Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
SPOTLIGHT: You don’t build a free society by removing individual choice.
BIG PICTURE: The push to ban plastic drinking straws is all symbolism and no substance. If every last straw were to vanish, 99% of the plastic polluting the oceans would remain. So would most of the litter that washes up on beaches.
Impoverished Asian and African countries lack proper waste management systems. They therefore use rivers as sewers. That’s the real world. Banning straws in Europe and North America will do nothing to address this real world fact.
But banning things makes people feel good. They pat themselves on the back, imagining they’ve done something admirable. Pardon me if I don’t applaud.
It’s one thing to persuade your neighbour to stop using an item she considers convenient, sanitary, or even necessary to her daily life. Those who rely on persuasion don’t undermine other people’s liberty. The neighbour remains free to choose her own path.
Green activists are in the business of taking away choices. Coercion and force is their idea of progress. Siccing the government on their neighbour is their idea of a normal day’s work.
They’re OK with their neighbour being harassed by the state, entangled with the legal system, fined, arrested, even jailed. For failing to conform. For failing to fall into line.
Even when the matter at hand is purely symbolic.
TOP TAKEAWAY: People who respect you don’t want the government to punish you for choosing differently.
|The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture
David Mamet, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright
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