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Hilarious Straw Ban Memes Hit on the Dark Truth That All Laws Require Force

Straw banners will soon have to answer for all the people fined, arrested, or even jailed for violating their petty prohibitions.

The straw bans sweeping the nation have been nothing but bad news for liberty lovers, disabled people, and boba tea enthusiasts, but they have produced some choice memes:

Those don't just make me laugh out loud. They hint at a darker truth about straw bans, a fact these policies' proponents prefer to ignore: All laws ultimately rest on state violence.

This point is often greeted with eyerolls and snorts from straw ban apologists, who would rather focus on their good intentions than the coercive powers needed to bring their rules into effect.

Indeed, when I reported last week that Santa Barbara's straw ban included a punishment of up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines per straw, a spokesperson for a prominent environmentalist group emailed to inform me that focusing on the penalties was "unprofessional" and "inaccurate" because they would never actually be enforced, even after a third or fourth violation.

Santa Barbara officials have made a similar argument. Asked about the ban by a local ABC affiliate, the city's environmental services outreach coordinator said that locking people up for straws is only "a last line of defense" and isn't intended "for first-time offenders." But he wouldn't rule out the possibility of jail time, and he clearly thinks some circumstances might warrant such a severe sanction. So do the councilmembers that voted for the law.

Even when jail time is not an explicitly authorized punishment, a law will still require enforcement. That increases the likelihood of police encounters—and, thus, the chances that someone will get hurt in the course of such an encounter. One need only remember the cases of Eric Garner (killed by police who were arresting him for selling untaxed cigarettes) or Philando Castile (shot to death during a routine traffic stop) to know that this is a possibility.

Those are extreme examples, of course; chances aren't high that cops will start gunning people down for selling straws on the street corner. But I do expect to see more of these "summer of snitches"/"nation of narcs" incidents where some local busybody decides to call the cops on a local restaurant, a food truck, or maybe even some kid's lemonade stand for handing out now-prohibited straws.

If that happens, the straw warriors who brought us these bans might insist that this was never their intention. But it will nevertheless be a direct consequence of their crusade.

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  • sharmota4zeb||

    Don't worry. Our elected officials are on it. Sooner or later, they are going to ban memes.

  • Bubba Jones||

    If it won't be enforced, why include penalties?

  • Don't look at me.||

    Can't afford to appear weak.

  • Trollificus||

    Oh, man. The only thing better, to the authoritarian mind, than lots of rules and the power to enforce them, is lots of rules and the power to enforce them in an arbitrary manner.

  • Iheartskeet||

    ^This

    They position it as going easy on us, but selective enforcement makes it 10X worse.

  • Fancylad||

    I never for the life of me, imagined progressives would ban straws. It seems so arbitrary, the evidence that they're a environmental threat is so flimsy; based on nothing but hearsay and one dubious study that used an estimate from an actual elementary students science paper. It's mind-blowing.

    But if you're right, then it's really just about expressing political power. It doesn't matter what they ban, just that they can ban. The more arbitrary the ban, the better power is demonstrated.

    They're going have to keep flexing their muscles though. Power must continuously be demonstrated, so when the ban is done it's on to banning something equally asinine. Any guesses? graphite pencils? grass lawns? model kits? Count Chocula?

  • soldiermedic76||

    Graphite pencils may well be the next target. A lot of graphite is made from coal.

  • BlondeJustice||

    They want people to use paper straws that are made from trees. You're going to kill more trees! Eco terrorists are just getting nuttier every day.

  • ||

    Someone doesn't know progressives 'fucking love science'.

  • tlapp||

    Fine and jail time. Imagine did you give that kid a straw with his juice box? If the answer is yes it's up against the wall and spread 'em your getting cuffed and going to jail.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Won't be enforced against the Right Sort of People.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    My bovine semen straws are still good, right?

  • SQRLSY One||

    As long as they are registered with the State, and keep locked in a safety vault when not in use!!!

  • Conchfritters||

    What, are the straws self aware now?

  • Jay Dubya||

    theres a flag on this play. 30 yards for cow insemination infraction

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "If that happens, the straw warriors who brought us these bans might insist that this was never their intention."

    That's a load of crap. If a straw warrior has his arm broken when someone hits him with a baseball bat, will the bat wielder be excused if he says that a broken arm wasn't his intention?

  • Longtobefree||

    Damn right. Never intended at all to break his arm.
    I meant to kill the bastard.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Way to beat that straw man!

  • Trollificus||

    Are you dead horsing his argument?

  • Rock Lobster||

    Neigh, good sir.!

    Although I learned from The Godfather that such a strategy can be quite persuasive.

  • IceTrey||

    "All laws ultimately rest on state violence."

    Which is why the state is supposed to be limited to the retaliatory use of force.

    For fucks sake Garner WAS NOT selling cigarettes when they tried to arrest him. It was pure harrassment. That's why he resisted.

  • JoeJoetheIdiotCircusBoy||

    Agreed. If I remember correctly, didn't he actually just break up a fight or something and that is why the cops were even in the area? or am I misremembering.

  • Agammamon||

    Yep. But this is the level of fact-checking at Reason nowadays.

    Fucking Millenials man - everyone of them is an 'assistant editor' and none of them are sub-editors.

  • markm23||

    You remember right. He did the cops' job, and they objected...

  • Horny Lizard||

    I stopped using straws and lids and the woke feeling is amazing. I make sure to announce it loudly and conspicuously whenever people try to straw me at restaurants and such.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    Is it anything like telling people you're a vegan? It's got to be like that.

  • SusanM||

    This has to be ex-smoker levels of smug.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm ahead of the curve. I've been not using straws or lids for YEARS

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    What kind of sick euphemism is that.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    How do you drink bubble tea, from a trough?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I just splash it on my head and let it drip down my face, beard, and chest hair.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Don't make it gay. I was just asking a simple question.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    And I answered. I also only drink Bubble Tea while in Cap Hill. The tips I get from the show also helps pay for my Dick's.

  • tgrondo||

    If you like your drink, you can wear your drink....

  • 10mm||

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Don't straw me, bro.

  • Trollificus||

    Be sure to mention all the camels' backs you've saved, too.

  • tlapp||

    Yes and you wear a t-shirt with a pic of a straw with a red circle with a line through it.

  • sparkstable||

    This is such a strawman argument against these bans.

    Ba-dum bum!

    While arresting me for using illegal tools to drink my beverage the cop said to me "We have told you about this before. This is the last straw!"

    Eco-Warrior: "This is the law now! If you don't like it, too bad. Suck it up!"
    Me: "With what?"

    Eco-Warriors need to be careful. A lot of illegal straws may end up at the bottom of their beloved ponds and lakes from boating accidents. They dont want that, do they?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Only the military needs access to high capacity semi-automatic straw dispensers

  • sparkstable||

    But does it have the shoulder thingy that goes up?

  • BILKER||

    "i'll give up my plastic straw when you pry it from my cold dead hands"
    "MOLON LABE"

  • BlondeJustice||

    LOL!!!

  • BlondeJustice||

    Best comment on here! Thanks for making my day!

  • Hunthjof||

    Damm you I am so stealing that.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I am soooo disappointed in Britschgi. This is just more lib owning. Sure, it may be funny and it may feel good, but it really needs to stop.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I think I'm tired of "owning" in general. This knee-jerk reaction to make an obvious joke is draining over time.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Why do you keep bringing up ketchup?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Because I fucking love Ketchup.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Then why won't it stay down? Does it taste better on the way up?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    a spokesperson for a prominent environmentalist group emailed to inform me that focusing on the penalties was "unprofessional" and "inaccurate" because they would never actually be enforced

    That is such complete horseshit. That was exactly the same rationale used by the proponents of bill C16 in Canada. Sure you COULD go to prison for using the wrong pronouns and that's what the law says, but that will NEVER happen.

  • ||

    Exactly.

    You're *paranoid*.

  • Eeyore||

    Don't worry about the unreasonable penalties, we will only seek the maximum penalty if the suspect is black.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Straw banners support BLM, so it's all good.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    If the penalties will never be enforced, why pass a law in the first place?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    An offering to the global warming spirits to spare them from the apocalypse?

  • Cy||

    Selective enforcement...

  • Wizard4169||

    Because good intentions are not enough. We must have good intentions codified into law, or no one will realize how sincere we are.

  • Hunthjof||

    I am curious if an Illegal uses a straw in a Sanctuary City and claims it is required for any drink to be halal compliant is it still banned. See being the total jerk that I am I am gonna start carrying a pack of straws to use just to piss people off.

  • Echospinner||

    Because if you drink alcohol through a straw and you can't actually see the drink it doesn't count. Like if there is pork in something but it doesn't actually look like pork it is halal/kosher enough.

    Sometimes you gotta bend the rules a bit.

  • sparkstable||

    Gotta bend it.... LIKE A STRAW!

  • Eddy||

    So you're saying you don't care about the environment?

    /a straw man for a straw ban

  • Eddy||

    We need to go after the straw purchasers.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Barrels are straws, are they not? I think I see where this is going. The hoplophobes are playing 17 dimensional chess. Once straw bans are accepted as the right and proper norm, they can extend them to gun barrels.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "If that happens, the straw warriors who brought us these bans might insist that this was never their intention. But it will nevertheless be a direct consequence of their crusade."

    They may indeed insist that it wasn't their intention, but anyone who believes them for a second is a fool. They get all damp in their shorts when they think of using the power of the State to force people to do (or not do) things.

    I've asked before, but can anyone identify the moral difference between a 19th Century Christian busybody and a 20-21st Century Liberal one?

  • Echospinner||

    One of them goes to church every Sunday, complains about the lack of attendance lately and gets the town to close the saloons.

    The other one drives by the church every Sunday, complains about the number of SUVs in the parking lot and gets the town to ban plastic straws in the saloons.

  • DenverJ||

    nice.

  • Cy||

    And they're all giant pieces of shit.

  • Benitacanova||

    The prohibitionists were trying to protect women and children.

    The libs are trying to protect dirt and water.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Adam Smith called it "the violence of law."

  • cc2||

    When they say it wouldn't be enforced....right. That just means enforcement is capricious. So you only go to jail for straws if you speak out about straws, or wear a MAGA hat, or are white, or something. Capricious enforcement is injustice.

  • Qsl||

    Doesn't this essentially outlaw feltching?

    In San Francisco?

    Yea, I went there.

    I wonder what other sexual acts between consenting (if not misguided) adults they will outlaw next.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    It had not occured to me that straws would be necessary. I thought one just drank straight from the receptacle, so to speak.

  • Qsl||

    Using anything but a straw would be disrespecting the art. What type of sicko are you anyway?

  • tbc||

    I have no idea what this is... and I am losing the battle to resist looking it up

  • flyfishnevada||

    Government never enforces their ridiculous laws and impose their draconian punishments...until they do. If it's on the books, it can happen.

  • scooby509||

    All those laws that are "never enforced" are routinely used to bulk up initial charges to get pleas they otherwise wouldn't. They're used to get warrants when they otherwise couldn't.

    And they will be used when a prosecutor has no case for a real charge but "knows" a suspect is guilty.

  • DenverJ||

    Sigh. Aren't you people supposed to be journalists? Eric Garner was not killed for selling untaxed cigarettes. He had been charged for that offense in the past. In this incidence, he had broken up a fight, which drew the attention of the police. They recognized him because of past offenses, and were harassing him, because they suspected he was selling untaxed cigs. He refused to be searched, and that's when Daniel Pantaleo, True Hero®, approached him from behind and attempted to handcuff him. Eric said "Don't touch me, please", at which point our hero put Mr. Garner in an illegal choke hold and pulled him backwards. These actions foresee-ably caused the death of Mr. Garner, and would have resulted in murder charges if initiated by anyone other than one of NYC's Finest Psychopaths. No cigarettes were found on Mr. Garner's corpse.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    "illegal choke hold"?

    What, is this WWE now?

  • lap83||

    "Those don't just make me laugh out loud."

    Christian likes this internet "meme" thing and thinks it's going to catch on, he just wishes there was a more efficient way to express the fact that he finds it humorous.

  • damikesc||

    I'd ask: If it isn't going to be enforced, then why even mention penalties in the first place?

    You mention them because they WILL be enforced. Plain and simple.

    If a state ruled that if two men marry, they will be executed --- but don't worry, we won't ENFORCE it --- would anybody accept that?

  • Trollificus||

    Oh, and speaking of unintended consequences, if they ban all the straw, of what will the progtards construct their counter-arguments, such as they are?

  • Rock Lobster||

    Evidence. You know--unicorn farts and rainbows. The same stuff upon which they base their economic and social policies.

  • Peryno||

    I've always wanted to be the first at something so let the record show that this post is the first documented use of the phrase, "the 'S' word."

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    Never forget: Britches killed PM Linques ...

  • Sparky Wilson||

    We should all go to Cali and hand out free straws. We can have a contest to see who can win the most jail time and highest fine.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    How about an air drop over SF?

  • BigT||

    Buy a box of 3,000 straws at Sams Club ($12) and send it to a Santa Barbara council person. Then SWAT him.

  • SnowAviation||

    Can't wait to see the legislation and how the lawyers define a "Straw".

    (in 1,000 words or less...)

  • Peter||

    This is why we need microstamping on straws, so we can track down criminals who flout the law!

  • Mark22||

    Store owner: "It is quite annoying, actually. We display these beautiful modern sculptures and people just keep vandalizing them by pulling out bits and pieces and sticking them into their drinks. It says right there: 'Do Not Destroy the Sculptures.' Well, what can we do, we just keep replacing them."

  • Echospinner||

    There is actually some pretty cool art out there made with plastic straws.

    Made me think of some other uses for straws.

    Like saving a life when someone is choking and heimlich has failed and the person has lost consciousness.

    You need two things which should be easy to find in a restaurant, until now

    a sharp knife like a steak knife
    A plastic straw

    Find the person's Adam's apple (thyroid cartilage).
    Move your finger about one inch down the neck until you feel another bulge. This is the cricoid cartilage. The indentation between the two is the cricothyroid membrane, where the incision will be made.
    Take the razor blade or knife and make a half-inch horizontal incision. The cut should be about half an inch deep. There should not be too much blood.
    Pinch the incision open or place your finger inside the slit to open it.
    Insert your straw in the incision, roughly one-half to one inch deep.
    Breathe into the straw with two quick breaths. Pause five seconds, then give one breath every five seconds.
    You will see the chest rise and the person should regain consciousness if you have performed the procedure correctly. The person should be able to breathe on their own, albeit with some difficulty, until help arrives

  • Echospinner||

    (If you don't have a straw you can use a plastic pen but straws have a larger caliber so would be better. If you don't have those improvise)

  • ||

    Of course they'll have to answer for it.

    But they won't.

    Intentions, faulty premises and choking turtles and all that.

  • ||

    Soooo.....celebrities - out of all the things to support - lend their names to one of the most absurd and specious piece of environmentalism in banning straws. People can in theory be fined or prosecuted for using one in the name of some turtle and based on flimsy science and data that apparently focused on third world shit holes. And while some poor low income schmuck is gonna get the hand cuff treatment, how much you wanna bet Tom Brady is still gonna suck on straws?

    Progressive are unbelievable to the point of astonishing.

  • Silverleaf||

    I'd say let that rathole collapse under its own weight, but there are two problems: 1) the whole damn state will collapse financially, and they'll be given a bailout, paid for by the rest of us and 2) the idiots who elected these morons leave the state and bring their idiotic trash elsewhere (see: Austin).

  • Finrod||

    Let California collapse, deny them a bailout, and bust them down to territory status, to be re-admitted in pieces.

  • jcbinok||

    Meanwhile, I look around my room at all the other things made of plastic and wonder...Why single out just one product? Makes as much sense as the soda tax. I will never move to one of these crazy places if I can help it.

  • renicantik||

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    Obat Herbal Polip Empedu Tanpa Operasi

  • Miter Broller||

    Hmm, I always thought Barbara was the Patron Saint of facilitative drinking apparatus.

  • jjjjj||

    Rigid clamshell packaging kills over 300 sea turtles and results in over 6000 emergency room visits per year.

    (Why oh why didn't the environuts go after this instead)

  • BILKER||

    seattle, frisco and santa barbara are cesspools of liberal/progressive rotting brains

  • Dr4Bob||

    "The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."- Ayn Rand

    Now it prohibits straws of the plastic subtype; it seems the government is digging deep to create new criminals.

  • emmanuel||

    I remember the straws at school when I was a kid; they were paper. Now is the time to start making paper straws again.... in mass quantities.

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