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 Post subject: All about everything.
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 22:21 
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Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 15:52
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The following text is from a collection of stuff off the backend of cyberspace that i downloaded ooooh eons ago ( feels like it anyway).
Theres rather a lot of it and its a bit jumbled around but it makes very interesting reading all the same and i find it extremely relevant in todays world. I have no idea who the author is, but thanks and recognition are due.

Freedom
Freedom has two aspects: the freedom from things we don't like (such as oppressive laws), and the freedom to do things that we do like (such as driving our cars).

In Britain for several decades most people have tacitly assumed that freedom is guaranteed to continue for ever. This complacency is one reason why there has been so much hollowing-out of freedom. Our freedom is hollowed-out when the powers-that-be rob us of what lies at the heart of freedom, while allowing us to keep the empty shell. For instance, they may try to confine our freedom into particular areas of life that pose few threats to the status quo. But freedom is not all about shopping and sex. It goes much deeper than a free choice amongst soap operas or designer labels.

Freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of action and freedom of movement are major freedoms with big implications for anyone who seeks to exercise freedom and anyone who seeks to restrict freedom. However, some anti-car campaigners seem to imagine that freedom of movement can be restricted without anything important being lost.

One of the most significant freedoms is the freedom to do things which well-organised campaigners such as the anti-car movement vociferously oppose.

Dumbing-down is incompatible with freedom, because it keeps us ignorant about what is possible in life, and what freedom we can have.

We need to make full use of our freedoms. Otherwise, the powers-that-be may come to think that losing our freedoms wouldn't bother us.

Politicians
Politicians have a well-developed sense of their own importance. However, their fame and power are generally short-lived. Most of them are utterly forgotten only a few years after their political career has come to an end. This should give us confidence when confronting them.

Inevitably, politicians live in a media-saturated world and lose contact with ordinary people who have no great interest in politics. Politicians thus could easily gain the impression that the anti-car views expressed on TV, on radio and in the newspapers are the views of an overwhelming majority of voters. We need to correct this impression.

Some politicians (the more pretentious ones) stake a claim to the moral high ground when they promote and pursue anti-car policies. This claim does not stand up to scrutiny. Most of their anti-car policies are essentially about power and money - that is, increasing the power of politicians and bureaucrats and fashionable pressure-groups over us, and depriving us of even more of our money.

Other politicians who impose anti-car policies on us justify their actions by saying that they are democratically implementing what they promised in their election manifesto. But the decision of millions of people, to use their cars day by day, is far more democratic than a one-off ballot held a few months or a few years ago.

Whatever policy the politicians come up with, their PRopaganda will trumpet that it was a brilliant idea and its implementation has been a resounding success. That is, unless everyone can see that it was a disaster - and in that case, the propaganda will claim that it was a brilliant idea that ran into trouble due to unforeseen circumstances.

Politicians are weather-vanes. If the direction of the wind changes, they will obediently swing round, while assuring us that they have done no such thing.

Politicians are not friends of people who like to travel by car, but they are people with whom we can do business.

Environmentalism
Environmentalism has become a false religion. In the media, many TV reporters, interviewers and continuity announcers give environmentalists the same reverential treatment that bishops and archbishops were granted in the 1950s.

In environmentalist thinking we find analogies (intentional or unintentional) with Christian doctrine about sin, guilt, sacrifice and salvation. (The slogan "Save the planet!" is one aspect of this.) Many environmentalists are nostalgic for a golden age that never existed, or obsessed with the prospect of creating an everlasting golden age in the future - and they are willing to take drastic steps so as to hasten, or re-create, the golden age. In these respects, environmentalism is an echo of Marxism. Far from ushering in a golden age, environmentalism threatens to plunge us deeper into the mire of regulation and legalism.

The followers of environmentalism have two myths to tell us, and these myths are not entirely compatible:

Myth one is that we shall bring about hell on earth by excessive consumption of natural resources, especially the fossil fuels used by cars.

Myth two is that we are in danger of running out of natural resources, especially the fossil fuels used by cars.

Critique of myth one:

This myth is much heard at international conferences held in luxurious conference-centres. At such events it is often propagated by delegates who could participate only by making a journey of hundreds or thousands of miles, and who shuttle between the conference-centre and their five-star hotels in a fleet of limousines. Clearly, such people either do not believe the myth that they preach, or do not believe that it is relevant to themselves.

We rarely hear suggestions that half-empty buses, trains and aircraft are wasting fossil fuels, or that we ought to decommission our manufacturing industries, or take fewer hot showers, or shut down our gas-fired central heating and our gas cookers. The car is hypocritically singled out.

One aspect of the myth is that if we detect any changes (real or imagined, welcome or unwelcome) to the climate in any part of the world, those changes must be attributable to our consumption of natural resources - to CO2 emissions especially, and to emissions from cars in particular. The underlying assumption is that everything that happens on planet Earth must be the consequence of human action. Perhaps we should adopt a less inflated view of what human action can and does achieve. In other contexts, we doubt the sanity of people who insistently attribute everything to some single all-powerful cause.

Critique of myth two:

One of the ideas underlying this myth is that natural resources exist in fixed quantities which must (since they are being used up) become smaller and smaller as time goes by. This is absurd. The types and the quantities of natural resources available to us are very much dependent on our ingenuity and on the technology that we can deploy.

The world is not going to run out of fossil fuels, or liquid hydrocarbon fuels, any time soon:

In many parts of the world there are vast reserves of coal, which some governments have chosen to turn their backs on. Technology for producing liquid hydrocarbon fuels from coal has been available for many years: it was used by Germany in the Second World War, and has been used by South Africa since the days of apartheid.
In the Athabasca tar sands in Canada, there is estimated to be the equivalent of 280-300 billion barrels of recoverable oil, which is more than the Saudi reserves of crude oil in liquid form. This estimate does not take account of tar sands from which oil cannot be recovered using current technology. (Source: Petroleum Economist.)
There are substitutes for fossil fuels, in the form of organic fuels such as biodiesel, biogas and methanol. The use of these renewable fuels will tend to slow the rate at which the reserves of fossil fuels are depleted. The ultimate source of the energy in renewable organic fuels is the sun, which is expected to continue shining for a very long time.
Use of the internet can reduce the demand for travel, and thereby save vast amounts of energy - including energy from fossil fuels.
Hydrogen-based technologies such as fuel cells are expected to come on stream in the medium term. The ultimate source of energy in these technologies can be fossil fuels, or a renewable source whether organic or non-organic.

What sort of society?

What sort of society ? / What sort of transport ?


Bureaucrats en masse, more by accident than by design, have risen to a position of unaccountable power and influence, similar to the position of trades union shop stewards and officials in the 1960s and 1970s. Most of us can tell a story of how bureaucrats prevented us from doing something that we very reasonably wanted to do; or of how they did something or forced us to do something which, again very reasonably, we did not want done. Others of us have experience of legal proceedings where the only ultimate beneficiaries were the well-paid solicitors and barristers; or of crass business decisions whose rationale was pandering to the short-termism of the institutional investors who dominate the stock market. More and more, it seems that everything in Britain is set up as best suits the interests of the rich and powerful and well-connected.

In Whitehall, the mandarin culture of complacency, arrogance and secretiveness is alive and well. I am sure you don't need to be reminded about the Matrix Churchill affair, the contamination of the water-supply at Camelford, BSE / variant CJD, depleted uranium, GM food, and foot-and-mouth. These are of course only the high-profile cases that everyone knows about.

In the administration of justice, liberties that we once took for granted have been diminished by the restriction of the right to trial by jury, and by the authorities having much more frequent recourse to the civil law in which cases are decided on the balance of probabilities, rather than to the criminal law in which guilt has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. ... At some point on this illiberal road, and probably not very far down it, we must surely cease to be the kind of society that supposedly we are trying to protect.

A highly-regulated, dumbed-down society soon becomes one in which there is less and less possibility of any rational discourse between those who govern and those who are governed - and that rational discourse is something our society urgently needs more of.

Marketing, journalism, public administration, scientific research, politics and show-business are coalescing into a single world of glitz and brand-image, where nothing is real except the money and the fame.

... we are witnessing a dangerous decline in the respect that our institutions accord to the individual: the false and arrogant assumption underlying the surveillance is that it is very much the business of the powers-that-be to know what kind of people we are, and what we choose to do with our lives, and to know these things in as much detail as they see fit. The authorities seem terrified at the thought that we might do things of which they would not approve, or things of which some highly vocal but unrepresentative pressure-group would not approve. ... Surveillance technology has a great deal to do with projecting power at a distance, and its pervasive, systematic use in the long term may well steer the majority of people in the direction of being more cautious, more conformist, and more deferential to authority. Taking all this to its logical conclusion, even the optimistic scenario is that Britain would become a bland, sterile, Singapore-style society: one whose citizens were free to accumulate money and possessions, but not free to do very much else - a society in which every attempted deviation (good or bad) from officially-sanctioned behaviour would swiftly and effectively be forestalled. ... Why should we imagine that our open, liberal society is somehow guaranteed to continue for ever? No doubt we have been lulled into a false sense of security, after a long period of time in which our rulers were, by historical standards, remarkably tolerant and benevolent.

Even though the sweeping powers of the police are intended for use in fighting serious crime, we should remember that, to paraphrase Lord Acton, power tends to corrupt, and sweeping powers tend to corrupt sweepingly.


What sort of transport?

My particular interest in all this is road transport. I write as someone enthusiastic both about cars and about the opportunities and freedoms that the widespread ownership of cars has conferred on millions of us in Britain.

In the never-ending process of determining what freedom we have and what freedom we should have, road-users (particularly those who drive cars) have been granted a front-line rôle which they never sought and which they find unwelcome. It is difficult to think of any aspect of life in Britain upon which so much extra surveillance, restriction and regulation has been heaped in recent years as it has upon motor vehicles and those who drive them. We are all familiar with road closures, speed humps, width restrictors, superfluous mini-roundabouts, additional traffic lights and other junction "improvements" that impede (and may have been intended to impede) the flow of traffic, wheel-clamping, controlled parking zones in residential areas - and this is far from being an exhaustive list. No prominent politician seems ever to argue in favour of our having more freedom to use our cars. A goodly number of prominent politicians frequently argue in favour of restricting the freedom to use cars. Other than in the ghetto of car magazines and the few motoring programmes on TV, the case for freedom of movement by car is never presented in the media.

Much of today's anti-car propaganda echoes racist propaganda of decades past: "They're dirty / noisy / dangerous, and there are simply too many of them." One can also make analogies between the policy of apartheid formerly pursued in South Africa, and the divisive, restrictive anti-car policies pursued in Britain in the 1990s and 2000s: for instance the reduction in the road-space available for cars, resulting from the increase in the number of bus lanes - which are now found on motorways as well as on urban roads. Another kind of divisive measure awaits us, in the form of city-centre tolls and eventually perhaps in the form of a comprehensive system of electronic road-pricing which city-centre tolls are probably meant as a first step towards. There are several reasons why we should oppose tolls, one of them being that they will be a regressive form of taxation. Wealthy people will easily be able to afford tolls, but people on lower incomes will not; in consequence, on tolled roads we shall see, proportionately, more S-class Mercedes but fewer Ford Escorts.

I don't think that cars are the solution to all transport problems, any more than bicycles, trams or airliners are the solution to all transport problems. However, in the world of the internet, where with each successive year fewer and fewer businesses will need to be housed in city centres or in any particular location, and more people will be able to work at home, it must be doubtful whether we should be investing billions in providing additional capacity on public transport rail, tram and tube systems designed to shuttle large numbers of people from the suburbs to the city each morning, and back home each evening. ... A more flexible system of transport, suited to a decentralised and networked world rather than wedded to the centralised and linear model of 20th-century industrial society, must surely be our goal. With any foreseeable technology, a more flexible system of transport will road-based, not rail-based.

None of the above should be taken as a plea for libertarianism, either on our roads or elsewhere. Libertarianism implies a highly optimistic view of human nature, which is a view I do not share. However, it is precisely because human nature is so fallible that the present concentration of power in the hands of unaccountable élites is so dangerous.

What sort of measures?

I don't have a detailed blueprint for solving all the problems in our society. However, I am sure that any solution to our fundamental problems must involve a large transfer of power away from the institutions that have usurped it, and back to individual citizens and their democratically accountable representatives.

Hypocrisy
The powers-that-be often put forward arguments or reasons to justify what they do when their actions would otherwise seem outrageous. These justifications are usually hypocritical.

In the past, justifications such as The king commands it, or This is the will of God were frequently used. These justifications have lost their power to convince, and have been replaced by others.

Nowadays we hear:-

This will increase efficiency
This is all part of living in a globalised world
This is required for security reasons
This will help the fight against crime
This will preserve the environment

Hypocritical justifications should be exposed for what they are, and the underlying motivations should be brought to light. These underlying motivations may be:-

This will concentrate power in our hands
This makes us look good / wise / progressive
This will buy off an influential pressure-group
This is a favour we owe, in return for a big donation
This will make our jobs secure for life
This will give us a nice warm glow of self-importance

Also keep an eye open for hypocritical behaviour. Some people in the anti-car movement loudly advocate coercive methods to force other people onto public transport, but themselves drive above-average mileages - or are driven everywhere by their chauffeurs.

One especially hypocritical claim sometimes made is that road-tolls are necessary so as to fund improvements to our transport infrastructure - as though road-users were not already subjected to taxation far in excess of what is spent on our transport infrastructure.

Bureacrats
A bureaucrat aims first and foremost to consolidate and expand his bureaucratic empire. Restrictions and controls are most welcome to him, because these things help justify why we have so many bureaucrats now and why we need so many in future. This is one reason why bureaucrats have a limitless appetite for intervening in our lives.

Bureaucrats like regulation to be complicated. Simple regulation does not help expand the bureaucratic empire enough. A skilful bureaucrat can use salami tactics (i.e. deliberate scopecreep) with a view to turning simple regulation into complicated regulation.

Politicians come and go, as a result of elections, but bureaucrats were never elected to their positions and never have to put themselves up for re-election.

Bureaucrats occasionally forget themselves and express contempt, in public, for the views and aspirations of ordinary people. But their actions often make it clear that they feel such contempt even when they do not express it.

Regulation
Regulation benefits regulators first and foremost. Some regulation brings some benefit to the rest of us. But even when regulation is bringing no benefit, or is doing harm, the regulators draw their salaries and enjoy the trappings of power.


Whenever a problem (real or imagined) in society is identified, the solutions put forward by politicians and the media are almost always defined in terms of new laws, tighter controls, more regulation, and new bureaucratic structures.

It is much better for our lives to be governed by our values, rather than by regulation.

Regulation tends to proliferate without limit unless we take firm action to curb it. In other words, there is a ratchet effect. If regulation continued to proliferate, ultimately the whole of life would consist of complying with regulations. There would be no time and no scope to do anything else - and therefore no freedom.

Politicians have occasionally promised deregulation, but so far they have hardly begun to deliver on their promises. Serious deregulation would entail Parliament and other law-making bodies spending much of their time repealing old laws rather than passing new ones.

The anti car movement
People have various motives for behaving in the ways they do. The anti-car movement is a coalition of all sorts of people:

Some are ascetics , people who believe that pleasure is sinful. They are horrified or disgusted by the fact that cars can be beautiful, luxurious, and pleasurable to own and to drive. (Asceticism has been around for a very long time, in many forms. Some people adopt it as a strategy for coping with feelings of guilt about the success and prosperity of Western society - a success and prosperity in which we all share to a greater or lesser degree.)

Some are authoritarians who cannot stomach the freedom to go where we please, when we please, that the car has bestowed on us. There are many such people in the police .

Some are bureaucrats who see anti-car policies as a way of expanding their own powers and prerogatives.

Some are eco-fundamentalists , worshippers of the Green god. To be opposed to technology is part of their religion. They oppose the car because it is one of the most visible and beneficial aspects of a technological society. If they got their way and cars were banned, they would start working towards a ban on something else technological. We cannot appease eco-fundamentalists, any more than our forefathers could appease Fascists in the 1930s.

Some are elitists who want to stop other people driving cars so that there will be more room on the roads for their own cars. They hope that taxes and tolls will price all the riff-raff off the roads.

Some are political extremists whose plans came to nothing when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Trades Unions were emasculated. They restored purpose to their lives by joining the anti-car movement.

Some are feminists who oppose the car because they see it as a symbol of masculine aggression and dominance. (They ignore the inconvenient fact that lots of women like cars, and some men don't.)

Some are grudge-bearers - a member of their family, or a friend of theirs, may have died or been injured in a road accident. Their reaction is understandable, and we should treat them sympathetically. But they are as misguided as if, on the basis of a bad experience with one person from Ruritania, they bore a grudge against all Ruritanians. Grudge-bearers often bear a burden of self-imposed guilt in addition to their grudge. They would like to offload this burden onto road-users. But their attempt is doomed to failure - ordinary human beings have no power to shoulder the burden of someone else's guilt. Other grudge-bearers, sad to say, are simply out for revenge.

Some are megalomaniacs , people who have a passion for grandiose schemes or isms that they want to inflict on everyone. Such people often rise to the top of bureaucracies and other organisations where there is little or no democratic check on them. Some of them, for all that we live in a democracy, become prominent politicians.

Some are narrow-minded people who want others to conform to their views and their behaviour. ("If I don't have a car, or if I use my car only in some particular way that suits me, why should anyone else be different?")

Some are neo-Malthusians , people who have half-understood the writings of Thomas Malthus. They hold the over-simplified view that growth and progress cannot be sustained and so must lead society towards disaster. Time and time again, what happens in the real world has given the lie to neo-Malthusian ideas.

Some are tax-and-spend politicians who see the motorist as the goose that lays the golden egg. They don't want to ban cars altogether, because that would be like killing the goose. Instead, they want the goose to lay bigger golden eggs, and lay them more often.

Some are the public transport lobby with a different hat on. They may earn their living from buses, trams and trains, or they may simply be enthusiastic about them. Self-interest, or misguided loyalty, makes them anti-car.

Some are slaves of fashion. They oppose freedom of movement because it is unfashionable, and support anti-car policies because they are fashionable. There are many such people in the media.

Most anti-car campaigners belong to more than one of these categories, and they may or may not realise what their true motives are.

Some anti-car campaigners are prime movers in their campaign; others are what Lenin described as useful idiots - people whose motives may be good but whose minds are blinkered, and who are manipulated and exploited by the prime movers. With a cynicism equal to that of Lenin, the more unscrupulous prime movers eagerly recruit children to their cause, and indoctrinate them so that they will serve as "useful idiots". Some of these cynics pretend that they espouse anti-car policies purely on the grounds of child welfare.

Surveillence
In the past, one of the guarantees of our freedom of movement was that the powers-that-be did not know much about where we went or what we did, and could not easily find out. The widespread introduction of surveillance technology is quickly eroding that guarantee.

More and more surveillance cameras scan the roads, 24 hours a day. However, what has been installed so far is (in general) only the first stage. Much more powerful and intrusive surveillance technology is being introduced, which makes use of image processing software to recognise car number plates and people's faces without any need for human intervention.

Vehicles can also be tracked by satellite, using GPS technology, with a high degree of precision.

Increasingly, the powers-that-be will be able to know more and more about our comings and goings (from and to where, when, how, and with whom).

The powers-that-be exercise surveillance over us, but try to stop us from exercising any surveillance over them.

Surveillance technology can help produce a more compliant and subservient population, one that cannot step out of line (even for the best of reasons) without the powers-that-be knowing about it. This is incompatible with freedom.

It is highly likely that the people who will have us under surveillance will be the very last kind of people that should be allowed to have anyone under surveillance.

Knowing more about us, the powers-that-be will be tempted to seek more control over us. They are already looking beyond the world of surveillance and towards a world of remote control, exemplified by the ISA (Intelligent Speed Adaptation) system whose development is now well advanced.

The powers that be.
Who are the powers-that-be? The answer depends on the situation.

For instance, a judge has wide-ranging powers in court, but he is subject to the power of a ticket-inspector if found travelling on a train without having paid the fare. And both of them are subject to the power of a tax inspector when they have to fill in their income-tax returns.

In any situation, it is usually clear who is wielding the power, and who is being subjected to that power.

Some people are powerful in their own right, but most people who wield power can do so only because the power has been delegated to them.

In the context of road transport, it is generally bureaucrats and police officers who are the powers-that-be. Theoretically, they wield only the power delegated to them by politicians and the state, but in practice they have great latitude to act as they see fit.

Power is not good or evil. But the purposes that the power is used for, and the results of the power being used, can be good or evil.

The powers-that-be often put forward justifications for what they do. These justifications usually contain a large dose of hypocrisy.

Throughout history, the powers-that-be have usually been neither wise nor benevolent.

Prisoners of language
Prisoners of language

Language is not a neutral medium in which we express our thoughts. On the contrary, the words we use will tend to govern our thoughts in all sorts of ways.

Anti-car campaigners, politicians and bureaucrats use all kinds of loaded expressions. Some of these expressions imply that travelling by car is immoral. Others are intended to deceive and mislead us in more subtle ways. For instance:-

The freedom to use our cars to go where we want, when we want, is described as Car-dependency.

Road-tolls are described as Congestion charges.

Short-cuts and back doubles are described as Rat-runs. (Watch out for alliteration - it can often be a substitute for clear thinking, or a catchy slogan behind which an ulterior motive is being hidden.)

Speed cameras are described as Safety cameras.

Surveillance cameras are described as Security cameras.

Turning a road into a spine-jarring obstacle course is described as Traffic-calming.

Making it inconvenient (or impossible) to drive a car through a given area is described as Traffic management.

The glossary shows in more general terms how language can imprison our thoughts, and how we can fight this.

Do not let your thoughts be taken prisoner!

Democracy
Everyone in Britain is now subject to four or five levels of government. These levels are: local, regional, national, European, and global. Each level consists of democratically elected politicians, plus an unelected bureaucracy. (The exception is the global level of government - we do not have elections for the UN or the WTO.) This complicated system of government is excellent for politicians who want to disclaim responsibility for anything bad or unpopular. For instance, anti-car policies devised by higher levels of government are often left to be implemented by lower levels.

The voters at an election cannot choose directly between policies. Instead, they are restricted to choosing between candidates or political parties. A political party usually requires its candidates to support all the main policies of the party. The policies of a party are determined by the leaders or by the activists - a small number of people. Consequently, there is very little democracy in policy-making even though we have frequent elections that all the politicians (half-truthfully) say are democratic.

Generally, opinion polls about policy options attempt to manipulate the democratic process rather than to find out what the public wants.

The law and legalism
The law can liberate - though it rarely does. This is especially true on our roads.

It is much better to be subject to law than to live in anarchy, or to be subject to arbitrary government. But nowadays we are not so much subject to law, as subject to an unjust and legalistic system that enriches lawyers and empowers bureaucrats and the police.

There is sometimes an overlap between what the law lays down, and common-sense ideas of justice and fairness. But very often there is no such overlap, and there may often be a direct contradiction.

Legalism is defined as "excessive adherence to the letter of the law". Anyone who follows the path of legalism soon loses sight of the values on which the rule of law was originally based. This losing sight of underlying values and principles is one aspect of the bureaucratic mentality, but the problem is not confined to bureaucrats.

Enforcement of the law should not be an end in itself, nor a profit-oriented business, but should be a means of implementing justice and upholding our freedom.

Legalism on our roads is particularly oppressive in the way that speed limits and parking controls are enforced.

Voting
Voting

If politicians follow anti-car policies, we should not vote for them.

But if politicians come along who promise to follow car-friendly policies, should we vote for them? Before deciding whether to vote for such politicians, we need to ask ourselves a few questions:


Do we believe that the promises have been made sincerely? Are the promises too good to be true? (If they seem too good to be true, they probably are.)
If we believe that the promises have been made sincerely, is it likely that, after the election, these politicians will be in a position to deliver on the promises? (If they are not in power after the election, they cannot deliver. If they are in power they may still not deliver, due to constraints of time and money.)
We must take account not only of a politician's promises but also of:

his values
his power
his prospects of gaining or retaining power
the constraints on his power.

The state and its scope
Let's first distinguish between the government (that is, the politicians who happen to be in power at any given moment) and the state (that is, the system of institutions and laws by which the country is governed).

For a long time, the state has tended to involve itself in more and more areas of our lives, and to monitor what we do in ever-greater detail. In the world of management, the term scopecreep is employed to describe how a task or a job or a project will tend to expand its scope far beyond what was originally envisaged, unless that scope is kept under firm control. We can see an equivalent scopecreep in the rôles of many organisations, particularly the larger ones, but most especially in the rôle of the state.

Scopecreep in the rôle of the state is mainly due to the way that bureaucrats and politicians cannot resist serving their own interests. This scopecreep has probably been accelerated by the encroachment of business principles and business methods into the public sector. A private-sector business is normally subject to the disciplines of the marketplace, but the institutions of the state are very imperfectly controlled by these disciplines.

The scope of the state is a moral question, a question of values.

Some people talk about the nanny state, but that term is inaccurate, because a nanny really does know better than the children who are in her charge - and we are not children. A better term is the busybody state.

The media
Very little that we see on TV or hear on the radio, and very little that we read in the newspapers, is quite what it is made out to be. Even when something appears to be spontaneous, it probably has been stage-managed.

Much so-called news is nothing more than recycling of PRopaganda that lobbyists and government departments have created and distributed. The media regurgitate this PRopaganda uncritically, and without making it clear where the material has come from. In this way, the media have become allies of those people who want to restrict freedom of movement.

In general, radio and TV are anti-car. Outside the ghetto of motoring programmes on TV, the case for the car is hardly ever allowed to be broadcast. (On the rare occasions when the case for the car is broadcast, it is usually treated as an "Aunt Sally" - set up only so that it can be knocked down.) Supposedly realistic TV programmes use sensationalised video footage to imply that people who drive cars can be relied on to behave irresponsibly.

More and more, society suffers from the "TV illusions" :-

If something has been shown on TV, then surely it must have happened.
But if something hasn't been shown on TV, then surely it can't have happened.
And if a point of view isn't receiving favourable exposure on TV, then surely only a tiny minority can support that point of view.



Most newspapers that seek to be read by intellectuals are wholeheartedly anti-car (except in their Motoring sections that are full of lucrative advertising for the very products that the editorial pages decry). Mass-market newspapers are half-heartedly anti-car.

Motoring magazines occasionally put the case for the car, but they are read by few people who do not already like cars. However, motoring magazines tend to be product-oriented, concentrating on telling us about what cars and car-related gadgets we can buy. (This is understandable - like the newspapers, they could not survive in their present form without the revenue from advertising.)

In general, journalists are not much interested in printing or broadcasting the truth. What they are always after is a good story - some juicy scandal, or some startling revelation. They go in for eye-catching headlines even when (or especially when) the facts do not justify them.

The demand for travel
The internet is making many journeys obsolete. This is particularly true of journeys related to work and shopping.

Providing broadband internet access in most people's homes would do more to cut traffic congestion than could be achieved by a whole heap of restrictive measures.

It is not only some journeys by car that are becoming obsolete. Using the internet can replace journeys by bicycle, bus, train, and aircraft - and even journeys made on foot.

Buses and trains do a good job of taking people from the suburbs of a town to the centre of that town and then back again, or from the centre of one city to the centre of another. For other types of journey, they are uncompetitive. (Visit Rebecca's Page to see one viewpoint on this.) Nonetheless, whenever long-term transport plans are unveiled, the media are quick to report (or invent) complaints that the plans are biased against buses and trains, or not sufficiently biased against the car.

In the world of the internet, the importance of city centres is set to decline. Prestige office-blocks in prime locations are becoming expensive luxuries that we can do without.

In a world where fewer and fewer journey need to be made by any means of transport, it would be both rational and popular for politicians and bureaucrats to make it easier and cheaper for us to travel by car. They will do no such thing unless we say loud and clear that this is what we want - and then back up our words with our votes at election-time.

Propaganda
PRopaganda



Propaganda (aka PR, or public relations) is one of the great evils of our time. Truthful propaganda is very rare. Most propaganda consists of disinformation - that is, information intended to deceive or mislead. A steady stream of disinformation can lead people to believe all sorts of things that are questionable or simply untrue.

There are various techniques of falsehood that are used in propaganda:-

Sometimes we are told outright lies - but this is not so common as some people think. Lying propaganda is usually less effective than subtly deceitful propaganda.
Sometimes we are told half-truths - truth and falsehood mixed together.
Sometimes we are told half of the truth - when the half we are not told is the more important half.
Sometimes we are told a slanted version of the truth - slanted because it uses loaded expressions. (See also Prisoners of language.)
Sometimes we are told things that are perfectly true in themselves, but are misleading if we don't know the full context. This is one of the subtler form of disinformation.

There is a barely-concealed bargain between the media and propagandists. In return for helping to disseminate propaganda, the media continue to be supplied with plenty of it, to help fill their printed pages and their broadcasting schedules.

The Police
Let's imagine: over the past twenty or thirty years, chartered accountants have received a massive increase in their media exposure. The TV schedules are full of documentaries and dramas about the activities of chartered accountants. Parliament has conferred sweeping new powers on chartered accountants, and increased the obligations that the rest of us owe to chartered accountants. Their company cars are painted in ever-gaudier colour schemes, and the horns of those cars get louder and louder. If all this were true, then, human nature being what it is, chartered accountants would now be suffering from a severe case of swollen head. Of course, it hasn't happened to chartered accountants, but something very similar has happened to the police.

There is an unspoken bargain between the powers-that-be and the police. In return for helping the powers-that-be to lead a quiet life, the police are allowed to throw their weight around. In the past, a lot of people turned a blind eye to this, because (generally speaking) the police threw their weight around only amongst professional criminals, the "lower orders", and people on the margins of our society. But now the police have become arrogant enough to throw their weight around here there and everywhere. Yet the police now choose to describe themselves as the "police service" rather than use the older and more accurate term "police force".

The police find that it is hard work tackling violent crime, or crimes against property, and so take the easier course of pursing "victimless" crimes such as most traffic offences.

Black people have been subjected to police harassment for many years. This has now been thoroughly exposed, making it more difficult for the police to continue the harassment. It is unlikely that the police will reform themselves and behave better in future. More likely, they are simply redirecting their attentions towards other groups in society. Car-drivers - a class of people with very few powerful friends - must seem a soft target.

The police are in love with new technology, and with surveillance technology in particular. To the police, surveillance technology offers vastly increased scope for monitoring and controlling anyone they choose.

In recent years the police have become skilful at manipulating the public, via the media. TV appearances by police officers increasingly have a flavour of show-business. The performer goes through a well-rehearsed routine, with a view to producing the emotional response desired by the performer and/or the scriptwriter.

Business principles (and not only show-business principles) have now found their way into the thinking of the police. More and more we find that our roads are being policed for profit.

There are honest police officers, but they are caught up in a corrupt system. Things can get much worse. For a chilling example of how a corrupt system can quickly and thoroughly debase perfectly normal people, visit the website on the Stanford Prison Experiment, www.prisonexp.org . In the Stanford Prison Experiment it was chance that decided, for the duration of the experiment, who would become a prison guard and who would become an inmate; but (in Britain at least) becoming a police officer and remaining a police officer are always voluntary choices.

Traffic wardens are not categorised as police officers, but they perform some of the same functions even though their powers are more limited. We should not let the difference in job-titles, which are merely official labels, blind us to the similarities between police officers and traffic wardens. (See also Prisoners of language.)

Modest proposals
At present, there is no democratic accountability in the way that bureaucrats are appointed, promoted, and removed.

Modest proposal 1 is that senior bureaucrats responsible for road transport at each level of government should be elected, by a postal ballot of everyone who holds a driving licence and is resident in the town, region, country or other area where those bureaucrats hold office. The bureaucrats should be elected for a period not longer than three years, but should be eligible for re-election.

At present, there are many traffic offences that can be committed by the driver of a moving vehicle.

Modest proposal 2 is that the law should be simplified so that "driving dangerously" would be the only traffic offence for the driver of a moving vehicle.

This would be a significant step away from legalism.

Glossary

Abandon your prejudices When someone says "Abandon your prejudices!", he often really means: "Adopt my prejudices!".
Affiliation bias A term used to describe how research tends to arrive at conclusions favoured by whoever is funding that research.
Agenda A list of things to be done or planned or considered. In any situation, the most powerful people are those who set the agenda.
Anxiety Worry or unease about some real or imagined problem. Anti-car campaigners like to prey on people's anxieties about the society we live in and the lives we lead.
Apartheid A policy of separation and discrimination, formerly practised in South Africa. There are similarities between apartheid and many anti-car policies (for example, bus lanes).
Authoritarian personality People who have an authoritarian personality are deferential towards those who are above them in the pecking order, but enjoy giving a hard time to those who are below them in the pecking order. Many people with this type of personality join the police.

Box-ticking Measuring situations and performance and achievements by filling in a form on which boxes are ticked, or left unticked, to show what has been done and what has not been done. In a bureaucratic system, box-ticking usually has the result that doing what is necessary to get a tick in the right boxes (by hook or by crook) becomes all-important, and meeting the public's real needs becomes secondary.
Busybody Someone who likes to meddle in other people's affairs.
Buzzword An item of technical jargon. Bureaucrats in particular tend to use buzzwords, more to hide what they mean than to make it clear what they mean.

Communication Euphemism for PRopaganda.
Confiscation Legalised theft. Confiscation of motor vehicles is increasingly practised by the state.
Consultation A term used to describe a process in which the powers-that-be go through the motions of asking the public what they want, and afterwards do pretty much what was intended in the first place.
Co-payment Paying twice for the same public services, through taxes and through fees.
Corruption Dishonest or fraudulent behaviour. Corruption need not involve money; dishonest use of statistics, for the purpose of propaganda, is one type of moral corruption.
Crackdown A crackdown is an initiative supposedly aimed at suppressing something bad.
** Also see shake-up. **
Cynic Oscar Wilde described a cynic as: "A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Deflect The powers-that-be often try to deflect questions rather than answer them properly.
Demonise We demonise someone or something when we claim that they are responsible for much that is evil and nothing that is good. Many anti-car campaigners seek to demonise cars and car-drivers.
Director of Communication Euphemism for Chief PRopagandist.
Divide and rule A cynical motto sometimes put into practice by the powers-that-be.
Dodge The powers-that-be often try to dodge questions rather than answer them properly.
Doubletalk Insincere talk intended to deceive.
Draconian Oppressive laws or regulations are described as draconian.

Ecobabble Pseudo-scientific jargon used by eco-fundamentalists and others in the anti-car movement.
Ecologically sound An example of ecobabble.
Elite An elite in society is any group or class of people which is thought to be superior to other groups or classes. Any group or class which thinks itself to be an elite is likely to behave badly.
Envy The feeling that someone else does not deserve to be in such a good position. Envy is one of the motivations of some anti-car campaigners.
Euphemism A bland word or expression used in place of a straightforward one.
Exclusive access When a media organisation says it has been given exclusive access, that means it has been called in to help with a PRopaganda campaign.
** Also see sneak preview. **
Experiment A change that the public do not welcome, but which the powers-that-be intend shall be permanent, is officially labelled an experiment.
Exploitation Injustice which the powers-that-be inflict on the rest of us, to their own advantage and for their own pleasure.


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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Faceless People who hide their identity, or who do not want to be associated with their own decisions, are said to be faceless. The word is most frequently used in the phrase "faceless bureaucrats".
False antithesis An age-old debating trick which involves saying for instance: "This is really very very simple. Either we must choose option X, or we must choose option Y." - in a situation where the speaker favours option X, and option Y is clearly unacceptable. The truth is usually that things are not so simple as the speaker would like us to believe, and there are more than two options to choose from. A false antithesis is an example of manipulation. (A false antithesis is also known as a "false dichotomy".)
Fob off The powers-that-be often try to fob us off with inadequate or absurd responses to our questions, rather than answer them properly.
Fudge An unsatisfactory or dishonest arrangement, made in an attempt to avoid a difficult question or a difficult decision. A fudge is not the same thing as a compromise, which can be a perfectly honest and honourable thing.
Function creep Another term for scopecreep.

Glasnost A Russian word, meaning "openness". It became well-known in the West when Mikhail Gorbachev decided that the former Soviet Union should be governed in a less secretive way.
Governance The way in which we are governed, or the system of government.
Guilty until proven innocent The position of anyone the police suspect may have committed a criminal offence.

Hypocrite Someone who falsely claims that his behaviour conforms to the highest standards, and who seeks to impose these standards on other people. Hypocrisy is widespread in the anti-car movement, but not all anti-car campaigners are hypocrites. Some are sincere but misguided.
** Also see Pharisee. **

Image The character or reputation of someone or something, as generally portrayed or perceived or believed. Politicians and businesses are always eager for the media to portray a favourable image of them, and for the public to perceive and believe this favourable image.
Imply We imply something when we suggest or assume that it is true, without stating it openly. Many claims made by anti-car campaigners
imply things that are dubious or false
imply anti-car value-judgements that we should challenge

Independent When it is claimed that someone or some organisation or some research is independent, we should ask: independent of whom or what? and independent of what power or influence? and independent to what degree? Often we shall find that whoever or whatever is claimed to be independent, is in fact highly dependent.
Ingratiate To ingratiate yourself with another person is to persuade them (not always truthfully) that you agree with them and are on their side. Politicians usually try to ingratiate themselves with all sorts of people - but of course it is not possible to agree with everyone and be on everyone's side.
Initiative PRopaganda is constantly trumpeting new initiatives, that is, grand-sounding plans to do things differently in future. The underlying reality is that the powers-that-be want to justify their own existence by giving the impression that they are doing something good. In fact, they are more likely to be doing something bad, or nothing at all.
In the 21st century (See in this day and age.)
In this day and age An expression people use when they are for (or against) something, but cannot come up with a good reason why. Those who use the expression are by implication claiming, unjustifiably, that what they regard as progress should be the norm in human affairs.
It's tough at the top A traditional formula employed to ridicule powerful people who complain about the burden of power.

Justify Some members of the anti-car movement, bureaucrats especially, joined the movement to help justify their own jobs. Others joined the anti-car movement to help justify their own existence.

Label If a label such as "democratic" or "free" or "independent" or "temporary" is applied to something, it does not necessarily follow that the thing in question is in fact democratic or free or independent or temporary. But if such a label is missing, we cannot draw any firm conclusions from that, either. We must check out the underlying reality, and not be deceived by the label or the absence of a label.
Loaded A loaded expression is one that implies something questionable.

Manipulation The use of trickery, or the dishonest use of emotion or of dubious logic, with a view to coercing people into doing things they do not want to do, or saying things they do not mean.
Mantra A word or phrase or slogan which is repeated again and again. (Originally the word meant "instrument of thought", but anti-car campaigners make frequent use of mantras as an alternative to logical thought, or as an obstacle to logical thought.)
Mischief-making One of the favourite occupations of the media.
Mission creep Another term for scopecreep.


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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News News is not necessarily what is new, nor what is currently important. It is what the media tell us is currently important.
News management Stage-management of the news.
Not at this stage Often used as a euphemism for "never".
Not me, guv A traditional formula employed to ridicule people trying to disclaim responsibility. The actual words used as a disclaimer may be for instance:
my hands are tied
it's out of my hands
this is in line with our declared policy
I'm only doing my job ( N.B. you could argue that receiving payment to do something bad makes the behaviour morally worse )
this was decided by higher authority
that's the way it goes
it's just the way things are


Orchestration (See stage-management.)

Pharisee Someone who makes a show of being - in his own opinion, but not necessarily in reality - more virtuous than other people. (Originally the word meant "separated one".) Pharisaism is widespread in the anti-car movement, but not all anti-car campaigners are Pharisees.
** Also see hypocrite. **
Precautionary Principle Curtailing freedom, on the basis that it cannot be shown to be totally risk-free, is described as following the Precautionary Principle. Dick Taverne wrote of the Precautionary Principle that "it is a principle either so obvious that it is a useless guide to policy, so vague that it is meaningless, or an incentive for inaction that is positively dangerous to the well-being of our society. ... If we aim to avoid all activities that might conceivably cause harm, we would do nothing." (Prospect magazine, April 2004, pages 43-44.)
** Also see safety. **
Pretext A false reason or explanation or excuse for doing something, or for not doing something.
** Also see ulterior motive. **
Progressive Anti-car policies are frequently described as progressive. We should ask: what is the progress towards? (There can be progress towards undesirable outcomes, just as much as towards desirable outcomes.)
Projection of power Projection of power means exercising power at a distance. Projection of power is made much easier by the use of surveillance technology.
PR-speak A type of language employed by PRopagandists, which is full of weasel words and statements that are bland or meaningless.
Pseudo-event (See stunt.)

Represent Our representatives, in Parliament and other publicly elected bodies, are so called because they are supposed to represent us and explain to those who are in power what it is that we want them to do. With the passage of time this arrangement has been turned on its head, and members of Parliament and other publicly elected bodies are now representatives of their political party, and they explain to us what their political party wants to do.
Response A politician will often give a lengthy response to a question, without ever threatening to answer it.

Safety Safety is often spoken of as though it were something both absolute and attainable. In fact, all safety is relative. Nothing in human life is ever free from risk.
** Also see Precautionary Principle. **
Scapegoat Someone or something chosen to receive blame.
Scare A frightening report or prediction or rumour. Scares are a key element in the PRopaganda of the anti-car movement. Many scares are to do with speed or the environment.
Self-congratulation Praise of oneself and one's own plans and achievements. Self-congratulation constitutes a large part of much PRopaganda.
Self-righteous Many anti-car campaigners have a self-righteous expression on their faces, and this may well reveal their attitude of mind.
Self-serving Serving one's own interests rather than those of other people.
Service When something is described as a service, we should ask: who is being served? and in what way are they being served? and who is receiving most benefit from the service? We may well find that the people who operate the service are acting in a self-serving way.
Shake-up A shake-up is an initiative supposedly aimed at improving the way something is organised.
** Also see crackdown. **
Smoke and mirrors A term used to describe deceitful use of information, especially statistics.
Smokescreen A pretext employed in an attempt to disguise one's real motive(s).
Sneak preview When a media organisation says it has been given a sneak preview, that means it has been called in to help with a PRopaganda campaign.
** Also see exclusive access. **
Sophistry A deceitful or manipulative line of reasoning.
Spin Lies and distortions.
Spin-doctor Professional liar and distorter.
Stage-management Arrangement and control of what happens, with a view to obtaining the greatest possible theatrical effect. Politicians and PRopagandists are often experts at stage-management.
Statistics Facts and figures analysed and presented in a logical and systematic way. People cannot use statistics to prove whatever they wish; but they can and do abuse statistics in their attempts to prove whatever they wish.
Stitch-up A corrupt arrangement made by the powers-that-be, to their own advantage.
Strategy A grand scheme which the powers-that-be want to inflict on us.
Strong feelings Many anti-car campaigners make a show of strong feelings when they express their views. Even when people genuinely have strong feelings, that is not the slightest reason to suppose that they are in the right.
Stunt A deliberately-set-up event which is part of a PRopaganda campaign.
Surveillance Many people think of surveillance only in terms of CCTV, which is the best-publicised aspect of it; but other tools of surveillance include satellite tracking, in-car data recorders or "black boxes", identity cards, and databases of personal information.
Sustainable An all-purpose buzzword of approval, much employed in ecobabble phrases used by the anti-car movement, such as "sustainable development" and "sustainable communities". We should ask: exactly what is (supposedly) being sustained? and sustained on the basis of what assumptions? and by what means? and for how long? and for what purposes? Life tends to be full of unpredictable changes, so a prediction that anything will (or can) be sustained indefinitely is likely to be wrong.

Target A target is an objective to be aimed at, and is measured in terms of some number or numbers. In a bureaucratic system, setting a target usually has the result that meeting the target itself (by hook or by crook) becomes all-important, and meeting the public's real needs becomes secondary.

Ulterior motive A hidden or secret motive. Many people in the anti-car movement have ulterior motives. Having an ulterior motive is not the same thing as being part of a conspiracy.
** Also see pretext. **
Up to Weasel words often employed by people who are trying to abuse statistics for their own dubious purposes. For example: "Up to 75%" could mean 1%, 10%, 50% or 75%. If the typical value is 1% or 10% or 50%, but there has been one instance where a value of 75% occurred, saying "up to 75%" can give the impression that this untypical value is typical.

Victimless crime A criminal offence whose only victim is the person punished for committing the offence.
Vindictive Spiteful, or revenge-seeking.

Wear down Anti-car campaigners hope to wear down the public's resistance to anti-car policies.
Weasel words Words or expressions that are deliberately ambiguous or misleading. Weasel words are often used with intent to deceive, and so what may at first sight seem to be a clear and principled statement may turn out when looked at closely to be nothing or the sort.

Yes or No Not all questions can safely be answered with a Yes or a No. Sometimes, insisting on a Yes or No answer is a manipulative attempt to get you to admit to, or imply, something that is not true.

[b]Further reading-for those who havent yet died of word poisining. :) )

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill, 1859. A classic, but very much of its time.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1932. Materialism, hedonism, and slaves who are conditioned to love their slavery.

Power by Bertrand Russell, 1938. A penetrating analysis.

The Abolition of Man by C.S.Lewis, 1943. An investigation into values.

The Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper, 1945 (first edition). Not for the faint-hearted.

Search the Sky by Frederik Pohl and C.M.Kornbluth, 1954. A science fiction black comedy which extrapolates some trends in our society.

Parkinson's Law by C.Northcote Parkinson, 1957. Satirical, but instructive.

The Image by Daniel J.Boorstin, 1961. How unreality is foisted on the unsuspecting.

The Naked Society by Vance Packard, 1964. Surveillance has been encroaching for longer than we might like to think.

Four Essays on Liberty by Isaiah Berlin, 1969. Draws a controversial distinction between "positive" and "negative" liberty.

A Guide for the Perplexed by E.F.Schumacher, 1977. A rejection - idiosyncratic in places - of the "reductionist" view of human nature which underlies much modern thinking.

Your Disobedient Servant by Leslie Chapman, 1978. ISBN 0 0711 2311 7. Insights into some aspects of the bureaucratic mentality.


Change in British Society by A.H.Halsey, 1986 (third edition). ISBN 0-19-289200-2. Chapter 7 (Order and authority) and Chapter 8 (A democracy of citizens) are particularly relevant.

The Emperor's New Mind by Roger Penrose, 1989. ISBN 0-09-977170-5. The human mind is not simply a digital computer.

The Gods of Management by Charles Handy, 1991 (third edition). ISBN 0-7126-5142-X. The worshippers of the god Apollo are people obsessed with rules and orderliness.

The United States of Anger by Gavin Esler, 1997. ISBN 0-14-026927-4. America is disillusioned with its system of government. Other Western countries may catch the same disease.

Drive On! by L.J.K.Setright, 2002. ISBN 0 9542585 0 9. How the car became part of our culture.

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....and the award for the biggest post ever..... 8-)


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I love it, please can we sticky it?


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RobinXe wrote:
I love it, please can we sticky it?


seconded.

I've often though of enviromentalism (as well as several other mediums) as replacements for/sucessors to religion, but this:
Quote:
Environmentalism
Environmentalism has become a false religion. In the media, many TV reporters, interviewers and continuity announcers give environmentalists the same reverential treatment that bishops and archbishops were granted in the 1950s.

In environmentalist thinking we find analogies (intentional or unintentional) with Christian doctrine about sin, guilt, sacrifice and salvation.

spells it out with fantastic clarity.

all the religious dogma, and the point about no-one DARING to question anything said or done in the name of glorious enviromentalism.

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hairyben wrote:
RobinXe wrote:
I love it, please can we sticky it?


seconded.

It is a good post and it certainly fits in well with the spirit of this community, but I don't think it's entirely relevant to the campaign; also there are a lot of stickys in this section already.
Perhaps DeltaF could instead link this thread in his sig?

Paul might disagree and sticky it anyway :c)


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Done. :)

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8-)

Although I recommend tidying it up, perhaps something like:

Quote:
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You must read "All about everything."

"A people should not be afraid of its government, a government should be afraid of its people."


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A first class post.

i'm for making it sticky.

an excellent reference source.


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Can't we have a reference section where all the stickys not related to the forum can be placed? This and IG's(?) COAST notes and other related advanced driver info would be the first threads I'd put in there.

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It should be more welded than sticky, IMHO. :)

10,005 words, said in a way that few could rival, dispute or refute. It’s as true as it is dangerous to the authorities or those who are blindly devoted to their policies.

Throughout history ‘they’ have never liked us to know the truth or real agenda. In fact, their very success depends on us living in ignorance.

Your post serves as a Desiderata to us all in this new manufactured life to question what we are fed by the media or politicians.

In a country where almost everyone is given air time to flex their political and religious muscles, someone who dares to tell it as it is, is most likely going to be treated like a leper. History bears this out time and time again.

The insightful message you posted desperately relies, depends even, on people who will read, understand and support the sentiment - but how many like-minded people, especially in today’s information overload world, will give it the time of day?

I’m not the only one who painstakingly takes time out to read or post, complete with occasional blunders and spelling mistakes, on this most worthy forum. Like many others, I suspect, I try my best in a very busy schedule and take the occasional rebuke on the chin.

We, in Great Britain, have become complacent since the end of WWII and the the cold war, which propelled both mankind and machine to the moon in a dangerous ‘who’s better’ ego war.

The erudite should read your submission in its entirety with rapt attention and at the very least see how it dares to unravel the word we all live in.

That said, as insightful and profound as it is, for myself it still leaves an unanswered big question – exactly who do you believe or trust to govern us?

I guess when everything in the real world lets you down there’s always religion.


Oh dear! :yikes:

Thanks Delta :thumbsup:

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Thank you sir. :) I only wish i had authored it, however as a simple messenger i am happy to play my part. :)

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A splendid document! :lol:


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By Gad Deltaf Sir, If only I was gay........We could have a: relationship! :)


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I take issue with some of this. The anti-car movement is indeed a coalition of all sorts of people, but the list quoted is only the tip of the iceberg. And not all anti-car sentiments are negative ones – who would suggest that there are no downsides to driving at all?

Furthermore, the pro-car movement also contains plenty of ascetics, authoritarians, bureaucrats, elitists, extremists, feminists, grudge-bearers (plenty of those right here) , megalomaniacs, narrow-minded people and (especially) slaves of fashion.


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Having read a bit more of it, I can see why a person could think that way. I mean, some of the stuff is plausible. But I'm struck by the accusatory theme of the post. The post seems to say that there is a gigantic enemy out there orchestrating all these evils and setting them onto the helpless motorists. With a hidden hand, it perverts democracy, sets up bogus authorities, makes deals with everyone on the dark side, and basically goes about making life hell for everyone else. Yet who are the perpetrators of evil? What are their motivations? Why are they so determined? Can we be sure they are a distinct group? Isn't it more likely that many or most people are caught up in this? Isn't this how “free-markets” end up working?

I mean, look, if it's so screwed up, then surely it's the whole system of free-market economics that is screwed up. If this is where democratic capitalism leads (whether here, France, the states, wherever), then shouldn't we reconsider it's usefulness to us? If freedom screws things up this badly, then maybe that's the problem, eh?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 19:03 
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The labour government are seriously screwing up the roads. The last 5 years has brought more DRASTIC speed limit changes than I have ever seen in 35 plus years of motoring. Cars weren't as safe in the seventies, many still had drum brakes all round and crossply tyres, brake servos were luxuries, seat belts not compulsory but you never had all this speed kills nonesense AND people drove better , using mirrors, indicators and COMMON SENSE...we had to, the bloody cars were so dangerous by todays standards...lol

But joking apart I would sooner go back to the seventies with lesser equipt cars and 70MPH NSLs than this NANNY STATE that we are finding ourselves in.

Why do so many people find it difficult to drive with respect to other motorists these days? It is surely the incompetent drivers that are "ruling the roost" with their Health and Safety speed limits and dumbed down roads. I drive throughout the day and see incompetent driving on a virtually minute by minute basis, I really can't remember the driving standards being so low at any other time in my driving life and I've driven in excess of 60k per annum in the past although I probably only average 20k these days.

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My views do not represent Safespeed but those of a driver who has driven for 39 yrs, in all conditions, at all times of the day & night on every type of road and covered well over a million miles, so knows a bit about what makes for safety on the road,what is really dangerous and needs to be observed when driving and quite frankly, the speedo is way down on my list of things to observe to negotiate Britain's roads safely, but I don't expect some fool who sits behind a desk all day to appreciate that.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 09:49 
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graball :clap: I could not agree more! Unfortunately there is no going back :(

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The views expressed in this post are personal opinions and do not necessarily represent the views of Safe Speed.
You will be branded a threat to society by going over a speed limit where it is safe to do so, and suffer the consequences of your actions in a way criminals do not, more so than someone who is a real threat to our society.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 20:31 
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Abercrombie wrote:
Having read a bit more of it, I can see why a person could think that way. I mean, some of the stuff is plausible. But I'm struck by the accusatory theme of the post. The post seems to say that there is a gigantic enemy out there orchestrating all these evils and setting them onto the helpless motorists. With a hidden hand, it perverts democracy, sets up bogus authorities, makes deals with everyone on the dark side, and basically goes about making life hell for everyone else. Yet who are the perpetrators of evil? What are their motivations? Why are they so determined? Can we be sure they are a distinct group? Isn't it more likely that many or most people are caught up in this? Isn't this how “free-markets” end up working?

I mean, look, if it's so screwed up, then surely it's the whole system of free-market economics that is screwed up. If this is where democratic capitalism leads (whether here, France, the states, wherever), then shouldn't we reconsider it's usefulness to us? If freedom screws things up this badly, then maybe that's the problem, eh?

~~~~
Abercrombie I can fully understand your perplexity.
There is indeed a "hidden hand" which perverts democracy and other forms of government.

"Yet who are the perpetrators of evil? What are their motivations? Why are they so determined? Can we be sure they are a distinct group? "

They are a distinct group who want One World Government. You may recall BLiar and Brown have used this term often. "free-market economics" has never been tried.

"If freedom screws things up this badly, then maybe that's the problem, eh?"
Indeed but you live in the illusion of Freedom.
You pay taxes, you have licences, you register your property to ultimatly the "hidden hand"
which controls you and everything.

Really cold tonight :P

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Dave ~ Freeman on the Land
http://www.freemanhighland.co.uk/
A paradigm shift in law and politics


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PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 10:38 
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Folks,

I don't quite see how the post shows that the view 'natural resources exist in fixed quantities' is false. Indeed, in a later sentence the writer suggests that natural resources used for transport can be conserved by using the internet rather than travelling.

There is a problem in trying to conserve a non renewable natural resource that is in great global demand. This is that the more we don't use it the more is available for others to use. This argument has been used by US republicans for the continued use of petroleum products while they are available.

As a post against doomsayers in general there are some good points made, but the geological and economic problem of peak oil isn't a passing fancy - unfortunately. Freedom is a great thing, but we are not free to ignore the facts, as the free market shows us so often.

C.


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