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Letter

Regressing the modern home and office lighting industry to the standard prevailing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries represents the Trump administration’s greatest triumph to date.

Of course it is politic to resume using certain inefficient, heat-producing, short-lived incandescent light bulbs, instead of energy-saving, cool, long-lasting LED lights. However, the president curtails his initiative too soon to reap the almost incalculable benefits of retrogression whether economic or political.

The economic advantages include breathing life into extinct industries, birthing new markets for old products, re-creating long gone jobs and reviving coastal cities. The political return to Donald Trump will be the satisfaction of his supporters, who will realize a decline in government regulation and see bolstering of onshore manufacturing.

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For examples, our ports will benefit from broader regulatory relief than what Trump proposes. Extensive redevelopment will ensue, replacing rotting piles of antediluvian docks with fresh timbers clear cut in American forests. Ship traffic will increase thanks to new oil tankers and refrigerated meat ships. International commerce will see new sales and shipments especially to Norway, Iceland and Japan, restoring our balance of payments. Land-based jobs, obsolete until recently but employing American workers, will arise in new factories making old products like flensing knives and oil lamps.

All these gains lie within our reach. But to grasp them, Trump must regress home and office lighting 150–200 years to the light source that predominated from about 1805 to 1865, namely whale oil. He must flout the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium and reconstitute whaling as two industries, light energy and wholesome food. Let us burn the oil and eat the meat.

— Richard Friary, Florence

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