It has long been asserted, across the political spectrum, that the great American majority want cars, cars, and nothing but cars.
Among our social classes, that inflexible attitude is, in actuality, held only by the overclass, those “primary beneficiaries” (quoting business historian Alfred D. Chandler) of corporate capitalism, who are certainly very far from a majority of the U.S. population.
Despite a century of indoctrination by these vested interests, and notwithstanding the near total neglect of proper analysis and leadership from the would-be left, and notwithstanding the big swath of automotive insanity that admittedly exists within it, benighted car-lust is not held by the actual majority, meanwhile.
Evidence of this lack of ascribed unconcern abounds, if ones bothers to look for it. Here is one recent and imortant piece of actual thoughtfulness among the masses:
The New York Times editorial board today blithely states the two foundational axioms of the quasi-official “liberal” view of sustainable transportation: 1. That it is an important topic, so long as the alternatives are cars, cars, or cars. 2. “Electric” cars, if somehow fully implemented, will somehow be sustainable.
ROFL times a million.
Meanwhile, the million-and-first laugh is that one of the NYT’s main complaints about existing trends is that the GHG emissions of the US transportation sector have now surpassed those of the electricity-making sector! In response to this event, the paper of records calls for us to continue using 95-percent-idle, 4,000-pound piles of complex materials for our everyday locomotion, but to do so by making them run on electricity!
Orwell didn’t get the half of it. In market totalitarianism, Doublethink is not only beyond rife, but spouted by the elite without the smallest hint of second thought.
Our grandchildren, should they somehow retain print literacy, will undoubtedly be disgusted with our stupidity in the face of the preposterous wishful thinking about “electric” automobiles that was used as such obvious haloware in our time.
Meanwhile, per Automotive News, there’s this, the real driving plan behind the “electric” trickery:
In the first half of 2017, light trucks accounted for 63.1 percent of U.S. [auto] sales.
General Motors, it says, is the “First Company to Use Mass-Production Methods for Autonomous Vehicles.”
In a society that had either the rudiments of a sane attitude toward transportation or actual journalism, this shameless howler would be getting rightly trashed. Instead, of course, GM’s ridiculous PR claim is generating the usual straight reprints of its press release, under the desired, predictable headlines:
General Motors: We can mass-produce self-driving cars now
Notice the slip from GM’s “mass-production methods” to the corporate news outlet’s “mass produce.” (Need we again mention the nature of the “electric vehicle” deception?)
Meanwhile, the vehicles in question — all 130 of them — are certainly not “self-driving,” as is demonstrated by this picture from GM’s own press release packet:
And, say, what do you imagine would happen to this contraption’s “self-driving” capacities upon the slightest ding to that rather extravangant roof rack? And how much would it cost to fix such problems? Nobody is mentioning such matters, of course. There’s much more loss-leading business to be done here, after all.
More evidence that so-called “EVs” are, in fact, haloware: The car corporations have thrown a successful tizzy-fit against an actual sales mandate in China. Per Reuters:
China agreed to delay an 8 percent quota for electric and hybrid vehicles by a year until 2019, an auto industry source said on Friday, in a major concession for German carmakers seeking to expand in the world’s largest auto market.
In a draft in September, Chinese policymakers proposed that 8 percent of automakers’ sales be battery-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2018, sparking protests from domestic and international carmakers.
After a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said a “solution” for implementing the quotas had been found, though he gave no details.
As part of a compromise deal, German carmakers who fail to fulfill the quota in the near term will be able to offset penalties by ramping up electric vehicle deliveries at a later date, the industry source said.
Gosh, I thought these folks were just dying to bring us all the very best in transportation technology…
Meanwhile, the report does contain one piece of stone-cold fact:
Maintaining and extending its current strong position in China is crucial for Germany’s auto industry, led by Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW, and its broader economy.
Per The New York Times, May 29, 2017:
The most common cause of death in children under the age of 15 is unintentional injury, and the most common cause of unintentional injury is car accidents. Between 2010 and 2014, 2,885 children died in motor vehicle accidents nationwide — an average of 11 children a week. That number excludes pedestrians.
Here’s one your children and grandchildren will appreciate. It’s what the Democratic Party’s Congresscritter has to say about relaxing the rules for making and selling the machine that’s destroying the material basis for future civilization.
“Our bill makes simple changes so our manufacturers, suppliers, and workers can continue to make the best products in the world.”
This machine, of course, just happens to be the lifeblood of corporate capitalism and the unaccountable, decrepit overclass it sustains. Hence, such über-Orwellian stuff. “The best products in the world!”
H/t to Eleanor Wynn, roving social scientist.
Bill McKibben, never one to think too hard about his own limitations, still says “the source of the problem” is “the fossil fuel industry and its lock on Washington.” That’s like saying the problem in Greensboro in 1960 was the cheeseburgers.
The fossil fuel industry, for starters, is largely the oil industry, which is a subsidiary component of the automotive-industrial complex. That, the promoter of one of corporate capitalism’s few true core commodities — the private automobile — is, in turn, a literal institutional requirement of corporate capitalism. Corporate capitalism, which requires the reign of the car plus its half-dozen other major industrial complexes/capital-friendly-forms-of-colossal-ecocidal-waste-in-which-fossil-fuel-combustion-is-but-a-symptom, is the source of the problem.
Anybody who can’t or won’t say that is no friend of the dwindling prospect of progressive human survival. “Green car” is a screamingly obvious oxymoron. Yet, the entire anti-fossil-fuels movement is premised on at least implying the contrary.
History suggests that social movements face enough obstacles. There is simply no room for adding in the fatal error of being coy and/or deluded about what we need and demand.
Seems like the new boss is pretty much the same as the old boss:
The corporate technocrats’ big open secret is that they, being worshippers of money, computers, and bossing, insist on underestimating the complexity of human reason, especially the reality of tacit knowledge.