Free Markets, Free People

light bulb ban


Saving the incandescent light bulb

Apparently the latest, agreed upon government “shutdown-averting” budget bill has a rider included in it that would save the incandescent light bulb.

A little reminder of how we got here:

DOE’s light bulb rules — authorized under a 2007 energy law authored signed by President George W. Bush — would start going into effect Jan. 1.

Got it?  Moving on, the rider would essentially prevent DOE from enforcing the standard by defunding that process.  And the GOP has given Democrats some cover by leaving a provision that requires any DOE grant recipients of greater than $1 million to certify they will upgrade the efficiency of their facilities by replacing any lighting to meet or exceed the 2007 energy law’s standards.

The usual suspects are bemoaning this.   Read this and weep because it is people like this who are driving us toward the edge of the liberty and freedom cliff and into the abyss of even more authoritarian and intrusive government:

"In the real world, outside talk radio’s echo chamber, lighting manufacturers such as GE, Philips and Sylvania have tooled up to produce new incandescent light bulbs that look and operate exactly the same as old incandescent bulbs, and give off just as much warm light," said Jim DiPeso, the group’s policy director. "The only difference is they produce less excess heat and are therefore 30 percent more efficient. Same light, lower energy bills. What’s not to like?"

What’s not to like?!  The fact that you’re using the force of government to make decisions that are frankly none of your damn business, sir.  That’s what.  The essence of freedom is choice.  Free choice.  What’s not to like is your abrogation of that freedom Mr. DiPeso.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what left wing group Mr. DiPeso speaks for it’s the Republicans for Environmental Protection.

Nice, huh?

One other thing … thank goodness for the talk radio echo chamber.  If it takes that to keep up with authoritarians like DiPeso, more power to the genre.

Bottom line, of course, the incandescent light bulb is simply one of many such intrusions that government, sponsored by both parties, continues to make in our daily lives. 

Government is involved in ways and in areas never even imagined by our founders.  It exercises control of our lives that is unprecedented in this country.  Light bulbs for heaven sake.  Freakin’ light bulbs.  If the OWS goons need a real reason to protest, here’s a beauty. 

The old metaphor of the frog in the pot of slowly heating water remains apt.  The banning of light bulbs, something I’m sure any number of big government types will think is trite, is another lesson in what government is not only about, but what it will do if left to its own devices.

And that includes both parties.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


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.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO