Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 536, September 13, 2009

"Spirits crushed so badly that the victims
have no way of knowing they've been crushed."

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Another Subsidy
by Jim Davidson

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

I very much enjoyed L. Neil Smith's latest essay on the Light of Liberty. He is correct throughout about the nature of the light bulb and its vital importance to free people.

In reviewing a recent proposal for a possible alternative to free states, the Charter Cities concept of Paul Romer, I reviewed a video in which he shows a group of students sitting near the airport in their city, each under a separate light bulb, because those are the only electric lights in their town which are on at night when they need to study. Romer asks the legitimate question: why? These students can each afford a cell phone, but they cannot afford the much less complicated technology of electricity.

The answer is that centralisation has resulted in a monopoly which benefits a small coterie of persons with vested interests. These people defend that monopoly both violently and subversively, by thuggish attacks on alternative providers and by subverting the state to the same end. Although the new president of the country with these poor students tried to get electricity decentralised, tried to break up the monopoly so that competition could arise as it does in the cell phone industry, he failed. He failed because the monopoly is insidious, and has taken control of the government that defends the monopoly.

The banning of incandescent light bulbs won't save the environment. The fluorescent bulbs contain many dangerous chemicals that are not easily recycled, or even handled. Nor is the choice by one user to use incandescent bulbs to consume the electricity he has paid for any infringement on the freedom of others to use their electricity in some other way.

No, the banning of these light bulbs is about profits. Monopoly profits for companies like giant military contractor and baby killer machinery maker General Electric. GE has patents on some kinds of fluorescent bulbs. The patents on incandescent bulbs have all run out.

Not that GE was making the best of bulbs, anyway. There exists at a fire station, in California I think, a light bulb which has been burning continuously for over 100 years. It was featured on a Discovery channel show called "Mythbusters" one time. It uses a very big carbon fiber filament. It uses very little electricity. And it never wears out. GE light bulbs generally wear out much faster than their "guaranteed" useful life. Planned obsolescence is the alternative to patent protected profits.

So, yes, in part, the current campaign to ban incandescent light bulbs and slaughter children who attempt to use them in the name of the state's imperial control over all land and sea everywhere is intended to "force compliance with Leviathan for its own sake." But it is also another subsidy to a big, hateful, evil corporation of violent thugs. General Electric is one of the largest military contractors and has never seen a government program it didn't want to "get in on."

In 2007, according to and other sources, General Electric got $2.9 billion of funds stolen from taxpayers for the purpose of selling things to the military, mostly for the apparent use of slaughtering children in foreign countries. GE also runs the giant media conglomerate of the Nationalist (socialist) Broadcasting Network or NBC, including statist political analysis network MSNBC (where the MS seems to stand for Massively Statist) and CNBC, for corporatist news. General Electric is evil, hateful, vicious, thuggish, and vile. So it is little wonder they want yet another subsidy. This time they want to hurt people as much as possible by making incandescent light bulbs illegal.

Of course, glass blowing technology is very ancient. It was arguably invented by Phoenicians around 50 BC along the Levantine coast. The technology to make light bulbs is very old, well over two centuries. About two dozen major inventors came up with various types of incandescent light, dating back as far as 1802. One of the reasons Edison is regarded as the "inventor" is that he made significantly better bulbs with better vacuum and more effective incandescent materials. With a higher resistance, the Edison bulbs promoted a centralised power system.

Armed with these facts, an agorist can make all manner of incandescent bulbs privately for exchange on the free market. Why bother with government or stores or licenses or documentation? If the government outlaws light bulbs, then only outlaws will make and sell light bulbs.

No, I don't believe that global warming is real. I also don't believe it is relevant. Global warming is a scam for making a few climate researchers wealthier by making more money available for them to scam off the taxpayers. It is also a scam for justifying more and larger interventions into the free market.

It is just another sign of the desperation of the evil, vicious, tyrannical men and women who want to run everything, kill other people's children, enslave the adults, turn education into propaganda, turn freedom into a threat to national security, and turn Americans into kept dogs. Their civilisation has been dying for decades. It arguably peaked out about 1969.

Our civilisation, the culture of individual liberty, the culture of freedom, has produced all the innovative technology that rapidly reduces costs. Oh, sure, some of the things we use were first invented some decades ago in some military contractor's prison factory of ideas. But so what? The importance of agorism is not worrying about who invented things, or why, but considering how to apply knowledge and tools to make profits today.

In the end, I believe the laws against things like light bulbs add to the joy of agorism. We don't have to look very hard to find many of these symbols of ridiculous pretense, arrogant cronyism, and wealth redistribution. After more than 200 years, who can believe the light bulb is suddenly a danger to the world? And given such an obvious lie, why should the politicians and bureau-rats and their socialist, mass-murder-favoring sycophants be believed when they say anything else?

Ignore them. Break the laws. Make a profit. Rinse and repeat.

Very likely, you ignoring them won't lead them to ignore you. So they'll show up with their rules and their laws and their demands for permits. Kill them. It's what they are going to do to you.

Jim Davidson is an anti-war activist involved in the divestment project detailed at He is also an author and entrepreneur. His latest book comes out this Autumn at 623 pages plus notes. Two of his current projects involve financing films, one a documentary about destination resorts in orbit. See for details.


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