Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tyranny by Any Other Name...

The Los Angeles Times headline reports "California appears poised to be first to ban power-guzzling big-screen TVs" (full article...).
Reporting from Sacramento - The influential lobby group Consumer Electronics Assn. is fighting what appears to be a losing battle to dissuade California regulators from passing the nation's first ban on energy-hungry big-screen televisions.
Let's ignore for the time being, the fact that all of the newer flat panel displays use less power per square inch of viewing area than the old CRT-based technology.
"We would not propose TV efficiency standards if we thought there was any evidence in the record that they will hurt the economy," said Commissioner Julia Levin, who has been in charge of the two-year rule-making procedure. "This will actually save consumers money and help the California economy grow and create new clean, sustainable jobs."

Tightening efficiency ratings by using new technology and materials should result in "zero increase in cost to consumers," said Harinder Singh, an Energy Commission staffer on the TV regulation project.
This is exactly the kind of idiocy that I'm talking about. Where is it written that unelected energy commissioners have that kind of power over California citizens? What gives them the right to tell anyone what they can or cannot purchase? If we do not like paying for the electricity to operate a large screen set, we'll look for a more efficient one, or operate it less frequently for shorter periods. Which reminds me... aren't there other appliances that run far more hours per day that would warrant more concern than TV sets?

This is precisely the kind of arbitrary and impertinent claptrap that the founders were concerned about when they set about setting up a government that was the minimum required to get the job done and no more. This is only one rather insignificant ruling in a sea of rulings by legislators, commissioners, bureaucrats, in local, state and federal governments nationwide that adds up to a very oppressive experience. The founders would be appalled.
The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits. -- Thomas Jefferson
Since California is not part of the federal government, they are exempt from the US Constitution as long as they do not violate the Bill of Rights. But still... tyranny is tyranny by any other name.

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