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 The ban on incandescent light bulbs — perhaps about to be rescinded — is stupid, intrusive, destructive, and generally un-American.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?