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January 03, 2008

Professor: I'm Too Selfish To Buy Energy Efficient Appliances Or Vehicles Even With Subsidies, So The Government Must Outlaw Products To Keep Me From Buying Them

He's a global warming bleeding heart, but he admits he continues, and will continue, to purchase high-energy-demand stuff.

He says that a surtax on high-energy-demand products isn't enough to change his behavior. Nor would even be a direct government subsidy to purchase more energy-efficient products.

He can see only one solution for himself, and thus only one solution for you.

Shockingly enough coming from a college professor, it involves government coercion.

UPS delivered my hedge trimmer a few weeks ago. Actually, it is not just a hedge trimmer but has interchangeable heads so that it can trim grass, mow down brush and cut small tree limbs. The whole thing was a steal: $359. As I powered it up, I felt mild pangs of guilt -- the two-cycle contraption uses a mixture of oil and gas to cool the engine as well as fuel it, which makes it not just copiously smelly but also a behemoth when it comes to producing carbon dioxide.

If you think that is bad, so do I -- especially since I could have bought a slightly more expensive four-cycle model that does not require mixing the oil and gas. And I know better. But my knowledge did not translate into action. I knew I was doing wrong. I even agonized about doing wrong. But it did not stop me.


But there is another problem. I like Hummers. Not the really big Hummer I, but the more demure Hummer II. I like its boxy design and its commanding presence on the road. I secretly desire to command the road. Here I am not irrational, just retrograde when it comes to my preferences. And if my preferences are strong enough and my wallet is large enough, no tax is going to make me give up my Hummer for a Prius.

I am not alone in loving Hummers. An effective tax will have to take into account all variety of Hummer lovers, the strength of their preferences and the size of their wallets.

I say: Better not to tempt me in the first place. Take the Hummers away. Don't clutter my world with things I should not have. Don't dangle them in front of me, creating desire, only to then try to have me renounce them. Just ban the damn two-cycle hedge trimmer and let me be done with the matter.

I don't like that universities are stocked full of fluff-headed leftist professors. Perhaps we should pass a law mandating that 50% of all professors in all departments be conservative-leaning.

Eh, fuck that. Let's make it 90%.

Freedom is overrated anyway (but not overtly so). Let's use the power of government to do some real good, goddamnit.

Thanks to MattM.

Let's Cut Out The Middleman... suggests Additional Blonde Agent:

I have a better idea. Long as the government's being called into action, just have it kill him.

More efficient that way.

True dat. As all socialist/communist/fascist regimes eventually discover, people themselves are the root of all problems. Get rid of the people, problem solved!

Since this guy is advocating that, why doesn't he just off himself and set the example for the rest of us?

UPDATE [Dave in Texas]: There's some recent and unfortunate precedence for his stupid idea in the Energy Bill Bush just signed.

More Snark [Ace Again]: Kasper Hauser wrote this guy:

I just e-mailed the professor ('bunzl@rutgers.edu') as follows:

"What are you? A child?

The government should outlaw stuff because you donít have the self control to live up to your political/social/environmental mores?

How about we just cut academic salaries and limit your purchasing power? Would that help?

I like that AoSHQ readers are so dedicated to helping other people. Gives me a warm glow.

[PA's energy rant below the fold]

While I like aspects of the light bulb thing, banning incandescents completely is very retarded and will add huge costs to low duty cycle applications -- like attic lights, hall closets, lights in rental storage bins, a service light for a furnace, etc. The cost delta in a low duty cycle application can never be overcome by energy savings.

I've seen this retard thinking over and over again in government lighting applications.

Recent case in point - South Florida Water management operates close to a thousand telemetry controlled pump/gate stations out in the everglades and surrounding areas to control water levels and flow. The little prefab concrete buildings that house all the control gear all have an expensive $100 fluorescent fixture mounted on the ceiling. A $1.29 plastic incandescent fixture would have worked fine and each building could have been stocked with a lifetime supply of bulbs for about $2. The only servicing these buildings ever get is during the day and an open door lets in plenty of light to see what you're doing. Nobody ever needs to turn the light on to begin with.

This retardation when spec'ing the pump/gate stations cost the taxpayers well over $100,000 more than what was required.

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posted by Ace at 05:47 PM

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