Should Do What the Government Says Is Good for Us
Karen De Coster
by Karen De Coster: Ghee
vs. the Government-Industrial Food Complex†'Butter(s)'
from Gawker media, which is centered on my opinions and writings
about the incandescent light bulb banishment, appeared
on Gizmodo on Thursday, September 20, 2012, complete with compare-and-contrast
photos. Gizmodo is one of many weblogs of the parent company, Gawker
media. I took no issue with doing the interview with this particular
website on why the government's ban on incandescent light bulbs
is totalitarian, even though I had a gut feeling Ė very early on
Ė that the author and/or editor would attempt to slam dunk me. And
the author indeed attempted to do this, and only lightly so, but
the straw man argument was not very successful.
In fact, the
author and story editor had googled me and they came across what
they thought to be an interesting pro-gun photo of me that was in
contrast to the photo Ė me with some light bulbs Ė that I had supplied
to them. I had no problem with them running the other photo,
knowing that the slam dunk and photo reveal on their part would
actually backfire very much in my favor.
First of all
Ė to correct a few items from the article: the shorts I am wearing
are not "daisy dukes," as several observant folks pointed out on
my Facebook page. They are 1970s-style, cut-off Levi shorts. Big
difference. Additionally, the rifle I am holding is a BAR (Browning
Automatic Rifle), not an "assault rifle." My friend who owns the
rifle notes that the BAR would not be considered an assault rifle
because it fires a full-size .30-06 cartridge. The "assault rifle"
designation, which is always used as a pejorative remark, is merely
an old ploy to paint one as a lunatic who is doing something that
is in opposition to the uninformed opinions of the compliant masses
(gasp!) that prefer following the sheep over the cliff in order
to be good little citizens of the state. Since
my blog clearly sates, "eccentric in demeanor and opinion,"
one can expect that I may have a hobby or two, along with a thought
or two, which are not approved by the masses who worship the purveyors
of conventional wisdom from their dutiful fiefdoms.
Also, I am
not an "unofficial leader" of any movement to hoard incandescent
light bulbs. I am a lone
writer, with almost no "official" associations, who has stood
as an independent writer/blogger/researcher for fourteen years.
I write what I see, and that includes both research and facts, and
my ensuing opinions and/or conclusions are presented in various
formats Ė serious, critical, humorous, and/or satire.
tack of this Gizmodo story is that very little of what I actually
said was quoted, and my thesis Ė on why the government's ban is
pro-special/corporate interests and anti-freedom Ė was never brought
out, even though I spelled it out clearly in the email interview.
Thus I am reprinting the questions and my responses below, in full,
as I sent them off to the author of the piece.
The gist of
the Gizmodo story, in fact, is kind of amusing: I am a "right-leaning"
anti-Democrat in the same vein as Rush Limbaugh(!) and Michelle
Bachman? Anyone who did any research, at all, in my fourteen years
of archives, outside of "daisy duke" photos, would have immediately
seized upon the fact that I am an anarcho-libertarian (a market
anarchist) who has absolutely no allegiance to any political party,
let alone the modern "conservative," social democrat-fascist party.
Here is my interview as I completed it.
How many bulbs have you stockpiled thus far, and how many more
do you plan on getting before you're through?
I have about
400-500 bulbs at this point. I have 60 watt, 75 watt, 100 watt,
3-way, and many of those are daylight and/or GE Reveal bulbs.
I donít know if I will get a whole lot more for my own use, but
if I do, itíll be because I see favorable resale prices and/or
a good market for them after they become difficult for the public
How much have you spent stockpiling these bulbs?
Many of these
bulbs come at the cost of $1.25 per 4-pack for the generic brands,
and .60 Ė .70 per bulb for some of the name brands, so they are
not expensive to hoard. My favorite standard incandescent bulb,
the GE Reveal, costs about $1.30 per bulb. Accordingly, Iíve spent
less about $250 or so on my entire stockpile.
Why are you doing this?
This is a
totalitarian green scheme on the part of massively powerful special
interests that have banded together to serve their own political
another government attack on civilization. Itís a condemnation
of our standard of living and an attack on human comfort with
the ban of one of civilizationís stellar inventions.
seek to deny the rights of others to choose their own light bulbs
stress the notion that incandescent bulbs havenít been "banned."
The law, indeed, is "technology neutral" in that it
sets particular standards for bulbs that cannot be met with traditional
incandescent technology. But the efficiency standards were set
arbitrarily high so that the traditional bulbs could no longer
meet the new requirements.
Is it so
difficult to see that when government sets impossible standards
to meet that will result in the phase-out (manufacturing and importing)
of current products in favor of newer products that benefit certain
manufacturers, industries, and special interests, this is a totalitarian,
lifestyle decree in the same vein as a full-force, explicit ban
on the product? Why is implicitly peddled "soft fascism"
somehow kindler and gentler than explicit, acknowledged totalitarian
Steven Chu, who holds a Nobel Prize in physics, was quoted in
the Wall Street Journal as saying "We are taking
away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money."
So once again, our lofty rulers treat their lowly subjects as
morons and are thus compelled to direct our private lives for
us in the name of saving us from our own stupidity. Why, then,
donít they force us take their compulsory "advice" on
buying MP3 players, toilet paper, or computer software? Perhaps
because there are not enough empowered political and special interests
in these hotly contested markets?
So yes, this
is partly a freedom issue. We have come to a point in America
where we are under a consistent barrage of attacks on our lifestyles
and our choices, and always, there is some warm-and-fuzzy scheme
being peddled to the citizens (in this case, saving the planet)
that makes them feel guilt-ridden if they donít buy into the blarney.
are other, more important reasons for my objection to this ban
that are based on personal preferences. Iím an artist at my root,
and I see light as something that shapes my atmosphere and influences
my mood. I did much of my home interior design around my lighting,
with strategic placement of lights, as well as dimmers on most
of my switch plates.
I despise fluorescents lighting because they are too bright and
too obnoxious. I donít want to relax in my home, reading a book
on the couch, and look around and see my rooms lit up like my
office environment with lights blaring at me.
donít have the same warm glow as incandescent bulbs. CFLs also
canít be dimmed as low as an incandescent light bulb, which makes
them unfriendly to people who value a quality ambiance. LEDs can
dim lower than CFLs, but the cost of LEDs may be high for some
time. I value natural sunlight during the daytime, and very low,
strategically placed lighting in the evening and at night. This
helps me to shut down, unwind, and prepare for a good night of
sleep. I sleep so well that if it takes me more than five minutes
to fall asleep, that is akin to insomnia for me. On the contrary,
sleeping problems and sleeping pill use is almost epidemic in
some researchers interested in the topic of how light affects
human moods have noted that the bluer light from CFLs closely
resembles daylight, and this will suppress our bodyís ability
to produce required melatonin, therefore causing mood and sleep
bulbs emit a more pleasing yellow light that sets the tone for
rest and relaxation, and your body responds positively, thus allowing
for more consistent sleeping patterns.
research from scientists shows that compact fluorescent light
(CFL) bulbs are bad for your health. They noted that CFLs release
carcinogenic chemicals and toxins in addition to frying your skin
and potentially causing migraine headaches.
CFLs contain mercury, and itís drama time whenever you bust one
inside the house. Thereís a reason that the EPA website contains
three pages of consumer directions about what to do if you break
a CFL bulb in your home: "Open a window and leave the
room for 15 minutes or more. Shut off the central heating and
air conditioning system. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and
powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass
jar with a metal lid." To me, this sounds like an environmental
and human hazard.
the FTCís consumer protection division when it comes to protecting
people from government-approved household hazards that we are
forced to buy?
the issue of resale value when the popularity of incandescent
bulbs exceeds the available supply. Due to the quality of incandescent
lighting, there will always be a market for incandescent bulbs,
even if the price structure of the new-age replacements eventually
drops to current norms.
interview responses after reading the Gizmodo piece will give the
reader a good indication of how deliberately the story was skewed
to ignore the fact that I am an intelligent, articulate writer with
facts to back up my writings and views, and instead, the story wanted
to present me as one of those few nutcases in existence, hiding
in the woods and wearing "daisy dukes," shooting guns, and dissenting
against the government's superior wisdom and the good sense of the
well-meaning collective establishment who need to "nudge" us toward
better decisions because we are too stupid to understand how ignorant
we are as individuals.
I find it funny
that the author actually writes this in his piece:
simply don't want to be told what to do, regardless of how good
it is for them or the world. They'd rather just hoard the outlawed
For her part,
De Coster had a lot of the same complaints as others in favor
of keeping conventional incandescent bulbs around.
Can you say
eyes-roll-back-into-head? Who would actually put it in
writing that we should allow governments, elites, corporate
interests, human-hating environmental special interests, or even
our best friends "tell us what to do?" And all for a fluffy-and-warm
notion such as "good for the world?" By whose definition is anything
"good for the world?" General Electric's definition? Or the definition
of government cabinet appointees and czars? Or the definition of
all the little generals among the masses who desire to enforce government
dictates with their own opinions and chorus of agreement with their
rulers? Or does my own definition suffice in terms of making my
own decisions about what to do with my body, property, lifestyle,
or otherwise? Who are the "victims" when I make the choice to use
an incandescent bulb that I favor over other choices forced upon
the author has declared that the conventional wisdom of the politicized
special interests is "good for me." Really? Indeed, there really
are people who believe that deciding what is "good for" individuals
is not subjective to each individual, but rather it is up for vote
amongst the masses, including strangers who have no knowledge of
or relation to the individuals in question.
author ends with this:
I email her to ask her why she won't simply buy the new, more
efficient incandescent bulbs, she says she shouldn't have to.
"It is like saying that I love to eat beef, and I occasionally
like to eat chicken, but prefer beef," she writes. "Should the
government ban me from eating beef Ė on the basis of political-special
interest hogwash Ė and ask me if replacing all of my beef with
chicken is acceptable, because government has deemed that chicken
is more efficient, or politically palatable? Of course, I desire
both, and banning beef and telling me that chicken should be an
acceptable 100 percent replacement is still totalitarianism, and
so, no, it is not acceptable."
It is a strange
world. And some people like to be kept in the dark.
If not becoming
a slave to the opinions and demands of my fellow citizens based
on what they think is "good for me" or "good for the world" is being
"kept in the dark," then I suppose only the yellow brick road to
the government's good-for-me gulag is well-lit with the establishment's
preferred CFLs. I'll take the dark way that offers up bits of freedom
any day, as opposed to the lighted approach that is bound in chains
but paved with "good intentions" to save the planet while also saving
us evil renegades from our derelict decisions.
is a strange world where the statist mentality of the masses has
become so deeply embedded that a person cannot comprehend that unique
individuals have unique preferences, and therefore, their choices
are distinct. How is it possible that Americans Ė who are so blessed
to have once been given a shot at bona fide freedom Ė have become
so uniquely adapted to being unconditionally compliant and living
in chains as slaves, while being ungrudgingly subservient to a massive
government-corporatocracy-special interest complex that erodes their
freedoms almost daily, while enabling the elite overlords who control
and rule over them for power and profit?" Perhaps that is a
question that would befuddle our author and provoke an entire new
wondered why I agreed to do this interview with Gawker media, knowing
the potential for a sensationalist pummeling. However, I really
don't mind, and in fact, I think that good things almost always
come from incidents such as this one. I received many media requests
immediately after this story ran, and almost all were from media
people who are sympathetic to libertarian principles, and who noted
the drubbing and want to present the depth of my side in the matter.
All to the good.
on Wednesday, September 26th, I will do an interview with Doc
Thompson on WXYT AM in Detroit, and I am also doing an interview
with a journalist from the Sun
Media Corporation of Canada.
I am a big
believer in putting one's thoughts out there, and learning to deal
with the straw man hit-and-runs, as well as criticism and disagreement
from outside of the choir. It's a part of being a visible dissenter
with unconventional ideas trying to persuade the masses. When the
heat in the kitchen is cranked up, I'd like to think I can flourish
because I become more focused and I channel my energies more efficiently.
And that's without the government's "efficient" CFLs, and without
my fellow citizens telling me what is good for me.
Coster, CPA [send
her mail] is an accounting/finance professional in the
healthcare industry and a freelance writer, blogger, speaker, and
sometimes unpaid troublemaker. She writes about libertarian stuff,
economics, financial markets, the medical establishment, the Corporate
State, health totalitarianism, and other essentially, anything that
encroaches upon the freedom of her fellow human beings. When she
has a few moments of spare time she engages functional fitness,
adventure cycling, photography, conversations with friends, and
visiting wine regions. This is her LewRockwell.com
archive and her Mises.org
archive. Check out her
website. Follow her on Twitter @karendecoster.
2012 Karen DeCoster
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