Let me get this off my (Maynard’s) chest. The ban on incandescent light bulbs — perhaps about to be rescinded — is stupid, intrusive, destructive, and generally un-American.

When questioned, Obama’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu condemned the quaint notion of citizens choosing for themselves. Said Chu: “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.” This man, who holds a Nobel Prize in physics, is a petty dictator and a moron.

Enough with the ad hominem remarks. Time to get serious. First off, I’ll proclaim myself a pragmatic green, and I’ll back that up with a long history of lifestyle decisions. As a teenager, I was gathering the family cans and newspapers and hauling them to the local food co-op, which had at the time just about the only recycling center in the city. My car is a compact, and I often leave it garaged for days while I walk or bike or ride public transit. I’m very interested in renewable energy resources; I applaud the spirit of the various government programs while condemning the fact that most of the existing operations are wasteful political boondoggles and payoffs to cronies, doing much harm and no good.

By the way, my ecological advocacy is entirely parallel to my economic advocacy. The nation must live within its energy means just as we must live within our fiscal means. Balance is sustainable; deficit is a road to ruin.

As far as the CFLs (“compact fluorescent lights”) go — they’re great. I love them. I long ago installed them in about half the lights in my house.

But the other half of my lights remain as traditional incandescents. There’s a good reason for this. The incandescents are preferable for those lights that don’t turn on often, or only stay on for a few minutes at a time. Putting the more expensive CFLs in those sockets is wasteful, because the energy savings will never make up for the extra costs. Also, the CFLs tend to turn on slowly; this only makes sense for the lamps that turn on and stay on for a long time. There are also some cases where, in dealing with electronic signals, I want to avoid the electrical line noise generated by a nearby fluorescent bulb. Some people prefer the color spectrum of incandescent bulbs for certain purposes, although I don’t care about that point.

In other words, incandescent bulbs have a useful and valuable place in the scheme of things. It’s also worth mentioning that incandescent bulbs are — or were — manufactured domestically. Thanks to Washington, our factories have been shuttered and the employment has gone to the overseas plants that make CFLs. Then our legislators wring their hands and wonder why Americans can’t get jobs.

Here’s an enlightening “Smackdown” sequence in which Rand Paul challenges a smarmy Obama energy bureaucrat named Kathleen Hogan. It’s a telling exchange. When Paul points out, with devastating logic, that Obama’s policies are coercive and dehumanizing, Hogan’s only defense is that these measures had bipartisan support. This is sadly typical of the Washington mindset: It doesn’t matter if it’s stupid or hurtful or wrong, it just matters that we agreed on it. If the Beltway elite are on board, then who are you to argue?

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20 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. gkin31 says:

    He needs to start asking Jay Carney questions, id like to see that.

  2. JHSII says:

    They can have my incandescent light bulbs when they pry them out of my cold, dead hands!!

  3. tamcat says:

    I was counting the inventory of incandescent light bulbs at home, hoping the bulbs would keep selling, and restock from warehouses. What hasn’t the current administration tried to change in our country? This energy agenda is such a farce.

  4. Timbo says:

    MAYNARD – As usual a well thought out post. I agree completely. I have been stocking Incans for the past two years since this stupid law came up.. I don’t want the “preferred” product in my house..Mercury? really? sounds terrific… Can’t make it up.

  5. Kat says:

    Had a discussion with my sister recently regarding this topic! Sis is a HUGE lib BTW! She swears by the curli-q bulbs and I personally don’t see any advantage to using them! The 3 that were given to me to use had burned out in less than 6 months! I asked how she disposes of them and she told me she just throws them away! When I asked how “green” are they when mercury gets into the environment…she exclaimed “They do not…that’s a lie”! Typical Lib….everything is a lie if the LSM says it is…LOL!
    So, instead of starting an argument during a family gathering I just told her that I have no problem if she wants to use them but DO NOT tell me what Light Bulb I have to use because (besides the toxicity of them) I think they are a waste of money!
    Sorry to say….she still didn’t get it!

    • Maynard says:

      You can read up on the details of the mercury content in the Wikipedia article. The mercury is real, but I see it as a relatively minor factor.

      As I said, I use CFLs myself, but they’re not optimal for every person or every situation. Certainly it’s not the government’s business to command us to use them. Maybe I just want to be stupid in my private affairs; do I have to justify myself to the government? Certainly the government doesn’t justify itself to me in all of the stupid things it does.

      Some of my CFLs have lasted forever, but others have failed very quickly like yours did; I’m not sure why. Makes me feel kind of silly, installing a package that proudly proclaims itself good for years of use only to see it blow up a few weeks later.

      • Kat says:

        Maynard I agree with not wanting the government to tell me which light bulbs I HAVE to use! That was the main point I was trying to get across to my sister! However, the mercury may be negligible in each bulb, but add millions of bulbs per year to a landfill and to me a problem could arise! Also, if the mercury is negligible…why has the government issued warnings and instructions on how to dispose of a broken CFL? #Just Askin!
        Thanks for your initial post, the video is AWESOME!

  6. ShArKy666 says:

    i can’t believe paul is so calm in this clip..i’d be STANDING UP yelling at that lady and telling her that the american people HAVE HAD ENOUGH of their nudging us and taking away our choices & freedoms…it’s time to get these freaks OUT and when applicable, in jail for the countless violations of our constitution they commit every single second.

  7. thierry says:

    about the time the curly q lights were appearing i was approaching the age where my already not perfect vision was changing- and i thought the worst .rooms seemed vaguely ill lit if not dungeon-y. after a freaked trip to the optometrist, who said i was fine, i figured out it was the bulbs . doing a lot of art work, the difference going back to old skool lights was immediate and a relief.

    as for the mercury – after removing it from batteries, also for our own and mother earth’s good( and this has caused all sorts of grief for photographers and super 8 enthusiasts who have had to build inspector gadget inserts to replace these really efficient long lasting batteries in their beloved cameras) why put it in another mass produced popular product that also gets tossed out in great heaps? one bulb may not contain much mercury but how about a gross of them?

    like all things involved with big government it’s capricious and illogical,serving only the economic aspirations of someone in power’s pals. i also take umbrage at the official government mantra that because one may like paper bags and incandescent light bulbs, one is some sort of goon ,trampling baby bunnies and causing global warming. i was raised by depression kid grandparents- they saved /recycled paper, glass jars,plastic and paper bags, tin cans, even twine long before these green hacks were born, before the hippies even. even bottle recycling( and pie plate for example) existed a long time ago- the econazi’s act like they invented concern and respect for the environment and resources while all they’re doing is showing amped up disrespect for individual freedom in order to enrich themselves personally.

  8. ffigtree says:

    I tried being “green” with these CFLs but instead I ended up turning green. I smelled what I thought was an electrical fire. I frantically searched the house to finally find the source. A CFL literally burned out leaving behind an eye burning, choking smell and soot like residue on the lamp fixture (which will not come off). These light bulbs can not be safe. I can not imagine having this happen in a baby’s room or in someone’s room who is elderly. Only incandescent bulbs in this house!

    I’m all for conservation but micromanaging our light sources (appliances, toilets etc) is a bit of a stretch. I also question why these CFLs are not produced here in the USA. Could it be because producing these violates EPA standards so these jobs are sent overseas where there are no environmental standards? And what about the people who make these light bulbs…are they protected from the hazards of mercury? What are the trade offs and are they really worth it?

    • Maynard says:

      My understanding was that the manufacture of CFLs is more labor-intensive than traditional bulbs (both incandescent and fluorescent). I think it’s because of the twisted shape, which requires a more elaborate process…although with robotic controls getting more and more complex, I might think the assembly lines could be relatively automated by now. Anyway, that’s been the trend of the modern era, that labor-intensive tasks tend to get outsourced.

      I wish we could have an open, honest discussion about this outsourcing phenomenon, which is obviously a problem if not somehow balanced by domestic production. Unfortunately, our dysfunctional government, as we see in this case, first drives production offshore and then blames the companies that fled for their knavery. Capitalism is evil, don’t ya know? Sure is good to have Obama in office to give us money to cushion us from the fallout from Obama’s toxic policies. Or something like that.

  9. dennisl59 says:

    The American Consumer could be paying $0.01 per kilowatt hour for electricity nationwide but the Pissant Bureaucrats, Apparatchiks, Busy Bodies, Useful Idiots, Mentally Unstable, Brainwashed Junk Science Know-it-Alls, Mother Earth Worshippers, and No Common Sense Power Mad Prescription Drug Addicts in the Federal Government would still try to protect us from ‘wasting our own money’ and compel us, by law, deny our freedom of choice in our own homes.

    It’s not about light bulbs, per se, in my opinion, it’s about the lifeblood of the American Civilization: ENERGY

    posted 12/17 802am Texas [Drill, Baby, Drill!] Time.

  10. Samster1 says:

    I too have been stocking up on 100 & 60 watt light bulbs. The light emitted from the bulbs during twilight is useless.

    I do believe the ban has just been postponed and there are plans to go after the 60 watt next. And, btw, this was signed into law by George W.

    We must get our leaders to embrace OUR (not theirs) freedoms again.

    As my husband says, “won’t happen–they protect their fiefdoms” as one could see by the energy employee’s arrogant demeanor. (We worked for a national lab run by the Department of Energy for many years.)

  11. strider says:

    CFL’s will end up in land fills when a stagnent economy leads to choices such as – loaf of bread or drive my mercury leaking broken CFL to the safe green acceptance place – burning fossil fuel and exposing myself to texting medical pot smoking drivers. Any massive disaster such as earthquakes, tornados, etc. could smash many and dust the area with mercury. Over decades the toxin would build up. Or maybe not.

  12. HiramHawk says:

    Incandescent bulbs just stop emitting light and cool off when they die.

    Yesterday, I had a CFL “burn out.” I discovered that my room was dark. My lamp had stopped emitting light. About 10 minutes later, I entered the room to investigate. I smelled an electrical-smelling smoke. I found a CFL in my lamp had quit emitting light and was so hot that I could barely handle it. The thing was way too hot and was discolored.

    It is a good thing that I was home. It probably is not a good idea to leave CFL’s burning unattended. I am curious to know, how many fires have been caused by them.

  13. jmm says:

    I’d like to know what this STUPID legislation has cost the taxpayer. Not to mention what it has done to the light bulb industry and oh yeah JOBS.

    I have stocked up on all wattages of ican bulbs. Problem is when you buy a new fixture it only take a CFL.

    The country is deterioting before our eyes and our representatives are worried about light bulbs, flushing toliets, electric cars that dont work and one of my recent favorites: Chuck Schumer ranting about layaway charges.

  14. lawmom90 says:

    That’s what I call Good TV 🙂 I love my “Senator Smackdown”

  15. Sally says:

    When I turn on a switch I want light, and I want it now! I hoard incandescents. The CFL bulbs last, but no light! I am green, when I’m not in a room, I turn off the lights. I get an electric bill every month, so I own it, I can do whatever I want with my light, can I not?

    • ReardenSteel says:

      Amen to that Sally. Anyone who owns CFLs had better hope to God you don’t break one in the house. Unless you want to see what a hazmat crew does for a living. Can someone help me with this? How is using energy slower, it will all get used in the end by the way, conserving? No to mention the vast majority of CFLs will just get dumped in land fills with the rest of the trash. The same dilemma facing Prius owners when the batteries need replacing. Liberalism, ideas so good they have to be made mandatory.

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