Lets get something straight, I’m an Adaptive Curmudgeon. Unlike generic Curmudgeons I don’t sit around pining for the “good old days”. When something new is truly better; I’ll buy it. In their times I liked Kodachrome, Black and White TV, 33 RPM Records, and Carbureted Truck Engines. All have been supplanted by new technologies and I’m not sitting in a corner weeping about it.
Another technology which I’ve largely discarded is the incandescent light bulb. Edison’s genius invention had a good run but I’m all about efficiency and have never been afraid to experiment. I got my first “corkscrew fluorescent” from an obscure green program (probably tied to a Federal subsidy). It came free in the mail from an east coast electric company in 1991. (I have no idea how I made the request…probably mailed in a cereal box top.) I stuck it in a socket and thought “when these things cost about 80% less they’ll be an OK idea”. Since then the percentage of light in my house has steadily become more fluorescent and less incandescent. Not because I’m some Al Gore disciple but because I’m a cheap bastard.
My current house is about half lit with decrepit shop lights (Curmudgeoning isn’t a path to riches). A little at a time I’m upgrading fixtures and ballasts but I’m sticking with the four foot bulb format because they work, they’re cheap, and I don’t care if they’re ugly. A few years ago I noted that the cost of corkscrew bulbs had dropped (as had the quality!). I gradually switched the bulbs in my regular light fixtures. By now our house is 95% florescent. This is good because it’s apparently a natural law that the man of the house runs around turning off lights and everyone else runs around turning them on. With low wattage I feel ahead of the game when I come home at night to find my home lit up like an Aircraft Carrier floating on the prairie.
I remember a few years ago when “corkscrew bulbs” finally met my price point. A new technology could effortlessly reduce consumption and I could voluntarily/incrementally upgrade. Win win! I thought to myself; “This is great. I wonder how they’ll screw it up? Probably some tofu eating jackoff will outlaw the regular bulbs.”
And so it has come to pass. 2014 is the cutoff date. Of course we’re shipping jobs overseas too. I’m sure loving those imaginary green jobs that The One promised.
Since I’m using fluorescent corkscrew bulbs anyway you might think I’m ok with their mandate. Absolutely not! Why? Because voluntarily using florescent where it makes sense is wise but a bureaucrat/regulator who’s never left the beltway trying to force it everywhere is made of fail.
Here’s a situation social engineering Government technocrats can’t imagine; my barn gets cold in the winter and I only need light a few minutes a day. Efficiency is irrelevant because I need a half hour of light daily to do chores and then hightail it for the warm house. On the other hand, the dim glow of a sputtering fluorescent which can’t handle the cold is a special kind of hell.
Same story for exterior floodlights. They only work if you give them forever to warm up. Another fixture that I use only rarely. Since I keep them off 99% of the time I don’t care about their consumption. However, when I flip the switch I want light to instantaneously blaze forth like Zeus hurling lightning. If a raccoon is probing the barn’s perimeter I need the element of surprise to aim a shotgun and the action will be over (one way of or the other) in five minutes. With the Al Gore specials I might as well dismember the chickens myself and save the raccoons the trouble. I doubt a DC bureaucrat was thinking of a redneck chasing raccoons at 2:00 am when they wrote the rules.
Without incandescents my solutions are counter to good stewardship. If I left them on 24/7 all winter long they would probably stay lit, but what a pathetic idea! Wasted electricity to light a barn an entire winter just so I can find a feed bin after sunset sticks in my craw. Nor can I digest the irony of lit floodlights 24/7 harshing my mellow with abhorrent light pollution. My dark starry skies are priceless! (Envy me city dwellers; my skies have more stars than you’ll ever see!)
So there you have it. When a mature and superior technology showed up a free citizen voluntarily upgraded wherever it made sense. Result? Saved electricity and lower power bills. A herd of nameless cretins with regulatory powers run amok. Result? Higher power bills, annoying light pollution, and wasted energy.
Not to mention the stupidity of it all. Didn’t we spend decades making fun of Russia for centrally controlled market disasters? In my lifetime I’ve gone from feeling smugly superior to Russians standing in line for toilet paper to stockpiling contraband incandescent light bulbs. I’m not surprised but remain dissapointed that common sense was taken out back and shot.
I’m not alone in my opinion either. Mostly Cajun tied it in with politics and added this elegant flair:
Small Dead Animals also jumped into the fray with Y2Kyoto: Not With A Bang, But An Edict.
If I had any readers I’d encourage them to click on over.
It’s not as if we didn’t see it coming. In 1991 outlawing incandescents would have been an unbelievable Tinfoil Hat theory. By 2007 I assumed it was coming. In 2010 the last factory is closed. In 2014 it’s a done deal. I suppose I’d better get ready for the next jokes I made about Communist Russia to rebound. I half-jokingly wonder which will win in the race between my first Obamacare denial, rationed toilet paper, or a regulation bludgeoning me into buying a Federally funded hybrid Chrysler. Russia’s Economy was more fun when it was in Moscow.