|14A044 Progressive? by Jim Davies, 9/27/2014
Whenever that silly woman in a white room comes on screen to tell me how easily I could save on car insurance, peep-peep, I change the channel. But the other day I chanced upon an advertisement from her company - Progressive Insurance - that brought to the over-exposed scene a new and sinister twist. It promoted a device called "Snapshot."
Evidently this gizmo plugs in to your car engine and records how you drive. If it finds your driving habits worthy, you qualify for lower insurance rates. Who wouldn't like that?
They don't say what data Snapshot captures, but presumably it measures how often you accelerate hard, how often and how fast you habitually travel, how much you brake fiercely, and so on. Whether it's linked to some GPS tracker to determine whether or not you observe the government's speed limits, I know not. But if it finds you meek behind the wheel, the premium due may slow down.
Alternatively you might shop around, using the benefits of a competitive marketplace. From time to time I do that, and none of the big-name insurers come close to what I have already; one recent offer was of twice what I pay.
Snapshot is a very sinister idea. It almost certainly confuses meek driving with safe driving. Those who give close attention to the skill of operating a vehicle but who pay scant regard to one-size-fits-all government rules, are far safer in my view than the lane-hugger who keeps below the speed limit and infuriates a long line of drivers behind him. But if some accident results, Snapshot will never place the blame on that real culprit.
Meanwhile a form of it could very readily be used by power-hungry Pols to control and forbid drivers who don't fit the government mold - or to raise their insurance rates. Progressive may have opened Pandora's box. Perhaps Pandora is that woman's name.
Driving cars has been one of the really bright spots for liberty during the last dismal century of ever increasing government control and devastation. The "freedom of the open road" has been breathtaking. Never before have ordinary people been able to go, at very reasonable cost, pretty well wherever we want. We can live in the country and work in the city. It's a wonderful world, with fabulous views to enjoy, natural and man-made. Thanks to Gottlieb Daimler, Henry Ford and a few other greedy seekers of honest profits, man's whole horizon has radically expanded.
The roads on which these horseless carriages travel are a rather different story; whereas the first roads were very often built where private investors judged them likely to be profitable, they became an early example of socialism. High costs and low quality have naturally resulted. In the coming zero government society, roads will be taken back.
Inventions, very sadly, have a habit of being adapted by government for purposes of control. Consider On Star, which GM developed as a find and rescue device to bring rapid deployment of help in case of accidents or breakdowns. But blink an eye, and it becomes a tracking system for any government snoop who wants to know where you are. No thanks. If that's progressive, I'll manage without
An even earlier example: seat belts, which I happen to favor. When they first appeared in the 1960s, they came only in front seats; we had young children, and liked them, so I went to the expense of having two added to the rear seats also. But then they became mandatory. The choice was removed, by the Nanny State; and if one of its armed thugs should happen to see - well, in their words, it's "click it, or ticket." Even if, as some people do, you reasonably think they are a bad idea, a death trap. Progressive... towards control.
Then there's the Internet itself, the information superhighway. Surely one of the most highly beneficial inventions of all time, progressive indeed. Yet government is busy using it to spy on every item of communication we make, and storing it away for analysis and control. Additionally it is using it to develop cyberweapons, with which the more effectively to fight one another - quite possibly destroying power grids and other infrastructure - with nary a gun being fired.
"Progressive" is a word used by socialists to sugar coat their baneful ideology, and can clearly mean two opposite things. When humans have zeroized government, we shall experience what progress is really all about.