A plague of micromanagers

Remember being told not to touch your face?  And to always wash your hands for at least twenty seconds?  Yeah, the COVID surprise unleashed a whole swarm of officious, know-it-all petty dictators.  They were here all along, but they were then suddenly invigorated.

Looking back, we are overburdened by a plethora of rules and regulations — many of which were never blessed by the formality of due process, let alone actual legislation.  Just recently, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a series of edicts intended to eliminate internal combustion engines from the realm within the fairly near future.  No consideration, whatsoever, was ever given to the negative impact such restrictions will have on our standard of living.

Legislators are not immune to the temptation to micromanage, either.  Shortly before the latest series of drought years, it became the law in California that no individual could use more than 55 gallons of water per day within his residence — regardless of actual precipitation.  The various local water utilities were tasked with enforcing this statute and pay the steep fines if they failed.  How this is supposed to be done remains unanswered.  Water utilities have no idea how many people live at any particular address — they just read the meter and send a bill.  And the meters have no way of separating indoor use from exterior irrigation.  Never mind.  If it weren't for fatuous gestures, our elected overlords would hardly have anything left to do. 

In addition to chic causes such as gender equity and systemic racism, a particular target for the micromanagers is (ta da!) natural gas.  Although it's the cleanest burning of all the fossil fuels, and is truly natural since it just oozes up from the bowels of the Earth; starting with Berkeley, California, and spreading across the landscape, natural gas is being banned from new construction.  This is particularly upsetting to the operators of restaurants, since much of what they serve cannot be easily produced on electric stoves — if at all. 

This is incredibly silly, since 40 percent of electricity is generated from natural gas, and gas is a much more efficient energy source for water and home heating than electricity...let alone cooking.  Why is that?  Electricity loses a significant amount of its energy due to resistance in the transmission wires, whereas for every cubic foot of gas that goes into a pipeline, a whole cubic foot comes out the other end.  Pressurization and purification do take a little off the top, but it is well known that a pipeline is the most efficient way to transport a gas or liquid.  Meanwhile, coal and nuclear make up another 40 percent of electrical generation while hydro adds 10 percent, leaving all other sources to make up the remaining 10 percent.

The operational theory lurking behind this mess is that nameless, faceless, and unaccountable bureaucrats have a superior ability to make decisions for the rest of us.  Why?  Because they have proven themselves by clawing their way up the ladder of...seniority.  Someone who once had a very high position at the IRS once told me that it was like working in a cage full of monkeys.  Each monkey had staked out its personal territory and then viciously defended that space — all within a government office.

Meanwhile, the dystopia continues.  Potholes dot our streets, and "encampments" of drug-addicted vagrants despoil our parks and freeway embankments.  Even though these are relatively easy problems to solve, they remain unsolved, while taxes keep going up.  In one sense, we're getting used to this.  In another sense, we are simmering with anger...anger aimed at our political establishment in its entirety.  As well it should be.

Historically, occasional "Good Government" movements have arisen to reform excessively corrupt systems.  Fiorello LaGuardia is perhaps the most celebrated mayor New York City ever had...even though he was a Republican.  It is said that he assumed the mantle of the GOP just to be outside the Tammany Hall political machine.  There is definitely a desire for such to happen again, but the "woke progressive" ideology brands such efforts in the most negative of terms.  Racist, sexist, homophobe...you know the cadence.

This is way beyond old-fashioned machine politics — it boils down to cultural rot.  Some folks are so imbued with a vague sense of guilt that they willingly advocate substituting misery for prosperity.  One particular characteristic of this mentality is the compulsive adherence to obedience.  Why else would we be seeing so many masked-up people driving alone in their cars? 

Image: PxHere.

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