Rand Paul, Abortion and Toilets

Hattip to Allahpundit at Hot Air.  My unexpected legislative hero, pro-life Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky,  was magnificent  yesterday:

“You’re really anti-choice on every other consumer item that you’ve listed here, including light bulbs, refrigerators, toilets – you name it, you can’t go around your house without being told what to buy. You restrict my choices, you don’t care about my choices,” Paul said to her. “You don’t care about the consumer frankly. You raise the cost of all the items with your rules, all your notions that you know what’s best for me.”

Frankly, my toilets don’t work in my house. And I blame you and people like you who want to tell me what I can install in my house, what I can do. You restrict my choices. There is hypocrisy that goes on when people claim to believe in some choices but don’t want to let the consumer decide what they can buy and put in their houses. I find it insulting. I find it insulting that a lot of these products that you’re going to make us buy and you won’t let us buy what we want to buy and you take away our choices.”

“These things you want us to buy are often made in foreign countries. You ship jobs overseas. The same thing your administration claims to be in favor of, you’re shipping jobs overseas by saying we can’t make these items over here. I find it really an affront to the sensibility of the idea and notion of the free marketplace, of capitalism, of freedom of choice. Now it’s not that I’m against conservation. I’m all for energy conservation. But I wish you would come here to extol me, to cajole me, to encourage, to try to convince me to conserve energy. But you come instead with fines, threats of jail, you put people out of business who want to make products you don’t like.”

“This is what your energy efficiency standards are. Call it what it is. You prevent people from making things that consumers want. I find it really appalling and hypocritical and think there should be some self-examination from the administration on the idea that you favor a woman’s right to an abortion, but you don’t favor a woman or a man’s right to choose what kind of light-bulb, what kind of dishwasher, what kind of washing machine. I really find it troubling – this busy-body nature that you want to come into my house, my bathroom, my bedroom, my kitchen, my laundry room. I just really find it insulting and I find that all of the arguments for energy efficiency – you’re exactly right we should conserve energy, but why not do it in a voluntary way? Why do it where you threaten to fine me or put me in jail if I don’t accept your opinion? In America we believe in trying to convince our neighbors, but not trying to convince them through the force of law. I find this antithetical to the American way.”

Paul is smart, aggressive and knows how to grab a headline.  Keep an eye on him.  This man is going places fast.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. WOW.. This seems somewhat familiar. A new U.S. Senator just coming on the scene (who is NOT owned by the George Soros Marxist wing of the progressive Left) with a gifted tongue and a powerful voice of persuasion. One who actually IS the dream of his father but who has most likely never met Rev. Wright or Bill Ayers and never smoked pot but still believes in America’s exceptionalism and our Constitution.
    Can this be a second strike of political lightening for Americians???

  2. Bill, though he hasn’t addressed it, his college friends say he smoked marijuana.

    As far as I can tell there’s not one iota of policy difference between Rand and Ron. Rand just has the advantage of not having to talk about war.

    Frankly, my toilets don’t work in my house.

    Does he use public toilets or just use broken toilets anyway? If the latter, now everyone knows not to go over his house.

    What can’t we make in the US that can be imported? What energy conservation measure penalizes violators with jail time?

    you’re exactly right we should conserve energy, but why not do it in a voluntary way?

    Because sometimes, people are unaware and there’s no supply-side incentive to make people aware. This, I think, is the major failing of Ron/Rand-style libertarianism. They ignore asymmetry of information. Ideally, the government would mandate easy-to-access real-time electricity and water usage metering and pricing. And also immediately apparent energy consumption labeling on products like we do with MPG for cars.

  3. Regarding Rand… as is typical, the apple does not fall far from the tree, but he is his own man with his own opinions. There are differences, and these differences would seem to make him have broader appeal than his father.

  4. Ideally, the government would mandate easy-to-access real-time electricity and water usage metering and pricing.

    Having just moved into a very old house in a very cold climate (after living in Texas and before that California) I can attest from experience this is actually really easy. You just look at your gas or electric meter, not down the current reading, write it on an index card, and tack the index cart on the basement wall next to the meter. Then the next day you read it again and note the change. Having this daily figure, you consult your last bill and see how much you pay per unit, and you pretty quickly see what your daily usage is and what affects it.

    Of course, the trick is, this often results in realizing that things such as turning off the lights when you’re not in the room are far more effective than installing expensive twisty light bulbs. And this means the people selling the light bulbs don’t make money. So then they get mad and push to have the incandescents banned.

  5. “Because sometimes, people are unaware and there’s no supply-side incentive to make people aware. ”

    Or they will simply disagree that the proposed policy makes sense from an economic and\or financial sense. Lack of information is usually not the problem RR. It is simply people disagreeing with the views of the self annointed.

  6. “Does he use public toilets or just use broken toilets anyway?”

    Perhaps he is talking about low flush toilets that are now mandated. Often need a second flush so use as much if not more water as the old, more reliable ones.

    Such toilets have consequences beyond requiring more flushes:


  7. Perhaps he is talking about low flush toilets that are now mandated. Often need a second flush so use as much if not more water as the old, more reliable ones.

    I’m pretty sure he’s referring to these “efficient” new low flush toilets.

  8. In general, the allocation of resources is accomplished quite efficiently via a market system by utilizing price. Scarcity will cause prices to rise, which imposes conservation out of ordinary self-interest. Admittedly, market systems only work well if one assumes adequate information, but I agree with Don that in the case of water conservation it is doubtful that lack of information is a serious problem. The real problem is that water is generally a public resource rather than private, and little competition exists to determine price. Government is not in the business of making a profit, but is instead trying to make water available at a price that even the poorest can afford. The idea of an artificially low price (for the purpose of making sure the poor can afford what is understood to be a necessity) is not compatible with the price system’s normal conservationist attributes. Instead, we must rely on so-called voluntary conservation whereunder people sacrifice for the preceived common good. Such efforts can work, but history suggests they work only during crises and for a limited time, and even then not all that well. If in fact it is true that our water usage is too great this is almost certainly because the price is insufficient. The most sensible remedy would be to increase the price and find other ways to ensure that the poor can receive appropriate access to potable water. Once prices increase sufficiently, people will choose to buy efficient toilets, fix water leaks, etc. No mandate needed.
    Finally, please understand I’m not saying that that we even have a water shortage properly understood. I don’t claim to know, though I share some of the skepticisms implicit in many of the preceding comments. But if in fact that is the case, that can only be the case if the price of water is too low. This is not implausibe given that the price for water is not really established by ordinary market forces.

  9. Don, behavioral economists and common sense disagree with you. Lack of information and status quo bias result in sub-optimal decisions. Who is opposed to energy conservation? We don’t do it either because we don’t have the information or because we don’t bother to do anything about it, not for economic reasons but because we just can’t be bothered. This is most evident in 401k enrollment.

  10. “Don, behavioral economists and common sense disagree with you. Lack of information and status quo bias result in sub-optimal decisions. ”

    Rubbish RR. Many people, including myself, find that the mercury twisters give inadequate light. When I turn on a light, I like the room to be bright. This of course is why the government mandated them: they couldn’t compete in the free market where people get to make up their own minds about what they want to buy with their own money. The energy savings will doubtless be illusory as people will have to turn on more lights to see. “Watermelon”, green on the outside, red within, environmentalists will usually resort to government coercion because their arguments simply lack the power to convince people to voluntarily comply with the goals the “watermelons” want to accomplish. Freedom RR does not consist in agreeing with you and the people you agree with.

  11. I despise CFLs for the weird light they cast. I’m already peeved that they’re not selling the incandescent Christmas lights (C9s) anymore in favor of those tepid LED strings. Bah humbug.

  12. Please limit RR’s posts to 184 characters or less. These long posts are clearly a waste of energy. Try this for one month.

    Next month. Charge RR one cent for each character and then compare to see which system produces better energy conservation.

    I am not sure either system, or even if one can be devised to make the posts better, but then again that is a subjective opinion, but I suspect its true. 😉

    Behavioral economics, 201(k) – at least the posts are funny.

    Rand is going to become a monster that the RINOs will not be able to control. He frightens them because he is a true believer and not a politician. We need more like him.

    If politics is how we order our life together, then we should have more choices – this gives us the opportunity to make the best choices. Of course, somethings we cannot choose, but that’s only if those pesky Commandments of God mean anything to you. If you want a poisonous, irritating light bulb, fine, I don’t. One can choose a toilet that requires three small flushes and one sheet of TP, frankly, I don’t want that. I like my toilet to go BAWHOOSH and I tend to be conservative, but I am liberal with TP. The market can decide if it will supply these stupid options, or just the right ones (which are obviously the choices that I and any other sane person will make).

  13. As a conservative who was hell-bent on never using a squiggly CFL to save his life and as someone interested in the convergence of technology with good ol Catholic stewardship I was shocked to discover that CFL’s are the real deal.

    After intensive scrutiny of light quality under varying scenarious I found that CFL’s offer not only economic and evironmental incentives but they actually produce higher quality of light than the incandescent bulb.

    Any conservative who is oposed to CFL’s on political grounds will be well-served to come out of the dark and see how the markets have resolved this issue.

  14. Just get a higher wattage CFL if you think they aren’t as bright. If you want the warm yellow light of incandescent, get a warm CFL.

    The LED Christmas lights are a Godsend. No more testing every bulb to find the one that went out. LED’s never burn out.

  15. “will be well-served to come out of the dark and see how the markets have resolved this issue.”

    I’ve got them all over my house Paul and I’m very dissatisfied with the light they shed. I also note that I am changing them more frequently than I was led to believe would be the case. Of course the markets are resolving nothing in regard to the mercury twisters. The government is simply creating a market for them by driving their competition out of business by government fiat.


    If the mercury twisters were a superior product in the eyes of consumers, no government action would be necessary.

  16. Donald I was simply trying to make a statement that was completely apolitical and entirely practical. You are preaching to the choir in regard to the government solving nothing by administrative fiat.

    That’s the interesting twist on this issue. While the government is virtually powerless to solve problems by dictate the market has stepped in to resolve this issue, at least as far as I’m concerned as a former incandescent-loving consumer. This is not a political statement in that regard, just the observation of a consumer who has done an inordinate and unhealthy amount of direct A-B field testing.

    For ambient living room lighting that needs brightness and warmth:

    Philips 23 Watt Twister Soft White Energy Saver CFL-

    For cooler and whiter light used in a PC-room environment:

    EcoSmart 23-Watt (100W) Soft White CF

  17. I have no problem at all Paul with people adopting whatever bulbs they wish to have. My experience with the mercury twisters has not been positive. If the forthcoming government ban of the sale of the incandescent bulb is reversed then I assume that the market will provide bulbs for all tastes, and that is all I am asking.

  18. Amen to that and to all the other areas that Rand Paul articulated the government has overstepped.

    In the meantime, give those ^ CFL’s a try and see what you think.

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