Bans

Katherine Mangu-Ward Defends Plastic Bags Against Sea Turtles and Adorable Children on Huff Post Live

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Watch as Managing Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward sticks up for bag freedom at Huff Post Live!

Here's the segment info:

After bag bans have sprouted up at the city level, Californians are now considering a statewide crackdown on plastic bags.

Originally aired on May 22, 2013

Hosted by: 

 Guests:

  • Abbe Land @AbbeLand (West Hollywood , CA) Mayor of West Hollywood
  • Katherine Mangu-Ward @kmanguward (Washington, DC) Managing Editor at Reason Magazine
  • Nathan Weaver @EnvCalifornia (Los Angeles, CA) Oceans Advocate at Environment California
  • Eli Washburn (Grass Valley, CA) Student at Grass Valley Charter School
  • Temma Farrell (Grass Valley, CA) Student at Grass Valley Charter School

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  1. She’s wasting her time. Plastic bags are plastic, for pete’s sake! Made of kemikalz by korporashunz! From OIL!

      1. HOW DARE THEY!

    1. And the politicians got smart and paid off the grocers with a mandatory bag tax fee.

      From living in an area where such a ban is in place, expect stores that don’t fall under the ban to charge a bag fee anyways and say it’s due to the ban. Also, those shopping baskets make great “free” bags.

  2. I’ve seen plastic bags in the wild, they don’t look all that dangerous to me.

    1. Depending on wind conditions, they can be fast little bastards.

  3. Good thing California has infinite resources, and both public and private sectors are thriving there. They won’t die from a thousand cuts. Of course, there are millions, but who’s counting?

    What’s a little more arbitrary regulation going to hurt?

  4. This is why there are no aquatic libertarians.

    1. *tries to give thumbs up, but can’t because I’m a bird and I’m all wrapped up in a plastic thing from a six pack and drowning in a puddle*

    2. What about the seasteaders?

  5. I think wrapping sea turtle in plastic enhances the taste.

    1. SOUS-VIDE!

  6. Having surfed among plenty of plastic bags, I’z gotzta tell y’all that supermarkets effectively using the ocean free of charge like that is bullshit.

    I’m not saying the government should ban them, but I don’t see why surfers, divers, et. al. should have to pay the price for supermarkets using plastic bags.

    It’s been traditional since I was a gremie for surfers to decorate people’s cars with trash if they see them litter–usually right in front of the litter bug. And if the litter bug doesn’t like it, some hardcore surfers ‘ll shove the bag down their throats…

    I’m thinking maybe an organized protest in that spirit might be the answer. Again, I’m not talking about getting the government involved. But maybe the volunteers who already comb the beaches picking up all the plastic bags–instead of disposing of them properly–just take them all to the nearest supermarket and dump them in the middle of the aisles.

    Turnabout being fair play and all.

    Anyway, the solution is to shame the groceries. Government coercion just makes people resent any solution. Resentment gets people going around making like global warming is good for the planet, smoking is good for you, riding a motorcycle without a helmet is smart, and plastic grocery bags aren’t really hurting the wildlife.

    1. “I’m not saying the government should ban them, but I don’t see why surfers, divers, et. al. should have to pay the price for supermarkets using plastic bags.”

      First, it’s people using the bags, not big, bad companies.
      Secondly, what do you suggest? And what “price” are you paying?

      1. “First, it’s people using the bags, not big, bad companies.”

        There’s a Ralphs on PCH at Pier in Hermosa. All the tourists stop by there to pick up stuff before they hit the beach. Giving tourists plastic bags by the thousands to take to the beach with them is like giving a baby a loaded gun to play with…

        Just because I don’t want the government to hold Ralphs responsible doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be held responsible.

        “Secondly, what do you suggest?”

        And that’s why I suggested direct action. There’s a reason why various companies do various things that cost more money–like using biodegradable packaging. …and it has to do with public pressure on the company. We shame the groceries near the beaches to stop using plastic bags–and when they care more about not being demonized for their misbehavior more than they want to use plastic, the problem will go away.

        Companies are actually much more responsive to their customers than government is to voters. That’s one of the things that makes capitalism so awesome.

        1. Isn’t this a property rights issue as well?

          You said that the surfers would shame litter bugs and voluntarily clean up said beach in order to maintain and utilize the property. I would imagine the fact that the beach is likely public owned contributes to litter rate.

          1. I’m sure that’s true!

            It’s been common among surfers to imagine the beach is their own property–like I said. Since I first got on a board when I was a little kid.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vfq0bvVhQWw

            Some of the locals used to get really violent with people–I guess they still do at Malaga Cove. Some of those bullies are in their 60s. But they have a great surf spot, and they don’t want a bunch of tourists destroying it.

        2. So if I sell you a gun and you shoot someone with it, I’m responsible?

          Sometimes, Ken, you go completely off the reservation.

          1. I didn’t say you were legally responsible.

            But if you know someone is out to kill somebody, and you give him a courtesy gun for free? Yeah, morally, I think you’re being irresponsible.

            Oh, you’re going to the beach? Would you like me to double bag that for you sir?

            If you’re giving tourists thousands and thousands of plastic bags to take to the beach with them every year–yeah, I think you’re being irresponsible. Do I think the government should stop you?

            No.

            But again, just because I don’t think the government should get involved in something doesn’t mean I can’t care about it or shouldn’t pressure you to stop. Incidentally, I don’t think much of pornographers either–but that’s the great thing about being a libertarian…

            Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean I think the government shouldn’t allow people to do it. I certainly don’t give up my right to criticize other people’ irresponsible behavior just because I don’t want the government involved.

            I know a lot of my fellow libertarians have problems with splitting those concepts–but they shouldn’t. Maybe we’ve gotten so accustomed to arguing with people who can’t split those concepts that we’re not all as clear on it ourselves as we should be.

            1. Let me be clear…

              “I don’t like something doesn’t mean I think the government shouldn’t allow people to do it.”

              Concept 1: I don’t like something.

              Concept 2: The government should let people do something.

              Most people don’t see a difference between those two concepts. They think they’re the same thing!

              Libertarian see a difference! It’s an important part of what makes us libertarian.

              1. That wasn’t so clear

                *EDIT*

                Concept 2: The government [shouldn’t] let people do something.

                But you probably already knew that.

              2. Let ME be clear, Ken.

                You come into MY store and start dumping trash in my aisles, and I will hold you there at gunpoint until the police arrive to arrest you.

                Because pigs cannot properly dispose of their trash doesn’t make me responsible, criminally, morally or otherwise.

                1. Yeah, well I guess that’s what I’m hoping for…

                  Because arresting a bunch of volunteers–people like those from the Surfrider Foundation–in a beach community?

                  That isn’t good for business.

                  Throwing people in jail because they brought you back the bags that originated from your store? You make an issue out of people boycotting your store, and that isn’t good for business.

                  You may find that you do better for yourself by giving your customers what they want–rather than arresting your customers and helping tourists pollute the beach and ocean.

                2. “Because pigs cannot properly dispose of their trash doesn’t make me responsible, criminally, morally or otherwise.”

                  Pigs are responsible for what they do.

                  And you’re responsible for what you do.

                  And if what you do is provide an never-ending source of plastic bags to tourists to pollute the beach with? Then you can and should be held responsible for that–by people who care.

                  Not held responsible by the government, but by people like me who care.

                  You know Libertopia isn’t a place where people get to shit all over everybody else and no one does anything about it because the government doesn’t get involved, right? Libertopia is a place where people are free to stand up for themselves when they get shit on–and the government isn’t there to stop them.

                  1. You may find that you do better for yourself by giving your customers what they want.

                    They obviously WANT plastic or the storekeepers wouldn’t be using them.

                    This is amusing Ken. How many times have you bashed on folks for abandoning their principles for their pet peeve issue?

                    You just, up-thread, advocated the initiation of force against someone NOT at all responsible for littering your beaches. That’s fucking statist! Oh, but that’s your issue, so we’ll make an exception to libertarian principles…just this once.

                    You sound like Tulpa. Take a step back, take a deep breath and think about what you’re saying.

                    1. “You just, up-thread, advocated the initiation of force against someone NOT at all responsible for littering your beaches.”

                      They are responsible for that litter.

                      They’re responsible for creating those bags, and they’re responsible for distributing them to litterers–free of charge.

                      The only people who have to pay for those bags are the people who don’t want the litter–people who were not a willing party to that transaction.

                      We should insert ourselves into that transaction–and I can’t imagine a more appropriate way to see that happen than for all those Ralphs bags to be deposited in Ralphs grocery store aisles all at the same time by dozens of volunteers.

                      There’s no question about which stores the bags came from, too!

                      The bags say “Ralphs” right on them! Every time one floats to the surface, it’s like free advertising.

                  2. If it’s tourists who are making all the sales, who cares about local hippies?

                    Notice that you admit repeatedly in multiple comments that it’s all tourists who are littering – but you seem to steadfastly refuse to blame/shame/punish them.

                    Why is it Ralphs’ fault that tourists are littering? Why don’t your notional volunteer vigilantes shame littering tourists instead?

                    Note that Ralphs’ also provides a “never ending stream of plastic bags” for non-littering local residents and non-littering tourists and divers and surfers to carry their groceries in.

                    But… hey, it’s a lot easier to strong-arm Ralphs’ than it is to shame the actual bad actors, right?

                    1. “If it’s tourists who are making all the sales, who cares about local hippies?”

                      I wouldn’t say tourists make up most of the sales at the local supermarket.

                      I’d say over the course of a year, tourists probably bring plastic bags directly from that grocery to the beach by the tens of thousands.

                      “Notice that you admit repeatedly in multiple comments that it’s all tourists who are littering – but you seem to steadfastly refuse to blame/shame/punish them.”

                      Have you ever met a tourist?

                      Most of them are impervious to shame, but–as I’ve already said–it’s been standard practice for surfers to get in litterers’ faces–at least since I first hit the waves as a little kid in 1979 or so.

                      That strategy has proven insufficient to solve the problem.

                      “Why is it Ralphs’ fault that tourists are littering?”

                      Is this the third time I’ve addressed this now?

                      I’m not holding Ralphs responsible for tourists littering. I’m holding them responsible for supplying littering tourists with an endless supply of plastic bags.

                      hey, it’s a lot easier to strong-arm Ralphs’ than it is to shame the actual bad actors, right?

                      Ralphs is rent seeking. They shitting all over the ocean–and not paying anything for it–and that’s supposed to be okay becasue the government hasn’t said it’s wrong?

                      What’s right or wrong to me doesn’t depend on what the government says–that’s part of what make me a libertarian.

                    2. Ken, you are out of your gourd.

                      You may have explained it three times. And it still doesn’t make sense.

                      Your argument is statist. We’ll have your libertarian card for this.

                    3. Explain any way the argument is “statist”.

    2. Um…

      I fairly certain the grocers aren’t introducing the bags to the environment, Ken.

      1. I’m

        GODDAMMIT!!!

      2. “I fairly certain the grocers aren’t introducing the bags to the environment, Ken.”

        See my comment above.

        Oh, and the county painting “drains to ocean” on every storm drain cover hasn’t prevented anybody from littering yet.

        Now, if you all will excuse me, I’m off to the mountains to take the twisties in my new bike–so I don’t have time to stick around for the inevitable argument about how plastic bags are actually good for the wildlife.

        But it’s on the way, I’m sure.

        1. Vroom VROOOoooOOOM!

    3. When it comes to things like this, I always have the thought that if the people who pushed for these kinds of regulations didn’t happen to also be the same people that bash every business-person as evil for making a profit, they could easily get companies to voluntarily do this kind of thing. But because they create a atmosphere of conflict over all their other stupid, pshychotic shit, people butt-heads with them even when they have a point that they’d readily accept otherwise.

    4. “Having surfed among plenty of plastic bags, I’z gotzta tell y’all that supermarkets effectively using the ocean free of charge like that is bullshit.”

      Having tried to take a dip in the ocean being forced having to dodge a bunch of lunatic surfers, I’z gotzta tell y’all that surfers effectively using the ocean free of charge like that is bullshit…

      Of course, maybe if the beaches weren’t common property….

      1. Jesus Christ Reason get an edit button already.

  7. If sea turtles aren’t smart enough to avoid plastic bags, wouldn’t that constitute natural selection?

  8. Littering should be a felony.

    1. Littering should be handled as property damage in civil court.

  9. The sniveling twat mayor who wants to use government force to make everyone conform to every liberal meme of the day is one of the most unbearable individuals I’ve ever watched.

    The dork environmentalist group spokesman is such a pussy that it’s painful to watch.

    The children are a joke. They can’t even express themselves. That’s why we usually don’t want to watch children on TV unless they’re professionals. It’s excruciating.

    1. Now I can see both sides of the plastic bag ban. If they are costing municipalities a lot of money, there’s a legitimate reason to restrict them.

      Personally, I reuse my plastic grocery bags, and I don’t litter. I like getting some bags, because otherwise I have to buy more — and they are typically thicker, higher-quality, and a total waste for the purposes to which I put my used grocery bags.

      So I don’t want to see them banned. And I agree with Katherine — who is, incidentally, the only person on the panel I could stand spending 5 seconds with.

      I’m glad she’s going to reproduce. I hope that none of the other panelists ever do.

  10. When in North Africa, the millions of plastic bags on barbed wire fences looked really ugly – spoilt the natural beauty and deterred tourists.

    South Africa seems to have solved the problem, they make supermarkets charge (at cost) for plastic bags and environmentally conscious consumers re-use them rather than throw them away.

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