If your car is self-driving, can the government turn it off for climate reasons?

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I’m interested in Elon Musk because he is so interesting. Actually, his whole family is. His mom, Maye Musk, is a 74-year-old supermodel. Just stunning.

And here’s his unusual dad, explaining that he named Elon Musk, who wants to put people on Mars, after a character in a book written by the original rocket scientist Werner von Braun, about colonizing Mars:

I won’t go through the whole family — they are unusual let me just say that.

And Elon Musk is the most successful person, by many measures — Tesla, SpaceX spaceships, Starlink satellite internet. Now he bought Twitter to make it a free speech app. Amazing.

I’m not sure how he can divide his attention amongst to many projects. Because while he’s done this Twitter thing, Tesla has rolled out their new electric trucks. I’m a skeptic of electric vehicles for a number of reasons. But you can’t deny what he’s done — look at this:

But what’s really on my mind when I think of Tesla isn’t the electric power source. It’s the driverless feature. Look at this:

That’s a real video of a driverless car, driving in the rain. And I guess it’s safe? I could imagine some things going wrong — but of course that’s the difference between a critic and the guy who actually invented this, isn’t it.

But here’s the thing about a computer-controlled car that drives on its own. So you could theoretically have a nap; theoretically send a child. So many ramifications — safety is obviously first. I think about jobs, too — there are many thousands of truckers whose jobs might be made obsolete.

This reminds me of so many drones that are being deployed around the world today. Drones have done so much fighting in the Russia Ukraine war — drones dropping bombs, drones doing surveillance. And in China — drones enforcing Covid rules, with spy cams and loudspeakers.

There’s a company in the U.S. called Boston Dynamics that makes robots. I’m not going to show you the more modern ones — I don’t think you’d actually believe that they’re robots; you’d think they’re just computer generated images. Let me show you this one from four years ago, because it’s still unbelievable, but easy enough to still believe. It’s their dog robot, and they’re testing how it does when a human interferes with it. Just watch for a minute:

That was four years ago. Here’s a clip of today’s — again, you probably won’t believe this is real, I assure you it is:

That’s not a person in there .... that’s a robot. We’re so far down this path. Add in artificial intelligence; total surveillance. And then throw in some totalitarianism — and a gun. And it’s over, isn’t it?

Elon Musk says that’s the thing he’s most worried about — AI taking over the world. Which is interesting, given that he works with AI. That’s the self-driving car thing. There’s AI in spaceships. He’s got a company called Neuralink, which has a stated mission that reads:

"We are creating the future of brain-computer interfaces: building devices now that have the potential to help people with paralysis and inventing new technologies that could expand our abilities, our community, and our world.”

I’m sure that’s true. enabling paralyzed people to walk again. But I can think of a few more uses for transhumanism besides helping the disabled. I can think of much more malign uses. Transhumanism — that means moving beyond human and merging with machines.

That’s the near future. Maybe even the present.

But let me show you something very real that is happening right now. As in, just last week. In the British county of Oxfordshire — where the famous Oxford University is located, obviously. Here's this from a BBC story from last week, the headline reads: Oxfordshire County Council approves £6.5m traffic filter scheme

Traffic filter. That sounds good. Sounds like maybe they’re cleaning the air or something? No — they’re filtering out you. You’re the dirt they’re filtering.

A £6.5m trial to stop most drivers in Oxford from using busy city routes at peak times has been approved. The six traffic filters were given the go-ahead by Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet earlier. It hopes they will cut unnecessary journeys and make walking, cycling, and public and shared transport the "natural first choice”.

To stop most drivers. Just to stop them. Not sure what the 6.5 million quid is for. And of course, don’t you worry — it’s only for unnecessary journeys. I think you yourself are a good judge of what is necessary and what isn’t. But no longer. Don’t you worry your pretty little head. That decision will now be made for you by the government.

Here’s some more info:

"They will operate for seven days a week from 07:00 until 19:00, except those in Marston Ferry Road and Hollow Way which would only operate from 07:00 until 09:00 and from 15:00 until 18:00, Monday to Saturday. Any driver going through a filter who is neither exempt nor using a permit would be charged a £70 penalty.”

So 70 pounds — thats 115 dollars Canadian. So if you drive into the city, but some politician says it wasn’t necessary, you will have to pay a $100+ fine.

And there's more:

"Liam Walker, shadow cabinet member for highways, said the plans were "hitting residents' pockets and impacting businesses". He added: "Oxford is slowly being shut down under this anti-motorist coalition.”

Of course this will have many consequences, many side-effects, some foreseen, some not. It’s really a form of lockdown, isn’t it? They loved it. They learned what they could get away with. They’re telling you who you can or can’t visit; where you can or can’t go. They’re not pretending it’s about Covid anymore. It’s permanent. Know your place. Show your papers. Explain yourself. Is your trip necessary? You must answer to the law!

I wonder if they’ll just copy the same rules during the lockdown. Is it a funeral? A wedding? Well, were you immediate family? Are they in your “bubble”?

Here’s The Oxford Magazine quoting a local counsellor who is so excited:

"Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “Currently, our roads are gridlocked with traffic, and this traffic is damaging our economy and our environment. Oxford needs a more sustainable, reliable and inclusive transport system for everyone. Traffic filters are an important tool to deliver a transport plan that works for all.”

What’s an inclusive transport system? Is that the main point of a transport system — to be inclusive? Or is it to get people from point A to point B? And how is it inclusive if you ban people — except the very rich who can afford to pay $100 to go into town. Or who are politically connected enough to get an exemption? Say, just a guess — what do you bet that Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, gets an exemption because he’s so important? I mean, just look at that job title — his business card is probably so long it folds in half.

“Traffic filters are designed to deliver a safer, cleaner and more prosperous place to live, work and visit. This is not a scheme to stop private vehicles in the city. Exemptions and permits available for residents and businesses will make car journeys faster while also improving alternative transport options such as public transport.”

How does it make Oxford more prosperous if people can’t drive in to shop? And, pay no attention to your lying eyes — this will make car journeys faster, people. Just like a carbon tax makes you richer, don’t you know.

Lower down in the story they actually quote someone who knows something about prosperity and business. 

"Oxford businessman, Jeremy Mogford, has publicly raised objections to the new bus gates across the city, which he claims will be like ‘Berlin Walls’."

Sounds lovely. But very fitting. 

"And just a few days ago, Clinton Pugh, who owns Café Coco, Kazbar and Café Tarifa on Cowley Road, unveiled an anti-LTN billboard on the side of Café Coco. The Oxford businessman and father of Hollywood actress Florence Pugh described the move as an “…ill thought out traffic experiment”.

I disagree with one part of that — ill thought out. It’s not ill thought out. It appears that way, if you think its goal really was to improve the quality of life, improve prosperity, whatever they say. That’s just what they say. The whole point of this traffic lockdown, this climate lockdown, is the lockdown part. The part that’s hard, the part that’s bad, the part that’s punitive — that isn’t the “bug” that’s the feature; that’s what they’re doing it for. Covid, climate, traffic, whatever — whatever excuse is necessary to control your life.

Here’s how a local radio station is covering it — it’s like rationing. You know, they did that in the UK during the Second World War, and afterwards for a while, too. They were so poor they rationed food. Now they’re making you poor. Forcing you to ration your travel. They’re making it scarce:

"Transport is currently one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis. In order to transition to a sustainable economy, we need to change the way that people get around - reducing the number of individual journeys by fossil fueled cars, and creating the conditions which allow people to travel more by foot, by bike and by public transport."

Get on foot. Are you a mom with babies? Get on foot. Are you disabled? Get on foot. Are you elderly? Ride your bike. Or — just don’t leave your house. Didn’t you practice during the Covid lockdowns?

"Councillor Emily Kerr, transport spokesperson for the Green Party Group on Oxford City Council, described it as an important step towards fixing Oxford's broken transport system, saying: Transport is currently one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis.”

That’s what this is about. It’s about ideology. It’s not about traffic or congestion or roads or anything. It’s about an anti-industry, anti-modernity supertition, that if we all live more poorly, somehow the weather gods will change things. Really no different than the Aztec sacrificing slaves to appease the gods.

Here’s another local report — my favourite line:

"Six new traffic filters in Oxford have been approved following a debate featuring more than 50 opinions from the public. County and Oxford city councillors, people representing lobby groups and standalone members of the public came forward, but despite the presence of police and security, proceedings had to be paused twice because of shouting from the public gallery. One of the speakers, an objector, was escorted away for refusing to stop speaking at the end of her allotted time as she shouted in the chamber at County Hall, calling on councillors to resign. That was partly responsible for one of the pauses."

Just a hunch: if you have to have police escort away objectors to your traffic rationing plan, maybe you might be a touch on the authoritarian side.

Here’s a detail left out of all the other reports I showed you. I think it’s where the money’s going: they’re spying on you:

"The barriers equipped with surveillance cameras, will prevent private cars travelling through much of the centre of the city without a permit. Other vehicles, including buses, coaches, taxis, vans, mopeds and HGVs, will continue to have access at all times."

Oh. So it’s the full-on Chinese surveillance state plus social credit system. Not even pretending.

So, yeah, I think the UK failed the test. Covid was a test. What could the government get away with and what would the population put up with. We all learned. Expect a lot more lockdowns, and a lot more “passports” to go to restaurants, shops, or even use your car.

Oh — and that electric self-driving car? Yeah, about that.

If you drive a “regular” car, you can drive it where and when you want to drive it. Maybe you might be spotted and arrested or given a ticket if you’re going where they don’t want you to go. But those self-driving cars? Just flip a switch, and those things are turned off — by the car company, or by the government.

A self-driving car is pretty cool. But you’re never riding alone, are you — you’re riding with the deep state right in there with you, watching every move you make, tracking you, and if need be, stopping you.

GUEST: Matt Strickland on police shutting down his restaurant

 

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