(Truthstream Media) Environmental offenses are carrying increasingly heavy prices, as the 21st Century tends towards tightly controlled urban living.
Cities like New York are now closely monitoring the impact of human activity and assessing new fines and fees for excess. Take a new bill to regulate “idle cars,” an issue that NY Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal says “is a real environmental problem and a real public health problem” that contributes to pollution death, but is little enforced.
Rosenthal’s bill would increase fines for idling to up to $1500 for a first offense and $2000 for a second offense, while offering a cut of the money to resident snitches who record video of the offending vehicles and turn in their idling neighbors.
The council members still need to garner the support of colleagues before the bill has a chance at becoming law, but if approved it would offer residents up to 50 percent of the fine if they catch someone breaking the city’s idling law on tape and submit the footage to the Department of Environmental Protection.
Additionally, the bill would keep first-time idling violations punishable by just a warning, but increase penalties for follow-up offenses: second-timers would risk paying upwards of between $350 and $1,500, and subsequent violations within a two-year span would carry fines of between $440 and $2,000.
“We can pass these laws, we’ve strengthened the fines . . . but the real problem is enforcement,” Rosenthal told the Post. “You’re obviously upping the interest by having people share in the fine.”
— Helen Rosenthal (@HelenRosenthal) March 10, 2015
That’s really what the sousveillance culture is all about – while we carry around and frequent tracking devices – the masses are encouraged to use their digital media as a platform for ground-up surveillance to turn in and report scofflaws, suspicious persons and antisocial undesirables.
Snitches Are Stitches in the Cohesion of Totalitarian Control
Although grassroots citizen eyes have many positive aspects — such as showing what is really happening in live time and holding police and authorities into account – using the technology as a weapon of reporting on your peers, in both automated and voluntary applications, will perhaps become the larger trend in the longer view. Just as in Orwell’s 1984, the participation of the population as snitch deputies allows the system to stay in power, while enforcing repressive rules that restrict the behavior of everyone in the society. While most will be indifferent to reporting on their neighbors, family and friends, enough will do so to instill fear to rebel or step out of line. That is just what the system needs to maintain order, and perpetuate control. And some will be all-too-willing to going along with it. Just take a look at some of the tweets in support of this bill:
— Karissa Krenz (@Radishgirl) March 10, 2015
Would you take some extra cash to videotape and turn in fellow drivers caught in the act of idling their cars for as little as 1-3 minutes?
If so, would you still do it if you knew it would cost those drivers thousands of dollars in fees?
What if you could pay all your bills doing so? What if it wasn’t idling cars, but some other activity you felt that – while not criminal – harms the environment and should be stopped?
See the problem?
While Truthstream readers hopeful would never take the bait, many others in society likely will.
Melissa Melton reported on the ‘droughtshaming’ phenomenon that has occurred during California’s ongoing drought, where residents willingly record water wasters on video – particularly those watering their lawns – and turn them in through a mobile phone app or post them to social media in effort to name and shame perceived gluttons. Offenders in many towns face fines.
The Crime Stoppers program has, for decades, set up an anonymous Cash-for-TIPS hotline that allows citizens to inform police of a crime, and collect a reward upon conviction. The program has been particularly emphasized in schools and local communities as a crime deterrent. But while the program may have good intentions and do some good, the vast balance of the snitch-based program’s outcome has been to increase reports of petty drug users, often turned in by neighbors and friends, aiding and abetting an already grotesquely over-sized drug war that has resulted in the biggest prison population in the world.
Control of Society Through ‘Green’ Laws and Regulations
Financial incentives – and more appropriately disincentives like fines, fees and potential arrests – are pivotal to controlling people’s behavior, and the key to socially engineering society to fully accept the one world order. That is one major reason why the environment has emerged as a such a dominant theme.
With more and more focus on climate change and going ‘green,’ environmental codes and policies will gain the force of law, and with it, the power to generate revenue and penalize people harshly for lifestyles that have until now been ordinary.
Human footprint taxes will literally making everything down to breathing a money-making offense, and most will be unable to afford living anything other than a tiny, compliant life on the smart grid and under the all-pervasive watchful eye of Big Brother. At some point, this paradigm stands to regulate nearly every facet of life, and put a price on it.
For now, carbon taxes have stalled in the United States, but that may not last. In the meantime, the White House is in the process of instituting a policy known as the “Social Cost of Carbon,” which many have called a surrogate, or placeholder, for full on carbon taxes.
This policy uses carbon pricing to factor into regulatory policy, and will allow the EPA and other environmental agencies to set prices on usage ahead of laws that will allow them to create penalties and fees for violating activities. Via Bloomberg:
The social cost of carbon is used to calculate the social and economic cost of regulations that affect carbon dioxide emissions, including effects on agriculture, human health and property damage from extreme weather. It was increased from $24 a metric ton in 2010 to $37 a metric ton in 2013.
Federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department already have used the updated social cost of carbon figure to inform their regulations, but the Office of Management and Budget has not yet responded to the comments it requested, the senators said.