Posted on May 21, 2023



This Is Why We Can't

Have Nice Things


Daniel Clark



If you've ever bought a new television that was set by default to energy saving mode, you probably thought it was broken until you figured out what the problem was. While it is on this setting, the picture dims and flickers to the point of being unwatchable. Obviously, there is no demand for such a feature, at least not from consumers. The manufacturer has created it in order to earn an Energy Star certification from the Department of Energy, on the basis that it saves electricity by reducing the brightness of the picture. In other words, it has been deliberately made not to function.

Once you realize this, all you need to do is find the place on your on-screen menu where you can switch the TV out of energy saving mode, and the problem is solved. What if this wasn't an option, though? What if it was the way the set was required to behave all the time? That's basically what it will be like to buy a dishwasher, if the Biden DOE is able to impose its new efficiency standards.

This proposal would reduce the current maximum amount of electricity usage by 30 percent, and water usage by 36 percent. That would indeed be efficient, if the new dishwashers still worked, which they won't. The people whose job it is to produce appliances are being forced to adhere to standards created by bureaucratic wonks, who are naturally less knowledgeable on the subject, and unaccountable to the consumers. Anybody who could produce a dishwasher that works just as well while using less electricity and less water would be at a distinct competitive advantage, which is all the incentive that is necessary. For the federal government, on the other hand, to arbitrarily cut electricity and water usage without accountability to the marketplace is not efficiency. It's simply a withholding of the things that make things work.

The Energy Department has also proposed stricter regulations on clothes washers, even as it acknowledges that, "Improving one aspect of clothes washer performance, such as reducing energy and/or water use as a result of energy conservation standards, may require manufacturers to make a trade-off with one or more aspects of performance, such as cleaning performance."

Not to put a fine point on this, but "cleaning performance" is the whole purpose of the machine. It would be nonsensical to trade this for a reduction in those things that do the cleaning. If you have purchased a machine for the purpose of cleaning your clothes, and it does not get your clothes clean, that is totally inefficient, no matter how much it may lower your water and electric bills.

On the subject of efficient water usage, do we even want to get into government regulating the capacity of our toilet tanks? Suffice it to say that there are good reasons why TV viewers across America envied Al Bundy's Ferguson ("Bah-WOOSH").

New York has become the first state to prohibit newly constructed houses from being equipped for the use of natural gas. That means all stoves, dryers and furnaces will have to run on electricity. The city of Berkeley, California had a similar law, which has recently been thrown out by a federal appeals court. What will make such laws doubly inconvenient is the government-mandated transition to electric vehicles. When every vehicle on the road and every household appliance is powered by electricity, brownouts are going to be commonplace. Already, during a heat wave last summer, the state of California asked its citizens not to charge their vehicles during certain hours of the day. A dramatic increase in our reliance on electricity will make this scenario the norm. On the regular occasions when the grid goes down, we'll all have to just stay in our houses, where nothing works, until we are allowed out again.

It's not coincidental that every one of these governmental actions has the effect of reducing our standard of living. Regulations such as these are predominantly written and championed by Democrats, the same party that, not many years ago, embraced the Occupy movement in its hateful campaign against the "one percenters." Whom do you suppose the "one percenters" are on a global scale? Americans, of course, which accounts for this relentless effort by the Democrats to thirdworldify us. Only when the people of South Dakota are living like the people of Somalia will they have succeeded in imposing "social and economic justice."

Democrats inflict deprivations on the American people with such zeal that one might wonder if they have been afflicted with Munchausen syndrome by proxy, the psychological disorder by which one deliberately induces illness upon somebody in his or her care, in order to gain attention. In the world they are busily creating for us to live in, we would transport our groceries in reusable cloth bags that are breeding grounds for bacteria, and then store them in refrigerators that are frequently out of order due to the unnecessarily created energy shortages. We would drink through aluminum straws, which (spoiler alert) taste like aluminum. We would eat insects instead of meat, and would have fewer vegetables and dairy products to consume, thanks to "sustainable farming."

In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama said, "We can't just drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that every other country is just going to say, "Oh, okay." The premise behind that statement is that the American standard of living should require international approval. In reality, it will, just as long as Americans continue to elect leaders who agree with that point of view.

So, when the juice from the crickets you cooked on your electric range are visible on your insufficiently washed shirt, and the exoskeletons have been permanently baked onto your dinner plates -- when you stink, not only from the dirty shirt, but because the central authority has shut off your thermostat, and you're trapped in your hot house because your car is uncharged -- when you find yourself returning from the grocery store with lots of things you never wanted to eat, balanced in a wicker basket on your head because you need both hands to steer the bicycle -- then maybe, just maybe, you'll have gained permission from some amorphous global consensus to go on living your life.



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