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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6593/say-no-to-the-hideous-light-bulbs/

Say No to the Hideous Light Bulbs

May 4, 2007 by


The environmentalists are pushing hideous looking fluorescent light bulbs of the kind shown here as a way to save electricity and thus reduce the need for power plants and resulting carbon emissions. The bulbs will thus allegedly help to save the planet from global warming and, therefore, the environmentalists argue, everyone should use them instead of the customary, incandescent bulbs.

Australia and Canada have already enacted laws or regulations that will make these bulbs mandatory within a few years. Efforts are underway to do the same thing here in the United States.

In fact, my local power company is currently subsidizing the sale of these bulbs in Southern California supermarkets. Normally, $7.99 apiece, my local power company makes it possible to buy them in packs of three for just $1.

I confess. At that low price my curiosity got the better of me and I bought a pack. I even temporarily installed one of the bulbs in my garage, to see what kind of light it provided.

I concluded that I wouldn’t be comfortable doing any sustained reading under it, simply because the light it gives off doesn’t seem quite right. Otherwise though, the bulb clearly does have some uses, at least in situations in which appearance is not an important consideration. For example, it might be used in commercial storage facilities and locations in business offices given over to holding old files. Homeowners with unfinished garages that display bare studs and flex and perhaps an occasional indelible oil stain on the floor, who regard their garages merely as storage areas and/or workplaces, may find that they too are an appropriate setting for the bulb. In such garages, the bulb doesn’t need to express the owner’s normal aesthetic preferences. It would probably fit in perfectly with such things as steel storage shelves, assorted tools, boxes and crates, old rags, and stray items hanging from hooks and nails banged into a wall.

My question is, though, how could anyone want such a thing in his home, in his living room, bedroom, or dining room, or anywhere else that one is supposed to live rather than change oil or make repairs or, of course, just leave one’s car.

My point here is that to bring these bulbs inside one’s house, as the environmentalists are urging everyone to do, requires that people be prepared to give up the aesthetic qualities of their homes and, in effect, spend their lives living in the equivalent of their garages (or the garages that many others have).

If you wouldn’t mind an oil stain in the middle of your living room carpet, wall studs visible through gaps in your home’s drywall, steel storage shelves in your bedroom, and tools, boxes, and crates lying here and there—or if this is the way you already live—then these bulbs are for you. You should buy them. Over the years, they’ll save you some money on your electric bills and you won’t need to change them as often as you have to change conventional light bulbs.

But if you don’t want to live in the equivalent of a garage, if the extra cost of living in a normal home is worth it to you, then you should definitely not bring these bulbs into your home. Indeed, you should react with outrage at any suggestion that you should. Because what you’re being asked to do is turn your home into a dump.

The environmentalists want you to turn your home into a dump “for the sake of the planet” by helping to “avoid global warming.” That’s supposed to justify it. Tell them it doesn’t.

They want you to agree to live in a dump, because if they can do that, they will have succeeded in making you define yourself as not worthy of anything better. And once, they’ve accomplished that, they can go on to demand any further sacrifice they may want to impose on you.

Not so long ago, people were being told throughout the length and breadth of the former Soviet Union that they had to live in dumps and sacrifice any hope of material prosperity for themselves because it was necessary to build up the means of production of their socialist society, from which their grandchildren would benefit. And then, when the grandchildren came of age, they in turn were told that they needed to sacrifice for the sake of their grandchildren.

People finally got tired of this orgy of unending sacrifice and overthrew the Communists.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t taken very long for the concept of human sacrifice to revive and come back stronger than ever. The light bulbs are a profoundly important symbolic first step. They are an entering wedge for the environmentalists’ demand that we sacrifice our entire standard of living—variously, for the sake of the “planet,” for the sake of the countries of the Third World, and for the sake of assorted species of animals and plants. And unlike with the Communists, the sacrifice is now presented not as temporary but explicitly as a new, permanent way of life.

So tell them again: No sacrifice. Not for “the planet,” not for the Third World, not for other species. Tell them your life belongs to you and you mean to enjoy it. Tell them that the planet exists for you, not you for the planet, and that you intend to use it for your benefit.

This article is copyright © 2007, by George Reisman. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and distribute it electronically and in print, other than as part of a book and provided that mention of the author’s web site www.capitalism.net is included. (Email notification is requested.) All other rights reserved. George Reisman is the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1996) and is Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics.

Thanks to Chad Parish of the Mises Institute for the graphic.

{ 57 comments }

Matt May 4, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Maybe they’re just a crappy brand…they were selling them 3 for $1 after all!

I’ve got one in the lamp on my nightstand, and I read by it just fine.

Happy CFL User May 4, 2007 at 1:33 pm

I get it. You don’t like CFLs. (I’ll assume you’ve at least tried the high-end models before assuming they all look terrible, as opposed to making an uninformed rant based older versions of the technology.)

I’ll continue to exercise my power as a consumer to select the type of light bulb that meets my personal subjective criteria for cost and aesthetics, thank you very much.

It’s right to oppose efforts to force people to buy CFLs instead of incandescent bulbs. You’re perfectly entitled to find them aesthetically displeasing, but you seem to have combined that displeasure with rightful opposition to those who would take away freedom, resulting in a bizarre hatred for a particular technology.

That you have done so is self-evident from your writings; if your purpose were simply to oppose anti-choice measures, your judgment of the aesthetic qualities of CFL bulbs would be irrelevant.

This technology enables consumers who choose to do so to spend less money on electricity so they can spend more of it pursuing other ends they value more highly. To oppose that is odd for someone who values freedom and reason.

David White May 4, 2007 at 2:27 pm

Here’s a recent LRC article about the high failure rate of CFLs:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/montalbano4.html

David May 4, 2007 at 3:05 pm

I work for a power company and got a CFL bulb for free on Earth Day, and they’re not bad for normal lighting at all. I figure that if I’m going to be sporting a high-end laptop, cell phone, HDTV, and other gadgetry, it’d be a bit out of place to have my place lit up by archaic incandescent bulbs.

That being said, incandescent bulbs were a modern technology a long time ago too, and failed all the time. A high failure rate for what’s a relatively new household technology, to me, simply doesn’t seem like a strong enough deterrent from purchasing one. CFLs will improve over time in the typical dynamic of a free market.

hard return ¶ May 4, 2007 at 3:22 pm

I have them throughout my house mostly because I don’t want to give the local government electricity monopoly 1¢ more than I have to. They are adequate, but the real drawback is in the winter. When the house is cool they take an annoyingly long time to heat up to full brightness. In the unheated garage ironically I put in a “Y” extension and screwed in a CFL on one side and a regular bulb on the other so I can see where I’m going.
It won’t take long for there to be complaints about the trace mercury in CFLs and more rules will be written to keep politicians busy.

Scott D May 4, 2007 at 3:40 pm

I have to agree with Dr. Reisman. My wife and I tried a few of these in our home and the light in our kitchen and hallway was a sickly green for several months rather than a soft, yellowish white.

Happy CFL user, the point is not that Dr. Reisman or myself don’t like the bulbs, but that it’s quite possible that we WON’T have a choice of incandescent bulbs in the near future.

Geoffrey Allan Plauche May 4, 2007 at 3:51 pm

I’m opposed to the state imposing the new bulbs on us too. However, the following is a revised version of my response to Dr. Reisman’s posting of this article on the Mises Yahoo listserv:

Sorry, Dr. Reisman. I don’t get it. The article appears to be a knee-jerk reaction against all things that come from the environmentalist camp.

Whether or not the appearance of the new bulbs is repulsive or not is relative. A personal aesthetic judgment on your part. Others might find the convoluted tube aesthetically pleasing. In any case, don’t people usually disguise light bulbs behind, under, or within lampshades, hoods, or a “cloudy” glass panel anyway? How many leave them naked to the eye and look directly at them?

Dr. Reisman briefly mentions that the fluorescent bulbs last longer and use less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, but this important remark on their greater cost effectiveness and convenience is almost lost within the dominating expression of his personal aesthetic distate. I don’t see the necessary connection between using the bulbs and living in the equivalent of a garage or a dump.

That the fluorescent bulbs also produce less heat is also an important as aspect that appealed to me. Incandescent bulbs heat up my apartment too much, which leads to me using the AC more (which my wife does not like, both for monetary reasons and because she then feels too cold).

Finally, I don’t know why one of these new bulbs costs $7.99 where you live. [Dr. Reisman informed me that is the price Home Depot charges.) I bought a pack of four for about that price at Wal-Mart in
Baton Rouge.

Mark Brabson May 4, 2007 at 3:52 pm

CFLs are a good think.

Have you ever heard of lampshades? There are numerous covers on the market that can hide the bulbs. In most homes I have been in, most bulbs are obscured by a shade or other cover, so I can’t see any point as to why the shape of the bulb should matter. They look kind of cool if you ask me.

rst May 4, 2007 at 4:16 pm

Lowes Stores is now offering a 6-pack of 13 watt CFL’s for $9.98 ( http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=46428-75774-L13T6&lpage=none ) I belive a 13 watt cfl is touted to privide roughly the light output (lumens?) of a standard 60 watt incandescent.

At the above price thats about 1.67 per bulb and the packaging, if i remember correctly, mentions ~9000 hour bulb life.

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=62793-3-10489&lpage=none this link offers 24 standard 60 watt incandescent bulbs at 9.98 (~ $.42 per bulb) i have read that the standard incandescent operates for about 1000 hours??? maybe, maybe not.

im no mathemetician, but with the cfl 6 pack you are getting 54000 hours of light at a 13 watt rating and with the 24 pack of incandescents you are getting approx 24000 hours of (perhaps better quality) light at a 60 watt rating.

the cfls, if their bulb life calims are true can help reduce energy costs and could possibly benefit handicapped, elderly or pollocks by reducing the frequency of changing light bulbs.

im not positive if potential energy savings would be cancelled out by additiondal disposal costs.

Keith May 4, 2007 at 4:50 pm

IMHO, the best bulbs in the world are from Verilux. I first puchased some at Bed, Bath and Beyond. You can buy their products online.

http://www.veriluxstore.com/products/incandescent_bulbs.htm

The light is crisp, clear, and natural. There is none of the strange tints you get from normal incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. The light is great for all applications (computer usage, reading, TV, etc.).

Sarah Gustafson May 4, 2007 at 5:09 pm

Hopefully, companies will offer flourescent bulbs that look better in the future. Many environmentalists simply want to see an expansion of options for the consumer.

The Sierra Club now educates consumers, as individual actors, to demand fuel-efficient cars at their dealerships:
http://www.sierraclub.org/planet/200206/carmakers.asp
Seems like Sierra Club has started to focus less on regulations and more on increasing the demand for greener options.

Mr. Reisman, if individuals choose environmentalism themselves, they don’t strike me as Soviet. Ironically, few things are as Soviet as extracting value from an ecosystem in order to benefit the humans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aral_sea

Sarah Gustafson May 4, 2007 at 5:11 pm

Hopefully, companies will offer flourescent bulbs that look better in the future. These days, many environmentalists simply want to see an expansion of options for the consumer.

The Sierra Club now educates consumers, as individual actors, to demand fuel-efficient cars at their dealerships:
http://www.sierraclub.org/planet/200206/carmakers.asp
Seems like Sierra Club has started to focus less on regulations and more on increasing the demand for greener options.

Mr. Reisman, if individuals choose environmentalism themselves, they don’t strike me as Soviet. Ironically, few things are as Soviet as extracting value from an ecosystem in order to benefit the humans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aral_sea

Ashley May 4, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Well, I, for one, resent anyone telling me that fluorescent lightbulbs are the only light bulbs I can use because ALL fluorescent lights make noise and blink and DRIVE ME INSANE. I mean, what about people like me, people with Autism, who are highly sensitive to noise like that? It isn’t cool to tell me I can’t use incandescent lightbulbs in my own home. CFLs may be more efficient, but they are not more comfortable.

Liberty May 4, 2007 at 5:59 pm

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=aa7796aa-e4a5-4c06-be84-b62dee548fda

“Not only are CFLs much more expensive than incandescent bulbs and emit light that many regard as inferior to incandescent bulbs, they pose a nightmare if they break and require special disposal procedures. Yet governments (egged on by environmentalists and the Wal-Marts of the world) are imposing on us such higher costs, denial of lighting choice, disposal hassles and breakage risks in the name of saving a few dollars every year on the electric bill?”

averros May 4, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Crappy el-cheapo CFLs are producing flickeing crappy light.

The expensive full-spectrum CFLs are actually better than incadescent in their light quality (look for ones with Color Rendition Index over 90). These are used by pro photographers and printers to ensure accurate color reproduction, and by doctors in a therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder caused by the insufficient natural light during late autumn and winter.

None of that makes State or greenie leftists right in attempting to force people to use specific technology for their lighting needs.

Dennis May 4, 2007 at 6:44 pm

“Ironically, few things are as Soviet as extracting value from an ecosystem in order to benefit the humans.”

While I have no problem with environmentalists choosing so-called green alternatives in the market place, the above quote is absurd. Everything that man does, including his incessant respiration, involves using natural resources and other living organisms, “extracting value from the ecosystem” if you will, to maintain and improve human existence.

The mode of thinking represented by the above type of quote is one of the major criticisms I have of certain variations of the environmentalist movement that place a higher importance on the inanimate earth and other forms of life than on human beings.

bubba May 4, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Those same people would have me give up my Escalade for a Prius.

Brad May 4, 2007 at 7:34 pm

Hasn’t this environment cult run its course yet? If they ban the good light bulbs for those pieces of crap that fail half the time, I’m sure we’ll have some heroic businessmen who sell regular light bulbs to the disdain of the government.

justakim May 4, 2007 at 7:36 pm

I personally find CFL’s to be aesthetically displeasing, but you live in a dump if your bulbs are bare, and that’s probably by choice. I try to avoid staring at any bare bulbs of any kind, and thus alleviating most if not all of the problem. If for some reason, I would be unable to shade my bulb, I would choose to have an incandescent instead, but that’s rarely a problem now that they’re smaller.

My eyes are sensitive, but I do not notice any flickering or buzzing, and I’ve been buying mine from Costco for years.

Dennis, the comment was to put the Soviet insult into context, not to explain the values of the environmental movement (I don’t think it’s a particularly good example, but I take offense at the original Soviet comparison).

I also think we’re better off with more bulb options without governments telling us what bulb to use, but that’s really different from the ugly bulb complaint. Bulbs are for seeing with, not staring directly at.

darjen May 4, 2007 at 9:08 pm

I simply won’t buy anything with mercury in it, period. It doesn’t make sense to switch over to something with hazardous materials in it for the sake of the environment.

jim May 4, 2007 at 9:31 pm

Darjen,

CFLs contain trace mercury in amounts that should not cause any problem to an adult, if broken. I would only worry if you have an infant. Assuming one derives energy from a coal fired power plant: much more mercury is released per bulb’s lifespan from emissions. All coal contains mercury in trace amounts. If you assume that CFLs last 5 times longer, the amount of mercury released per unit of time is astronomically more. Does it make sense the way I worded it?

As to the author, I hope your university is proud of you. You have taken your comprehensive education in economic theory, and used it to become a trashy interior designer. I hope you are not offended at my choice of curtains.

I save a lot of money by using CFLs. They do not flicker and emit a full spectrum. They also cost $7.00 for 3. Furthermore, I do not find them unpleasing to the eye. This is relative. Again, I hope you do not get offended at my choice of curtain. Is this article from 1990?

I am very displeased at the anti-environmentalist trolling that is occuring on an otherwise respectable and informative blog. I am very grateful at how Mises.org has opened my eyes to the Austrian School. The environmentalists have good intentions, for the most part. One should commend them for that, even if misguided. However, I do not agree with them using the state to accomplish their goals. This I believe everyone at mises can understand.

I am an environmentalist and a libertarian, and proud of it. Helping the planet is a noble cause. Nobody wants to live in a polluted land. Climate change is real and can be addressed, at least partly, through the free market. Promotion of CFLs is a very good start. If only some on here can save this kind of hate and vitrol for things that matter.

Doug May 4, 2007 at 10:28 pm

Jim, see the article posted by Liberty. A woman in Maine had to pay US$2000 to clean up the mercury after she dropped a bulb in her home.

John Delano May 4, 2007 at 11:38 pm

I don’t have a problem with the light from the ones I use. I use incandescents too. They aren’t all expensive. Some are pretty resonable when purchased in multipacks. I tend to use them in areas where I keep the light on all the time, usually for safety reasons.

Another advantage of them is the cooler burning allows a brighter bulb to be placed into certain places where an incandescent would be too hot for the equivilent light.

I am all for more choices, unlike what you have in California. California likes to force some things on people more than many other places. I remember seeing a ‘This Old House’ in California where the homeowners were complaining that fluorescent lights were required by California code in some parts of the house.

The murcury issue is something I just recently read about after Anthony Gregory posted a story about it on the LewRockwell blog. It’s something to consider, although I think I have broken some before. This is because of the difficult to open packaging.

Maybe LEDs will be better than all of these. There are some other lighting technologies being developed too. I think one is a paint that lights up, so the ceiling (or whatever) can become the light.

Sol Rosenberg May 5, 2007 at 1:02 am

My apartment complex unilaterally replaced all of the bulbs in dining rooms and kitchens with CFLs. Apparently they had received some incentives from the state to do so.

Eating under those pieces of junk felt like eating in a school cafeteria. It was miserable. I told the apartment manager to reverse the change at once. She said they’d been receiving a number of such requests.

jim May 5, 2007 at 1:04 am

Doug,

I am familiar with that article. The woman did not need to pay that much. She was coerced into it by the state. She called Home Depot (I think) and they refered her to the EPA by policy. The EPA refered her to a company that sold her into paying $2,000.

She was duped, as was the tone of the article. The Hg evaporates and clears out to a few parts per billion after a few hours.

Like I said, If you do not have an infant, you are OK. Infants are hypersensitive to the element. Even so, wait a bit.

The dangers of Hg largely depend on the form it is in. When binded with certain chemicals, it can become ultra lethal. In metallic form, it is safe enough to eat in small quantities. In vapor, it is more dangerous but dissipates very rapidly.

Scott D May 5, 2007 at 10:26 am

“I personally find CFL’s to be aesthetically displeasing, but you live in a dump if your bulbs are bare, and that’s probably by choice.”

I have a ceiling fan and a hanging light fixture that beg to differ :).

Gary Anderson May 5, 2007 at 10:44 am

I really like the bulbs. They last longer, and they are more efficient. I have no problem with government mandating the saving of energy. The rest of the world could boycott the US if we don’t do something. If Bushy would have mandated energy savings maybe we could quit being dependent on foreign oil. And we could get out of Iraq. http://bushliar.newcovenanttheology.com

Geoffrey Allan Plauche May 5, 2007 at 12:05 pm

I have GE’s energy smart bulbs, 13 watt equivalent to 60 watt, which are purported to last 5 years. So far so good. To make a correction from my previous post: I bought a six-pack at Wal-Mart for about $8.

I’ve seen people talk elsewhere about the harsh light. I don’t know about that. The light put off by these bulbs I have is somewhat different from incandescent bulbs in color, perhaps slightly dimmer than the equivalent wattage, but not much so and the color is yellow. It is somewhat different than what we are used to, sure. But it didn’t take long for my wife and I to get used to them.

Geoffrey Allan Plauche May 5, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Mine don’t make noise either.

Christopher May 5, 2007 at 1:06 pm

George Reisman is up to his old tricks. His articles make it seem as if environmentalists are ruling the world.

Mathieu Bédard May 5, 2007 at 2:28 pm

I have those at home. I bought them not for the environment or other similar nonsense but to save money.

I didn’t notice any difference in the lighting.

ConstantG May 5, 2007 at 3:16 pm

[quote="dr Reisman"]In fact, my local power company is currently subsidizing the sale of these bulbs in Southern California supermarkets. Normally, $7.99 apiece, my local power company makes it possible to buy them in packs of three for just $1.[/quote]

I wonder whether the power company is private owned?

Henry Miller May 5, 2007 at 4:52 pm

My local power co-op (owned by the customers – not quite government owned, but not a private company either) is subsidizing these bulbs. They are running out of capacity in their generating plant, and we don’t like our rates to go up. If everyone switches to these bulbs they won’t have to build a multi-million (maybe even billion) dollar power plant. We don’t like the idea of our rates going up.

Personally I like CFLs because all the light fixtures in my home (and most likely your home if you check) are rated at 60 watt bulb max – meaning you cannot safely use a high wattage bulb. I can place a 30 watt CFL in my fixtures, get as much light as a 150 watt bulb, and not burn my house down.

Tim Davis May 5, 2007 at 5:39 pm

The light given off by these bulbs is truly awful, but what is most bothersome is government and quasi-government entities choosing to subsidize any technology over another. If Malibu Power & Light would stop using its customers’ money to buy CFLs, maybe consumers would start to look at other bulbs such as LED bulbs (thank you Mr. Delano for being the first to mention them!). Early adopters might pay the now exorbitant prices for them as manufacturers recoup some of their non-recurring engineering dollars, thus paving the way for the rest of us to have cool, efficient, pleasing, programmable light.

Martin Dumas May 5, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Hi,

I think your reasoning is acceptable, George, only to the extent that the environmental impact of light bulbs production is not, say, decisive. I believe this should be stressed in your argumentation. If, f.i., the question was whether we should make use of an item whose common usage is expected to seriously destroy the quality of underground water accross the continent, wouldn’t your developments require some form of appreciation of a needed ‘sacrifice’?

Mike Mathea May 5, 2007 at 7:44 pm

I find it interesting that no one mentioned the rights of the 25,000 people making the bulbs. Due to the mercury use in the production of the bulb all the production will be outside of the US. Unless ofcourse they get mercury banned throughout the world. Then we can stay with out current light bulbs.

TLWP Sam May 5, 2007 at 9:06 pm

Are not all fluro bulbs not created equally? I’ve found the 20W fluro bulbs I used to replace standard 100W light bulbs giving off a brighter, whiter light. And I’ve heard no noise either. Watch out for cheaper low-quality brands or something?

justakim May 5, 2007 at 10:00 pm

“”I personally find CFL’s to be aesthetically displeasing, but you live in a dump if your bulbs are bare, and that’s probably by choice.”

I have a ceiling fan and a hanging light fixture that beg to differ :).”

Scott, by all means, you have the freedom to have no taste; my eyes are bad enough ;)

quincunx May 5, 2007 at 11:18 pm

Holy crap. The real question is how are they going to enforce it!

It will be obvious that not everyone is going to go along with it, so it seems like a real backdoor to complete violation of the 4th ammendment.

The lightbulb police is going to raid your house and find other reasons to bust you. This is clearly what is intended.

Just like the the purpose of the Global Warming Hoax is to cartelize big oil [even further].

Peter Bjørn Perlsø May 6, 2007 at 6:02 pm

The scrapes the bottom of the barrel.

In essence, George doesn’t like CFL’s because of the light they emit? Heavens, they work fine for me, once you’ve adjusted to the fact that their light is slightly more into the blue part of the spectrum than incandescants.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve saved this household lot of money be switching from old-fashioned bulbs to CFL’s, plus saved the environment froma lot of heavy metals and carbon emissions, but I guess that isn’t good enough for Reisman.

Sorry, George, but I expected a lot of smarts from a man of your reputation.

TokyoTom May 7, 2007 at 12:42 am

The environmentalists want you to turn your home into a dump “for the sake of the planet” by helping to “avoid global warming.” That’s supposed to justify it. Tell them it doesn’t.

They want you to agree to live in a dump, because if they can do that, they will have succeeded in making you define yourself as not worthy of anything better. And once, they’ve accomplished that, they can go on to demand any further sacrifice they may want to impose on you. …

Unfortunately, it hasn’t taken very long for the concept of human sacrifice to revive and come back stronger than ever. The light bulbs are a profoundly important symbolic first step. They are an entering wedge for the environmentalists’ demand that we sacrifice our entire standard of living—variously, for the sake of the “planet,” for the sake of the countries of the Third World, and for the sake of assorted species of animals and plants. And unlike with the Communists, the sacrifice is now presented not as temporary but explicitly as a new, permanent way of life.

So tell them again: No sacrifice. Not for “the planet,” not for the Third World, not for other species. Tell them your life belongs to you and you mean to enjoy it. Tell them that the planet exists for you, not you for the planet, and that you intend to use it for your benefit.

Dr. Reisman, thank you so much for your eye-opening warning about the insidious methods of the nefarious enviros – whose storm troopers are now marching, marching, MARCHING! to make us turn our very HOMES into DUMPS and to revive the concept of human sacrifice!

Some technical geniuses figure out how to reduce the size of those hot dinosaur bulbs from Edison’s days – thus allowing consumers to save time AND energy on the new, cooler bulbs without tearing out old fixtures and lamps, and the enviroNazi/commies claim all the credit for lessening our environmmental “footprint” – when all the consumers want, in droves, is to save money! So much so, in fact, that Home Depot Canada has announced that it will stop selling dinosaur bulbs in 2011 (thus stealing the thunder of the evil politicians who want to ride the greenie bandwagon by banning incandescents in Canada in 2012). Similar, follow-the-market bans may be expected from craven politicians around the world anxious to claim credit for the continuing tecnological progress made possible by the market economy.

Where is all of this heading? I am so worried, now that you have opened my eyes! The enviros will just continue to demand MORE human sacrifice, once they get their feet inside the doors of our personal sanctuaries and dirty them with their “clean” lightbulbs. Well, I’m with you – we must draw a line in the sand, put our foot DOWN, and insist on a LARGER footprint on nature, which of course has no value to us except as a source of raw materials to satisfy our individual wants. Let’s form a Misesean Society for wasteful, hot, and short-lived dinosaur bulbs! Save the dinobulbs! Go dinos – yeahhhhhhhhh!

For if we don’t make a stand here, who knows what will be next? Cooler, better-insulated homes? Fewer wires and more optic fiber and cell phones? Domestic energy production and storage?

These things MIGHT save us money and increase our individual well-being, but they would come at a definite cost to our grand tradition of abuse of the shared but (fortunately) unowned and unmanaged environment, which tradition we fought long and hard to preserve for the benefit of politically well-connected corporations, even as our societies have grown more wealthy.

We must, therefore, insist on a deliberate campaign to use the environment brutally – and both put a stop to the cost-effective, money-saving, emission-lite technology that sensitive modern industry gives us, while proudly cheering on the surreptitious pillaging that government ownership of valuable mineral resources continues to give us. For where will we all be if we find that we can live well within a market economy, when even the environment is no longer FREE for us to take and use as we please, and as God intended? With what hubris do we say that some of us can value and protect resources that were once free for the wealthy to take and the poor to eke by with? The next thing you know, evil people will be trying to protect air quality and climate!

Not so long ago, people were being told throughout the length and breadth of the former Soviet Union that they had to live in dumps and sacrifice any hope of material prosperity for themselves because it was necessary to build up the means of production of their socialist society, from which their grandchildren would benefit. And then, when the grandchildren came of age, they in turn were told that they needed to sacrifice for the sake of their grandchildren. People finally got tired of this orgy of unending sacrifice and overthrew the Communists.

What’s very puzzling, of course is that a number of the failed Communists have become polemicists who continue to favor large-government-supported industrialization and to insist that the wealthy must sacrifice their desire for environmental quality – such as film maker Martin Durkin, producer of “Swindled” (or “we must use the atmosphere as a dump, otherwise environazis will extinguish the aspirations of poor living in third world kleptocracies, like a dinobulb without electricity”) fame:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Durkin_(television_director)
http://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2007/03/04/swindlewatch-07/
http://www.monbiot.com/archives/1997/12/18/the-revolution-has-been-televised/

Well, we may have a few ex-communists in our Dino-Mises Club, but that’s support that we’re happy to have. Our real enemies are enviros who selfishly want to live in a cleaner world and to turn the whole planet into an Ark, and their witless allies – the consumers who wish to improve their welfare while saving money. We won’t let them stop us from putting a halt to the silly concern for “the planet”, for the Third World, or for other species. The planet exists for us, and we intend to use it for our benefit – free of charge, come hell or high water – and no stinkin’ enviro is gonna stop us!

Join me, Dr. Reisman and the Dino Miseseans in preserving the global environment as an open, unregulated resource!

nick gray May 7, 2007 at 1:30 am

Do the bulbs work? YES they do!!! Here in Australia, the days are getting colder already! How’s that for stopping global warming in its’ tracks? It must be due to the bulbs! (oh, wait, that’s our southern winter coming on!) Well, they make people feel as though they’re doing something, so that’s alright then isn’t it?

Indentured Canadian May 7, 2007 at 5:59 am

I bought a bunch of these at Ikea some time ago, oddly enough because they looked cool and I was curious. But they weren’t bright enough for my tastes so I gave them to my neighbor… I’m more of a 100W bulb kinda guy myself.

This is the first time I’m hearing about Canuckistan banning regular bulbs, I verified it – the sale of incandescent bulbs to be banned by 2012 in Canada. That must suck for the companies that only make incandescent bulbs.

The irony is that incandescent bulbs are nearly perfectly energy efficient since the ‘wasted’ energy goes to heating our homes here in the friged great white north. The only thing more efficient is burning natural gas, but if the goal is to reduce ‘green house gases’, then that’s actually a less desirable solution than say nuclear power and electric heaters (in which case incandescent bulbs are perfectly efficient in cold weather climates). And funny, you’d think Canadians would _want_ a little global warming… I’m the only Canadian I know that actually likes winter and the cold, the rest of them bitch and moan about it and it’s utterly inconceivable to them that ‘good weather’ and ‘warm weather’ are not synonyms.

Anyway, my solution (if I still live in this godless socialist ****hole by 2012) will be to buy and wire these up until my power consuption reaches the level it would have been at had I been able to use 100W incandescent bulbs to my heart’s content. You thought one of these was ugly, wait till you see the 10x CFL arrays that I’ll have replacing each 100W bulb.

Indentured Canadian May 7, 2007 at 6:17 am

“you live in a dump if your bulbs are bare” – I happen to enjoy the purity of bare (and unfrosted) 100W bulbs thank you very much.

btw, Dr. Reisman – it was probably counterproductive to frame the debate around the aesthetics of these bulbs. I happen to think they look cool and would gladly use them (and pay out the teeth) if they put out some decent light (where I define ‘decent’ as not being able to tell if it’s day or night).

Mike May 7, 2007 at 2:41 pm

It’s funny that this article shows up here just as I had my first encounter with CFLs. I was being shown a house I’m considering renting and when the landlord flicked on the light to one of the bathrooms, 4 curly little pigtails over the vanity slowly came to life. The landlord and I both snickered at their putrid light. Maybe these were cheapos but my first order of business upon moving in will be purchasing incandescents and throwing those things in the dump.

Jeremy May 7, 2007 at 4:02 pm

In all the discussion back and forth on whether CFLs are a good idea, it almost sounds like people are not being forced at gunpoint to use CFLs. It almost sounds like there’s a – GASP – *market* at work here. The way Reisman tells it, though, you would never know.

I prefer to make my own aesthetic decisions without objectivists telling me how I should decorate my home. Until they start making me install CFLs, at which point I will resist along with Reisman, I will happily watch consumers weigh the advantages and disadvantages and speak with their dollars. I don’t need some Randian hero telling me how selfish I should be – I’m a human being perfectly capable of weighing how much I should sacrifice my impeccable sense of home decor.

Scott D May 7, 2007 at 4:53 pm

Jeremy, may I present exhibit A:

http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/templates/ademmain.aspx?articleid=485&zoneid=2

Ready to be disgruntled now?

Sarah Gustafson May 8, 2007 at 3:34 pm

Regarding my quote on Soviets, Dennis wrote:

“”Ironically, few things are as Soviet as extracting value from an ecosystem in order to benefit the humans.

While I have no problem with environmentalists choosing so-called green alternatives in the market place, the above quote is absurd. Everything that man does, including his incessant respiration, involves using natural resources and other living organisms, “extracting value from the ecosystem” if you will, to maintain and improve human existence.”

Point taken, Dennis; we all extract value from our surroundings. Please let me clarify: the Soviets considered that the goals of humans justified any kind of degradation and destruction of the environment. Quotes from Soviet scientists eerily echo Reisman’s assertion that “the planet exists for you, not you for the planet, and that you intend to use it for your benefit.”

The Soviets destroyed people’s freedoms, as well as the environment, in the pursuit of one goal. “Progress.” It should disturb Reisman that his words could be uttered by a Soviet ideologue.

The environmentalists say that people will reap benefits of being green within their own lives — green cities can mean better health, tastier food, more jobs due to tourism, less time spent driving in traffic.

Why should Reisman discount the greens’ goals outright? Upholding one ideal and disallowing anyone else’s ideals is what made the Soviets so awful.

I understand that Reisman’s own goal is to keep the government from adding more regulations. But the market can help environmentalists pursue their goals in ways that don’t step on Reisman’s foot. Thus, Reisman should encourage the market for green gadgets.

darkbhudda May 9, 2007 at 12:15 am

I understand that Reisman’s own goal is to keep the government from adding more regulations. But the market can help environmentalists pursue their goals in ways that don’t step on Reisman’s foot. Thus, Reisman should encourage the market for green gadgets.

Read this bit again…
Australia and Canada have already enacted laws or regulations that will make these bulbs mandatory within a few years. Efforts are underway to do the same thing here in the United States.

Maybe the issue becomes clearer. It is being forced upon us. Some of us find that repulsive.

I’ve tried expensive and cheap CFLs and personally I prefer incandescent bulbs. I’ve used a variety at home and most of the time the lighting doesn’t resemble natural lighting. It’s not designed to, even the ones that supposedly replicate natural lighting doesn’t. Some fluro lighting gives me headaches.

Hank Mitzelblick May 13, 2007 at 2:44 am

High-rendition bulbs give off a light not much less sickly than their cheaper relatives. Boy, those Democrats continue to come up with ways to make sure their political obsolesence comes as quickly as possible. An amnesty fo illegals and the prohibition of incandescant light bulbs by law will guarantee GOP victories for the next 25 years. Nuts.

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