13 April 2011

Weak Hooks and Dim Bulbs

Rand Paul's invocation of Ayn Rand yesterday to complain about government technology standards for light bulb performance gives me an opportunity to raise a few questions.

If the government can mandate technology performance standards for fishing hooks, then why not light bulbs, or any other technology for that matter?  I can understand that people may wish to debate the substance of technology standards or whether they are necessary in particular cases.  What I don't get are arguments like Paul's that suggest that such standard setting is somehow illegitimate. There is really no legal or policy basis for such views, and while espousing such views may appeal to populist sentiment, they actually undercut the ability of the government to govern, which I suppose may be the point.

And this makes me wonder, why aren't those who complain about light bulbs on the warpath against "weak hooks"?