Every time I write about intrusive government and the slow chipping away of our liberty -- and our complicity in the erosion of rights -- I hear from somebody who says I'm a libertarian caveman who just doesn't understand that we're all in this together and have to submit sometimes to the greater good. But, surely, this should be alarming to the most committed collectivist:
The conceit in the 1960s show “The Outer Limits” was that outside forces had taken control of your television set.
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.
California, I remind you, is the breeding ground, in our "laboratories of democracy" federalism, where nutty ideas start before they become the national norm. It isn't an "Outer Limits" conceit -- outside forces are trying to take control.