Ayn Rand wrote a novel, Anthem, it’s a dystopian novel where individual choice is banned and the collective rules society. There’s a young man and his name is Equality 72521. He is an intelligent young man but he is been from achieving or reaching any sort of occupation that would challenge him. He is a street sweeper.
Over time he discovers an abandoned subway and rediscovers the incandescent light bulb. And he thinks, naively, that electricity and the brilliance of light would be an advantage for society and that it would bring great new things as far as being able to see at night, being able to read and the advancement of civilization.
He takes it before the collective of elders, and they take the light bulb, and basically it’s crushed beneath the boot heel of the collective. The collective has no place basically for individual choice.
Now I’m not suggesting that this collective body is against electricity per se, or that your goals are to quash individualism. But I am suggesting that we’re against choice. And I think you seem to be oblivious to this sometimes that you’re taking away people’s freedom to buy products they want to buy.
We talk about efficiency but no one seems to care whether the products are effective or what the consumer thinks of the product, or what the consumer would buy. This is what the market place usually determines.
While we spend time limiting consumer choice, but we don’t seem to spend enough time talking about how we can make enough energy for a society like ours can continue to grow and consume electricity.
We have an administration that has fought coal mining permits; an administration that has fought against drilling off-shore; an administration that has fought permits in Utah and Alaska and elsewhere.
We have an administration that seems to have time to go to Brazil to beg them to drill for oil and gas--who really seems to oppose at every turn energy expansion in our country. So I think that while we spend time trying to mandate and restrict consumer choices, we’re not spending enough time actually producing energy in our country.
I would propose we spend more time expanding our choices and less time banning light bulbs.
My amendment would make the energy efficiency standards consistent with choice and with a free society and would make them voluntary.