Orwell's Big Brother Opens Real-World Office in Belgium

To be honest, having to choose between the Brave New World and 1984 is really hard, but in a way I tend to go for Mr. Huxley’s world. At least the society in Huxley’s novel was based on happiness, though of an arguable kind, whereas Orwell’s Big Brother world was one of fear and oppression. What do these two novels have in common with motorcycling, you might ask. Just hand on, and read on.
Big Brother 1 photo
According to Le Repaire de Motards quoted by motorbiker, some Belgian law makers thought that a new tax would help ease the traffic congestions this European country is experiencing lately. But if you think the highway tolls are to be raised, you’re dead wrong! The new tax is a per-driven-kilometer one, but it will be applied for all roads.

And wrong again, the country will not turn into a huge toll booth. It’s a real-life Big Brother thing: installing small GPS trackers in cars and motorcycles. Now, take a deep breath and read on. As I mentioned before, both highways and other major roads are to be taken into account, just like the time of day one is riding or driving.

A big question of privacy is raised: where is what’s left of the individuals’ privacy? Of course, the state will tell that no personal tracking will be involved. Sorry, we’re no longer kids, we don’t buy this kind of crap any more. Those who have access to the GPS system can not only pinpoint the whereabouts of each motorist at any given time, but also check whether he has parked his or her car in an illegal spot for a couple of minutes, broke the speed limits, had a ride with their lover and not with their spouse and so on. This is freaking dangerous and outrageous!

Just like you’ve probably figured out, using the roads during rush hours is more expensive that outside them, with the night being free. Costs are not at all to be neglected, either. Using the roads between 10pm and 5am is free, everything else is taxable.

From 7 to 9am and between 4 and 6pm, urban roads are taxed with €0.09/km, highways will be €0.05 and secondary roads €0.065 per kilometer. With 1 Euro worth roughly $1.4, you can do the math for yourselves. So, as motorbiker puts it, if you happen to live say, 30 km (less than 19 miles) from the big city lights, here’s your budget: to and fro, you get 60 km of highway a day, and this makes for €5.4.

Or €27 a week, provided you’re free on Saturdays. About 45 working weeks a year? You’re good for forking out some €1,215 ($1,687) for getting to work and making this money, only. Planning some trips, maybe some riding fun? The Belgian state is fine with that, as long as you pay up.
So… I’d rather see Lenina Crowne any day, than having some oppressing state watching by every move and making me pay for this. Cometh civil unrest, cometh many minutes of hate.
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