Forcing the Changes

‘tis the season to… by golly!
Regulate the Christmas lights you got for little lolly…

Yes, apparently because there have been IIRC 250 deaths (since 1980) in the US which have fallen away to 1 per year… Nanny needs to pass new regulations, which will, inevitably be expensive, onerous and um… put the price of Christmas lights up. Maybe make it impossible for Joe Sixpack to waste his money on pleasing the kiddies. Now, the chances Joe will be struck by lightning and die are (on this year’s stats) 26 times higher than your chances of death-by-Christmas lights. With even the chances of death by lightning at 26/about 350 000 000, make the odds on a Darwin-award Christmas Decorator about as likely as a Hugo Awards going to anyone but yet another set of outspoken PC far leftists SJW this year (yes, they’re approaching infinite improbability). Yet, most certainly the regulations have only a slightly lower chance of occurring than the usual situation in the ‘It’s absolutely fair and un-politically unbiased’ Hugo awards.

It is in general a losing proposition for the ordinary consumer – of lights or Science Fiction. It’s pretty certain to be a losing proposition for the producers of both too (yes, even the ‘best’ winners and expensive light producers that comply fully with regulation ridiculous ad absurdum). It’s rather like taxation… too much is counterproductive. If Christmas lights become ludicrously expensive to keep that one potential Darwin-Award winner safe… people will find alternatives. LED’s run off 12 volt batteries. Or quietly decide that the regulators to stuff themselves in the orifice now available in a frozen supermarket turkey. The income, jobs and taxes the regulators (and their chums who probably paid some lobbyist to make sure their lights sold well, at premium prices) hoped to generate for themselves vanish… and such an attitude rapidly spreads. And yes. More Darwin-awardees, and even some who are not, die. In Zimbabwe where they made the rules impossible to survive, they now have a situation where disregard and distrust of regulations is the norm. No one obeys rules unless they think they’re being watched, or it suits them at the time. People who once would never, ever, deliberately flout even the silliest petty law, even if they knew they had no chance of being caught, had to, to survive. The black market, illegal currency trade, smuggling, and buying smuggled goods were all that kept starvation from winning. Everyone still alive in that country broke the law, with intent, regularly, largely with impunity, because there were too many to stop, and people knew that they had no choice.

Spin that attitude into publishing’s gate-keeping, or the various awards, and you actually see much same thing happening right now. The awards lose credibility, people buy self-published books. Once I automatically bought a Hugo or Nebula winner. Now I automatically don’t. Publishers once held automatic loyalty, and were the imprimatur of quality. Self-pubbed books were to be scorned. Only, if you stop publishing much I’d (and many others) like to read, and those pesky self-pubs are, well it could just end up the other way around. And if you somehow managed to shut self-publishing down, look to the death of the novel reading (as bounds get narrower) and professional writing (as the rewards get smaller still).

The short-term gains are not worth very much. That should be obvious to even the stupidest observer. That didn’t stop the dumb bunnies in their anti-sad-puppies campaign this last year. It hasn’t stopped most of traditional publishing outside of Baen going on down the same course they’ve been losing readers on for a generation. It won’t stop nanny calling for more and more Grinch regulations, even if she fails on this attempt.

Because it’s about control (and possibly short term reward and money). This is how they work. This is the only way they know. They cannot see otherwise.

In the meanwhile, we’re going to continue working around them.

We know we can!

And in the New Year I resolve I will.

35 Comments

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35 responses to “Forcing the Changes

  1. Draven

    I think the falloff in deaths is probably linked to the switch from ‘bulb’ type lights to LED lights. You could probably find a falloff in fires started by Christmas lights getting too hot, as well.

    • What, people don’t use little candles any more? Sacrilege!

      • Dan Lane

        They would be horrified at the Christmas bonfires we used to have. Many thousands of btu’s and carbon dioxide, all up in smoke. All that unhealthy chocolate and Christmas cookies, that unlicensed joy and fellowship. *gasp!* Even gatherings of religious affiliation without prior notice!

        ‘Tis a wonder we were not set upon and lynched, I tell you. Or crucified.

        On a different note, I’ve already got my New Years resolution tacked up next to the calendar in the kitchen. Buy more books! Other folks can resolve to lose/gain weight, work out, or what-have-you. I think I will be more faithful to my resolution. And get more satisfaction out of it. *grin*

        • My resolution is to complete a Novel. I’ve started so many things I haven’t finished that I really need to see at least one of them all the way through.

    • I wonder why they want less humans, but work so hard not to let natural selection do its work ;-/

  2. Kipling’s “The Portent” should be framed and hung on the wall of every government office.

    Whence public strife and naked crime
    And-deadlier than the cup you shun–
    A people schooled to mock, in time,
    All law–not one.

    • He was a remarkably astute man, as time has proved of so many of his stories and poems. My favorite is his Obit for a politician – off the back of my head it goes like this: ‘I could not dig, I dared not rob, instead I lied to please the mob.’

      • rawlenyanzi

        Oh yes, I’m a huge fan of Kipling’s poetry. For example, the fiasco surrounding the movie The Interview reminded me of his “Dane-geld” poem.

  3. OT but Yay, only a week later, my new cover finally went live.

    One thing that I didn’t expect, but am happy with is that WordPress almost immediately updated the cover in the embedded link. I was afraid that was going to stick round forever.

    I wonder if that goes all the way back.

    BTW, in the last couple of weeks I’ve been seriously reworking my WordPress page too. I’ve got a plan now for a permanent book plug page for other people’s works. So far, so good, but it needs a little more tweaking.

    • I have followed you on Twitter. Great things await me.

      • And I only just cracked 1000 tweets!

        My only regrets are that I haven’t enticed Larry or Vodkapundit to follow me back.

        One thing I’m going to do is stop following folks who only use Twitter to announce facebook posts automatically.

        • Well, I am a very occasional poster. I tend to use facebook and twitter to announce other posts on places, like this one. Occasionally I will announce books, or make a sarcastic comment. I don’t read it except when I log in to do that. So you might have to stop following me.

  4. I live in an area where Christmas lights are exceedingly common, ranging from a tasteful string along the porch eves and one reindeer to displays that would make the Griswolds green with envy (and that probably get thank you notes from the power company). It’s not December until the pink flamingo Santas appear (five blocks east) and the singing turquoise and pink peacock (two blocks east, one north). Should the Feds announce that electric reindeer, inflatable snow-globes, and long strings of lights for wrapping your house columns, tree, and/or eves are verboten, I suspect the result will make the sci-fi story about the Nutcracker Revolt look tame. {Can’t remember the exact story title and my search skills are poor this AM}

    But then this is exactly the sort of counterproductive thing that the Do-Gooders love to inflict on the rest of the world, because “if it saves just one life . . .” Thpppppth. 😛

    • “My neighbor is so Selfish….

      … he sets up his Christmas decorations in the back yard.”

    • I suspect the plan is to simply make them more and more expensive to buy, and thus slowly die away. Possibly they will issue licenses to display. Anyone can get them, and they’re really cheap… at first. Over time they gradually tighten the noose, eventually grandfathering out licenses and putting up the price year after year. This SOP in fisheries, and I suspect, in many other areas.

  5. fontofworlds

    What the regulators cannot stand the most? Joy. Gotta make it go bye bye, or there is no reason to wield a pen and a phone.

    • Pat Patterson

      And speaking of Joy, I just finished ‘Joy Comes In The Mourning,’ and it is brilliant. Posted my five-star review on Amazon, and wish there was a twelve star rating available.
      No, really, it’s brilliant. This is the equivalent of the jack of spades jumping out of an unopened deck and squirting cider in your ear: Not impossible, just highly improbable. And brilliant.

      • 🙂 A Ute is always a truck, but a truck is not always a Ute. I believe it is shortened from ‘Utility’ – which as man who has spent most of his adult life using them to work and play, is accurate!

        I’m glad you enjoyed it. It was a high-risk piece of writing for a Science-fiction author. I did learn a lot doing it too.

    • I am perhaps paranoid on this, but I suspect the fact that it’s a Christian celebration does motivate some of them in this case.

      • Quite possible. Some places (CA) started charging a fee if the display is large enough (commercial display/traffic control/nuisance/you-name-it). I suspect the anti-theist argument about “it’s a religious festival so you can keep it inside your home but don’t inflict it on non-believers” will crop up in some places.

  6. robfornow

    If you look at the trends, new law comes either when we have something effect the 1% or and most often when the abuse has already stopped. The temperance movement started in 1815, by 1900, alcohol abuse was way, way down; so we got Prohibition. It’s that way, government always waits until the problem is done before acting, then takes credit for it. Exception being drugs and that’s because it’s such a cash cow. Not just illegal drugs but the Schedule drug market with artificial price controls that you can only find more and more laws for. In this case, the lights are becoming safer, so it’s a good time for a laws; therefore, Senator Blank can run on the campaign that ‘he made the world safer for the children.’

  7. Well, the good thing about being stuck in the hospital for blood pressure observation is… I have nothing to do but write – if the blasted headaches aren’t blinding me that is. The meds pushing the blood pressure down are what’re causing the headaches too. The baby’s fine, nice and healthy. I can peek in but that’s why I’ll be quiet for a bit. We’ll see if I’ll be home for the New Year’s, but they’re working on getting my bp down and stable. Hopefully the side effect of the blood pressure regulating pill goes away in time. They’re keeping a good close watch on me, and I’m where I need to be.

    (But yeah, I thought I’d drop in and say I’ll be fine.)

  8. Pat Patterson

    If we must write new legislation, let’s adapt the bee-kill standard advocated in “Joy comes in the mourning.” If making a change won’t save as many lives as bees kill, then let it go.

    • Holly

      My mom likes it, about three quarters of the way through. “Joy”, I mean. I’m waiting for her to finish it to steal, err, borrow it. The great advantage of having so many readers in the house.