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Straw Ban Straw Man

Policymakers should let people suck in peace.

When Seattle outlawed single-use plastic straws in September 2017, the decision drew snickers from spectators as the latest, silliest example of nanny state excess—and one that could happen only in the famously progressive city. But by the time the ban went into effect in July 2018, straw bans had taken the world by storm.

Vancouver, British Columbia, banned straws in May. Active efforts are underway to do the same in San Francisco; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and New York City. California is mulling a bill that would prohibit restaurateurs from offering their patrons unsolicited plastic straws, and Hawaii considered a bill this year that would have outlawed both businesses and individuals from selling or even giving out straws free of charge.

In April, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to ban the little suckers kingdomwide. The European Union followed her lead a month later.

And it's not just governments: McDonald's and Starbucks are phasing out the use of straws, while A-list celebs like musicians Calvin Harris and Demi Lovato have publicly sworn them off.

Why this particular item, and why now? Eight million metric tons of plastic makes its way into the ocean every year, straw haters say. They don't mention that the United States is responsible for only about 1 percent of this waste, and that straws are a far tinier fraction still. Perhaps you've heard the old saw that Americans use 500 million straws a day. But way back in January, Reason broke the story that the source of this tidbit was a 2011 phone survey of three straw manufacturers, conducted by a 9-year-old.

The justification for the bans is almost beside the point, though, as evidenced by the latest argument: Straws are a "gateway plastic," according to the environmentalist group Lonely Whale, and prohibiting their distribution will cause people to reconsider whether they need the other plastic items in their lives.

Trying to keep track of the shifting goal posts is almost enough to distract you from the damage caused by these bans. Seattle business owners report massive cost increases from switching to less durable compostable straws. Some people with disabilities, who lack the ability to bring cup to lip, warn that without straws, they'll be unable to enjoy drinks out on the town with their able-bodied peers. Then there are all the priceless luxuries plastic straw bans will require us to forego, from saving our teeth a little wear and tear to sucking down a cold milkshake on a hot summer's day.

For most people, these aren't life-altering benefits. But absent a very good reason for taking our straws away, policy makers should let people suck in peace.

Photo Credit: smartboy10/iStock

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  • Mickey Rat||

    Continued radical politicization of the medical profession:

    "First, the AAP [American Association of Pediatricians] policy decisively favors affirming any "child's self-expressed identity." Putting this policy into practice means that when a child "comes out" as transgender, regardless of underlying conditions and mental-health concerns, parents are officially advised to affirm and facilitate the new identity. Transgender activists have supported this development.

    Which figures: The AAP's policy statement strongly resembles activist talk. It asserts that transgenderism is an intrinsic identity, related to mental health insofar as it is currently stigmatized. Moreover, again without substantiation, the statement dismisses alternative therapies — i.e. those designed to assist realignment with one's birth sex — as unreliable and unethical. Citing other groups, the AAP calls these tried and tested approaches "reparative" and "conversion" therapies — and states that they are "inappropriate," and "unfair and deceptive," as well as "outside the mainstream of traditional medical practice." But is there really a medical consensus on the gender-affirmative approach?"

    Why Are Pediatrician Groups Conforming to Transgender Orthodoxy?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Just the beginning. It will be interesting how SJWs react to all the strange unanticipated parts of life this leaks into. No one can be confused, no one can be mistaken, every little change of attitude or opinion must be affirmed by everybody else, instantly. But of course the one glaring constant exception will be government coercion to back up government intrusion. What a weird little world it will be.

  • Mickey Rat||

    That is a very succinct way of putting it.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Very few people have ever called me succinct.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Particularly with the language used as "conversion" therapy, with regard to the laws that have been proposed banning "conversion therapy".

  • Longtobefree||

    Newspeak has always been the truly terrifying component of 1984

  • JesseAz||

    They have their own subjective truths. This from the self declared party of science.

  • Dan S.||

    And this has what to do with plastic straws?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Nothing. But there is not a more appropriate place to put it at this time of the morning.

  • Horny Lizard||

    I didn't read it. What's it about?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The troll Homey Lizard strikes again.

  • Horny Lizard||

    I actually used one of the paper straws for the first time last Saturday. I got a lemon seed stuck in it and by the time I realized it was there I had suck crushed the end of the straw.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I used 50,000 plastic straws yesterday. They all worked fine.

  • Don't look at me.||

    50,000? Slacker. I used at least 75,000.

  • Johnimo||

    I've always washed and cleaned my plastic straws. I reuse them indefinitely. My wife buys these really heavy-duty, extra-long straws that should last a lifetime. NEVERTHELESS, I'm going out and buy several dozen more plastic straws to give away as Christmas presents. Once they're all banned, plastic straws will be a welcome and humorous "stocking stuffer." "Man, that sucks," will be what people say in admiration of the real thing.

  • NoVaNick||

    They are both "science" related

  • Ride 'Em||

    So, if a child decides he/she is a serial killer, the parents should affirm this decision and supply the child with potential victims?

    Isn't the argument for not charging a child as an adult for a crime is that their brains aren't developed enough to be able to think things through?

    I guess the old cliche of you can't have your cake and eat it too is just plain wrong.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Well, maybe not serial killer, but cannibal, sure.

  • damikesc||

    Lawsuits bankrupting these clowns will be fun.

  • Echospinner||

    Most people seem to have their minds made up about this and divide for the most part on political spectrum rather than scientific evidence. The post citing the National Review rather than the actual American Academy of Pediatrics paper which is available, for example.

    AAP is a highly respected academic medical organization.

    No point in arguing about it. We are talking about a small subset of people, around 0.7%. There are no clear answers as the actual paper states. They present an approach based on acceptance of the individual which has been shown to result in better outcomes. They briefly review hormonal or other therapies without definitive guidelines.

    This issue seems to trigger people for some reason. So did homosexuality not so long ago yet that is far less an issue today. Yet libertarians were champions of gay rights long before it was popular.

    Medical professionals need to think about what is best for the patient and refrain from personal bias. They also need to integrate new information and realize that nature is full of unknowns. This paper does not have all the answers and is by no means "radical".

  • BILKER||

    "They briefly review hormonal or other therapies without definitive guidelines." True, but they only review when they receive funding and then the findings in a great percentage reflect the wants of the funding organization.

  • BILKER||

    "Yet libertarians were champions of gay rights long before it was popular". So what you're saying is that libertarians have been perverts for a long time. I certainly agree.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Nobody has asked, how they know that the USA is responsible for any ocean plastic waste.

    America makes thousands of types of plastic products each years and even more type of plastic products made for the USA in China and elsewhere. Are these plastic items built and/or sold to foreign countries being counted as American ocean plastic waste?

  • Longtobefree||

    Of course, the science is irrelevant.
    That is the point.
    None of these meaningless 'do something' laws are intended to address a real issue. The purpose is to condition us to accept these laws. As the conditioning continues, the left will be able to pass any law to control us, without real questioning.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It is funny that the most power the Lefties can muster in the Trump era, is banning straws in Commifornia and a few lefty cities.

    Remember everyone, had Hillary been president and Congress Democrat - there would have been a nationwide ban on straws that is based on a fictional premise.

  • Horny Lizard||

    First they came for the plastic straws and I said nothing........ god help us!!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Look! Lefties trying to make fun of Libertarians for being outraged by straw banning. Then the Lefty equates it to the plight of the Jews under the Socialist Nazis.

    Those Socialists never change do they?

  • Horny Lizard||

    Oh it's you.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Someones gotta keep you trolls in line.

  • Horny Lizard||

    You should watch the show Animals on HBO. It's hilarious bro.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    MAGA!

  • Horny Lizard||

    True story: my great grandmother lived in Germany during the war and she had to go to a church to find papers to prove her Christian ancestry to the Nazis. Someone in her family had a last name associated with Judaism. I think the ancestor had converted to Christianity sometime in the 17th century? Anyway my great grandmother enede up marrying an American GI who she met during the occupation after the war. They moved here and then I did the DNA test and discovered the Jewish DNA. Not much of it just 2% but you can imagine the great grandmother had more.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    There is no such thing as 'Jewish DNA'.

    Being Jewish is not a race.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Jewishness is a culture associated with a group of relatively insular ethnicities claiming a common ancestry. So, there is DNA associated with that ethnicity.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its not really traceable except to the Palestine region.

    You can make detailed guesses but that is not very scientific.

    Jewish DNA etsting

  • Brian||

    "Some people with disabilities, who lack the ability to bring cup to lip, warn that without straws, they'll be unable to enjoy drinks out on the town with their able-bodied peers"

    Sounds like a violation of ADA to me.

  • Bill||

    Laws like this usually get resolved efficiently in the political process.

    The activists with the most power will win. Sorry, differently abled folks.
    You lose. The eco-warriors are #woke and have more troops.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Lefties got a head start but they are finding that more and more people are resisting.

    Sometimes, you can hold off the hordes of lunatics at a strategic spot.

  • Horny Lizard||

    Good, good use your aggressive feelings, let the federal oversight flow through you!

  • Conchfritters||

    I was served a drink with a plastic straw a few weeks ago. At first I honestly thought "what's the big deal?" It was sturdy, and worked perfectly fine. 15 minutes later I was about to order another drink, and I noticed the straw was getting a little mushy at the bottom where the ice and last ounce of my drink were. When I ordered the next drink I told the bartender her straws are fucking terrible, and to grow a set of balls and tell the owner to get rid of them.

  • Conchfritters||

    Plastic = Paper straw

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yeah, I was reading your story and was like...wha?

    I just refuse to use paper straws. I am trying to up my record of using 50,000 plastic straws yesterday.

  • Heraclitus||

    Exactly. Straw man. Reason is leading the charge against these bans but why? They are not saying you cannot bring your own straws. Reason is trying to argue that because a very small number of people with disabilities may need straws that we should not ban them. But most laws and store policies create exceptions for these kinds of accommodations. Reason is practicing slippery slope argumentation and offering up its own gateway thesis - if we allow this ban then it will lead to more bans. And that scares the heck out of the freedom crowd because they want the right to pollute and roll coal in our faces.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The bans are unconstitutional. States and the federal government do not have any authority to ban products or services as the respective constitutions stand now.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    if we allow this ban then it will lead to more bans. And that scares the heck out of the freedom crowd because they want the right to pollute and roll coal in our faces.

    I like how you just skipped right over the part of the article where the writer pointed out that only ~1% of the plastic in the oceans comes from the US, and only a small portion of that pollution is straws. And last but not least the "500 million straws a day" comes from a 9 year old whose research methodology was questionable, at best. But please, continue burning that straw man.

  • Ron||

    several people and Hawaii wanted an outright ban of straws period and those with disabilities would have to get special permission from the state to get a straw, and we thought voter id laws were tough. You do realize the cost of an ada compliant straw will probably be in the hundreds of dollars for each single use straw.

  • ||

    Reason is trying to argue that because a very small number of people with disabilities may need straws that we should not ban them.

    Actually what Reason is "trying to argue" is that the government has no moral or constitutional authority to forbid a merchant from offering, and a customer from accepting, a plastic straw. This is pure, unadulterated, meaningless virtue signaling. In the first place, straws are a trivial part of plastic waste. In the second place, the problem of plastics in the ocean is one of littering, not of straws. A properly managed waste stream has straws in a landfill next to all of the recyclables people spend an hour a week sorting.

  • BILKER||

    "This is pure, unadulterated, meaningless virtue signaling."
    It also says that the enviro-nazis want government to advocate a religion over others. If plastic is forever what do they plan to do with the tons of plastic now in existance. Use seaweed harvesters, melt it into giant cubes and store it in the salt caverns with the nuclear waste seems to be one answer.

  • Sevo||

    Heraclitus|9.20.18 @ 9:52AM|#
    "Exactly. Straw man. Reason is leading the charge against these bans but why? They are not saying you cannot bring your own straws. Reason is trying to argue that because a very small number of people with disabilities may need straws that we should not ban them."

    I'm guessing this idiot really doesn't understand.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Seattle business owners report massive cost increases from switching to less durable compostable straws. Some people with disabilities, who lack the ability to bring cup to lip, warn that without straws, they'll be unable to enjoy drinks out on the town with their able-bodied peers. Then there are all the priceless luxuries plastic straw bans will require us to forego, from saving our teeth a little wear and tear to sucking down a cold milkshake on a hot summer's day.

    Those business owners will just have to take the increased costs out of their massive ill gotten gains, aka EVUL PROFITS. As for the disabled people, the government will provide them with "free" metal straws that they can take with them everywhere they go. They won't mind looking like freaks, I'm sure. As for the wear and tear on people's teeth, again the government will provide "free" dental implants to anyone who requires them. And you shouldn't drink milkshakes because they're bad for you. In fact, they're next on the list of stuff to ban. /prog-derp

  • mtrueman||

    Those business owners will just have to take the increased costs out

    Not using straws should decrease costs.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Not when they get replaced with something - like the sippy lids that use more plastic.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Here's my theory: every population contains about 10% compulsive do-gooders. When most people lived under despotic monarchs, or with institutional slavery, or even under Jim Crow, these champions could channel their impulses towards significant issues.

    Now, especially in the US and maybe more in the Europe, life has gotten very, very easy and safe, and even "fair". But these compulsives still have to do good, but get bunched panties about more and more trivial non-issues. They will make our lives hell.

  • NoVaNick||

    They are kind of like border collies with their instinct to herd, even when there are no sheep around. Well, I guess in progtopias like SF and Seattle, they find plenty of sheep.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    They must take turns playing sheep and sheep dog.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Kinky

  • RPGuy16||

    These bans are really just forced religious observances. They serve no valid purpose but everyone is forced to abide the same way they check to make sure everyone is praying when the bell rings.

  • DrZ||

    Always doing good, never making a difference.

  • Rob Misek||

    Even dogs won't sleep where they shit.

    People, on the other hand, will pollute the environment with disposable plastic products for the virtue of capitalism, greed.

    Dirty filthy apes.

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