Sunday, May 10, 2015

America's Dim Bulbs

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Way back in 2007 when the federal government was still being run by adults, Congress passed a bill designed to phase out the old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs in favor of the new, longer-lasting, energy-saving bulbs that were taking over the market.  (The new bulbs were called CFLs - Compact Fluorescent Lighting.)  Many conservatives took this as yet another government encroachment on their "right" to use whatever products they pleased.  Some reacted by buying up large quantities of the older-type bulbs to hoard until the rapture came to save them and their preferred lighting.

One conservative who got particularly incensed was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.  Congresswoman Bachmann, herself a well known dim bulb, introduced a bill in Congress in 2011 called the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, a bill which fulfilled its ultimate purpose - that of getting the congresswoman's name in the press.   Bachmann said that the mandatory phasing out of the old type of bulbs was just another example of the government establishing a "nanny state" to control our lives.

(Michele Bachmann, who also did not like the First Lady poking her nose into the nutritional content of school lunches, was a strong opponent of the government inflicting itself on the lives of Americans.   America should be a land of rugged individualists, like herself, capable of surviving without interference or aid from the government.  She also had a healthy income stream off of her husband's federal farm subsidies.)

With all of the wars and plagues and pestilence occurring in the world, one might wonder at where people like Michele Bachmann would find the energy or will to fight for the lowly incandescent light bulb.  Now there is a bit of new research that sheds a bit of light (all puns intended) on her quixotic little quest.

The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that both those who self-identified as liberals and as conservatives were more likely to buy the new energy-efficient light bulbs (CFLs) when they compared favorably with the older bulbs on price and length of service.  However, when stickers were placed on the packages of the newer bulbs stating that they were environmentally friendly, the conservatives tended to back off.

Conservatives were all for saving money and buying light bulbs that would last longer, but if they were touted as "environmentally friendly," conservative buyers lost interest.  One person reading the research theorized that conservatives might see not buying the new bulbs as a way of sticking a finger in the eye of a liberal.

Yes, cheaper is fine - and so are products that last longer - but just don't try to stick us with anything that is "environmentally friendly."  Michele Bachmann knew her constituents.  In her America people are free to be as dumb as they want to be.

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