Summer heat is the latest excuse to usher in more nanny-statism
By: Rachel Marsden
PARIS — Here in France and around Europe this week, the mercury has been
topping 42C (108F). Sentient adults are fully capable of deciding for themselves
how to handle the situation, as they have always done throughout human history
when faced with challenging environments. Some take off to the beach or to the
local swimming pool, while others enjoy the modern benefits of air conditioning,
either at home or in public spaces. But now our Western governments are trying
to weasel their way into our summertime decision-making.
The British government has declared a national emergency and called two cabinet meetings over the heatwave, with the weather office warning of a danger to life. The nanny-state has swooped in, telling people to drink water, work from home, and avoid travel. It’s hard to believe that this is the same country that sent young men to storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Today, they’d be asking if they’re certain to have packed enough organic juice and snacks in recyclable packaging to keep their energy up while they fought Nazis.
Who actually needs this kind of handholding? What is the actual purpose of such blatantly infantilizing announcements, other than to drum up more fear in an attempt to get citizens used to the idea that government management, control, and restrictions are needed in lieu of one’s own self-governance and choices.
Government temperature control will also take another form this week as the European Commission is set to ask its member states to limit air conditioning in public buildings, offices, and commercial businesses to no lower than 25C (77F) in the summer and heating to no higher than 19C (66F) in the winter. Some of us can hardly imagine working out in a gym or sitting in a crowded movie theater that must be kept at a minimum of 25C in the middle of summer. Some businesses, which have already suffered a loss of business as a result of government-mandated Covid lockdowns, mandates, and restrictions, risk losing another chunk of their clientele if government temperature mandates defeat the purpose of finding refuge in such places when it’s hot outside. And good luck trying to convince people to come to work during heat waves, rather than take sick days or some of their generous European leave, when they have to endure that kind of heat at the office.
Similar measures have already been in place across Italy since May 1, with 27C (81F) being the lowest allowable limit for public air conditioning, with fines of 500 to 3,000 euros for noncompliance. And lest anyone think that private individuals would be left alone to control the environment inside their own homes as they see fit, they’ve already been lectured by public officials in France and Italy. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi asked, “Do we want to have peace or do we want to have the air conditioning on?” Meanwhile, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire was already asking back in March for French citizens to reduce their heating by one degree Celsius to help increase French energy independence amid the Ukraine conflict. The EU is now reportedly set to take things even further by formally requesting that all of its member state governments impose technically enforceable binding limits on heating and cooling.
All of these officials are attempting to sell their interest in controlling the temperature indoors as a war effort against Russia to the benefit of Ukraine. What they conveniently omit, other than the fact that it’s hardly doing Ukraine any visible good, is the fact that Russia has no shortage of customers for its gas amid Europe’s hair-brained decision to sanction its own gas supply from Russia. It’s really just Europe that’s now left scrambling to replace it in the absence of stop-gap measures or a realistic backup plan. In other words, we aren’t suffering for Ukraine. Rather, we’re suffering for our own leaders’ ineptitude while they attempt to redirect our anger toward Russia for their own failed policies. If our leaders hadn’t sanctioned their own energy supply, then they wouldn’t have to dictate our use of air conditioning amid a summer heat wave. They single-handedly created this mess themselves, and now want us to pay the price.
The ineptitude of Western officials has already played a significant role in exacerbating the impact of the current heat wave. For example, here in France, the hot and dry weather has fueled forest fires near Bordeaux, which have only been made worse by the fact that (as of last September), about 15 percent of French firefighters had lost their jobs due to their refusal to abide by government Covid jab mandates. To date, they have yet to be reintegrated, despite the obvious need in this critical time for all possible hands on deck. As always, ideology trumps pragmatism.
Our Western leaders have recently exploited the weather, a virus, and global conflict to impose greater state control. And it always seems to come at the expense of the average citizen’s independence and well-being.
COPYRIGHT 2022 RACHEL MARSDEN