Instead of letting you choose, the government has found it fit to force one potentially dangerous medication on you and your family. Where is it? In your drinking water. Even more outrageous: While Uncle Sam forces medication down your throat, he also says you have no right to choose your own milk. Chris Campbell has all the details. Read on…
ISIS’ spokesperson is a kid from Calgary who wants to “paint the White House black.” In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell asks one question none of the “officials” seem to care to ask: Why? Why are foreigners flocking to the Middle East to fight alongside ISIS? Why is Saudi Arabia so keen on getting involved? How far does Obama really want to go? Find out inside. Read on…
If you’ve ever wanted to expose some heinous crime against humanity, here’s your chance. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell shows you how to make sure the world accesses to your leaks, even if something happens to you. Chris also shares why this is probably a terrible idea. Read on…
America has about 4% of the world’s population, yet houses 25% of the world’s incarcerated. What’s going on here? Chris Campbell digs deep into the industry to figure out the truth. While many blame the private prison industry, the real culprit, says Chris, begins right outside your door. Read on…
When Obama first announced U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, most people have no idea that it was to destroy U.S. military equipment in the hands of ISIS. How did ISIS get U.S. weapons? Chris Campbell blows the story wide open in today’s Laissez Faire Today. Read on…
Every 37 seconds, an American is arrested and criminalized because of one racist and ridiculous law. Join Chris Campbell as he takes you back to when marijuana became illegal… why it’s hurting America… and why you should fight to end the prohibition. And it’s not so you can smoke it. Read on…
An ancient guide has been in hiding… until now. As it dusts itself off, some early adopters are calling it “the definitive text on self-discipline, personal ethics, humility, self-actualization and strength.” And, according to Chris Campbell, it could be the only thing you need to thrive in our day-to-day life of modern chaos. Embrace it, and become the hero of your own story. Ignore it, and risk living a whimper of a life on someone else’s terms. Read on…
Think it’s impossible to escape Obamacare? Think again. Laissez Faire Today reader David F. shares how he did it and how you can do it too. Don’t see another doctor, take another pill, or shop around for better medical insurance until you read his story. Read on…
“What… is… that?!”That’s what one colleague asked when she saw this on my desk…My face, according to 3-D printing“My face,” I said. “What does it look like?”“Uh…”OK, sure. It’s a rough depiction. Eh. It’s pretty choppy…And, as you can see, the glasses didn’t really take well… making for an eerie sunken eye look.Didn’t really turn […]
“While I heartily subscribe to your premise of pursuing one’s dream,” one reader, Donald J., wrote, “there are alternate perspectives worth considering.”[We’re listening… go on.]“Some wiseguy once said that life is what happens to you while you’re waiting for something better to come along. Milton put it a little more poetically in one of his […]
“Where were you when it happened?” How many times have we been asked -- and asked -- this question since 2001? Today, Chris Campbell asks us to pose a different question: What can I do today to making Sept. 11 another turning point in my life? And then, of course, taking that first step. Read on…
Chris Campbell got more than he bargained for during Sunday brunch. In a packed restaurant, he learned about a hidden sex boom that’s taking the world by storm. You won’t believe how much money ordinary Americans are making in this boom. It’s so much…you may even consider cashing in yourself.
“Nowadays to be intelligible is to be found out.” — Oscar WildeIn the wacky world of American politics, if you as an employer have a religious objection to paying for your employees’ contraceptives, it is you who is contemptuous of religious freedom.As the New York Times editorial board lectured a judge who thinks otherwise, “the […]
Socialism is the big lie of the 20th century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may […]
Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera. I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a worldwide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say. I […]
I opened a new bottle of probiotics this morning, and it had one of those circular seals on the top. You know, the one that reads, “Sealed for your protection.”And that seal got me thinking… how much protection do we need? How much security is enough?How much homogenization, pasteurization, disinfection, national security, etc…. do we […]
Last spring, Barack Obama told the graduating class of Ohio State University:“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems… They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because […]
In the Huffington Post last week, Glenn Greenwald, Slate contributor Ryan Gallagher, and Ryan Grim had an investigative piece reporting that the NSA had been tracking the online porn-viewing habits of several Muslim leaders whom it viewed as radicals. A top-secret document shows that the agency was considering exposing these firebrands’ Internet dalliances as a […]
Americans are still trying to get a handle on the full extent of the government’s domestic spying activities, including the recent revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting and storing the email address books of ordinary Americans using online messaging services. Many users of such services are looking to tech executives for […]
A few months ago at a demonstration against the president of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, a Canadian citizen made the following claim: “We don’t have guns, we are not Americans, we are civilized.” A few days before, in early July, a train of the company had run away and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing […]
From the Tongue-In-Cheek Department of Laissez Faire Books…Washington, D.C. — Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, announced that her committee will hold a “major review into all intelligence-collection programs.” This surprising declaration followed the revelation, through documents leaked by government whistle-blower Edward Snowden, that the NSA has been listening to the […]
From the Tongue-in-Cheek Department of Laissez Faire Books…Washington, D.C. – The complex negotiations aimed at bringing a long-term solution to the federal government’s expenditure and debt problem have produced an unconventional proposal. “Although the solution only focuses on a tiny fraction of government expenditures,” declared President Barack Obama, “it is a step in the right […]
I’ve just spent a harrowing weekend reflecting on Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, the pamphlet that came out in January 1776 and turned the public toward seeking independence from Britain. I say harrowing because the distance between the ideals found in this pamphlet and those of today’s America is so vast as to be nearly unrecognizable.The […]
It was a wild ride last week in the world of the Deep Web, that section of the Internet that requires special tools to access. The feds took down the site called Silk Road and claim to have arrested its founder and administrator. The news streams were filled with lurid tales of derring-do in this […]
Want to know just how invasive the state is going to get in the United States?Well, take a look across the pond.In terms of the large, invasive state, we English are way ahead of you guys. We’re a good 50 or more years further down the road to serfdom.Nineteenth-century Britain was about as glorious a […]
A tense drama unfolded this week with the virtual shutdown of vital government agencies: the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as many other such federal agencies. Without them, the Founding Fathers could not have imagined the republic.Even if fewer […]
Three months after Edward Snowden’s leaks began to reveal the extent of the U.S.’ mass surveillance program, “serious people” are beginning to make the case that it’s time for the outrage and indignation to subside and give way to a “national conversation” about the future of surveillance. So has the moment come for us to […]
Driving into work the other morning, I reached over and gave my windshield a quick spritz. Nothing. Oh, sure, the wiper fluid came out just fine, the blades slid across my windshield as they should, but it was to no effect. So I sprayed again and again; eventually, my window was clean, but it took far too long and much more fluid than should have been necessary.
Just as I was thinking I’d been duped by the manufacturer, I thought of Jeffrey Tucker: “If some product annoys you in surprising ways, there’s a good chance that it is not the invisible hand at work, but rather the regulatory grip that is squeezing the life out of civilization itself.”
And sure enough, over the past two decades, bureaucrats in various state environmental protection agencies, with help from the feds, have placed ever-tighter restrictions on the concentration of cleaning solvents in wiper fluid.
Since the mid-1990s, the amount of cleaning agents in wiper fluid (as a percentage of weight) has fallen in California from roughly 35% to 10%. Texas, too, has a statewide limit of 23.5%. The cities of Atlanta, Ga., and Phoenix, Ariz., also have restrictions, with the former being only 8% by weight. Most other states have limits around 35%. There have also been limits placed on the volume of antifreeze that can be included in pre-mixed fluid. Typically, there are some exceptions made for mountain areas — or regions that are often colder during winter months, as in California — but increasingly, your over-the-counter wiper fluid is often little more than colored water.
While these restrictions are limited to a few states, the effect of the legislation has been widespread, such that retailers often carry products that are compliant even outside of these regulated areas. I surveyed a number of local auto parts stores and found that many products contain solvents in accordance with California’s or Texas’ standards and say as much on their labels. Ostensibly, it is more cost-effective for a manufacturer to offer one blend, rather than producing and distributing multiple goods to differing regulatory fiefdoms.
The cost of not complying with this can be extraordinary, as Ace Hardware learned a few years back. In the state’s largest settlement, Ace was forced to hand over $850,000 to California’s Air Resources Board for selling blends that exceeded state limitations. In another case, an Indiana company was fined $150,000 for violating the Clean Air Act and, under the terms of their settlement with the EPA, agreed to reduce the amount of cleaning agents they added to their wiper fluid blend.
And so it goes. Nothing that improves the lives of consumers is beyond the grasp of the legislators, the regulators, the bureaucrats and the busybodies employed by governments. There’s the shower head, the toilet tank, laundry and dish soap and many other attacks on civilization. Now we can add windshield wiper fluid to that list of state-ruined consumer products.
In this case, such intervention goes beyond reducing material comfort; and it’s not only a nuisance, but impacts safety as well. Without adequate solvents, your wiper fluid won’t properly clean your windshield, and can even freeze while driving in cold weather. Cellphone usage is the safety hazard du jour, but the real threat to motor safety is the obstructed windshield. And unlike the cellphone, which has sprung from the voluntary market, and for which the market can provide a solution, the dirty or iced-over windshield is a product entirely of the State.
In Georgia, for example, during the 1990s, the city of Atlanta released a tri-fold pamphlet on the city’s wiper fluid regulations. In the classic gangster threat veiled in concern, they wrote: “Complying with this rule is easy. Not complying with this rule can be expensive.”
Under the heading of noncompliant fluids, we find this: “Windshield wiper fluid that works in temperatures less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit” and “deicers” are not allowed. So the city threatened businesses, telling them if they sell a product that works in low temperatures — as it is meant to — it “can be expensive” for them.
Now, it is true that winter temperatures don’t often fall below 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the South. But having lived there for several years, I can say that’s not always the case. It’s also apparent that such products were in sufficient enough demand that stores felt compelled to offer them prior to this ban, hence their prohibition. Were there no one looking to buy these products, it follows that the ban wouldn’t have been instituted.
There’s something else about the ban on deicers that makes no sense if the goal really is to protect the environment. Without them, a driver has to idle his vehicle in order to heat the windshield enough to melt the ice. As we’re told, this leads to an increase in air pollution and is also not good for the environment. Of course, consumers could simply use more wiper fluid. But that’s no different in principle than having to repeatedly flush the toilet or rewash one’s clothes; it’s not only inconvenient, but it also negates the supposed gains in protecting the environment.
Curious about how to fix this problem, I looked at what the market is allowed to offer. Most stores carry a handful of brands, and they all have a few variants of washer fluid. At every store, there was at least one product that had 35% solvents, but most had a lower blend. None of the locations had a concentrated formula meant to be mixed by the consumer, as there once was. One store manager told me they used to carry the concentrate, but stopped a few years back. He wasn’t sure why.
Unable to find what I needed in the physical world — the world controlled by the state — I began searching online, and to my never-ending joy found that Amazon offers myriad products and concentrated formulas for windshield wipers.
So the solution to such madness is simply to mix your own wiper fluid with the concentrated formula at a higher rate than the packaging suggests. In the winter months, you can add a little antifreeze to your wiper fluid as well. These two fixes will roughly return the wiper fluid to its pre-adulterated state, ensuring clean and ice-free windshields for safer driving.
It truly is a sad commentary that we’ve been reduced to hacking virtually every household appliance and mixing our own cleaning products in order to reverse the trend of regression the state has forced upon us.
Some of these are simple, inexpensive and easily accomplished, even by those not inclined to handiwork, but some can be far more complex and costly. The point is, however, that none of it is even necessary, since the division of labor had solved all of this long before government declared war on our housewares.