we are allowed to earn money — but only under certain conditions, and required to report every detail of every transaction to the government, which thus controls both our earnings and how we are allowed to earn them.

Control. That is the thing here — and the dupes affirming the desirability of “autonomous” (sic) cars are exactly that because they are basing their eye-batting affirmations on the delusional belief that the cars will, in fact, be autonomous — that is, still under their control.

But they will find — perhaps to their dismay — that in fact they have become like customers of the IRS.

Their autonomous car may take them where they ask it to take them — but it will take them there as it sees fit. That is to say, as those who program and control them see fit. It will not accelerate faster than they see fit. It will not take a corner at a speed you might find entertaining. There will be no flooring it — and getting around the four-wheeled-herd.

It will maintain a “safe” posture at all times — and you will have no say whatever in the matter.

To believe that it will be otherwise is a risible as the belief, 100 years ago, that the income tax would only be levied upon the rich.

Once they have the means to control us — and have established the principle that they ought to have the authority to control us — expecting them not to avail themselves of those means and to use that authority is far more pathetic than the Amish and their horse-drawn buggies.

Which, by the way, actually are autonomous.

Imagine that.



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