- - Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Christmas season brings no joy to a bureaucrat. There’s no heart for good will to appeal to. Banning things is what sets hearts afire in the Obama administration. The president most recently chased away the humble light bulb, the work of Thomas Edison a century ago, and replaced it with a pale substitute laced with deadly mercury. Only green fanatics were pleased.

The administration claims “safety” is their reason for banning festive lighting. Santa and Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, a fixture in lights, must be sent back to the North Pole. The Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday formally proposed regulations to outlaw the Christmas lights that have decorated homes from coast to coast, heralding the arrival of the season. As usual, the bans are phrased as “standards,” which is how government busybodies empower themselves to decide what you can and cannot have.

This time it’s not to save the planet, but to save the little children. The safety bureaucrats always try to hide behind little children. The safety commission says Christmas tree lights have killed 250 Americans over the past three decades. Who knew? That’s sounds scary, but in a nation of 320 million accidents will happen. Two years ago a menorah set fire to apartments near the University of Maryland. Candles, a favorite during the holiday season, cause over 9,000 fires and 90 deaths a year.

The annual death toll of modern Christmas lights — they’ve become much safer over the years — is one. That’s just one, one less than two. Each year, more than 36,000 Americans die from accidental poisoning, 33,000 die in motor vehicle accidents and 27,000 from falling down, which proves among other things how dangerous the floor and the ground really are. Gravity is a killer and must be repealed.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission enjoys nothing so much as a self-righteous crusade against reason and common sense. When it went to war on lawn darts and the courts overturned a temporary ban, the agency returned a decade later to thumb its nose at the courts with a permanent ban. The commission recently destroyed a successful small business that made a desk toy for executives known as Buckyballs. The toy used small magnets that could be shaped into different forms and were a danger if a child ate one of them. Shall we ban beans? Many a child has tried to stuff a bean up his nose, and sometimes succeeds. The commission routinely targets BB guns, but sharpshooters in the BB gun lobby prevailed.

The commission forced the recall of a $20 Easter toy called “Dan-Dee Chicken Dance” last year because the music was too loud and presumably posed a danger to ear drums (or maybe a danger from a neighbor with no music appreciation). When a pencil company produced pencils scripted with the anti-drug message “Too cool to do drugs” and a few twists of a pencil sharpener could shorten the message to “Do drugs,” an entire agency of the U.S. government was dispatched to foil a diabolical plot, no doubt hatched by a Mexican drug cartel.

This is what happens when a government safety patrol is staffed by humorless drones with too much time of their hands. Christmas lights are all about festivity and having a good time. The agency revels in dimming holiday displays, clearing store shelves and otherwise making war on the season of the Prince of Peace.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission could give everyone a Christmas present by dismantling an agency that has become a hazard to common sense.

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