Automobiles, Motorcycles and Libertarian Politics
“They” being the California General Assembly – which just passed a bill (SB 350, the “Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015,” see here) that mandates a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use statewide by 2030. The legislation empowers the California Air Resources Board – a literally dictatorial entity that can simply issue decrees that have the force of law, without any person in California ever having voted yea or nay – to achieve this reduction by any means it considers necessary.
What means might be considered necessary?
The California Driver’s Alliance believes CARB will decide that driving restrictions are necessary: “… regulators now have a plan to monitor and collect your personal driving data,” the group said in an advertisement against the bill. “This will enable state regulators to penalize and fine motorists who use ‘too much’ gas or drive ‘too often’… .“
If that sounds like crazy talk, consider that the state of Oregon has already implemented a “tax by mile” program (see here) that uses you car’s ability to receive and transmit data to monitor, in real time, how often and how long you drive (as well as how fast you drive) and taxes you accordingly.
Cue the intro to The Six Million Dollar Man.
And odds are, they’re going to use it.
It’s already feasible to simply “turn off” most new cars remotely. GM’s OnStar system, for example. An operator in another part of the country can send a signal to the car’s computer, telling it to turn the engine off. Most other-brand new cars have similar telematics systems.
This is touted as – and could be useful as – a way to curb auto theft and end high-speed chases before anyone gets hurt. But it can also be used to keep your car in your driveway – in order to “save gas” or “reduce global warming.” Also to track your mileage – and transmit the data in real time to a government bureaucracy with police powers, like CARB. When you reach the allowable limit, a signal is transmitted – and your car becomes 3,500 pounds of driveway sculpture.
Perhaps we’ll see a return to “no drive” days – as happened in the ’70s.
But on a much higher-tech basis.
Punitive taxes on gas could be imposed, too. California already has among the highest taxes on motor fuels in the country. A gallon of fuel currently (as of mid-September) costs about $1 more per gallon in the Golden State than in other states (see here).
Now, the California lawmakers pushing this legislation will denounce such talk as “scare tactics” – but we live in scary times. Things that used to be inconceivable are now depressingly routine. From crotch frisks at the airport to Tazerings of elderly people in their own homes to “lock downs” of entire towns to apprehend a single suspect.
The fact is cars – our driving – can be monitored. It’s not yet mandatory. But the insurance mafia (especially the Progressive “family”) has been pushing aggressively for that and if the “safety” excuse doesn’t cut the mustard, perhaps curbing “climate change” will.
The fact is most new cars already have the necessary technology – hardware and software – embedded within them to be kept track of without your even being aware of it.
It merely needs to be activated.
The fact is, states are already implementing “real-time” monitoring of our driving.
Which – given Califiornia’s (and CARB’s) historic role as a “leader” when it comes to such is by no stretch of the imagination a paranoid fantasy. California (and CARB) “led the way” when it came to draconian emissions standards that became national standards simply because the automakers could not afford to build “California” cars and cars for the other 49 states.
All cars became California compliant.
There is an element – not confined to California – that despises the personal automobile, under our personal control.
Because it is not under their control.
That people are free to travel when, where – and how – they wish rubs a certain set the wrong way. In the same way that “allowing” ordinary citizens to own firearms rubs them the wrong way.
The core issue here is not – and has never been – conservation.
What Lenin styled Who Does What to Whom.
If you doubt this, reflect on the fact that the controllers will not themselves be controlled. Just as Dear Leader will not exchange his 6,000 pound/V8-powered (and 6 MPG) armored limo for a Prius, neither will the lesser Dear Leaders be subject to hoofing it – or “public” transportation.
They will continue to have their cars.
Just as they continue to have their guns.
Under their control.
It’s our cars, our guns – our freedom – that they’re after.
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