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The Elites Have Every Intention Of Controlling Our Lives

From the world’s largest gathering of hypocrites at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, we have learned that a personal carbon footprint tracker is in the works. In the wrong hands, it would be the equivalent of the ankle monitors used to ensure that criminal offenders don’t escape their house arrest.

“We’re developing, through technology, an ability for consumers to measure their whole carbon footprint,” J. Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group USA, said Tuesday while on a panel discussion on responsible consumption. “What does that mean? Where they are traveling. How they are traveling. What are they eating. What they are consuming on the platform.”

This will excite the virtue signalers who will be happy to post their carbon footprint scores on social media. But for the rest of us, those still wishing to live freely, who don’t want elites establishing the limits of “responsible consumption,” it’s deeply troubling.

Evans described the tracker as if it were just another way for people to keep up with their activities – like a smart watch that monitors health.

But the existence of the technology plays straight into the hands of the wrong people, which in the developed world is roughly half of all elected officials and nearly all of the regulators and bureaucrats of the administrative state. Don’t think that they will decline the opportunity to someday require, in the name of saving the climate, each of us to have a carbon footprint tracker so that our lives can be monitored, and our behavior adjusted as needed.

Before anyone says we’re overreacting, that there’s no reason to be concerned, please consider this short list:

  • Yuval Noah Harari, a history professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has said, in the words of the BBC, that “COVID-19 may bring (a) new surveillance era.” “Governments want to know not just where we go or who we meet, above all they want to know what is happening under our skin,” he said.
  • A black box on automobiles that would be used to track mileage to determine how much drivers should pay for the roads in lieu of standardized fuel taxes “​​could lead to a very slippery slope of the government knowing our whereabouts at any given moment,” says the Pacific Research Institute’s Tim Anaya. 
  • “​​Thanks to a new provision in the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill,” a couple of op-ed writers tell us in The Hill, “your car will be used against you in a court of law. Under this long-ignored provision, carmakers will be required to start monitoring drivers by 2026 using unspecified technology to search for signs of drinking.” Flaws in the system will inevitably lead to innocent drivers being flagged and punished.
  • We’ve been told the government would never control residential smart thermostats to reduce energy use, but in 2017, a local Los Angeles radio station reported that in “a growing number of Southern California homes,” smart thermostats were “changing the temperatures automatically.” The customers had given Southern California Edison permission to adjust their homes’ temperatures, but the leap to political control, once those smart thermostats are more widely installed, is a short one.
  • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, also in Davos for the World Economic Forum, said that his company is working on a tablet that contains a chip, which “sends a signal that you took the tablet” and provides patient information to trackers. It’s an advance that used properly would likely be helpful in treating patients. But it’s chilling to think the pills could be wrongly used by power-mad elites.

It’s inevitable that the elites-governmental industrial complex will use technology to control the growing number of smart devices in our lives. Politicians and regulators have already determined how much water can be used to flush toilets and flow through our shower heads; set limits on electricity and water use in dishwashers; made gasoline cans more expensive and difficult to use; and ruined automobile design. It will be their pleasure to continue to increase their authority over our lives.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

7 comments

  • Similar software is widely used in communist China, where all a person’s movements and contacts are evaluated to produce a “social credits” score. Want to travel out of the country, get a certain job, etc.: Then you need to live “a government-approved life” and get enough social credits. Easy enough to make it a carbon score for the “woke”, save-the-planet totalitarian EU & USA. Also, no more cash in China for most transactions. Cell phones in China track purchases and movements, and it goes into the scoring. Alibaba is a communist Chinese company, so would not be surprised to see Commie Joe & Homeland Security embrace it (and maybe even give the Big Guy his 10% cut).

  • How many different models of private jet will the carbon tracker app support?

  • The elites can pound sand down a rat hole. I will not comply.

    • Yes you will as you as most have neither the means nor the prior plans to resist. U just pound away on a keyboard with zero intent of putting your life, literally, where your mouth is. I have done so and as the sole surviving male member of my family after being in two wars finally left the U.S. b/c the handwriting is on the wall. U R not worth my life.

  • The idea that we can solve significant and age-old problems across planet Earth by applying reason alone has failed repeatedly, and yet some group in each new generation believes that it can defy history and provide the balm that smooths the way to Nirvana. They are advised to read history more closely, for particularism and nationalism are far more powerful and compelling elements of reality than Enlightenment rationalism. As Karl Marx noted, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”. Our new rationalists at Davos should recognize that yes, history does repeat itself, and each time a new generation sets its sextant toward Nirvana, the price goes up, nowadays, logarithmically. The inevitable conclusion of the journey is an autocratic society, the anthesis of our messy but far more satisfactory representative democracy.

  • I have been in the tech industry for 40 years. Let me tell you what is happening.

    Imagine an xy graph. On the horizontal axis is time, and the vertical is the positive technology value to an average person. The graph that I would present to you is a bell curve.

    That is, the net value of technology, preceding today for the past 100+ years, has been positive for the average person. Transportation, medicine, agriculture, communications, environment–all the things of great value that technology has brought us. Few people go hungry in our country. We no longer sweat in 100 degree offices in dirty cities. We live longer and better.

    But right around the invention of the smartphone, which has some wonderful characteristics along with some bad ones, we have seen a decline in the positive values of technology.

    ALL the emphasis is on bad things that are disguised as good things. Autonomous cars, cars to determine if you can “drive properly”, remote sensors in the road, at your work, inside your body. Remote control of your energy—packing you in useless electric cars for which their power and your mobility can be stopped with a switch. Remote control of your car “to deal with carjackers, kidnappers and to save the children!!!” Total invasiveness into your life. And don’t get me started with artificial intelligence.

    None of these things really help the human condition–in fact, they can and will destroy the quality of life.

  • And, Leftists fail to understand why normal Americans will never give-up their firearms.

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Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 




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