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L. Neil Smith's
Number 535, September 6, 2009

"Void the Bill of Rights, you void the Constitution."

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Light of Liberty
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

It says here the European Union has begun forcing people to stop using incandescent lightbulbs, phasing them out one wattage at a time, from high to low, and compelling the use of fluorescent bulbs, because they use less energy and will therefore contribute less to global warming.

Don't laugh: the same shakedown is scheduled to happen to Americans in 2012.

Thomas Edison's gift to humanity of electric light is arguably the greatest we have ever received, transforming what our ancestors, as recently as the 19th century, perceived as the cold, terror-filled darkness into just another charming and useful part of the day, lit by warm, safe, yellow light evoking both the sun under which we evolved, and the firelight, upon which we relied for as much as a quarter of a million years to drive away all of those dark terrors, both real and imagined.

Like so many of the Obama regime's recent schemes—the actual purpose of which is to force compliance with Leviathan for its own sake—this one would command Americans to give up a satisfactory invention they require and enjoy for something that offers them little or no satisfaction, all in the name of a total, utter, and absolute hoax.

Put quite simply, global warming has been discredited beyond a doubt. The only individuals who don't appear to know it yet are Hollywood activists, newsmedia types whose aural cavities have become filled with hairspray over the years, politicians and corporate types with a vested money or power interest in maintaining the myth, and scientists who have sold the truth out in order to receive a grant or tenure.

Thus there is no need to replace a simple, cheap, and safe device that has served us exceptionally well for 130 years with something that is complicated, expensive, poisonously dangerous, and offers the user all the warmth, comfort, and charm of the average filling station bathroom.

Given the way chlorofluorocarbons (remember them?) were accused of causing a hole in the ozone layer—which turned out to have been there for millions of years—because its patent had run out and its maker wanted to subtitute something on which the patent was new, it's clearly time to "follow the money" where light bulbs are concerned, as well.

According to many sources online, flourescent lights of the kind the Obama regime wants to force everyone to use have a 50% failure rate within a few hours of purchase. I have confirmed this myself. Which means, in effect, that they cost twice as much to use. And even then, those units that survive have a remarkably short life, requiring replacement, in my experience, more often than ordinary incandescent bulbs.

It's also recently been discovered, scientifically, that, not unlike their advocates, they're not as bright as they're claimed to be. In the laboratory, perhaps, weird-colored street lights (I was a young reserve police officer when the switch was made from bluey-green to orangey-brown and saw a lot of "scientific" reports) and hot blue LEDs in the flashlights may reach further in some objective sense, but, having compared the latter to incandescent flashlights, I've noticed that they somehow fail to convey as much useful information to the brain. This makes sense, considering the quality of light we evolved in.

I have heard it said flourescents can even trigger seizures in epileptics.

As far as any energy saving is concerned, in an economy uncoerced by government or mercantilist corporations—in which natural gas, coal, and petroleum derived from many sources, compete with fission, thermal depolymerization, and catalytic fusion on the one hand, and wind and solar power on the other—energy is as close to free as a commodity can be. The only reason for "czars" nobody elected to impose measures nobody ever voted on to reduce the amount of energy people have available, is to deprive them of the enhanced freedom it provides.

Even if none of the above were true, there is still this, and it's important: I like incandescent light bulbs, never mind my reasons, and it's my right—my inalienable free market individual right—to use them or not, exactly as I, and I alone, see fit. If they use a bit more energy, they're worth it, and it's my energy, once I've paid for it.

In her short novel Anthem the first thing by the lady I ever read, Ayn Rand wisely (and, it seems, prophetically) chose electric light as the symbol for mankind's greatest lost legacy and precious rediscovery.

So get your crummy hands off my light bulbs Obama. Don't even think about it, Algore. America is not Europe, Americans are not Europeans, to be pushed around and chivvied about by Bolsheviks with bees in their bonnets. And maybe—I hear there's growing resistance to this kind of thing in the Old World, too—in due course, our would-be masters will discover that Europe is no longer Europe, either.

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of more than 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas is currently running as a free weekly serial at

Neil is presently at work on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Where We Stand: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis with his daughter, Rylla.

See stunning full-color graphic-novelizations of The Probability Broach and Roswell, Texas which feature the art of Scott Bieser at Dead-tree versions may be had through the publisher, or at where you will also find Phoenix Pick editions of some of Neil's earlier novels. Links to Neil's books at are on his website


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