Nanny State

Vermont Bill Criminalizing Cell Phone Use for Anyone Under 21 Is a Brilliant Troll

The proposal is parodying, not endorsing, the nanny state.


A Vermont legislator has introduced a bill that would ban anyone under 21 from using a cellphone. Under the legislation introduced by Sen. John Rodgers (D–Essex-Orleans), 20-year-olds caught talking, texting, or TikToking could be imprisoned for up to a year and face $1,000 in fines.

If that sounds ridiculous, it's because it's supposed to be. Judging from Rodgers' comments to the Barre Montpelier Times Argus, the pro–Second Amendment Democrat is trying to troll his gun-grabbing colleagues.

"I have no delusions that it's going to pass. I wouldn't probably vote for it myself," Rodgers told the Times Argus. He added that the Vermont legislature "seems bent on taking away our Second Amendment rights."

The text of Rodgers' bill says that "young people frequently use cell phones to bully and threaten other young people, activities that have been linked to many suicides." The bill also notes that cell phones have been used to radicalize youth and that mass shooters have used them to research previous mass shootings.

"In light of the dangerous and life-threatening consequences of cell phone use by young people, it is clear that persons under 21 years of age are not developmentally mature enough to safely possess them, just as the General Assembly has concluded that persons under 21 years of age are not mature enough to possess firearms, smoke cigarettes, or consume alcohol," the bill says.

In May 2019, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, signed a bill raising the state's smoking age to 21. In April of the previous year, Scott signed legislation that raised the minimum age required to buy a gun to 21.

In light of all that, Rodgers is clearly trying to push back against the creeping infantilization of America's young adults. That's an important message. Whether a piece of troll legislation is the best medium for that message is another question.

Generally, I think lawmakers should pass on introducing purely symbolic bills. A more constructive approach would be for him to introduce legislation that actually repeals the restrictions he finds offensive.

NEXT: Escalation Breeds Escalation, in Iran and Beyond

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  1. A more constructive approach would be for him to introduce legislation that actually repeals the restrictions he finds offensive.

    Yeah, because what’s he gonna do when his ridiculous joke bill gets passed by a near unanimous vote?

  2. Do you want ants? Because this is how you get ants.

  3. Rule. of. Goats.

  4. creeping infantilization of America’s young adults.

    “Creeping”? It’s all but complete. The only rights left for <21 y/o s are voting and signing up for non-dischargeable debt

    1. It’s interesting how the same people who want 16 year olds voting also denies full citizen rights until 21. If the argument is that an “adult” under 21 is too irresponsible to drink, smoke, or own guns then why are they entrusted with a voice in the laws that effect everyone?

      1. The enlightened betters who want to ban under 21s from owning or doing things they disapprove of know these “children” will continue to vote for them so long by as they continue to promise them free shit and provide them safe spaces from the non-woke.

    2. And shooting foreigners and droning American citizens. Don’t forget the military!

    3. And changing their sex.
      And killing babies.

    4. I wish they’d exercise their right to remain silent.

    5. “barely legal” websites hardest hit

  5. lawmakers should pass on introducing bills period.

  6. “The Coddling of the American Mind” should be required reading for every legislator at federal, state, and local level.

    1. As a warning or a how-to manual?

  7. It may be intended as parody but I think it might give them ideas. The slippery slope looks like the yellow brick road to nanny staters.

    1. Yep-after all, they got the idea for plastic straw bans from a third grader’s science fair poster. Anything is possible

      1. How dare you!

  8. “I wouldn’t probably vote for it myself”


    1. Also, “wouldn’t probably” ∋ “absolutely would.”

  9. I have promoted this idea before. It always confuses and sometimes angers gun control advocates.

    One semi-serious point: if we want to address “causes” of murder and suicide, then restricting access to the internet actually makes more sense. Except in the minds of the hysterical, guns are not the cause of shootings, just the tools.

  10. What would teenage boys do without instant access to free porn? Dads and older brothers don’t keep Penthouses stashed under mattresses anymore? And teenage girls would probably commit mass suicide without Snapchat.

    1. The kid with access to a porn cache would be popular again? They could also fall back to 8bit porn on media.

  11. Cool beans, but “He added that the Vermont legislature ‘seems bent on taking away our Second Amendment rights.'” suggests that this legislator believes that a legislature has the power to “take away” rights that are inalienable and endowed by our creator.

    1. Of course, if rights derive from a deity that might cause some problems in the modern day given that it’s widely considered that god is dead. Plenty of people roll that back to ‘nature’ somehow granting a right to be armed or a right to speak freely, but history and rationality make a mockery of that notion.

      The only reason a thing is a ‘right’ is because people agree it should be. Take away that agreement, and suddenly it’s no longer a right.

      I’m a big fan of limits on government and individual rights, but this is a conundrum that remains unanswered on why A might be a right but B is not. I can only say that some ‘rights’ are a good idea for a stable society, and some are simply impossible as suggested. (RE: the type of ‘rights’ suggested by some leftists that require plundering from Peter to pay Paul.)

      There is absolutely nothing that prohibits Congress from amending the Bill of Rights to, say, remove the second amendment in it’s entirely other than the revolt that might occur if they do so.

      It’s that little thing that we tend to label ‘consent of the governed’.

      1. You have a right to do anything that does not harm the person or property of another, or interfere with their rights.

        Not really difficult.

        1. I readily admit that I find the notion of inherent rights to be laughable, even while I find that notion to be beneficial overall.

          Sort of like how I think religion in general is stupid, but it still serves an important human purpose.

          It’s one of the more haphazard human constructions, but an important one regardless of it’s absurdity.

          One might as well say Odin the Allfather granted us all the right to trial by combat. It might be a ‘right’, but it’s not one that anyone recognizes or honors because generally speaking most Americans don’t think it’s a right at all; no matter what Odin might have to say about it.

          A niche and pointless argument, perhaps, but one I find personally amusing.

      2. Dude! What are you even talking about? I have a RIGHT to have the government force other people to pay for my basic needs. And a few wants.


    2. “endowed by our creator”… OK, religious nut job, please explain to me where in the Bible (or your prefered religious text) guns are mentioned.

  12. So no one at all is concerned that an 18-to-20 year old smoker might be choked out by an enterprising young officer trying to protect them from themselves?

    I mean, they’re already addicted to nicotine and expecting a youth demographic with a history of poor impulse to quit smoking cold turkey under penalty of law seems…outright retarded.

    Maybe this Democrat should run for the Presidency. Without knowing anything else about them, they already seem better than the entire crop of Democratic hopefuls.

    1. Mmmm… cold smoked turkey – sounds delicious.

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