Carrot and Stick

Reinhard Heydrich, who was the Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia — formerly Czechoslovakia, until the Nazis decided it wasn’t anymore — was probably the smartest Nazi. He knew how to wheedle his victims into cooperating in their own victimhood.

“His Czechs” — as he styled them — would be rewarded with extra rations and less brutal working conditions when they submitted obediently . . . and punished when not. He called it the “carrot and stick” approach. It worked so well that the Brits parachuted a team of SOE operatives behind the lines to assassinate the entirely too-effective Reichsprotecktor.

Mitsubishi is the first major car company to emulate his example.

Owners of new Mitsubishi vehicles will be rewarded with free or discounted oil changes and even free cups of coffee if they agree to load an app on their phones that will track their every move — behind the wheel and otherwise — these moves (in the form of data) then sold to “partners,” including the insurance mafia — in order to more effectively dun you.

It’s being sold, of course, as a way to save people money — but the premise is faulty because the definition of “good driving” upon which the promised savings depend isn’t based on “good driving.”

It is based on obeying traffic laws, which is not the same thing.

Ask any cop.

They routinely exceed the posted speed limit, as a for-instance — particularly when they’re chasing one of us for also exceeding it. This is necessary, certainly, since it is not physically possible to catch a “speeder” without “speeding” oneself.

But that is neither here nor there as far as whether this “speeding” constitutes unsafe driving — or just driving faster than a number posted on a sign.

Most drivers — probably every driver — agrees at least implicitly that it’s not unsafe driving, given every driver drives faster than the number posted on those signs every time they drive.

It is merely a question of degree — and of how often and for how long.

Do we really want to be tagged as not-good-drivers because we (along with everyone else) drove 40 in and under-posted 35 zone? Become moving roadblocks for the sake of obeying a secular totem pole, for the sake of a cup of coffee and a discount oil change?

Another “data point” to be monitored is acceleration. Anything more than the most tepid, turtle-cautious change in velocity will likewise be taken as evidence of bad driving — and the driver dunned accordingly. This means no more than cruise-control passing — which of course effectively means no passing, since it can’t be done effectively — safely — without significant acceleration. Forget threading the needle through herds of Clovers.

What’s desired is that we all become Clovers (more about them here).

The app — being GPS connected — also knows when you have come to anything less than a complete stop at a stop sign — the absence of cross-traffic being irrelevant — or made an illegal (but perfectly safe) right-on-red.

Of course, mindless rule-obeying has become the ne plus ultra of “good citizenry” as much as “good driving” — though in both cases, nothing could be more profoundly moronic, leaving aside unsafe.

People who have been browbeaten into mindless submission to rules because they are rules — who never question those rules and the authority which spews them — are the perfect candidates for the ditches and ovens which almost inevitably follow, in time.

As the Reichsprotecktor.

Has anyone given any thought to whether “good driving” — and being a “good citizen” — sometimes requires ignoring the rules? As when the rules are wrong or stupid — and obeying them not merely foolish (such as sitting mindlessly at a red light that never changes when it is perfectly safe to make that right turn) but also potentially unsafe?

A violent swerving maneuver or slamming-on of the brakes to avoid a kid who just ran into the road, for instance. Is that unsafe?

Can the app discern the difference between this and “unsafe” sudden jockeying for position?

How?

The answer, of course, is that it can’t.

And of course, that is not the point. Which, despite the hymning, isn’t the encouraging of “good driving.” It is the browbeating of independent thinking and action; anything which deviates in the slightest from the Herd Programming — and not just as it applies to cars and driving but to everything.

Submit, obey.

One wonders whether it has occurred to Mitsubishi — and to other car companies who are certain to jump on this bandwagon — that they are rendering pointless the purchase of any car capable of more than torpidly traveling from A to B with a load of nearsighted old ladies on board?

What would be the point of buying a car that can go faster or corner harder or stop better if the use of those capabilities contrary to traffic laws and so prima facie bad driving will be immediately registered and charged to your account accordingly?

Some of you may also remember the funny-at-the-time but depressingly predictive in retrospect Sylvester Stallone movie, Demolition Man. In the metrosexual future portrayed, people are immediately fined for using foul language by automated (and everywhere) ticket dispensers. And independent driving, of course, has ceased to exist. Independent everything has ceased to exist.

The people have become cattle. Docile, obedient.

Somewhere or other, the Reichsprotecktor smiles his thin-lipped smile.

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2 Responses to “Carrot and Stick”

  1. James C. Walker says:

    Various insurance companies offer this scam. I will pay the standard rate, thank you very much, without monitoring.

  2. NK says:

    Good article making reasonable points, but marred by a gratuitous mention and trivializing of a vile Nazi. See the film “Anthropod” about his assassination, etc. (although it excludes Lidice).