In a magnificent gift to the freedom-loving American people, the Republican House majority has successfully negotiated a delay to the implementation of the ill-conceived ban on the legal sale of 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, which was to have gone into effect two weeks from Sunday, January 1, 2012. The new deadline for the ban is now September 30, 2012, just 38 days before the end of the Age of Obama, Deo volente.
This ban, part of a 2007 omnibus national energy and security bill — which, as everyone duly notes, was signed into law by former President George W. Bush — was about more than light bulbs. Far more.
It concerned the inside of every home in the United States of America, from the frailest shack to the most opulent compound. It became as much of a lightning rod as abortion. It touched the hearts and minds of a free people who, unlike Cubans in 2005 and the cowed population of the European Union in 2009, did not want their basic liberty to light their homes to be by a bulb of the government’s choosing.
The fact that the most popular substitute for the traditional light bulb was (is! — it’s still for sale all over the land) filled with toxic mercury, the grotesque “compact fluorescent” bulb of environmentalists’ dreams, hardly helped the cause of its proponents, the all-too-familiar very green lobby.
The one thing the environmental lobby underestimated, and underestimated big time, was this basic fact: human life is part of the environment.
Deeply-loved and endlessly-hugged trees, the spotted owls, and the baby seals of yesteryear all have their lobbies. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have long thought nothing of destroying personal property (spraying the mink coats of wearers with permanent red spray paint as they walked along cities from Fairbanks to Atlanta) and demanding that the National Institutes of Health and other research centers end the scientific tradition of testing medications on mice and rats who, in the process, invariably die, so that human beings might live.
There was only one species the environmentalists failed to take into account in their thrust for mastery of the seas, the skies, and the Earth. And that was their fellow man, people who — like the environmentalists claim they do — care about their children, their grandchildren, and all who come after them as stewards of the planet, a responsibility the environmentalists claimed they alone took seriously.
This human species banded together in the United States of America and did something that the Cuban people cannot do and the human beings in the European Union are too dulled to do: we made clear our grievances to our elected members of Congress. We used our powers of speech, of logical argument, and, yes, of deep outrage that one Steven Chu, Ph. D., an unelected member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, dared to tell the American people what we should do inside our homes and with our hard-earned money.
Last July, as the House of Representatives sought to accomplish what it finally, and victoriously, did accomplish yesterday, the president sent his Nobel Prize-winning physicist secretary of Energy (like his Nobel Prize earned him the right to boss us around) to lecture the American people on what we should and should not do. That was a huge error in judgment. Huge.
Here is what the condescending cabinet member said to us — us, the pathetic, scientifically uneducated, financially ignorant, unwashed, energy-profligate, unable-to-balance-our-own-checkbooks fools he takes us to be — on light bulbs:
“Right now many families around the country are struggling to pay their energy bills, and leaders in the House want to roll back these standards that will save families money.…
“You’ll still be able to buy halogen incandescent bulbs. They’ll look and feel the same, but the only difference is that they’ll save consumers money.”
Of tea partiers’s philosophical argument that the law would deprive consumers of the choice of lighting products, Chu said, these standards are not taking choices away, they are “putting money back in the pockets of American families.”
Well, the Republican Congress fought back.
It showed Secretary Chu, President Obama, and every environmentalist who seeks to control what kind of light bulb you and I can use exactly what a Congress responsive to a free people can do. We are not Cuba and we are not the European Union.
As Dylan Thomas wrote exactly 60 years ago: “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” We did, and a Republican Congress listened and acted. Thank you, Congress. Thank you, Founding Fathers, for a system that, even in the Age of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, still works.