Rand Paul’s toilet
Here’s Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, comparing his choice of light bulbs and toilets to a woman’s control over her own body:
Paul is upset at meddling, nanny-state liberals telling him what toilet to buy! Why do women have the choice to have an abortion, but he can’t choose what light bulbs to buy?! They’re limiting consumer choice! Externalities be damned!
“Call it what it is: you prevent people from making things that consumers want. I find it really appalling and hypocritical and I think there should be some self-examination from the Administration on the idea that you favor a woman’s right to an abortion, but you don’t favor a woman or a man’s right to choose what kind of light bulb, what kind of dishwasher, what kind of washing machine…”
Yeah, because “consumer choice” is the most important thing in the world. Literally nothing else matters. Or at least, not enough for the public to bother protecting itself from the consequences. Paul says he is “all for energy conservation” but says it should be voluntary, and that we should convince him.
“I find it an affront to the notion of a Free Market, of Capitalism, of Freedom Of Choice. It’s not that I’m against conservation; I’m all for energy conservation. But I wish you would come here to extoll me, to cajole, to encourage, to try to convince me that it would be a good idea to conserve energy…”
Where to begin…
First, not all “choices” are equal. When you start favoring a social safety net like they have in countries with low abortion rates, Senator, I’ll take your objections to abortion a little more seriously. Until then, you have no business telling a woman in an abusive relationship, and/or facing poverty, that she must bear a child. To equate the choice she faces with your dislike of efficient light bulbs is just sickening. Go screw yourself, Senator.
Second, voluntary management of the commons has been tried, and it does not work. The free market simply won’t act in the interests of the commons on which it depends. Like it or not, that is what government is for.
There’s economic catastrophe lurking in falling groundwater, warming climate, and drying rivers. Those things are “the commons” on which our economy depends, and government is the corporation of the people for the protection and management of that commons.
The meddling regulations Paul hates so much can be stunningly effective. For a moment, consider building codes. That’s government establishing materials and engineering standards for the construction industry. As Rand Paul says; “there’s a cost!” to those regulations. Everything becomes more expensive. What if the rent in a non- Earthquake-resistant apartment were cheaper? Shouldn’t consumers have the choice?
Japan was just hit by the seventh-largest Earthquake ever recorded; the entire island moved eight feet from its former location. Then it was hit by a massive tsunami. The country has 127 million people, 95% urban.
Today’s headline? Japan death toll likely to top 10,000. In other words, this inconceivably huge catastrophe produced a death rate of a bit less than one-hundredth of one percent. Buildings mostly held, fire-control systems mostly worked, and evacuation plans were mostly effective.
Here’s a thought exercise: suppose Japan were run by Libertarians who insisted the free market should determine what Earthquake resistance standards should prevail. Maybe consumer choice should dictate whether public funds were spent on tsunami evacuation drills. What do you think the Japan fatality rate would be?
Libertarians elevate personal choice over common good, then claim to want to be convinced of the common good. I don’t think they want to be convinced; in my experience, they don’t want to hear it at all. The problem is, nature won’t wait for Ron Paul to catch up on his science lessons. When peak oil triggers mass famines, when LA runs out of water or when the glaciers melt and flood coastal cities, it won’t be any comfort to hear; “Oh, I guess you were right after all.” Because our economy will be in Rand Paul’s toilet.
It’s true that Libertarians get a chilly reception on this blog; I am disgusted, nauseated by Libertarian ethics. Instead of the divine right of kings, they pitch the divine right of free markets, which is almost a distinction without a difference. We humans have potentially a great gift: we can think about the future. If we try.
- Millions saved in Japan by good engineering and government building codes
- Rand Paul complains that his toilet doesn’t work, that he has to flush it 10 times. Rand, baby, what do you eat? Try one of these toilets.
- Rand Paul’s Confession: constipated for years, he still can’t see the light.
- We’ve had a low-flow toilet for about 20 years. It was made in Sweden or some other Socialist hell-hole. It works just fine and has paid for itself many times over.
- Because of supply-line inefficiencies, saving x amount of energy at the point of use is equivalent to xn increase in total generating or production capacity, where n is greater than 1. It’s the closest thing anywhere to a free lunch.
- Paul’s new budget eliminates the agency that regulates nuclear safety.