Saturday, November 20, 2010
Socialist Light Bulbs
Bradford Plumer of The New Republic examines the way in which opposition to compact fluorescent light bulbs has become an article of faith (?) for conservative politicians. You know, like believing that the earth's climate is not changing and that reducing taxes raises revenues and that rhinoceroses are made of cinnamon and that Wednesdays are a myth created by the liberal media. What's important is that incandescent light bulbs are more American/free/market-positive, you see, because they existed fifty years ago. Even though they suck at being light bulbs, relatively and absolutely, in just about every way not having to do with seniority. For fuck's sake, you guys:
Most of the opposition to the light-bulb law just seems to be cultural: Conservatives don't like the government telling them what to do (unless, of course, it's bedroom-related), and the only benefits of this law are to solve a problem (global warming) that the right doesn't even think exists. That's not a promising sign for energy policy. Cap-and-trade may be dead, but there are still a lot of smaller, relatively non-intrusive measures that could help curb power use, save money, and make the economy more efficient, such as stronger building codes. This isn't some wild-eyed liberal idea; even Ronald Reagan signed a big appliance-standard bill back in 1987. But the odds of small-bore compromise seem low now that even efficient light bulbs are considered unacceptably socialist.
It's nice to know that old people feel safer with the dumbest Caucasians ever to walk the earth in charge of things. I know that bit of analysis is not terribly nuanced of me, but some things are not terribly nuanced. Some lightbulbs are better than others, and no lightbulbs are more or less socialist than others.