A lot of hot air from the gas stove debate

January 30, 2023 4:30 am

Our latest political spat happens to be about whether or not Biden is coming for gas stoves, as Sean Hannity claims (Photo Illustration by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images).

Growing up in West Texas, our family tells a story about a lightning strike that either hit, or nearly hit, a billboard in our neighborhood.

It said: “Gas Cooks Better Than Electricity.”

In our contemporary era where anything can be an outrage, our latest political spat happens to be about whether or not Biden is coming for gas stoves, as Sean Hannity claims.

As with any conspiracy theory, there is at least a kernel of truth.  Richard Trumka Jr., of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, suggested banning new gas stoves for health reasons.

Yet as is almost always the case, the story is spun so wildly that any watcher of the 24-hour news cycle is now convinced Biden, Black Hawk helicopters, the U.N., or some nameless faceless entity is about to seize all existing gas stoves in America.

Simple logic would tell you that a government that can’t even seize assault weapons probably isn’t going to be able to have jack-booted thugs from the ASF swoop in to steal your stove.  That’s the Bureau of Alcohol, Stoves and Firearms, by the way.

Still, just to try and allay people’s fears, both the CPSC and the Biden Administration announced they weren’t coming for anyone’s stove, according to the Wall Street Journal.

That didn’t stop The Washington Times from reporting “More than 3-in-4 respondents, 77%, predicted in a survey by Texas electricity provider Payless Power that the independent Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will institute a ban on the methane-emitting appliances at some future date.”

In fact, National Public Radio tracked the story, noting how such conspiracy theory stories are more about generating clicks, viewers on Cable shows, and even revenue for some.  That’s little consolation for the Americans currently sleeping in shifts, guns drawn, waiting for Uncle Sam to kick down the door and toss in a flash-bang to steal the stove in the ensuing chaos.

What we’re really missing is probably an intelligent debate about what gas stoves are doing.

Yeah, I have relatives with them. Had one in graduate school. Been on scouting trips with them. Never really had a problem with them or electric stoves.

There is some research indicating some kids may be susceptible to asthma problems, in some cases. What we really should do is research if there’s a problem, when it occurs, and what we can do about them.

The current hubris on the right is kind of the polar opposite of this rational approach.

Here’s also another example of irrationality.

Every government bureaucrat, business CEO, or pretty much anyone even close to having any sort of decision making power should realize that America’s on the edge right now.

It’s incumbent upon you to think through what you’re suggesting. Bounce ideas off others to realize the full ramifications of what you even suggest.  Understand that in this hair-triggered country, a sizeable percentage is on the verge of breaking out the torches and pitchforks, while others behind them cash in on the paranoia.

Let’s try not to trigger them any more than they already are with even a well-intentioned idea.



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John A. Tures
John A. Tures

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College. He has written for academic journals on international and domestic politics, as well as Yahoo News, Huffington Post and The Observer.