09 January 2008

Nanny(State) Knows Best

(S)motherism is the newest craze in statecraft. There seems to be few things in life that aren't subject to state interference. The temp you set your thermostat is the latest thing to come under attack here in California. (via Samizdata)

It's for Gaia, so we must submit. We must allow state bureaucrats decide what temps we can set our central air/heat at so that they won't have to build any additional Gaia offending power plants.

I don't think the committee that recommended these changes expected anyone to notice in time to complain before they get slipped into new building codes. Luckily, this is an invasive enough intrusion on people's liberties that this issue should become toxic even for the most liberal politicians and should die a speedy and ignomious death.

Or at least I hope.

Once again though, as with many of these energy type issues, I live my life greenly, not as a matter of Gaiaism, but more frugality and location. It never gets too hot here, with the frequent ocean breezes, so no central air needed, and the few months it's cold enough to require heating, it's never so cold that our old gas furnace can't handle the job without destroying too much of the planet. But if I lived in the desert, that wouldn't be the case, and if they want to change people's behavior, then expose them to the market more, don't regulate frugality. People will change their habits if they see immediate costs to keeping their houses at 68 degrees when nobody's home on a 100+ degree day. The Enron scandal wasn't a scandal born of de-regulation, but of sloppy and easily manipulated regulation. The powers that be see to it that power will never be subject to a true free market. Because of this, folks don't behave as sensibly as they might otherwise. The solution isn't technological, the solution lies with the market. But don't expect that argument to get proposed by any government commission tasked with finding energy 'solutions'.

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