Environmentalism

Why Do Environmentalists Seem Determined To Torment, Rather Than Convince?

From plastic bag bans to plastic straw bans to bans on shampoo bottles in hotels, California is adopting supposedly environmental policies that won't save the environment but will piss off residents.

|

Grocery shopping had never been one of my favorite activities, but it never used to be as cumbersome as it is now. I'd fill up the cart with food, wait in line at the check-out counter and kibitz with the cashier as the bagger loaded up—and double-bagged—my groceries. Now, the lines are much slower because bagging has become an ordeal thanks to the "Earth-protecting" plastic-bag ban the state had passed a few years ago.

Consider what happens now. Store employees can't simply place your food in the needed bags. They have to ask how many bags shoppers want to buy. "As many as needed," I always say, given that I don't really care if the $150 transaction costs another buck. It's basically just another tax we pay to live in a former paradise. But that's not how it works now. The employees dispense bags parsimoniously. Who can blame cashiers given the guff they might get if they sell someone an unnecessary bag?

Bagging used to be an artform, where baggers carefully separated, say, the eggs from the bottle of Chivas Regal. Now they cram as much stuff as possible in a single bag. Heaven forbid you get stuck behind someone who pulls out a trove of bacteria-laden, reusable sacks. I put the new thick bags they sell right into the garbage, whereas I used to reuse the lightweight "single use" bags to pick up dog poo and line the bathroom waste baskets. Now I have to order those thinner ones online.

This has not improved the environment one iota, even though it has added to our daily annoyance. There always was plenty of evidence to debunk the push for the bag ban. Those bags comprised an infinitesimal portion of the waste stream.

But grocery stores supported it because, well, they can now charge for something they previously gave away. You can always count on a coalition of true believers and profit-seekers—the "Baptists and bootleggers" from Prohibition lore—to unite behind such edicts. And voters, who are easily swayed by uplifting ballot nonsense, rejected a referendum that would have overturned the ban. Those who promote these laws don't view shoppers' inconvenience as a downside. They often view it as a self-healing and education process.

"If we live in an environment that's wounded … it hurts us, chipping away at our health and creating injuries at a physical, psychological, and spiritual level," wrote Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai in a 2011 Huffington Post column. "(I)f we help reclaim or save what is lost…the planet will help us in our self-healing and indeed survival."

I'm not suggesting that California's progressive lawmakers sit around the campfire, venerating crystals and reading poetry about the wounded Earth. But they aren't doing much research before proposing an endless stream of these "let's annoy the public" proposals. They certainly aren't looking at cost-benefit analyses, either. For instance, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed Assembly Bill 1162, which bans larger hotel operators from giving out those little, convenient bottles of shampoo, conditioner and hand lotion.

"The proliferation of plastic waste is having a devastating impact on our environment and overwhelming landfills," said Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D–San Jose), the bill's author. That may be true, but it has virtually nothing to do with hotel guests. "What activists fail to mention is that approximately 60 percent of plastic trash in the ocean comes from just five countries – China, Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam—which have notoriously inefficient waste management systems," explained Billy Binion in Reason. "America, meanwhile, contributes less than 1 percent."

It would be nice if, for a change, lawmakers who promote these ideas at least wrestled with such rebuttals or with the latest facts. Recycling, for instance, is a great idea—provided there's an actual market for the recyclables. But as the Orange County Register reported in May, a declining percentage of trash is recycled despite all the new recycling mandates the state keeps passing. The article's headline notes that, "Your recyclables are heading to the dump." I pondered that as I stood over a multi-bin recycling center at the airport trying to figure out which portion of my trash should go into which portion of the container.

But at least we can learn about our wastefulness in the process. Regarding shampoo bottles, Kalra argues the ban will "increase consumer awareness of our use of plastic." He essentially admits that a main reason for the law is what this skeptic argued above: to reform and educate us. The California Hotel and Lodging Association supports the measure, but that's not a surprise. Hotels will save money, while the rest of us bring along contraband bottles or use those big dispensers—and hope that no previous guest has tampered with them.

Earth to environmentalists: Improving the environment is a noble calling, but you'll have far more success incentivizing it rather than tormenting us.

This column was first published in the Orange County Register.

NEXT: Review: The Current War: Director’s Cut

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. They do the small things that piss people off but not enough for action on the publics part. If they did what they really want, ban all fossil fuels , guns ect, the torches and pitch forks would come out. So they do the little things and bit by bit work toward their real goals.

    1. Exactly. And their real goals won’t accomplish what they (or most of them) believe. They really want to ban plastic. Plastic is bad, according to their philistine religion. No amount to proof to the contrary or reasoned argument will make any impact. So, even though none of the incremental bans will accomplish anything good, the faith that the aggregate will be wonderful remains.

      1. What they really want is to live in an echo chamber where everyone shares their poorly-considered opinions (the right has the same desires). All these nuisances help accomplish such segregation of NIMBY communitarian animal-lovers. California is uniquely unsuited to long term human habitation (see lack of natural resources and frequent disasters), so short term thinkers (“the weather is pleasant year-round!”) belong there, for evolution purposes.

        1. “(the right has the same desires)”

          Not to the same degree, or as widely spread. It is a tendency in all human groups, but when it is indulged, the way it has been indulged for the Progressive Left, it grows worse. But those of us who have differing beliefs should keep the tendency firmly in mind, lest we become as annoying and useless as the Progressive Left.

          1. Scolds have no purpose other than to scold, and that mindset naturally gravitates to more and more government power. There is no better way to scold than throw people in jail for not obeying the scolds.

            Whereas the right is populated by hard workers who want everyone else to get out of their way; if that means throwing them in jail for obstructing progress, so be it.

            There are scolds who have no interest in telling other people how to behave. All of us have that to some degree, because we have our own ideas on what is “proper” behavior. There are also hard workers who would sure like the bums and blockers to get out of the way, but have no interesting forcing that.

            But government is set up and controlled by people who like government, who like the power, and they naturally attract the control freaks who don’t have any agenda but being in control.

            1. Senator Elizabeth Warren, white courtesy phone please….

        2. What they really want is to live in an echo chamber where everyone shares their poorly-considered opinions (the right has the same desires).

          Absolutely.

          But what ARE those ‘poorly considered’ right wing opinions?

          Well, let’s see–freedom of speech absolutism. That’s one. And Mind your own fucking business–there’s another. How about being entitled to the fruits of ones labor. There’s one more. Freedom of association. Of religion. Of the press. There’s three more. And, of course, the freedom to defend oneself using whatever arms one deems necessary.

          There’s a whole lot like that.

          That’d be a pretty great echo chamber to live in.

          But we can’t–because people in the OTHER echo chamber have made this one pretty much illegal.

          1. Well, let’s see–freedom of speech absolutism. That’s one. And Mind your own fucking business–there’s another. How about being entitled to the fruits of ones labor. There’s one more. Freedom of association. Of religion. Of the press. There’s three more. And, of course, the freedom to defend oneself using whatever arms one deems necessary.

            And where right-wingers don’t agree with these things, they’re not really right-wingers.

        3. see lack of natural resources and frequent disasters

          You’ve clearly never been to California and know nothing about it.

        4. Yes, and they will attack unmercifully anyone who disagrees. Contrary to what Reason Magazine believes—this explains why hotel chains jump on the environmental bandwagon—not saving a few bucks by not providing little plastic bottles.

    2. Scolds have no sense of humor. We all had scolds in grade school. They were the ones who finked to teacher, always volunteered to clean blackboards and erasers. Probably brought apples to teacher before that. Scolds, humorless, full of righteous indignation. They grow up with the certitude they are always correct, and turn into government control freaks (regardless of who pays them).

      1. The high-school hall monitor; the epitome of a tin-pot dictator.

        1. Oh man, I’d forgotten about them. Yes, little hitlers-in-training. Despicable little caesars-to-be.

  2. “Why Do Environmentalists Seem Determined To Torment, Rather Than Convince?”

    My guess is that it is because the real goal is to get accepted control of the economy (under the veil of environmentalism).

    1. For some of them, yes. I think the majority (though maybe not a large majority) of them sincerely believe that banning various plastic artifacts in America will magically reduce the avalanche of plastic trash coming out of Asia and Africa…because they don’t understand that it IS coming out of Asia and Africa, or because they don’t understand how little is coming from here, and consequently think that ‘at least we can do something about what wee contribute to the problem’.

    2. Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” is more about drastically overhauling the American economy than it is about combatting climate change, her top aide admitted.

      Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti: “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal, is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all…Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?” Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing,”

      (OTTMAR EDENHOFER, UN IPCC OFFICIAL): Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War… First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.

      Christiana Figueres, leader of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.”

  3. Ever consider that the objective is to drive out all individuals, and leave the state a government controlled socialist paradise populated by compliant drones?
    And that it worked?

    1. That is why the label “globalist” or “populist” have lost meaning. On one hand, globalist.. the freedom to trade, invest and of association and movement. On the other, a top down socialist bureaucracy with land leases, price fixes, redistribution, regime change wars and rationing of the global population end game. The irony is lost on Reason.

  4. Many of them just get off on the power trip. Making complete strangers do what you want, simply because you want it, is a drug more addictive than cocaine.

    1. It’s not really that. It’s the local houselady who has a minor pet peeve. Maybe it’s about barking dogs, maybe it’s about leaf blowers before 10:00am, but it’s something minor and trivial. So they run for local council and win, pass their pet peeve ordinance, and…

      … remain in office. Idle hands are the devil’s plaything, so the useless politicians go on to ordinance every aspect of your local life. Now they have experience being a policitian, so some numbnut suggests they run for state office. Two terms after they they wind up in congress. Two terms after that they’re on stage competing with other Democrats and how hard they’re going to fuck over the people.

      It is the power trip, but it doesn’t start with the power trip. It starts with being an idle busybody.

      1. I think the younger generations are picking it up at college or perhaps even elementary school. When school systems (like NYC) give kids the day off to go to some left-wing slobberfest I think some of them start getting the idea.

  5. You mean Why Do “Environmentalists” Seem Determined To Torment, Rather Than Convince? Once you realize that watermelons have a thin green veneer covering a whole lot of red, the question practically answers itself. They don’t really give a shit about the environment, they just hate humans.

    1. They are also scientifically illiterate.

  6. They dont give a fuck about the environment, they care about virtue signaling.

    1. Gaia showers her faithful with green indulgences.

    2. They dont give a fuck about the environment, they care about virtue signaling.

      ^ This. It’s completely superficial in-group behavior that has nothing to do with anything.

      1. I was just discussing this with a co-worker while we drove 6 hours after a work conference. The same people who drove out paper because logging was bad and advocated for plastic back in the late 80s and 90s now are wanting us to use paper straws because plastic is bad.

    3. Glad I checked before I made that very comment.

      “Accomplish something?” Sure.

      “Save the environment?” Uhh…okay.

      “Show people that you are concerned about our physical, moral and spiritual environment, and more importantly, better than other people?” OH HELLS YEAH.

  7. Remember when Lefties went after brown paper bags at the grocery stores?

    Lefties are liars and should be mocked as much as possible.

    1. My above comment was meant as a response to you, fucking Reason

      1. I went to click the “like” button. Fucking Reason.

  8. “Why Do Environmentalists Seem Determined To Torment, Rather Than Convince?”

    It’s a religious thing.

    The same thing happens in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, . . .

    There isn’t anything in the Sermon on the Mount about eating fish on Fridays. The Prophet never said that women were supposed to wear hijabs. There’s a whole lot more to Judaism than not putting cheese on your hamburger. But all religions seem to develop these kinds practices, typically requiring some kind of sacrifice, to distinguish believers from non-believers and the more pious within the religion from the less pious.

    I wish environmentalism were treated more like a religion. If it were, maybe more people would realize that they shouldn’t use the government to inflict environmentalist religious beliefs on others. There’s very little difference between the Catholic church forcing us all to eat fish on Fridays and the state of California enforcing a straw ban otherwise–other than the fact that the Catholic church is widely recognized as a religion.

    1. You will suffer from carbon dioxide poisoning for your heresy!!

      1. I know you’re kidding (at least partially), but that is one of the ways progressives distinguish religion.

        Progressives think something is only a religious belief if it’s supernatural. They don’t seem to understand that if you believe something is real, then it isn’t supernatural.

        I grew up among people for whom demons and angels were as much a part of the real world as butterflies that migrate back and forth between Mexico and Canada over the course of several generations to the same grove of trees from which their great grandparents began the journey.

        It’s like an Archie Bunker mentality that progressives have. Archie Bunker thought that his racist beliefs weren’t racists because he believed they were true. Because progressives really believe that their religious beliefs are true doesn’t make their faith any less religious than those who really, really, really believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the son of God.

      2. Incidentally, I think environmentalists would do a better job of persuasion if they took to thinking of themselves as religious movement rather than a political movement.

        When you’re a political movement, you limit your appeal to one side of society–and the other side of society opposes and resists you simply because they oppose the other political movement for other reasons that may have nothing to do with environmentalism.

        Religions don’t necessarily have that problem, or, to the extent they do, it’s largely because someone is politicizing the religion. Generally speaking, the Irish Catholics of Boston have no problem being Democrats, and plenty of other Christians don’t shy away from Republicans. At this point, I’m not sure being an environmentalist in the Republican party is less controversial than being pro-choice.

        If environmentalism were seen more as a religion (rather than a political movement), Republicans would probably be about as hostile to it as they are to the Catholic church. Few Republicans harbor hostility towards the Catholicism generally. To the extent that Democrats harbor hostility to Catholicism, it’s largely because they see Catholicism as a political instrument against gay marriage and abortion rights. If Catholicism started trying to force the government to ban all meat save fish on Fridays, a lot more people would be anti-Catholic.

        Environmentalists will never get the support they need for the policies they want unless their values spread beyond the confines of Democrats. Even if they get their taxes and regulations passed, unless they have voters who willingly want to make those sacrifices beyond the support of the Democratic party, those taxes and forced sacrifices will be repealed once the bills start showing up in the mail. That’s what happened to California’s bullet train. That’s what happened to the carbon tax in Australia. That’s what happens over and over and over again.

        1. The difference is that warmists have “science” to prop up their beliefs rather than merely ancient god inspired texts. Thus, fewer doubting Thomases develop. The suppression of skeptics with 21st Century shunning – de-platforming – and excommunication- job losses like Judith Curry – completes the parallelism.

          This cult is the most dangerous of the nonviolent memes in the world.

          1. This cult is the most dangerous of the nonviolent memes in the world.

            Environmentalists aren’t non-violent, eco-terrorism is a thing. Not only are there environmentalist groups that engage in violence, many destructive and violent political groups have environmentalism as part of their cause.

          2. “The difference is that warmists have “science” to prop up their beliefs rather than merely ancient god inspired texts.”

            Sincerity of belief makes that distinction irrelevant.

            Because it’s science instead of ancient texts is why progressives believe in it, but fundamentalists believe in their religion at least as much as environmentalists believe in science, too.

            The religious aspects of environmentalism have to do with a belief in an apocalypse and a willingness to make sacrifices for a cause that’s greater than themselves. Fundamentalists often give 10% of their income to their church. Environmentalists sacrifice their standard of living to save the polar bears. They both proselytize. They both have things they do like not drinking alcohol for fundamentalists or not using plastic straws if they’re environmentalists that seem to be more important as a means to differentiate themselves from non-believers and the more pious from the less pious than for anything else.

            If they’re exhibiting the same religious behavior, regardless of whether it’s inspired by a belief in an ancient text or belief in science, then whether it’s inspired by an ancient text or science isn’t important. The real source of this stuff is the way our brains are wired. Our neocortex evolved to harness the advantages of language and religion.

            “Robin Dunbar argues that the critical event in the evolution of the neocortex took place at the speciation of archaic homo sapiens about 500,000 years ago. His study indicates that only after the speciation event is the neocortex large enough to process complex social phenomena such as language and religion. The study is based on a regression analysis of neocortex size plotted against a number of social behaviors of living and extinct hominids.[15]

            Stephen Jay Gould suggests that religion may have grown out of evolutionary changes which favored larger brains as a means of cementing group coherence among savannah hunters”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_origin_of_religions#Increased_brain_size

            Progressives who imagine that their brains have evolved past the limitations of their neocortex are probably wrong. The religious compulsions we feel to be a part of something bigger, to derive new apocalypses to justify sacrifices, to have meaning and seek group coherence, etc. are probably a function of the way our brains are structured. Our neocortex hasn’t evolved much over the last few thousand years. We are fundamentally like the people of ancient Sumer.

            1. The distinction I am trying to make is that people who disdain superstition and blind faith have an entire network of supposedly rational arguments to support their views, and this type of argument is socially preferred in today’s society. The science is largely bogus or at least inconclusive, and the tactics are similar to those of religions.

              While there has been some violence, this is still not widespread for AGW. But I fear for out Thunbergian future.

          3. The warmists have no science to prop them up. It’s fake science with forged measurements and completely devoid of any use of the scientific method.

            I’m surprised the global warming enthusiasts aren’t being totally excoriated by this time as well as the coolers of days gone (70s).

            1. Hence my use of “science”

          4. The problem with their belief in science is it is so selective and often wrong. See the crusade against GMOs. Or nuclear power or pushing organic rather than modern agriculture. See the push for veganism, based upon an outdated, self redacted study which had miscalculated the impact of animal agriculture (turns out animal agriculture is not a major source of GHG emissions, see EPAs latest study on major sources of GHG emission sources, all agriculture is less than 9%). See their opposition to pipelines to stop the transfer of natural gas from the Bakken Oil fields to the Midwest, where it would be used to replace coal plants. The natural gas is to expensive to transport anyway but pipelines, so is currently being flared off, so it is still contributing CO2, but without any benefits. The same goes for oil pipelines, which use far less energy to transport oil then trains or trucks which are the current methods for transporting the oil. They aren’t stopping oil transportation, they are just ensuring it is as dirty as possible. They hide behind science but they don’t understand the science. They select the parts they like while ignoring the parts they don’t, just like many fundamentalist Christians.

            1. Even when the science wasn’t yet developed enough to question certain biblical beliefs, that still wasn’t a justification to inflict religious beliefs on non-believers using the coercive power of government. When governments did that in the past, they were wrong to do so–science or no science.

              Basing their religious beliefs on science should give them no cover.

              Ultimately, we’re talking about some qualitative preferences at the very least. If I say that starving children overseas are more important than rich people’s incomes because Jesus died for starving children and told us to help them, how much different is that from progressive environmentalists telling us that polar bears are more important than our standard of living because of science?

              Once we start taking qualitative preferences into consideration, we’re sure as hell not talking about science anymore. We’re talking about qualitative preferences driving sacrifices with religious associations.

              If science validates the shroud of Turin tomorrow, that still won’t justify Christians using the government to inflict their religious beliefs on non-believers, and and if science informs the beliefs of environmentalists–even correctly–that doesn’t give them the right to inflict their religious preferences on the rest of us by using the coercive power of government either.

              1. If they were actually proposing science, or better yet getting out of the way of science driven free market solutions, they would be much more sympathetic. As it is they are just being hypocritical.

    2. There’s very little difference between the Catholic church forcing us all to eat fish on Fridays and the state of California enforcing a straw ban otherwise–other than the fact that the Catholic church is widely recognized as a religion.

      Is there anywhere in the country where you are, by law, prevented from eating meat on a Friday? I’m married to a Catholic and I’m pretty sure I could sit in a Church on Friday and eat a burger and no one would say anything (except her).

      1. I wasn’t saying that this is something the Catholic church does. I’m saying that people would find such a law unacceptable because of its clearly religious (Catholic) basis. I’m saying that people don’t raise such objections to a straw ban because environmentalism isn’t considered a religion.

      2. The big difference, is the Catholics don’t eat meat on Friday (other than fish) as a sacrifice to honor Christ’s sacrifices, not because it is commanded in the Bible. In Medieval and Renaissance times, they actually did not eat meat for the full 40 days of Lent. Other older Protestant religions also advice their members to sacrifice for Lent, not because it is commanded but to remind us what the reason behind the season is about.

        1. The other big difference is that Catholics don’t avoid meat on Fridays because the government forces them to do so.

          Environmentalists, on the other hand, are dead set on using the coercive power of government to force us to abide by their religious beliefs, with their beliefs on plastic straws being just one example.

    3. Ken, exactly correct. And as a religion, indulged by humans, there must be certain components. You mentioned arbitrary trivial but essential behaviors, in order to signal and confirm belief and allegiance. Another core value is suffering. That’s another way to demonstrate devotion and claim status. And of course scolding, since what fun is it to follow those challenging arbitrary rules, deny or even pain yourself, unless you can preach at others.

      1. It’s sacrifice.

        Religion makes people feel the need to sacrifice for a greater cause.

        Environmentalism scratches all those itches, and modern progressives without traditional religions feel those itches more acutely than others.

        So they pay more for a hybrid than the cost savings in gas will justify. They give up straws. They recycle. And these aren’t necessarily bad things–so long as they don’t try to use the government to inflict their religious beliefs on the rest of us. Be any religion you want to be, but I’m not Catholic and even if I were, I wouldn’t support using the government to inflict my religious beliefs on others using the coercive power of government.

        1. So they pay more for a hybrid than the cost savings in gas will justify.

          Correction – WE pay more, since they get the tax credit.

          And when they force gas prices to $50/gallon, their hybrid will make sense.

    4. You are on a good track here Ken.

      Since you brought up Judaism and cheeseburgers.

      Old Jewish joke.

      Conversation with G-d and Moshe on top of Mt. Sinai….
      G-d: And remember Moshe, in the laws of keeping Kosher, never cook a calf in its mother’s milk. It is cruel.
      Moshe: Ohhhhhh! So you are saying we should never eat milk and meat together.
      G-d: No, what I’m saying is, never cook a calf in its mother’s milk.
      Moshe: Oh, Lord forgive my ignorance! What you are really saying is we should wait six hours after eating meat to drink milk so the two are not in our stomachs.

      G-d: No, Moses, what I’m saying is, don’t cook a calf in it’s mother’s milk!!!
      Moshe: Oh, Lord! Please don’t strike me down for my stupidity! What you mean is we should have a separate set of dishes for milk and a separate set for meat and if we make a mistake we have to bury that dish in the dirt outside…

      G-d: Moses, do whatever the hell you want….

      Also fish is good.

    5. It’s an earth based religion- the earth is a god (actually a goddess) and we have to treat her properly or, in her wrath, she will destroy all mankind. Sacrifices must be made, of course, but we’ve gone from throwing virgins into volcanoes to requiring people’s time and money. We must all live simply and tread lightly lest we anger the goddess.

      And it must be everyone because even if you don’t believe, you can still anger her and that’s where government comes in. Not much different from the Christian post-millennialists who believe that they have to convince you to accept Jesus or they must kill you because the earth has to be pure before Jesus’ second coming.

  9. As the late Charles Krauthammer pointed out, Progressives always act from the belief that they are the only moral people on any side of an issue. That makes you immoral, either because you are uneducated, stupid, or just plain evil if you disagree on anything.
    Making us use reusable bags, or paper straws, or walkup windows only at Macdonalds is the same as requiring Hester to sew an ‘A’ on her clothing: the very public humiliation of us and display of power by them. The fact that the things are, in themselves, probably useless just adds to the thrill they get from watching us comply.

    1. Of course, like Hester, we refuse to accept a badge of shame, and openly and proudly continue our practice of making up our own minds.

    2. Was he employing that argument while commenting on gay rights or abortion access? Just wondering.

      1. Do you set around and think up the most non-sequitor remarks possible? Or are you just naturally good at it?

    3. I’ve been told by Christians that people at large without any religious foundation will create one out of thin air. I never believed it; but the evidence is getting pretty strong.

  10. They focus on tormenting because environmentalism has become a neopagan religion. They don’t care about the environment anymore than the people who sacrificed virgins to the Gods cared about the next harvest. The point is to go through the ritual and to sacrifice not actually improve anything.

    1. I think many do care and completely believe but they don’t realize all their huffing and puffing and law making is as useful as throwing virgins into the volcano.
      I had one the other day saying it should be a sin to live in more than a 1000 square foot home and proclaimed plastic will never be made recyclable even though the person is a chemist and should know better.

      1. I have no doubt many people actually believe. They are the tools though that people who want the real power and control use.

  11. Regarding shampoo bottles, Kalra argues the ban will “increase consumer awareness of our use of plastic.”

    Well, Kalra offing itself would increase consumer awareness of our use of plastic *and* of wasted taxpayer money.

    1. it will actually cause people to buy larger bottles at their travel destination then throw the larger bottle away since they don’t and can’t travel with it so in reality more pollution.

  12. I live in one of those virtue-signalling communities. We passed a plastic straw ban last spring – the first act of the new administration.

    And everyone is pissed. Not one word of “banning plastic straws” was uttered in the campaign. Yet the newly elected commission made it their top priority.

    So now I go to McDonald’s and get a paper straw that limps to the finish line at lunch, instead of their usual plastic monstrosity that allows the famous McD’s faux milkshake to pass unimpeded. I can’t imagine trying to drink a milkshake through one of those paper things… they barely handle a diet soda and a refill.

    1. Take your own plastic straw, loudly advertise that the plastic straw is recyclable, and the paper monstrosity is not. Demand the manager explain why he is trying to destroy the planet by refusing to use recyclable products.
      Ask the same question at every council meeting.

      Welcome to the revolution.

      1. Yeah, manager has no control. They are pissed. We talk about it with the owners when having dinner at our favorite local restaurants. Nobody is in favor of this.

        Strangely, I haven’t heard anyone publicly espousing support for the actual ban. The mayor’s kids are friends with my kids, and they say their dad thinks it is stupid. And it was his slate of candidates that put the ban in place!

        Something about proggie-land doesn’t allow free thought. You just shut up and get with the program. So these guys voted in a ban that they don’t even support, but nobody dares say that out loud.

    2. Wow, you can buy a diet soda or big gulp?

  13. When I was a kid they transitioned from paper to plastic to save the forests.

    1. Which was also bullshit, as trees are planted and harvested as a crop, just like corn.
      The reason is always made up and bullshit. The constant is control over individuals. Fight for individual freedom, or lose it forever.
      Vote early and often.

      1. In case you haven’t noticed, voting does not work. If it did, we would still have a Republic instead of an authoritarian govt. Until you start educating people about the way their govt is supposed to work and get them to believe in the concept of real liberty, all voting will do is enable the parasites in society to vote themselves things at the expense of the producers in society. The current education system encourages people to become parasites dependent on the largesse of govt.

        1. The problem is that shitty legislation is rarely repealed. It can be amended, but rarely repealed. The result is that this legislation accumulates, as does the people to administrate and enforce it. Government is basically a one-way ratchet on the neck of lady liberty.

        2. Producers might want to start a petition on State bankruptcy. Public union defined benefit pensions will bring down progressive one party rule blue states, while preventing a federal taxpayer bailout from producers. A “Detroit” at state level is the only way to get back the republic.

    2. “When I was a kid they transitioned from paper to plastic to save the forests.”

      Just imagine all the plastic trees we’re saving now!

      1. And all of the fires we are preventing from saving “fire line” trees!

    3. Hey, if the forests identify as plastic, they should be allowed to transition to plastic.

      1. If a tree self identifies in the forest and no one is around to hear it………

    4. Totally remember that!! It was a huge push coming out of the communist education system in this country. We’ve got to get rid of communist education if we are ever to entirely be-rid our country of this movement towards demise!

  14. A large faction of the environmentalist left view humanity as a plague on the Earth, and actively advocate our extinction. It’s hardly shocking that the movement doesn’t value human flourishing or convenience.

    1. If they seriously cared about the planet, they would stop exhaling carbon dioxide. Which would save the planet.

    2. Yes! Just like the animals rights people want humans to go extinct. It’s not about animals at all; it’s about hating humans.

  15. Why Do Environmentalists Seem Determined To Torment, Rather Than Convince?

    Because convincing you, while it would be nice to accomplish, is not necessary. What is important is compliance. Anything else is just gravy.

    1. At the Gravy stand,
      “Sign up to sell your soul to the [WE] foundation.”

      Ad:
      After all — You don’t own you. [WE] own you and that is why, “You didn’t build that.”, Obama (July 13,2012 in Virginia)

  16. The environmentalists aren’t interested in convincing us to voluntarily doing what they consider to be the right thing. They are children of centralized control. If you can’t get people to accept your proposals right off the bat, then force them to do what you want. The problem with that mindset is that when the pendulum swings the other way, they will be on the receiving end of the current rage-of-the-day by other specialty groups that want to make you do things their way.

    My own thought is that if you can’t persuade people to adopt your viewpoint voluntarily, you’re either doing a pretty poor job of presenting your case, or you haven’t thought out all of the unintended consequences of your actions and your demands are invalid and should be ignored.

    1. They’re children of central control because they’re victims of compulsory ed laws. They were forced to do what the government wanted them to do almost every day of their lives through their most formative years.

      Whenever a libertarian tries to tell me that we shouldn’t work to remove comp ed laws because instead of working for school choice under those laws because that’s too radical, I disagree. Comp ed laws are fundamental to our freedoms and this mindless environmental crap is just one of the consequences.

  17. The new bag system in California sucks big green donkey dick.

    Even if you bring you own bags, the self-service checkouts always lock up every other item so an employee can come over and check that your bags are legit. Fuck that. Some store self-checkouts are worse than others, but all with bitch a mighty stink if you don’t exactly follow the precise procedure.

    You are told to place the bag in the bagging area. The moment you do so the alarm rings and an employee has to come and check that it’s either one of their bags or one of yours. Then the first item you place it sounds an alert of “unexpected item in bagging area”. Then if you try to bag your items as you check them out, so they fit in the bag, it takes too long and upsets the machine so it sounds an alert. Alert after fucking alert.

    So why don’t I just go to the regular checkout? Because out of ten checkers employed, only one is available for checkout, the other nine are busy clearing alerts on the self-checkout, so the line goes all the way back to the dairy department. And then they don’t have baggers with a clue. “Let’s put the white bread on the bottom!”. And contrary to Greenhut’s assertion, they baggers insist on no more than three items per bag. More than that and they want to double bag it and charge you and extra dime. Fuck them all. Fuck the state for mandating this shit.

    And they’re PAPER bags! The process of banning plastic led to a tax on paper bags! Who the fuck thought up that idea?

    1. The thing is, the inconvenience is part of the attraction. The Greenies WANT to be inconvenienced in their daily lives, because it makes them feel good about themselves that they are putting up with that For The Environment. And the fact that we get annoyed makes them feel superior.

      Since being martyred in small ways makes them feel good, one can only imagine how good they would feel if we sacrificed them to Mother Gaia. Preferably (as the Mikado said) something artistic, but lingering.

      *snort*

      1. As someone pointed out regarding Ralph Nader, ‘he has a closet full of hair shirts, and he wants you to wear one, too’.

      2. They don’t want to suffer themselves so much as they want Bubba who drives an F350 and voted for Trump to suffer. For them, it’s all about virtue signaling. They will NEVER give up their big houses, Subarus/Priuses, or exotic vacations no matter how bad the carbon footprint.

    2. Yikes, it’s even worse than I thought. It’s bizarre.

      In Virginia, we don’t have these weird bag rules (yet, anyway). But having efficient self-serve is a must because every store I go into has 10-15 regular checkout aisles, but only one or two is actually manned even if it’s a heavy day like the day before Thanksgiving.

      1. If the proggie dems succeed in flipping the senate and assembly next week, Virginia wil be indistinguishable from California, NY, or MA, since it’s billionaires from these states who are funding their campaigns to turn it into another version of their hellholes

  18. I lay before you more commie irony than the universe can hold (and a damn good tune).

    1. Killing in the Name is one of those weird songs where libertarian and progressive viewpoints intersect.

  19. Why Do Environmentalists Seem Determined To Torment, Rather Than Convince?

    Easy, they are busybody assholes

    1. Simply speaking, it’s puritanism. As part of their environmentalist religion, they want us all to suffer.

      Kind of funny that the hotel thing is happening when it’s a major PITA to carry those things on an airplane.

      1. It’s not surprising that the majority of progressives, even in California, have their roots in New England.

    2. Yeah, just like pro-lifers.

      1. Can you ever offer anything that is not non-sequitor or rank Whataboutism and false-, equivalency?

      2. You want them to stop using plastic bags, and they want you to stop killing babies. Tomato, to-mah-to.

      3. Exactly — The cries of “killing babies” (especially in the 1st trimester – where 99% of abortions occur) ring about as true as the cries of “man is killing the environment”.

        There really isn’t any legitimate excuse within such soliciting-phrases to be violating other peoples individuality just because the ad was cleverly crafted.

  20. Climate change has stopped being a cause and has become more of an ideology. Most climate change activists that I’ve encountered have this wild idea that only emissions from cars cause climate change. CO2 emissions must be banned to save the planet. If the US, Canada, and Europe were to vanish tomorrow it wouldn’t make a difference because you have China, India, and Africa. That’s the problem. If those countries were exactly like the US and Europe things would be pretty sweet.
    Since you can’t fix the problem and need to further your ideology you do stupid shit to keep your ideology alive.

    1. What they have is a solution in search of a problem. The solution of course is government control over everyone and everything. The problem was global cooling in the 70s, then global warming which became climate change when the warming failed to match the predictive computer models, and the latest problem is plastic. But the solution remains the same. Total government control. Whatever the next problem may be, the solution will still be the same thing. Totalitarians are gonna totaliate.

    2. Wonder how plants will “breath” if the [WE] foundation bans all CO2.

  21. Half this article is about the travails of having to use reusable bags at the grocery store instead of propping up petrochemical companiesby using plastic bags. Relax, Steven, if you forget your bags at home you can get them for 10 cents a piece at the Whole Foods and i’ve Never detected a whiff of parsimony. Geesch, what a snowflake!

    1. Most of the plastic bags are made from recycled plastic, so using them does not benefit the petrochemical industry, but I guess progtards like you prefer to pontificate without doing your homework

      1. The annual oil consumption to produce a year’s worth of plastic bags is less than 1 day’s total consumption for all purposes.

        If you role all of plastics together, including cheap and energy efficient building materials like piping, sealants, and surfaces as well as medical materials like syringes, tubing, blood bags, braces, and sterile packaging, the total comes to ~30 days (and this ignores compounding externalities like burning more gas to transport blood quicker in containers that aren’t sterile).

    2. if you forget your bags at home you can get them for 10 cents a piece at the Whole Foods

      Whole Foods used to even give them out for free. But they’re not allowed to do that anymore.

  22. ‘How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?’

    Winston thought. ‘By making him suffer,’ he said.

  23. Because they’re assholes.

  24. Steven seems to be an alright guy and I enjoy his conservative bashing articles just as much as any libertarian should. But this article, where he laments about the side glances he gets during his time in the grocery store, seems like he’s mailing it in to virtue signal to his fellow employees that he’s still ok with the Kocheses. This is not his best work, Katherine Mangu-Ward. I expect better for my $50 annual contribution.

    1. Katherine I’ll cover his contribution. Keep em coming.

  25. Why Do Environmentalists Seem Determined To Torment, Rather Than Convince?

    Because its about *power*, Steven. And how do you know, how do you truly know, you have power over someone? Because you can make them grovel. Because you can *hurt* them.

  26. Bag or straw bans are nothing compared to the fucking sociopath Democrats that hold power. Schumer introduces a gas powered vehicle ban. Schumer’s office expects the proposal to cost roughly $392 billion over a decade. Nothing less than destroying private transportation, collapsing business with vehicle fleets and a new motherfucking gov’t takeover of auto manufacturing while mandating, at gunpoint, the means of production.

  27. I live amongst these raisin-cakes and I can’t help but notice that everyone of them drives and automobile and has a cell phone and some really bitchin’ headphones and on and on and on. They enjoy all the awesome plastics and products of evil corporations as much as the rest of us. I guess their guilt over it is what drives them to be hypocrites.

  28. Those bans got you talking about it at least and that is half the reason they were made.

  29. Did I just read a complain by a grown up man/woman about plastic bags? How hard can it be to bring your own bag? Even my 9 yo kid knows how to do it. Is this article the definition of being a snow flake? “I am so mad, the guy putting my food in the bags at the grocery store is taking forever, grrrrr. The cashier has the nerve to ask me how many bags I want. ME, the princess of Orange County, how dare (s)he!”.

    Seriously now, I believe the US should lead by example, they even call themselves leaders of tje world. Even if its plastic is 1% they should start at least moving in the right direction. Europe has already started. That has not happened yet in the US. Eventually, the other countries will follow.

  30. If environmentalists really cared about the environment they would propose that we generate more of our electricity via nuclear generation stations. Until they do this, they are virtue signalers feeling good about their signals, but making zero difference.

  31. I think this piece could alternatively been titled: Why do “libertarians” insist on being such loud-mouthed crybabies over “inconveniences” that aren’t even that big of a deal?

    I’m sorry, but I have little sympathy for a whinger whose response to being forced to buy reusable bags when he buys groceries is to throw those bags into the trash. I adapted to using reusable bags a long time ago – not to save the environment, but because they were more durable and easier to carry – and can’t really say that the practice of occasionally packing or carrying reusable bags to the store has caused a material lifestyle change. Ditto with straws. Oh no! I have to drink out of cups now?

    There might be a perfectly reasonable case against these laws as mostly symbolic gestures that won’t materially address the underlying problem. That’s fine! But you really lose me on that argument by leading with all of this nonsense about having to use shampoo dispensed from a refillable container rather than a “convenient” little plastic bottle. Get over it.

    1. You’re right that we will adapt and overcome, but the busybodies using the violent force of government to enforce ‘moral’ values is, and should be, intolerable to all lovers of liberty.

    2. For those of us who haven’t sold our own souls to the Anti-Individual [WE] foundation. It represents a lot more than a, “minor inconvenience”.

Please to post comments