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Smart cities or prison cities?

Back in 2016, a World Economic Forum contributor wrote an article envisioning life in 2030. That article contained the now infamous headline, “Welcome to 2030: I own nothing, have no privacy and life has never been better”. Many people were, and still are, alarmed by the suggestion that in a mere seven years, we are expected to live in a city where we don’t own anything. It doesn’t simply stop at eradicating home and car ownership. The writer postulated a future where we don’t even own appliances or clothes! Of course, for this future to unfold the way the World Economic Forum envisions, people will have to live in cities. So-called “smart cities”. Interestingly, they already predict that some people will refuse the “convenience” of living in a smart city. The writer said this: “My biggest concern is all the people who do not live in our city. Those we lost on the way. Those who decided that it became too much, all this technology. Those who felt obsolete and useless when robots and AI took over big parts of our jobs. Those who got upset with the political system and turned against it. They live different kinds of lives outside of the city. Some have formed little self-supplying communities. Others just stayed in the empty and abandoned houses in small 19th century villages.”

The G20 even have a focus group called the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance. This Alliance is the largest global initiative which is aimed at ensuring the responsible and ethical use of smart city technologies. Yet, in the same article quoted above, the writer shares what is probably on the mind of most people who see the concept of smart cities turning into surveillance cities. She says, “Once in a while I get annoyed about the fact that I have no real privacy. Nowhere I can go and not be registered. I know that, somewhere, everything I do, think and dream of is recorded. I just hope that nobody will use it against me.” Think about it: a future where you don’t own anything, you don’t really work because robots and AI do your work and every move, every word, every thought and every dream is monitored. That doesn’t sound like a smart city to me – it sounds like an open-air prison.

But while there has been a lot of attention (and concern) around the concept of smart cities, the dominating headline of late has been the concept of 15-minute cities (or 20-minute neighbourhoods if you live in Australia). Because of a radical agenda driven by an irrational fear of climate change, cities want to adopt a model where everyone’s daily needs (groceries, work, leisure activities, education, doctor’s appointments, etc) can be undertaken within a 15-20 minute walk or cycle from their home. The goal of course is to stop people using motor vehicles, which they claim are releasing too many greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. In the World Economic Forum’s own words: “As climate change and global conflict cause shocks and stresses at faster intervals and increasing severity, the 15-minute city will become even more critical.” Of course, no surprise that when COVID-19 struck, they capitalized on the pandemic to suggest, “The obvious, yet incomplete, answer is the pandemic…with COVID-19 and its variants keeping everyone home (or closer to home than usual), the 15-minute city went from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a rallying cry. Meeting all of one’s needs within a walking, biking or transit distance was suddenly a matter of life and death.” Life and death!? I find this statement quite alarmist considering the virus turned out to have a very high rate of survivability. Nevertheless, as was once said, never let a good crisis go to waste.

Of course, like most ideas that politicians like to sneak past unsuspecting citizens, they make the concept of a 15-minute city sound pleasant and convenient. But there is, as we discovered with the forceful vaccine mandates, a coercive edge. You will have to stop using your car. In fact, residents will have to register their cars with the local Council and they will be tracked in order to count their journeys through key gateways. Under proposals recently enacted in Oxfordshire (UK), if any of Oxford’s 150,000 residents drives outside of their designated district more than 100 days a year, he or she could be fined. Of course, the expectation is that this will eventually be connected to your social credit score and will fundamentally operate like anti-frequent-flyer points – the more you travel, the more you will be punished.

But in many ways, this “solution” has arisen due to the original problem created by the globalists. In encouraging political leaders to make private agriculture economically unviable for families, it has resulted in a mass exodus toward cities, particularly as this madness around Net Zero targets continues. Now they declare that urbanization is a problem that has to be solved by 2030 because cities are responsible for 70% of global carbon emissions. So, herein lies the true extent of the agenda – push people off farms and into the cities where you can control their activities and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by restricting their movements. As Australian Senator Malcolm Roberts so eloquently stated, “What we are watching develop is modern feudalism – a network of tiny city states ruled over by all-powerful councils that act as manor lords, telling the peasants where they can go. Far from ‘revolutionizing the way we think about urban homes’, it has fueled a deep regression back to the Medieval period. We’re even being forced to walk between towns and carry our goods by hand. Green bureaucracy is getting very good at phrasing irrational demands as ‘social requirements’ to such a point where the peasants are proclaimed ‘climate criminals’ if they want to own a personal car, while the elite political class hop around the world in private jets, giving themselves awards for saving the planet.”

As C S Lewis said: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

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