(Author reminder: The plastic bag law only applies to bags at “point of sale.” Remind your retailers that they can legally give away carry-out bags by providing them at other parts of the store. – RGN)
Colorado’s plastic bag law is symptomatic of a serious attitude problem among those who passed it. The law reflects the notion that “We the People” serve the politicians instead of the other way around. It also reflects a perverted sense of what America should be. And it encapsulates a troglodytic view of technology and progress.
As I wrote in the first installment, this is a law that calls out for reversal by voter initiative.
A distorted view of America
In America, government and public officials are our servants, not our masters. In the words of James Madison, they are “agents and trustees of the people.” The term “trustee” has a fiduciary meaning: They are to serve our interests, not theirs. They are obligated to make life better for us—not to indulge in power trips, build political bases, or tickle their silly ideological fancies.
Let’s a assume for a moment that the professed reason for the paper bag law (House Bill 21-1162) is the real reason—although my last installment showed that it probably isn’t. If, as the law suggests, we are running out of landfill space, then in our system of government it is lawmakers’ job to find more! It is not their job to make our lives less healthy and more miserable.
As anyone knows who ventures outside the Boulder-Denver swarm where most of the law’s sponsors swarm, Colorado has no shortage of potential landfill space. Moreover, the products the law targets are made of materials that come from the ground. Putting them in a landfill merely returns them to the ground. Dust to dust.
What about biodegradability? “Biodegrade” is just the euphemism in the leftist liturgy for “rot.” There is no need for everything in the world to rot. Rocks don’t rot. Electric cars don’t rot. If we are going to ban stuff that doesn’t biodegrade, let’s ban electric cars, along with their Chinese slave-labor components.
But if our masters—I mean, our lawmakers—want plastic bags and Styrofoam to rot, then it’s their job to find out how to do it. It’s not their job to make the rest of us suffer for their lack of imagination.
Third World misery
Conservatives sometimes complain that the Left wants to make us more like Europe. The conservatives who say this are wrong.
The Left doesn’t want to make us more like Europe. After all, nearly all European countries have more-or-less market economies and (therefore) high living standards. Perhaps a dozen nations in Europe are more free economically than the United States, after 60 years of our mercilessly-metastasizing government.
Yes, perhaps the old-style liberals wanted us to be more like Europe. But the current “progressive” crowd wants us to be more like the Third World.
All their policies are evidence of this: Unlimited invitations to Third World immigrants. More drugs to deaden our senses. No limits on political power and manipulation. The war on reliable energy. The so-called “National Popular Vote” proposal—a pure-plurality way of electing the President so open to corruption that it prevails only in Third World countries like Honduras, the Philippines, and Mexico.
Chalk up HB 21-1162 as another example.
I can see their ideal: All of us trudging home (because they’ve taken away our cars) from poorly-stocked grocery stores. We carry a filthy hemp bag in each hand, each with a few “organic” vegetables bought at exorbitant prices. Toiling away until the “progressives” in charge of the government decide we are expendable and aren’t going to get any more “free” health care. Very much like the pre-maturely-old babushkas you see in Third World countries.
No clean convenience for you!
Styrofoam—or more precisely, expanded polystyrene—is a remarkable invention. Like stainless steel, it combines form and function: It has a simple, clean beauty, and it makes life better.
Styrofoam is 95-98 percent air. It has almost no weight. It is a superb insulator. You can use it to carry things that are very hot or very cold, without the nuisance or clutter of the paper cup-sleeves that litter the tony coffee shops so favored by “progressives.”
Styrofoam is great for carrying out extra food from inexpensive restaurants, so the food can be re-heated and doesn’t go to waste.
What’s more, scientists are developing ways to make Styrofoam rot—er, I mean “biodegrade.” Common mealworms can do the job.
When a product has that much going for it, you can be sure the Left will try to demonize it and take it away from us. “Progressives” are really troglodytes. They particularly loathe anything produced by the hated oil and gas industry—probably because it’s one of the few relatively independent economic sectors left in America.
And so, their plastic bag bill also targets Styrofoam. At the beginning of next year, when you eat at a Ma-and-Pa Chinese restaurant, you won’t be able to carry out your extra food in a light, clean, sanitary, attractive, insulated, Styrofoam container. Instead, you will shlep it home in leaky, grease-drenched paper, in a soiled hemp bag, or in your bare hands. Or you can just leave it on your plate to “biodegrade.”
I’m sure that HB 21-1162’s sponsors and the special interests they work for aren’t much concerned about that: They will suffer no inconvenience when they dine at Des Prix Exorbitants, or wherever it is they feed.
The governor and everyone who voted for this monstrosity shares the blame. But here are the 38 legislative sponsors. Needless to say, they are nearly all from the Boulder-Denver hive. I may have more to say about them in a later column.
Senate: Bridges, Buckner, Danielson, Fenberg, Ginal, Gonzales, Gina, Jaquez, Lewis, Lee, Story.
House: Amabile, Bacon, Bernett, Bird, Boesenecker, Caraveo, Cutter, Duran, Froelich, Gonzales-Gutierrez, Hooton, Jackson, Jenet, Jodeh, Kennedy, Kipp, Lontine, McCluskie, McCormick, McLachlan, Michaelson, Mullica, Ortiz, Sirota, Tipper, Titone, Valdez, A., Woodrow.
Robert G. Natelson, a former constitutional law professor who is Senior fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute, authored “The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant” (3rd ed., 2015). He has managed several successful volunteer political campaigns. He can be reached at Rob.Natelson1 at gmail dot com.
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