Government controlling your home

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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Next year in California, state regulators are likely to have the emergency power to control individual thermostats, sending temperatures up or down through a radio-controlled device that will be required in new or substantially modified houses and buildings to manage electricity shortages.

The proposed rules are contained in a document circulated by the California Energy Commission, which for more than three decades has set state energy efficiency standards for home appliances, like water heaters, air conditioners and refrigerators.

The changes would allow utilities to adjust customers' preset temperatures when the price of electricity is soaring. Customers could override the utilities' suggested temperatures. But in emergencies, the utilities could override customers' wishes.
[continued]
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/01/11/america/calif.php


The obvious problem is that the government never keeps its promises - anyone who thinks it will stop here is incredibly naive. Eventually they will try to take over your home entirely. It's how the simple minds of bureaucrats work - take away liberty for the public good.

Already we find places around San Diego where you can't smoke in your own back yard if it bothers the neighbors, which is rather absurd when we consider the popularity of BBQing in sunny Ca; or considering that many who support this law drive Hummers or other pollution spewing gas hogs.

I also predict that it won't be long before smart toilets will be reporting your diet and other activities to employers and insurance companies via the internet.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I wouldn't mind if the government limited my overall supply of electricity in times of emergency, but how I use it inside my home is not their bizwax. Lower my thermostat and I will compensate by turning up the space heaters. What about air conditioners? They can use up just as much as heaters.

A legislated solution to the real problem would impose a usage limit per household in times of emergency. This is done at the meter with a breaker. Let homeowners use their quota as they see fit: heat, or lights, or humongous TV with giant sound, or personal supercomputer busily recalculating all events since the Big Bang, whatever. Adjust the source breaker (and let me know) instead of the thermostat.
 
  • #3
falc39
hey Ivan, great quote in your sig. To me it shows that no matter what the politicians keep telling us, we are ultimately losing the war on terror.

Anyway, this is absurd, and I live in california too.

nanny state here we come!!!! :yuck:
 
  • #4
Hurkyl
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The obvious problem is that the government never keeps its promises - anyone who thinks it will stop here is incredibly naive.
Surely you could come up with a criticism of what's actually happening, rather than trying to convince everyone the sky is falling? :rolleyes:
 
  • #5
Ivan Seeking
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This is yet another intrusion, pure and simple; just one of many many intrusions that I find completely unacceptable. If you wish to deny the obvious, that's your problem.
 
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  • #6
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It's probably never going to kick off. It would take years to implement.
 
  • #7
Hurkyl
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This is an intrusion pure and simple. If you wish to deny the obvious, that's your problem.
Ivan, you are being ridiculous. You haven't even said anything about the issue from the article; you're simply spouting ye olde government conspiracy rave! And you're doing that stupid "jump to conclusions about anyone who doesn't immediately agree with me, so that I don't feel guilty when I refuse to evaluate my own writings" thing that crackpots do.

(For the record -- my position is 'tentatively strongly opposed'. Let this thread be proof that I don't accept the kind of nonsense in the opening post, no matter what my actual position is on an issue, if any)
 
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  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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It is just another example of government assuming it has the right to invade our lives. What is absurd is the defense of this nonsense.

I see this as an example of the core battle for liberty, and nothing less. Liberty is lost by baby steps. It is important to try to understand this.
 
  • #9
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Ivan, you are being ridiculous. You haven't even said anything about the issue from the article; you're simply spouting ye olde government conspiracy rave! And you're doing that stupid "jump to conclusions about anyone who doesn't immediately agree with me, so that I don't feel guilty when I refuse to evaluate my own writings" thing that crackpots do.

(For the record -- my position is 'tentatively strongly opposed'. Let this thread be proof that I don't accept the kind of nonsense in the opening post, no matter what my actual position is on an issue, if any)

I dont see whats wrong with what Ivan said Hurkyl. I dont want the government controlling anything that goes on inside my house.
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
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Hurkyl, you accused me of claiming that the sky is falling. And as far as I can tell you did so because I see this is part of a much broader problem. But instead of trying to understand the connection, you chose to take the low road and make personal attacks instead. You being unable to understand that connection doesn't make me a crackpot.
 
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  • #11
Ivan Seeking
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Ivan, you are being ridiculous. You haven't even said anything about the issue from the article;

Your statement here is false.

Ivan Seeking said:
The obvious problem is that the government never keeps its promises - anyone who thinks it will stop here is incredibly naive.
 
  • #12
TridenTBoy
I'm sure there would be a way to override what they are doing even in emergency. (If it is just the thermostat they control) I don't mean like built in either, I mean through other evil ways.
 
  • #13
Hurkyl
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Hurkyl, you accused me of claiming that the sky is falling. And as far as I can tell you did so because I see this is part of a much broader problem.
I chose the analogy because of the (apparent) vast leap in logic, the fearmongering quality, and the frequency which which you assert it.

You being unable to understand that connection doesn't make me a crackpot.
No it doesn't. However, the quality and style of 'argument' does point in that direction, as does your response to criticism.

(I put argument in quotes because it reads more like a rant than any sort of coherent argument)



I dont see whats wrong with what Ivan said Hurkyl. I dont want the government controlling anything that goes on inside my house.
I don't want the government controlling my thermostat either. What's wrong with Ivan said is:

(1) Ivan is distracting from the issue. He doesn't seem to have any interest in thoroughly rebuking this move -- instead he's using it as a springboard for anti-government ranting.

(2) When the vocal opposition is simply limited to ranting (on-topic or otherwise), it creates the apperance that the opposition has no sound basis.


As I usually do in this subforum, I'm criticising form, not content.
 
  • #14
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Well, I think there are bigger things to worry about Hurkyl....like the government taking control of what goes on side our house. :wink:
 
  • #15
Economist
The obvious problem is that the government never keeps its promises - anyone who thinks it will stop here is incredibly naive. Eventually they will try to take over your home entirely. It's how the simple minds of bureaucrats work - take away liberty for the public good.

Already we find places around San Diego where you can't smoke in your own back yard if it bothers the neighbors, which is rather absurd when we consider the popularity of BBQing in sunny Ca; or considering that many who support this law drive Hummers or other pollution spewing gas hogs.

I also predict that it won't be long before smart toilets will be reporting your diet and other activities to employers and insurance companies via the internet.

I hear ya man. I think it's a clear example of the Government controlling peoples lives in areas they have no business being in. I also agree with you that these sorts of things can be a slippery slope.

Aren't they doing this because they think people are using "too much" energy? Furthermore, aren't the prices of electricity/energy determined by the Government (because utility companies are usually Governmentally controlled/operated)? Anyways, if I am right on these 2 accounts, then they should just raise the price and people will use less. This would likely be more efficient as people will decrease their use on the margin.
 
  • #16
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criticising form, not content.
That should be your signature.
 
  • #17
Art
As I usually do in this subforum, I'm criticising form, not content.
No, actually you are just missing the point... yet again :rolleyes:

Why not test a new paradigm on yourself that it is perhaps you who has a problem in being unable to connect dots which are clear to everybody else and remember if you have a problem and don't know you have a problem you actually have two problems :tongue:
 
  • #18
mheslep
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...If you wish to deny the obvious, that's your problem.
This I expect would closely mimic the justification logic of the government activists that instituted the thermostat monitoring, the backyard smoking ban, etc.
 
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  • #19
dst
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It is just another example of government assuming it has the right to invade our lives. What is absurd is the defense of this nonsense.

I see this as an example of the core battle for liberty, and nothing less. Liberty is lost by baby steps. It is important to try to understand this.

I agree with that. We're also getting our computing liberty cut down heartily every so often, and that's not ideal in a world which'll be even more dominated by computing.
 
  • #20
BobG
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Surely you could come up with a criticism of what's actually happening, rather than trying to convince everyone the sky is falling? :rolleyes:

This is yet another intrusion, pure and simple; just one of many many intrusions that I find completely unacceptable. If you wish to deny the obvious, that's your problem.

I tend to agree with Hurkyl. You could come up with at least 10 better examples of invading people's privacy. Some are worthwhile even if technically an invasion of your privacy (body scanners for example). Some are just plain lame. Laws regarding the "War on Smoking" and laws against pedestrian use of cell phones have to top the list of lame invasions of privacy (in spite of the fact that I think banning cell phone use while driving would be a good invasion of privacy).
 
  • #21
Archon
No, actually you are just missing the point... yet again :rolleyes:

Why not test a new paradigm on yourself that it is perhaps you who has a problem in being unable to connect dots which are clear to everybody else and remember if you have a problem and don't know you have a problem you actually have two problems :tongue:

This is the "majority rules" paradigm, right? Something along those lines...anyway, I'm sure you'd agree that that hasn't worked particularly well in the near past. But sure, whatever floats your boat.

Anyway, the point is Hurkyl isn't a priori disagreeing with Ivan that this is a bad thing...but then again (to use an example we can most of us relate to) there's a difference between a statement like "terrorism is bad" and overreacting to the "threat" of terrorism, and, say, taking away certain of people's liberties in its "pursuit".

Edit: oh yes, and I'd also like to add that this is probably a bad thing...but I'm also sure there's worse out there.
 
  • #22
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The changes would allow utilities to adjust customers' preset temperatures when the price of electricity is soaring. Customers could override the utilities' suggested temperatures. But in emergencies, the utilities could override customers' wishes.

This plan was apparently written by someone who doesn't realise how easy it is to by- pass the "controlled" thermostats entirely. Who is going to police all of this??

Bypassing the thermostat will lead to the necessity of having to install a radio controlled switch in the power line that feeds the A/C unit.

But wait there's more: The radio controlled switch in the power line can easily be bypassed with a couple of jumper wires.

This will lead to installing radio controlled circuit breakers in the main electrical distribution box.

This can easily be overcome by jumping around the radio controlled circuit breaker.

The only way to prevent the jump around of the radio controlled circuit breaker is to install a radio controlled electric meter which can control all electrical power used. :rolleyes: After all the radio controlled thermostats can't stop people from running electric clothes driers.

The only true solution is to surgically embed radio controlled shock devices in the necks of every citizen.:surprised
 
  • #23
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166
I tend to agree with Hurkyl. You could come up with at least 10 better examples of invading people's privacy. Some are worthwhile even if technically an invasion of your privacy (body scanners for example). Some are just plain lame. Laws regarding the "War on Smoking" and laws against pedestrian use of cell phones have to top the list of lame invasions of privacy (in spite of the fact that I think banning cell phone use while driving would be a good invasion of privacy).

I would think that the magnitude of the invasion of privacy concept multiplies greatly when a device is placed inside your home.
 
  • #24
wolram
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There would be a number of ways around the problem, but when a few people have been hit by big fines (another tax) you would have to think again, maybe get your own generator, OOps that would be another Tax generator.
 
  • #25
Economist
Here's what Walter Williams has to say: http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080114/COMMENTARY/672374194 [Broken]

Last December, President Bush signed an energy bill that will ban the sale of Edison's incandescent bulb, starting with the 100-watt bulb in 2012 and ending with the 40-watt bulb by 2014.

You say, "Hey, Williams, what's wrong with saving energy, reducing our carbon footprint and stopping global warming?" Before you get too enthused over governmental energy-saving efforts, you might ponder what's down the road.

The California Energy Commission has recently proposed amendments to its standards for energy efficiency (www.energy.ca.gov/2007publications/CEC-[/URL] 400-2007-017/CEC-400-2007-017-45DAY.PDF).

These standards include a requirement that any new or modified heating or air conditioning system must include a programmable communicating thermostat (PCT) whose settings can be remotely controlled by government authorities. A thermostat czar, sitting in Sacramento, would be empowered to remotely reduce the heating or cooling of your house during what he deems as an "emergency event."

Say you disagree with the czar's temperature setting for your house, the California Energy Commission is one step ahead of you with the provision: "The PCT shall not allow customer changes to thermostat settings during emergency events." In other words, the thermostat must be configured in a way that doesn't allow the customer to override the czar's decision.

Some people might agree with this level of government control over their lives, but if these amendments become law, you can safely bet other intrusive energy-saving proposals are waiting in the wing.

For now, California's energy Nazis are simply testing how much intrusiveness Californians will peaceably accept. I can easily imagine California's Energy Commission requiring remotely controlled main circuit-breaker boxes that control all the electricity coming into your house. That would enable the energy czar to better manage your use.

Say you're preparing a big dinner. The energy czar might decide you don't need so much heat in the rest of the house. Or, preparing a big dinner might mean the energy czar would turn off the energy to your washing machine and dryer while the electric stove is on.

There's no end to what the energy czar could do, particularly if he enlists the aid of California's Department of Health Services. Getting six to eight hours sleep each night is healthy; good health lowers health costs. So why not make it possible for the energy czar to turn the lights off at a certain hour?

California's Department of Education knows children should do their homework after school rather than sit playing videogames or watching television. The energy czar could improve education outcomes simply by turning off the television, or at least turning off all noneducational programs.

Of course, there could be a generous provision whereby if an adult is present, he could use a password to operate the television.

You say, "Williams, you must be mad. All that would never happen." That's the same charge one might have made back in the '60s, when the anti-tobacco movement started, if someone predicted that the day would come when some cities, such as Calabasas, Calif., would outlaw smoking on public streets.

Back in the '60s, had someone predicted that there would be bans on restaurants serving foie gras; citations for driving without a seat belt, that the government said would be unnecessary if cars had air bags; and school bans on kids having peanut butter sandwiches in their lunchbox, I'm sure people would have said that would never happen.

California's Energy Commission, along with its legislature, has the power to mandate that all existing — as well as new — heating and cooling devices have programmable communicating thermostats by 2009. After all, it's never too early to start saving energy or prepare for an "emergency event." The reason they won't is because they would encounter too much political resistance. Their agenda is far more achievable using techniques dear to all tyrants: There's less resistance if liberty is taken away a little bit at a time.
[/QUOTE]
 
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