Automatic For The People

World peace, unlimited cheap energy, and higher MPGs in our cars: These are things we can all agree upon would be good to have. And it’s a characteristic of the juvenile mind to think that they can be accomplished by fiat, as unalloyed goods. If only, the child thinks, everyone thought like me, the world would be a better place.

But, of course, most things either can’t be accomplished by fiat, or have unforeseen consequences, which is why the founders of the American Republic sought to limit the power any individual or group of individuals can have through politics.

Since those limits are gone, now, we’ll get to learn (again) why they were such a good idea. First item:

1. Proposed mileage standards would kill more Americans than the Iraq War.

It’s no mean engineering feat to increase mileage in automobiles. My first new car was a Dodge Colt, and I got 43 miles to the gallon from it. (Modern hybrids seem to be hovering around 50.) But I could single-handedly push that Colt up a hill. I religiously drove the speed limit (55 mph at the time) in that car until I started doing deliveries around the Southland, and found 16-wheelers bearing down on me going 80.

Because, as my buds and I used to joke, the right of way goes to the car with the greatest momentum.

So we’ll get cars that have better mileage. We’ll pay for it, in blood and treasure. And this massive, Constitutionally unjustifiable exertion of power will be viewed as a nobler pursuit than overthrowing a tyrant.

And just in case you thought something more sophisticated than “fiat lux” was going on, we have item #2, a quote from an anonymous Obama administration official:

2. You don’t need banks and bondholders to build cars.

No, apparently, you only need to wish them to be, and voila! Also, an unlimited supply of tax money helps.

We live in interesting times.

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