Bark's Bites: This Is How They'll Take Your Car From You
Almost three years ago, I wrote a little piece of fiction for this site (back when we used to do that sort of thing) called “The Controller.” The premise was that, one day, the government would decide what was best for all of us by taking away our right to own and operate cars. A little “Red Barchetta,” a little Richard Foster, and a little Affordable Care Act, all wrapped up in one. To this day, it ranks among my favorite pieces that I’ve written.
However, the change in the socio-political climate in those three years has led me to believe that the government won’t have to resort to totalitarian tactics to take our cars. No, the majority of people will hand over the keys willingly and easily, and they’ll do it thanks to one of the most brilliant political tactics ever developed.
They’ll be shamed into doing it.
It won’t take long, either, once the autonomous revolution happens. It will hit the coastal cities first, with ride-hailing services taking the place of what little car ownership exists in places like New York and Philadelphia. The narrative with start with articles from the Times and WaPo, who will sing the praises of the little robotic autos, calling into question the sanity of anybody who is still archaic enough to want to own a car.
The streets will turn to silence, as autonomous cars ferry the worker bees from their $2,500 apartments to their 7:30 to 3:30 jobs with nary a honk of a horn. Never mind that autonomous vehicles are incredibly impractical throughout much of flyover country, where road conditions can vary greatly and the weather is much less predictable — we’ll be continuously force-fed a diet of praise for the driverless pods from the mainstream media.
If autonomous cars do what they’re supposed to do — which is reduce crashes and fatalities — then the narrative will quickly become one of shaming and irresponsibility. God forbid that somebody who is doing the driving for himself hits and kills somebody in an autonomous car. He’ll be infamous by the end of the hour.
“Responsible Citizen Executed At The Hands Of A Selfish Driver”
And if you think that Gen Y hipsters are insufferable, wait until you see how their Gen Z replacements act. The constant virtue signalling will be unbearable to listen to.
“I’m so glad I don’t drive one of those minority-killing murder wagons like my parents did,” they’ll say to each other over non-fat mochas.
No longer content with simply obliterating the 2nd Amendment (or the 1st, with their safe spaces and warnings about Tom and Jerry cartoons), the next generation will set their sights on the car. Driving a car won’t just be uncool — it will portrayed as a dangerous, selfish activity that nobody needs to do. The insulation provided on these already car-free campuses will allow the professors there to brainwash them into thinking that the freedom to drive yourself anywhere you’d like is really just as unnecessary as owning your own firearm.
“Henry Ford could never have dreamed that someday his company would create cars with five hundred horsepower,” they’ll say. “Nobody needs to have that much power. It’s dangerous and it’s recklessly harmful to our environment.”
You had to know that the environment was going to get roped into this discussion at some point, right? I mean, when a scientist the caliber of Leonardo DiCaprio says that global warming is a problem, we all need to listen. And if these little Autobots (TM) are electrified, the shaming will get even worse. I mean, not only are you a selfish, murderous, capitalist pig for driving yourself around, you’re also killing Mother Earth, which is pretty much the only semi-religious figure these people worship.
Getting a driver’s license will no longer be a rite of passage that children dream about — instead, it will be a signal that you’re a hick from Tennessee, as the emasculation of the modern man takes another giant leap for Zhekind. Soon, the country will be divided into drivers and passengers and believe me, the passengers will be the ones seen as modern and virtuous.
Will it stop the sales of non-autonomous cars? No, of course not. After all, the relentless pursuit of the 2nd Amendment has caused firearm sales to spike in many parts of the country. But it cannot be denied that something that was once considered a fundamental right — it’s in the Bill of Rights, for God’s sake — when I was growing up in the 80’s is now seen as a certain sign of being a backwards guns-and-religion clinger, to the point where 67% of Americans now believe that the President was correct in using executive action to bypass Congress to enact stricter gun control.
How did that happen? Simple. The media told us gun violence was a problem, and we believed them. Do you think we’ll act any differently when they tell us that death by car is an even bigger one? And, by the way, they’ll be absolutely right. About 35,000 people die every year in car crashes in the United States, which is over triple the number of gun-related homicides. One can’t even make a justifiable case that the car is less dangerous than the gun, yet we’ve all accepted that as the cost of convenience.
But what happens when it doesn’t have to be that way? When cars aren’t a necessity for life? Oh, yes, they’ll come for your cars, my friends. But not with laws. It will start with notes on your windshield. Then a swastika painted on your garage door. Then they’ll come with Twitter and Facebook and whatever the kids will be using in 2025, the year when car ownership is scheduled to end, according to the founder of Lyft. And if General Motors has invested heavily in Lyft — which they have — can there be any doubt that they share the same vision? And if our government has already set the precedent of declaring GM the winner when they’ve clearly lost, then it only stands to reason that they’d do it again.
That’s how it will be done — through pure societal shame. So if you want to know what it’s like to be a non-autonomous car owner in 2025, just ask a gun owner in 2016. You’ll get a glimpse into the future, and you might not like what you see.
[Image: Kevin Cortopassi/ Flickr ( CC BY-ND 2.0)]
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I wouldn't mind having a self-driving vehicle especially when I get older and can no longer drive. It is hard for older people to get around once they can no longer drive. As for driving a manual transmission my older brother taught me to drive a manual in a 63 IH pickup on a gravel road and county roads that were narrow, winding, and blacktop. I am glad I learned to drive a manual but I do know a pair of twin brothers in their 60's who do not know how to drive a manual. I still have a truck with a manual and I still enjoy driving it more than my other two vehicles that have automatics even though my truck is older and has less creature comforts.
Can the self driving car make me a mixed drink while it is shuttling me around? It would make my workday so much better if I could have an old fashioned on the way in to the office.