Tormenta, Velox Currus et Vinum

I’ve probably bungled the latin up there, which comes from Google Translate. But it should mean “Guns, Fast Cars and Alcohol”. Somewhere, my high school Latin teacher, just fainted.

It comes from this on Twitter last night:

If any of you are of an artistic bent, I will post any version of our national seal that meets those requirements.

The tweet itself was based on this, sent to me by Harley:

All cars could be fitted with devices that stop them going over 70mph, under new EU road safety measures which aim to cut deaths from road accidents by a third.

Stop right there. This, you may remember, was the one of the justifications for our own national speed limit of 55. The supporters claimed it would save, conservatively, four hundred million lives a year. In fact, fatalities dropped a few thousand after it was implemented but regressed back to the mean by 1978. Since 1978, they have been in a free-fall, declining 50% despite the repeal of the national speed limit. The main reasons? Improving technology and tougher laws against drunk driving. (More on this at my own blog here). So any claim that this will cut deaths by a third is almost certainly bullshit.

(Moreover, I can imagine many situations where speed limiters would actually create greater danger. I — and probably every other driver in America — has encountered situations where I had to speed to avoid a danger, such as getting boxed into a slow car or passing a car that was in my blind spot before the lane ended. I guarantee you that an automated speed limiter will kill people. Whether it kills more than it saves is questionable. But always remember that air bags — which have saved lives — have also killed some people who would have otherwise lived. The balance of lives is in favor of airbags. It’s unclear on speed limits. And it’s really unclear on cars that literally can’t speed, even assuming the tech works as advertised.)

The report is from anonymous sources in the UK papers, so it’s not clear how real the threat is. And to be fair, the officials who will go on the record are opposing it on Big Brother grounds. So this is unlikely to happen anytime soon, even if it really is on some EU idiot’s radar.

But I have little doubt that there are many politicians — Mike Bloomberg leaps to mind — who would love to do this. They’ll cite safety, even though there’s no evidence of any safety gains. They’ll cite global warming, even though the fuel efficiency losses at high speed are smaller than you’d get just by buying a more fuel-efficient car.

But the real reason, as Burge indicates, is because they just don’t like people. They don’t like people unbound by rules and regulations. They don’t like people making their own decisions. They don’t like people determining their own destinies. No technological advance has been more emblematic of freedom and self-determination than the automobile. I can get in my car and literally go anywhere without anyone’s permission or sanction (at least until my wife gets home). Nanny Staters hate that, hence their enthusiasm for mass-transit boondoggles like light rail and street cars and hence, assuming the technology comes around, their inevitable enthusiasm for speed-limited cars.

  1. Not mangled. The concept of a either a gun or a car doesn’t exist in ancient Rome, so it gave you a chariot for the car and a storm for the gun, instead :)

    And I second the gist of the article. The enlightened and credentialed masters see the rest of us as stupid kids that need to be protected from ourselves. This dilemma keeps coming back over and over. Be it from ancient man and religion, where some god gives us free will and hence we end up with good & evil, or with an all powerful master that denies us choice, for our own good of course. I will pick free will every time. The problem is with the people that think it is their job or duty to make everyone pick the good choice, whatever that may be, instead of letting people make their choices and then suffer the consequences of those choices. You fuck up, you should pay. Most of us learn real quick not to fuck up. And not getting a second chance can be one of the most important lessons for those of us left behind to learn.

    Big government sucks (magnum imperium sugit). That’s a literal translation right there for ya :)

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  2. Not mangled. The concept of a either a gun or a car doesn’t exist in ancient Rome, so it gave you a chariot for the car and a storm for the gun, instead :)

    I picked the chariot since it didn’t know “car” for obvious reasons. Didn’t know about the gun, but I guess it’ll work. I need a latin scholar to come up words for those.

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  3. I picked the chariot since it didn’t know “car” for obvious reasons. Didn’t know about the gun, but I guess it’ll work. I need a latin scholar to come up words for those.

    Butio Fustis (Boom Stick) ;-)

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  4. Given that all new autos are gonan have computer controls over ALL function of the automobile, its not a streach t assume the Government will demand access to that software, for safety sake,and hell you know some power huger y tree huger would love to add a speed reduction regulation in……

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  5. No technological advance has been more emblematic of freedom and self-determination than the automobile. I can get in my car and literally go anywhere without anyone’s permission or sanction (at least until my wife gets home).

    Yes, I understand that at night you ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines.

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  6. Didn’t know about the gun, but I guess it’ll work. I need a latin scholar to come up words for those.

    Heh, that should be one heck of an exercise to see scholars debate what words should be used to depict things that the old Romans couldn’t even dream off ;)..

    My latin is rusty as hell too. Don’t practice much, just like with too many of the other languages I speak, and you lose your fluency. One of these days I should make a post about people that speak multiple languages. I usually switch my thinking to the language I am going to be speaking so I don’t make a fool out of myself. I thought that was how everyone did it, but I have been told by too many people that they think that is insane and I am some kind of aberration. Go figure.

    Given that all new autos are gonan have computer controls over ALL function of the automobile, its not a streach t assume the Government will demand access to that software, for safety sake

    They actually do already. It’s part & parcel of the plan to get all cars to tell them where they – and by default the driver – are…

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  7. I need a latin scholar to come up words for those.

    I’d ask my sister, but she’d come up with some bullshit reason not to, and then mention that “300″ and “Troy” were historically incorrect movies and start citing examples of that.

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  8. I think that modern Latin (and yes, it does exist) translates “gun” as either “ballista” or “ballistula.” Maybe e-mailing a Latin group would help.

    Heh, then what’s a good name for crossbow? :)

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