...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

January 31, 2007

Long Live The Nanny State

I live in the Soviet Union.

For the record, I stopped using incandescent bulbs years ago. In my case, the free market worked. But what about photographers, who can't use flourescent bulbs? Does every single thing in the universe need to be legislated?

Posted by annika, Jan. 31, 2007 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annikapunditry


This gets back to the subject of global warming, as well as what kind of electricity generation facilities to avoid constructing (i.e., coal). Could be a long comment thread...

There is a 'free market' in the sense that you could live in other states that are more in line with your particular mix of principles. I don't see massive changes in the way California does business wrt favoring conservative Republican agenda items. Which states have the stances that conform to your ideal principle set? Texas, Nevada, Idaho, ....?

Posted by: will on Feb. 1, 2007

Yes, she could always move, but that avoids the original question: does every single thing have to be legislated?

If these new bulbs were so cheap and minimized polution so much, then the average consumer would eventually choose to purchase that bulb. (I thought Cali was so "pro-choice.") Why does it have to come down by fiat from the state capital?

Posted by: Mark on Feb. 1, 2007

When you fuck with the foundations of democracy, this is what you end up with. SCOTUS shredded the constitution for the last half of the 20th Century, and now we have no constitutional protection from any type of nitwittery. And the fucktards bleat about the Patriot Act.

Posted by: Casca on Feb. 1, 2007

I don't necessarily see the right to pollute without bounds as one of the foundations of democracy. There are a number of energy efficiency standards that are Federal and State law, so at least a smattering of precedence has been set.

Yes, we could argue whether this is right or not, but does anyone see California reversing direction dramatically towards a conservative republican agenda? Others might, I don't. So one has the choice to stay and beat their head on a wall, or to go where one's own reside and realize their utopia. On the same vein (at the extreme other end of the spectrum), those who like communism can go to Cuba or North Korea.

Posted by: will on Feb. 1, 2007

The decision about whether to live in a 4000 sq ft house or a 20000 sq ft house has far more impact on energy use than does the decision to use CFL or incandescent lightbulbs. So does the decision to set the summer thermostat at 68 degrees instead of 75 degrees, or to live 40 miles from work instead of 1 mile from work. Does Levine want to legislate these things as well?

The first instinct of modern bureaucratic liberalism, in virtually every situation, seem to be to call for the police.

Posted by: david foster on Feb. 1, 2007

Does every single thing have to be legislated is a pretty silly statement and leads to a discussion about something other than the real topic which is, I think, is the ways electricity should be conserved.

If you think the savings are significant (undeniable) in terms of watts and that the CO2 is significant(some still deny) to produce those watts and that the public is too phlegmatic or cheap to buy (or simply screw them in if they are being given away)the energy saving bulbs then what is the problem of the legislature imposing insentives, rules and regulations? Does the ocean have to breach the sea walls of the Hudson river for you think the gov should act?

I wouldn't worry about photographers and I don't think a black market in incandescent bulbs will develop either.

Oh, Mark, tell me about the free market in electricity and how that has benefitted the consumer.

Posted by: strawman on Feb. 1, 2007

It is not up to capitalists to "prove" the free market works: We've already done that - the debate is over. You guys lost (after killing a few hundred million.) But perhaps you missed the last century of economic and intellectual history. You socialist neanderthals need to demonstrate how centralizing the means of production improves the lives of a country's citizens.

BTW, Straw, you freedom lover you, how soon will it be before your hero, Mr. Chavez, starts killing his political opponents? You'll be cheering him on no doubt. (We know how much you like to celebrate the deaths of those who support freedom.)

Will, as usual, you've managed to write a lot and say absolutely nothing of value. I'm sure, though, that you were absolutely smitten by your own writing. Smug, arrogant liberals - people like you - think the rest of us are too stupid to make our own decisions. Most of the people on this site love freedom, democracy, and, more importantly, capitalism, and believe citizens are perfectly able to make their own choices. When you first read The Republic, Will, I'm willing to bet you thought you'd make an amazing philosopher-king. I doubt the cave analogy had any impact on you.

Posted by: blu on Feb. 1, 2007

Blu wrote:
> Will, as usual, you've managed to write a lot and say absolutely nothing of value. I'm sure, though, that you were absolutely smitten by your own writing. Smug, arrogant liberals - people like you

Blu, too frequently lately you've gone from debating the points to attacking the messenger. That may sometimes work in court or with some blog readerships, but that points to the realization that you have no real contribution or response to the subject at hand.

You label me as a liberal, but I espouse many points that conservatives (and moderate) republicans espouse as well. I also choose those points that I agree with liberals on. You choose to use one brush to paint me, and I'm afraid you continue to push the same false dichotomy over and over. Is Bush a liberal? Are Republican Senators and Congressmen calling for renewable energy programs and other measures to reduce our dependence on foreign oil liberal? Are energy efficiency standards inherently liberal? All this light bulb regulation really represents is an energy efficiency standard, nothing else.

> The decision about whether to live in a 4000 sq ft house or a 20000 sq ft house has far more impact on energy use than does the decision to use CFL or incandescent lightbulbs.

Granted, but a 20,000 sf house full of incandescants will use much more energy than a the same size house full of CFL, so there is still energy savings realized.

> So does the decision to set the summer thermostat at 68 degrees instead of 75 degrees,

During the oil crisis, Americans were instructed to set their heat at 65F and their A/C at 80F. California is still at threat from rolling blackouts, so they are taking measures to reduce risk to the population. I realize libertarians would prefer that everyone do that on their own, but conserving in such a manner runs headon into Jevons paradox.

> or to live 40 miles from work instead of 1 mile from work.

Municipalities have the right to zone according to comprehensive planning. Libertarians also seem to despise this, though would recoil from the thought of a radioactive (or otherwise) dumpsite moving in nextdoor. Sprawl is an unfortunate consequence of market based land use 'planning'. Transportation planning that enables sprawl is just as bad, as witnessed by the deals that Hastert rigged to benefit from a land speculation he arranged to be serviced by a new highway.

Posted by: will on Feb. 1, 2007


Saying the debate is over does not end the discussion. Nor does the failure of the Soviet Union end the discussion of whether people can live better lives under Capitalism or some variant. To call American capitalism the be all and end all of what humnas should aspire to is childish. As is forcasting what I will think about the murders Hugo Chavez may commit in the future or any of the dozens of Straw men you insert into my mouth. (And no,RR that is not an admission that I can suck myself off. I saw the tape of how well you do it but it has not prompted me to hire a trainer to achieve a more limber back.)

Blu, if you want to takl about something I said rather than something you think I believe drop me a line. Not grieving for a fellow that died as a mercenary in Iraq does not mean I don't love freedom is again, selfserving drivel. To attribute to me a love of Stalin and his methods is, well I hate to be repetative, the drivel of a man who wishes to avoid the real issues and fight about the ones not on the table.

A paragraph I wrote a few weeks ago directed toward you was ignored. The one about the incredible diversity of stupid, unproven, completely false, hurtful and just plain dumb, beliefs held most Americans and probably Europeans as well. I wish you would talk about that in the context of your confidence that American consumers are to be relied upon to act in their best intersts as well as the best interests of the society.

Posted by: strawman on Feb. 1, 2007

Straw, the energy crisis in California was not due to deregulation but to price controls. When a company cannot pass on its costs to consumers, a shortage will result. (And it did.)

This is basic economics, an area in which most liberals are painfully illiterate.

Posted by: Mark on Feb. 1, 2007

There was an extensive discussion of CFLs over at Asymmetrical Information (www.janegalt.net) a couple of weeks ago. Lots of people just don't like the light from these things (and there are big differences in light quality among manufacturers, too)

Do liberals really want to establish such tight controls over people that a minor personal preference like light quality can't even be exercised?

Note that in today's market environment, manufacturers are strongly incentivized to improve the light quality of these things. If it were edicted that everyone *must* by CFLs, then the incentive goes away.

To which I guess the response of liberals would probably be another government edict, ordering the companies to improve the light quality.

Posted by: david foster on Feb. 1, 2007

"about the murders Hugo Chavez may commit in the future"

Oh, don't worry, Straw, your hero will start killing soon. (He wants to carry on Castro's vision of the Good State, which, of course, means killing your opponents. Gotta break a few eggs and all that jazz.) When myself and others predicated some time ago that Chavez would seek a dictatorship, I was 100% confident in my prediction. We now know that is exactly what he is doing. I am equally confident in this prediction. As Hayek taught us decades ago, communism inevitably leads to totalitarianism and all its by-products. You people refuse to learn from history. Why is that, Straw? Ignorance or just a childish stubborness?

p.s. Hey Will...you really want to talk about a real contribution? Really? You? Sir, you jabber, and copy, and paste but rarely enlighten. In this particular case, you didn't even address Annie's point, which comes down to one's fundamental beliefs about the relationship between a citizen and his government. I'd love - just once - to see you tackle of larger philosophical issue without resorting to your typical cut and paste from whatever source you are plagerizing on a particular day.

Posted by: blu on Feb. 1, 2007


Would you care to introduce us to the value of Enron's contribution to the power shortage in CA.

WOuld you care to enlighten me as to how, regardless of high the cost of a barrel of oil became, (and presumed margins should have dropped and consumption fallen off as the price increased to drivers) Exon has managed to have its best year ever in 2006 topping its previous best year ever in 2005?

Free markets are a myth Mark. Did you have a choice as to what gas to buy during the run up in prices prior to the election and then the price down turn as oil companies tried to take high gas prices off the table as a Democratic talking point? Was there ever more than a 3cent/gal spread available to you? You pray to the god of Free markets without ever looking at the market place.

I read the other day where surgical pin and screw companies give shares of their companies to orthopedic surgeons so that they specify their products. A bag on stainless nuts, bolts, plates etc for a disk fusing costs $7900.00 for less half a pound of Stainless steel. ANd what does the company do? Nothing but buy the products from an OEM supplier and mark it up. The whole business model is based on "owning" the surgeons. What if the govt. didn't force the doctors to disclose their involvement with the mfgr of the hardware? Something that was just this year put into effect.

Another example of a free markets, eh, Mark? Oh, wait, I forgot your mantra, "just go to another doctor if you don't like the price" leave the fellow that has been treating you for 5 years, has cadged your confidence and your x-rays. Just like that you should start talking price and if he refuses go to a stranger and start negotiating with him about your back surgery. Oh, I forgot, you gotta tell me who is wheeling you around in your hospital bed to these doctors and pumping your morphine drip.

Yup, that's what I call free markets regulating pricing. Markets are closed and collusion is the norm and every time the govt. makes noise about opening things up the lobbyists hit the hill and the republicans stick out their paws and roll on their backs. Dem as well just not with such predictability or in such numbers.

Posted by: strawman on Feb. 1, 2007

Guys, just ignore the fucktard.

He'll get tired of talking to himself and just go away.

You can lead a horse's ass to logic but you can't make him think.

Posted by: shelly on Feb. 1, 2007

blu wrote:
> Sir, you jabber, and copy, and paste but rarely enlighten.

Still unable to debate the issue at hand, blu is left with only an ad hominem attack. If the reader looks at my previous message, they will see that there are no instances of copy and paste. If I debate a scientific point, I will certainly reference sources, instead of just spouting off the top of my head as blu believes people should do. This wasn't a scientific point this time, so I addressed the issue from an energy perspective related to rolling blackouts and pollution. Blu has yet to even mention these subjects, much less establish a position.

blu, if you want to debate the topic, then do so. If you have no defensible position, grasping at ad hominem only reflects badly on you.

If you believe that Governments have absolutely no right to regulate, have fun at a city or suburb with no stoplights, stop signs, line markings on streets, or municipal streets, for that matter. I'm waiting for a Libertarian Utopia to appear somewhere; it would be quite an amusing spectacle. Oh, wait, there have been some Freemen compounds...

Posted by: will on Feb. 2, 2007

See Shelley's comments above in reference to another lunatic - to be fair, though, Straw is an infinitely more interesting and original lunatic. And, unlike you, I seriously doubt he considers himself a demigod or an authority on all things/

You see Will, Shelley's comments reflect how most people here deal with you. I may start testing his theory. Still, it's really fun watching your ego go into high gear. It'd be a fun exercise to find all the posts in which you've commented and then see how often you insist on getting the last word. Were you an only child, Will? Or maybe you got your ass kicked a lot growing up and found in the internet the one place you could go and actually get the last word without getting pounded into submission?

Ahhh, who knows? Who cares really? Let's just see if you can manage not to respond.....for once.
I'm betting not. The hubris runs deep in this one...

Posted by: blu on Feb. 2, 2007

As expected, blu refuses to debate the issue and continues ad nausem his ad hominem. Come back, blu, when you have the fortitude to defend your beliefs with more than just hot air and avoidance.

And for your (sadly lacking pop psychologist) information, I am a middle child and was big for my age growing up.

> Let's just see if you can manage not to respond

A humorous but inherently meaningless line in the sand.

> I seriously doubt he considers himself a demigod or an authority on all things

And you show humility and peer-respect with your opinions you choose to spout off the top of your mind? Gawd, what gall you have!

> Straw is an infinitely more interesting and original lunatic

Then why do you even bother responding? Let's see if you are conflicted enough to respond to this. I'm betting not. The hubris runs deep in this one...

Posted by: will on Feb. 2, 2007


Blu is too busy chasing visions of Communist dictators dancing around in his paranoid fantasies. Blu, did you have a grandparent in the Gulags? Or aristicratic St Petersberg relatives that lost their palace and serfs? He can't get over the fact that Hugo Chavez may become the Castro of Ven., (the poor will get health care, education, pre-natal care, and living wages) and kill a few people in the process yet Blu's agony over GB killing 100,000 in Iraq to institute America's capitalistic tyranny is just fine.

Posted by: strawman on Feb. 2, 2007


You never let me down. Sure, you're a raving lunatic and a lover of totalitarianism, but at least you are amusing and not afraid to admit who you are.

Rock on, Comrade!!!

Posted by: blu on Feb. 2, 2007



the only way you are going to get peace is to tear apart the military industrial complex. Capitalism has to go! All social services must be paid for and provided by the government, free for everyone. That includes schools, health care, food, clothing, housing and ALL liesure. We need to stop building and start eliminating suburbs, recliam the once pristine land, and start building free apartment complexes in the cities. We demand the end of private restaurants, and demand public cafeterias NOT run by corporations. We need to stop the spread of shopping malls, and start giving out standard and uniform clothing for free for everyone. Corporations and private industry are evil! They corrupt everything. SOCIALISM RULES!


Posted by: true patriot on Feb. 2, 2007

I'm just saying...

Posted by: shelly on Feb. 2, 2007

Actually, many of the lifestyle changes TP mentions will likely come to pass for reasons other than changes in style of government;

Matthew Simmons is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Simmons &
Company International, a specialized energy investment banking firm. The
firm has completed approximately 600 investment banking projects for its
worldwide energy clients at a combined dollar value in excess of $65

Following the 1973 Oil Shock, Simmons decided to create a Houston-based
firm to concentrate on providing highest quality investment banking
advice to the worldwide oil service industry. Over time, the
specialization expanded into investment banking covering all aspects of
the global energy industry.

Today the firm has approximately 145 employees and enjoys a leading role
as one of the largest energy investment banking groups in the world. Its
offices are in Houston, Texas; London, England; Boston, Massachusetts
and Aberdeen, Scotland.

Mr. Simmons also serves on the Board of Deanís Advisors of Harvard
Business School and is a past President of the Harvard Business School
Alumni Association and a former member of the Visiting Committee of
Harvard Business School. He is a member of the Council on Foreign
Relations and The Atlantic Council of the United States.

Mr. Simmonsí recently published book "Twilight in the Desert: The Coming
Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy" has been listed on the Wall
Street Journalís best-seller list. He has also published numerous energy
papers for industry journals and is a frequent speaker at government
forums, energy symposiums and in board rooms of many leading energy
companies around the world.

Posted by: will on Feb. 3, 2007

Me thinks TP is joking. In fact I'm sure. Blu could have done no worse attempting the paradoxical approach. It is an approach to an argument but it is lame and only serves to reinforce why Strawman is my nome de blog. NOBODY with an IQ as low as Shelly's could believe that Socialism of the ilk described by TP is what anybody wants. However,a health care system that eliminates care for profit might be something to look fwd to and unisex one-piece raw linen jump suits might be nice but all the rest is just silly.

Posted by: strawman on Feb. 3, 2007

TP, does that include blowjobs?

Posted by: Casca on Feb. 3, 2007

If it does, and "All your babes are us" as well, count me in...

But, only if we can get rid of all the bleeding pinko fucktards that haunt our intelligent exchange of ideas and thoughts.

Posted by: shelly on Feb. 3, 2007

Once I read "free markets are a myth" I stopped reading. Anyone who makes such a claim is just unreachable, and life is too short to spend time educating people on the basics.

Posted by: Mark on Feb. 3, 2007

What a shock - powers to be make sure the facist red state team wins the "Super" Bowl!

Posted by: true patriot on Feb. 5, 2007


For every working "free market" you can show me, and I don't doubt there are many, I'll show you one that is either gov't regulated or gov't protected with subsidies or price controls or is completely influenced by price fixing, cronyism, or just general monopolistic practices that the FTC has allowed i.e. ownership of TV stations and radio stations and news papers in one market.

Shelly the last important, intelligent conversation you had was a silent, internal dialogue that involved a pair of lactating nipples staring you in the face. Right, Left, Right, Left, better go Right, it looks a little bigger. Set you for life.

Posted by: strawman on Feb. 5, 2007

"FTC has allowed i.e. ownership of TV stations and radio stations and news papers in one market."

Yeah, I really feel like I have hardly any media choices availabe to me. PUUUUH-LEEESE. C'mon, Straw. That the best ya got?

Posted by: blu on Feb. 5, 2007


We don't use people like you as examples for how one might cicumvent the strangle hold on information that the MSM has in dozens of markets. Tha't a compliment, fella. Most Americans, angel loving, god frearing, radiation adverse, spoon bending believers don't look past the simple sources. Local news, local paper and the radio. Rupert may own every one that many Americans ever see. This is not a recipe for a cooking up a good thoughtfull well informed voting public. Why did 60-70 % of American's believe that Iraq had a hand in 911? Becasuse the MSM had the LSS Chainey saying it everyday without a rebutal. So Blu, I beg to differ: The control of the media is very imoportant and a very good example of how a democracy like ours protects itself from close examination and by degree embraces totalitarianism as a survival tool.

Posted by: strawman on Feb. 6, 2007