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A Critical Distinction

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Today’s New York Times ran this report [2] on the attempt by the government of California to gain statewide control over private thermostats [3].  I sent the following letter in response.

Government officials in
California now seek power to centrally control thermostats in private
buildings ("California Seeks Thermostat Control," January 11).  In an
attempt to paint those who object to such government intrusion as
alarmists, your reporter explains that "The fact that similar
radio-controlled technologies have been used on a voluntary basis in
irrigation systems on farm fields and golf courses and in limited
programs for buildings on Long Island is seldom mentioned" by opponents
of such power.

Suppose Sacramento proposes to remotely control,
in "emergency" situations, all newspaper presses.  Would you remain
sanguine about such government powers if someone explained that history
is full of instances of the press voluntarily restraining itself?

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

Call me pedestrian — bourgeois — simple-minded — dumb-as-dirt, but I see a huge difference between voluntarily doing something and being forced to do that same something.

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