Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist


I recently had a discussion with a few individuals concerning eliminating or drastically reducing the use of a certain manufactured product. I was stunned and amazed by the reaction to my thoughts. Forty, 50 or even perhaps as recently as 10 years ago, I would never have dreamed that this product would be on the chopping block.

We are seeing other products go down the same path. The momentum to eliminate Styrofoam and drinking straws is growing by the day. These attitudes seem to be somewhat environmentally driven by the purported islands of plastic floating around in the Pacific Ocean.

The drinking straw claims are a case in point. All of a sudden, a few months ago placards started showing up in our local restaurants “informing” us about the drinking straw crisis. Printed with each restaurants’ logo, the numbers of straws purportedly used were the same from restaurant to restaurant, indicating there is some driving organization behind this (looks like it is the U.S. National Park Service).

The scary and humorous thing is I took the time to do the math on the numbers claimed (500 million straws a day in the U.S.) which works out to be 1 ½ straws per day per human in the U.S. For emphasis: This includes every human in the U.S.

I say all of that to make this point: Ideas seem to take on a life of their own in the modern world and what was perfectly fine yesterday is today’s horror movie, whether or not it is validated.

My musing is this: What will fall into this trap in the next 20 or 30 years? I am not talking about predicting future technology developments, I am talking about technology developments coupled with societal opinions.

First on my list is manually driven vehicles. I suspect as soon as 2030, maybe even sooner, you will be required to have a special license to manually drive a vehicle. This will be pushed by a combination of new technology and safety statistics.

I expect new home size to be mandated, at a much smaller size than those being built today. There will be an environmental tax for home floor area beyond a certain dictated amount per individual. Logic? You are using too many resources to build your home and you are, on an ongoing basis, using too many resources to condition your home’s environment to make it pleasant.

We may see centrally controlled thermostats on our homes, or a tax if we choose to regulate our home’s temperature ourselves.

Corporations or individuals will be taxed for most jobs for commuting to work rather than working at home (this will work in conjunction with my previous item above – if you work at home you will be permitted to have a home or apartment with a bigger footprint).

You will be required to make most purchases with companies that delivers goods to your home. It is just so much cheaper to do this, and, when it comes to food, the government will thus be able to restrict your calorie intake to eliminate obesity, a national health crisis. Since the government will get your weight from the scale they have installed in your home, they will know what to feed you.

The Chinese are already leading in areas similar to what I have described here. They call it the “Social Credit System.” Implemented in its modern form starting in 2013, the Social Credit System reached a new level of control this past May.

“It is unclear whether the system will work as envisioned by 2020, but the Chinese government has fast-tracked the implementation of the system, resulting in the publication of numerous policy documents and plans since the main plan was issued in 2014. If the Social Credit System is implemented as envisioned, it will constitute a new way of controlling both the behavior of individuals and of businesses.” (Wikipedia)

It seems like our systems of shaming or bullying people into behaviors considered objectionable by the self-appointed elites is just so 2018.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.