Gas stoves. Who knew? Until this week, I certainly had no idea how hazardous they were. Tens of people die every year from their fumes. Yet, one can live his entire life — raise children, bring guests into his home — mere feet from these killers.
This week, The Washington Post reported that Richard Trumka Jr., one of the four commissars on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is considering unilaterally banning gas stoves, “or, at least,” notes The Washington Post, improving “standards around the amount of toxic fumes such stoves can spew into Americans’ kitchens.” As of right now, a person can just “spew” as much of this gas into the air as they desire. It’s the only way to get those big, beautiful plumes of fire.
Suddenly, progressives, sensing the state might be prohibiting some modern convenience, opened their Google searches and transformed into a throng of gas experts. As Charles Cooke points out, leftists such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who had never once typed the word “stove” in a tweet or uttered the word in a congressional speech, took on a “tone of weary condescension toward the bitter-enders whom she’s been trying to inform for years.” Not even in her Green New Deal — which banned cars and planes and promised every American a state-sponsored salubrious diet — was there a single mention of prohibiting gas stoves.
“Did you know,” she informed Rep. Ronny Jackson, a doctor, yesterday, “that ongoing exposure to NO2 from gas stoves is linked to reduced cognitive performance?” And, as of this writing, nearly 90,000 feeble-minded, lockstepping numbskulls, not one of whom had ever concerned themselves with “NO2” a day in their lives, liked her tweet.
It turns out Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Cory Booker, and numerous other lawmakers, wrote a letter to the CPSC in December warning that racist “nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and fine particulate matter (PM2.5)” was targeting “Black, Latino, and low-income households.” Democrats don’t seem to believe minorities have the cognitive ability to grasp the concept of ventilation. These gases have apparently already done their nefarious work.
Today, the chair of the CPSC says the agency has no immediate plans to ban gas stoves. It seems the organization is fine with allowing minorities to perish from gas stoves. Horrifying. Leftists release these trial balloons, which are defended by a slew of notable senators, congressmen, and activists. When the ideas backfire with the public, they pull back and, invariably, left-wing columnists will mock people for reacting to them. It reminds me of that time Ocasio-Cortez accidentally sent her original Green New Deal proposal to every major media outlet and then pretended it was a mistake when the reaction was overwhelmingly negative.
But as silly as it all seems, there are two significant underlying problems. The first, and most obvious, is that progressives have zero limiting principle of governance. If they could ban Americans from saying things they detest or owning a gas-powered car, they would in a heartbeat. They’re authoritarians in both petty and significant ways. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, the brainchild of nomenklatura Elizabeth Warren, is a perfect example of this inclination. It’s an institution that exists without any democratic oversight or constitutional authority. When Washington banned useful light bulbs years ago, they at least had the decency to do it with the consent of elected officials.
In the same way, carbon emissions are a part of virtually all of modernity. And so, environmentalists believe they have the right to dictate the working of the entire economy. When you take a bit of a deep dive and reverse engineer the stove-ban crusade, you’ll quickly see that the propelling reason for banning gas stoves is also “green.” It would be far safer and cost-efficient to regulate more ventilation than to add gigawatts to our electric grids in hopes of fulfilling the fantasy of solar power.
The state should have no right to dictate such things, either way. Electric stoves are probably far more dangerous to an average family than gas stoves. Of course, nearly everything we do is imbued with some level of risk. Refrigerators, dryers, computers, and dishwashers are likely just as dangerous as your stove. When the state is imbued with the power to pick and choose which risks it can abate, it can do basically anything it likes. Of course, it’s all a big joke until some bureaucrat is controlling your thermostat during a heat wave.