their numbers are multiplying
BAD FAITH ENVIRONMENTALISTS
Tucker is the editor of Mises.org
and author of It's a Jetsons World: Private Miracles
and Public Crimes and Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside
the Statist Quo.
goodness we've got a global marketplace where banned and nearly
banned products can be purchased with a click. This is how I
obtained a box of Savogran Trisodium Phosphate, which sounds
like an explosive but is really just a cleanser that was in
every dishwashing soap until last year. It is made of phosphorous,
an element from bone ash or urine that was discovered in Germany
in the 17th century. It is also the reason that dishwashers
once cleaned dishes perfectly, leaving no residue or spots.
the old Calgon commercial that showed food falling off plates
and glasses left gleaming at the end of a wash? That was phosphorous
is still a must in commercial establishments like restaurants
and hotels. But 17 states have already banned the product for
consumers, causing most all makers of the detergent to remove
it from their products, which vastly degraded their value. The
detergent makers saw the writing on the wall and this time decided
to get out in front of the regulatory machine, anticipating
a federal ban before it actually takes place.
consumers are clueless as why, in the past year, their dishwashers
stopped working properly. They call in the repairman, who fiddles
with things and announces a fix. But it is not fixed. The glasses
are gritty and the plates often need to be rinsed again after
washing. Many households have bought new machines or resorted
to just running the dishes through twice.
creation of phosphorous-free detergent is the real reason. As
Jonathan Last explains in The Weekly Standard,
the antiphosphate frenzy began in Washington State, which was
attempting to comply with a Clean Air Act mandate that a certain
river be swimmable and fishable. This was a problem because
tests found inordinate amounts of phosphate in the river. As
part of the effort to comply, the state banned phosphates from
detergents. That was in 2008, but the way politics works these
days, the banning spread to state after state — again
with the backing of federal law.
it is clear that the law's proponents knew exactly what the
results would be. It would increase dishwasher use and even
end up leading people to abandon dishwashers altogether, and
either solution leads to much more water and energy use. In
other words, even by the goofy environmentalists' own standards,
this is no savings. It might end up in the reverse.
since the ban have even shown that phosphorous reduction in
the Washington State river is entirely due to a new filtering
system and, further, that it turns out that the phosphorous
in the river was not even a problem in the first place.
course the facts don't matter. Our conveniences, like clean
plates and the machines that make them so, must be sacrificed
to the false gods of environmentalism. One of the great innovations
in human history must be reverted because governments are enthralled
by the witch doctors of Mother Earth. Thus must mankind take
yet another step back on the path of social progress. And to
heck with your fetish for clean things.
impulse is driving the new attack on ice makers. Jeffrey Kluger
writes in Time Magazine a typically hectoring piece
that claims that one way to save the earth is to buy a couple
of ice trays. To the long list of human inventions that are
wrecking global climate — the internal combustion engine,
the industrial era factory — add the automatic ice maker.
course we don't use ice makers for completely arbitrary reasons.
It is because it is a pain in the neck to carry a full tray
across the room, spill a bit here and there, and then balance
it carefully in the freezer. And then when you take it out,
your fingers stick to the trays and you have to break the tray
and dump the cubes into something and refreeze what you do not
use, and then the cubes stick together and so on. That's why
we use ice makers.
still, the Department of Energy hates them. And so it has warned
all makers of freezers that it will lower the energy-compliance
rating of any freezer that keeps them. Or, another way to make
a freezer with an ice maker is to degrade the refrigerator and
freezer itself, leaving most of the energy use for the ice maker.
whole model forgets a perfectly obvious point: having an ice
maker often means that you have an ice dispenser on the outside
of the fridge, meaning that you do not have to open the door
to get your ice. This is surely an energy saver. Having to open
the freezer far more often only ends up wasting energy, which
is another reason for the ice maker in the first place (saves
on electrical bills).
again, facts don't matter. If there is something you like, something
that makes your life better, you can bet that some bureaucrat
somewhere has targeted it for destruction. Saving the planet
is the most convenient excuse around. Time Magazine
would contribute more to ‘saving the planet’ by
putting an end to its print publication.
can see where this is headed. Just as people hoard old toilet
tanks and old washing machines that actually use water to wash
clothes, so too people will now have to hoard their old refrigerators
because they work. We are becoming like the Cubans with their
1950s model cars, holding on to them for dear life if only to
preserve some elements of civilization in the face of government
let's talk drain openers. Everyone knows that the best chemical
drain opener is lye, or sodium hydroxide. It is wicked stuff
that cuts through grease, hair and just about anything else.
It will burn right through human flesh and leave terrible scarring.
But for drains, nothing else compares.
that less and less water is flowing through our homes (thanks
to regulatory attacks on water use), and the water we use is
ever more tepid (thanks to regulatory attacks on hot-water heaters),
it is no surprise that clogged drains are ever more common,
thus making lye an essential household chemical.
you can get it. The mainstream hardware stores have stopped
carrying the stuff. So have the grocery stores. When I asked
around, I thought I would hear stories involving liability for
injuries, but no: instead, the excuse is the drug war. It turns
out that this stuff is an ingredient in the making of methamphetamine,
and hence it too is on the regulatory hit list.
you can still buy it through Amazon, but how many people know
this? How many people are buying liquid drain openers only to
discover that they don't actually work? Surely millions are
doing this. So far as I can tell, there is nothing but hush-hush
about the strange disappearance of lye-based crystal drain openers
from our shelves.
* * * * * * * * * * *
there we go: we must also live with clogged drains, so that
not even the pathetic drizzles of tepid water that come out
of our faucets can flow down the drain, and we must stand in
pools of bacteria-breeding water as we take our short, cold
showers. It's back to the 19th century for all of us.
these three examples, we can see the model at work: Puritans
and paranoids work with bureaucrats to unravel all the gains
that markets have made for civilization. And they do this not
with persuasion or an attempt to convert us to their primitive
faith. Instead, they do it by force, driving us back to the
compost pile, the river for cleaning, and, eventually, having
to hunt and gather for food that we take back to our caves,
which serve as domestic environs for those lucky enough to survive
their regime of coerced poverty.