How's this for the least shocking headline of the year: "Swiss look to ban use of electric cars over the winter to save energy." From Der Spiegel:
Switzerland could be the first country to impose driving bans on e-cars in an emergency to ensure energy security. Several media report this unanimously and refer to a draft regulation on restrictions and bans on the use of electrical energy. Specifically, the paper says: “The private use of electric cars is only permitted for absolutely necessary journeys (e.g. professional practice, shopping, visiting the doctor, attending religious events, attending court appointments).” A stricter speed limit is also planned highways.
Not shocking, of course, first because much of the world is in the midst of an energy crisis at the moment, brought about in part by the war in Ukraine and in part by the West's increasing reliance on unreliable "renewable energy." There just isn't enough juice on the grid to force everyone into electric cars, which fascist environmentalists hope to achieve within the next 10-15 years. In fact, E.V. manufacturers have been saying the same, at least the honest ones.
But, second, because another Keen-for-Green state, namely California, called upon E.V. owners not to charge their vehicles this past summer for the same reason.
So in our Electric Vehicle future, you can look forward to not be able to drive in the winter or the summer. Or we can stick with the gas- and diesel-driven cars we already have, and which are already the most environmentally friendly option. Just ask Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda, who has said:
The more EVs we build, the worse carbon dioxide gets… When politicians are out there saying, ‘Let’s get rid of all cars using gasoline,’ do they understand this?
Unfortunately they do not. Or, worse... maybe they do.
Big Brother's Heating & Cooling Service
As the global energy crisis drags on, the responses to it are going to get more authoritarian. Here's an example: the government of Japan are looking into the possibility of remotely adjusting the temperature in private homes which are deemed too warm or cool. From Japan Today:
[I]n a meeting on Nov 2, the Energy Conservation Subcommittee of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry resolved to begin working group discussions with the aim of gaining the ability to remotely turn down privately owned air conditioner/heater units. The goal would be to decrease energy usage during expected power shortages, which the committee feels are a growing concern as Japan attempts to shift towards renewable energy sources such as solar power, where the amount generated can be affected by day-to-day climate, making it difficult to stabilize the amount of total power available. The ministry says that AC unit usage accounts for roughly 30 percent of household electricity consumption in Japan.
Japan, as the article notes, is hot and humid in the summer and can be chilly in the winter. The idea of an "Energy Conservation Subcommittee" huddled in a government building in Tokyo somewhere deciding on the optimal temperature of every home in a country of 125 million people should make the citizenry sweat. Or give them chills, as the case may be.
Now, one might say, Japan has an entirely different culture than we do. It has long had an authoritarian streak, but there's no way that we in the West would stand for anything like this, right?
Well, the general acquiescence to Covid outrages would suggest otherwise, but remaining in the realm of climate hysteria, how about this: Switzerland is considering throwing people in jail for the crime of "excessively" heating their homes. The Toronto Sun reports:
Switzerland is considering putting anyone who heats their rooms above 19C [66.2 Fahrenheit] in jail for up to three years, according to Blick.... Fines could also be handed out for violators. Markus Sporndli, a spokesman for the Federal Department of Finance, told Block that the rate for fines on a daily basis could start at 30 Swiss Francs (about $40 Canadian). He added that the maximum fine could be up to 3,000 Swiss Francs (over $4,000).
Advocates of these measures have blamed the war in Ukraine -- the Swiss government has suggested that it would only go through with this plan if the war continues through the winter. But the energy crisis predated the war, though it was certainly exacerbated by it. It cannot, therefore, be blamed entirely on Vladimir Putin. It is, in large part, the result of our gullible (or malevolent) governing class who promised that, if we would just abolish fossil fuels and nuclear power plants, "renewable energy" would step in and fill the void. Now they're talking about throwing you into the void. Typical.
The World Turns on 'Davos Man'
Perhaps the surest sign the bloom is coming off the Great Reset is that progressives are turning against what is now disparagingly referred to as the 'Davos Man'. Rather than lionizing the attendees of the annual World Economic Forum as enlightened billionaires eager to save the world, as was formerly the case, New York Times economics correspondent Peter S. Goodman's new book depicts them as profit-seeking wolves disguised under the sheep's clothing of virtue. In this telling, rather than using the Covid-19 pandemic as an occasion to reform and heal the world, the very crowd behind the Great Reset used the opportunity to loot it.
The New York Times cites the case of Marc Benioff, founder, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, as an example of a Davos Man whose fortune exploded during the pandemic. "The lockdowns were adding to his wealth — estimated at more than $10 billion — as his company, Salesforce, tallied record sales of software that allowed people to work from anywhere. ... And the ordeal was affirming a faith that Mr. Benioff had been preaching for decades: that business leaders were the ultimate guardians of human progress." Now the Left doesn't share that conviction any longer. Why the sudden falling out? As Vanity Fair points out, the "billionaire circus in Davos" has been running for decades without a hiccup.
What changed was on the outside, the Great Disappointment, compounded of the failure of the elites to end the pandemic, tame inflation, stave off energy shortages and prevent international military tension -- despite all the emergency powers they gathered unto themselves. A global backlash against elite rule has begun. Faced by failure everywhere and cascading protest, an effort to escape consequences has begun. The Left says they're not to blame for Biden's problems and as Matthew Continetti notes, Goodman's book in deconstructing Davos finds only the 'private' part of public-private shareholder capitalism is to blame.
The book is a master’s course in selective indignation. In this telling, public-sector failure doesn’t exist. Every ill is the fault of the private sector. Debtors have no agency, creditors do. Davos Man can’t catch a break: According to Mr. Goodman, Amazon’s wage hike in the spring of 2021 didn’t really count as a raise because it was done “more as a way to harm competitors than to redress unfair treatment.” One prominent Davos Man, liberal hedge-fund billionaire George Soros, appears only briefly in the narrative. Mr. Goodman identifies him as “the financial trader and democracy advocate.” Then there is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. Government connections made him one of the world’s wealthiest men. At one point, he was the single-largest individual shareholder in Mr. Goodman’s paper. He doesn’t appear at all.
But finger pointing is not enough to ward off impending disaster for the public-sector progressives. Christopher Caldwell also writing in the New York Times, says not just Joe Biden but the Democratic Party is experiencing "one of the most drastic reversals of party fortune that Gallup has ever recorded." At the heart of the catastrophe is the failure of their attempt to "go big" and sell "a story about America — about the depth and pervasiveness of racism — about the depth and pervasiveness of racism, and about the existential dangers of Mr. Trump — that a great many Americans, even a great many would-be Democrats, do not buy." In other words it is a comprehensive rejection. The pandemic years, rather than providing a triumphant opportunity to remake the world, has proved instead a debacle for the nomenklatura unseen since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Did somebody say György Schwartz?
Nothing exemplifies this reversal of fortune more dramatically than events in Canada, where a massive convoy of trucks materialized seemingly out of political nowhere to challenge everything. It is the gigantic, vague, and leaderless character of the current political protest in the West that has pundits on edge. They don't know what to make of it -- they're not even sure what "it" is. Facile conspiracy theories cannot explain "it"; and although there are personalities associated with recent events, the personalities did not create or lead it. They too are hanging on in suspense, awaiting developments.
There is disquiet abroad in the world, and it is not the spirit of the elite-led Great Reset, rather something emergent and distinctly different. Who knows what it is? Chinese President Xi Jinping, like Justin Trudeau, has all but vanished:
... hunkering down in Beijing for more than 700 days. Xi’s disappearing act is occurring at the same time he and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) face serious domestic headwinds, including rampant energy shortages, rising unemployment, and a real estate market teetering on the edge of collapse. Times have clearly changed since before the Covid-19 pandemic... if Xi’s latest pronouncements are any indication, there is something else keeping him awake at night: growing fears about resistance to his rule from factions inside the CCP.
There might be more out there keeping Xi and other leaders awake at night beyond the mere fear of internal dissension, though its features as yet cannot be clearly made out. Perhaps it will turn out to be the awaited Great Reset after all, but not the version the organizers of the World Economic Forum expected but something altogether different; and it will have come from other aspirations and towns than a small resort village in Switzerland.