If freedom is choice, what’s the light bulb ban?
It is a restriction of your freedom to choose. It is government assuming the role of deciding what is best for you instead of allowing market and consumers the freedom of making that decision and choice.
The greens and the Obama Administration assert that the new light bulbs are good for the lumpen bourgeoisie because they will cut electricity use and save the average household $50 a year. Mr. Obama’s Energy Department told Congress recently that to repeal the ban would "detrimentally affect the nation’s economy, energy security, and environmental imperatives." Yes, and cause the seas to rise to swamp Miami and New York too.
If you catch the sarcasm in the WSJ column cited, I believe it is well deserved. You see, if the average household found it worth $50 a year to make such a change, they’d do so based on their priorities, not government’s. That’s freedom. Instead we have the government forcing that decision on households whether they like it or not. And the reasoning? Well it has become almost cliché to cite Orwell when talking about many things modern government does, but in this case, and after the reading the following, tell me if you don’t agree it is entirely appropriate:
In classic doublespeak, the Department of Energy explains that outlawing incandescent bulbs will "empower consumers with lighting choices." Unless your choice is to buy the light bulb the government doesn’t like.
Indeed. There is no “choice” involved here at all, except to refuse to buy CFLs and sit in the dark.
When government can reach down to the level of deciding what you can and can’t buy for lighting your house, then you have seen your freedom diminished. And it can be for all sorts of good intentions – but it doesn’t change the simple fact that your freedom to choose is less today than yesterday. In fact, we need to update an old saying. The road to serfdom is paved with freedom killing laws based on good but collectivist intentions. Yeah, it’s not really very snappy but you get the idea.
Our freedom is slowly bleeding away, suffering a death by a thousand cuts. And we’re as much to blame as the government.
The question an (allegedly) free society should ask is if CFL bulbs are so clearly superior, why does the government have to force people to buy them?
Because it can. And we let it.
Insist Congress repeal the ban. Meanwhile – stock up on incandescent bulbs. I am.