No More Bans on Ancient Technology

A New Jersey politician wants to ban bags. Paper, plastic, whatever. Plastic straws of course, too. The UK is strongly considering banning knives with points, including the most common chef knives in the world. Pretty much every kitchen has an 8 to 11 inch chef's knife with a point. There's a good reason for that. These knives are extremely useful for a broad range of daily cooking tasks.

The plastic bans at least point at something novel. You could plausibly argue that plastic poses a unique technological risk that we are only now beginning to appreciate. But societies somehow managed to co-exist with the near-universal possession of knives for thousands of years. You can surely figure this out without banning the things.

Maybe we should have a ban on politicians. At least the ones who want more bans.


Christopher B said...

The bag bans are pure Alinsky. They will not accomplish what their proponents claim to be the objective for the simple reason that the vast majority of plastic bag pollution comes from about 5 mostly SW or SE Asian rivers. Hardly any comes from the US.

The objective is control.

Elise said...

Somewhere - don't have the link, sorry - I read that a study done in one city that forbade grocery stores to use the "single-use" plastic bags did, in fact, result in fewer of these bags being distributed. Makes sense, since they were banned. However, the sales of plastic bags went up. People still wanted plastic bags to line bathroom garbage bags, pick up dog litter, take books back to the library, send leftovers home with guests, give away zucchini from the garden, etc. All the things we re-use those single-use bags for.

Grim said...

If that's right, then the Chamber of Commerce may get behind the bag bans. "Sorry, we can't give you a bag. We can, however, sell you as many as you'd like."

ymarsakar said...

Chamber of Commerce can make millions with stock manipulation and insider trading. Maybe billions. Federal Reserve can make trillions.

Selling paper plastic bags is a job for the livestock, not for the elite rulers. If they do sell it, it will be the toxic Chinese plastic, the one that has the lovely American plastic smell of the 1970s. Plus some other toxins and poisons, to dumb down the American public to prevent a slave insurrection. If only the Southern slave masters had marijuana and general tranquilizers.

Elise said...

the Chamber of Commerce may get behind the bag bans

I wonder if then the law will read that it's fine for me to bring my own single-use bags to the grocery store - so long as they are bought from the "right" vendor.

To go back to your original point, if the people of the UK allow chef's knives to be banned then they don't deserve to have those knives. And while I can understand a ban on plastic bags - don't necessarily agree with it but can see the reasoning - I don't understand a ban on paper bags. They, too, are endlessly useful and biodegradable and made from a renewable resource (trees and each other). In fact, for years I always said, "Paper" when asked which I preferred and only really learned to use plastic bags when grocery stores stopped offering paper.

I know a standard argument on the right is that the left wants to ban things because of virtue signaling and/or as a means of exerting control. But I also wonder if part of the impetus, especially among people who aren't particularly leftist, is that we are now so safe and so prosperous that we have begun to believe we can eliminate all danger and all bad outcomes from our lives. In the tradeoff between safety and liberty, safety always wins even if the danger we're guarding against is unlikely or far-fetched.

E Hines said...

Regarding plastic bags from the grocery store, ours always get a second use. We have a cat who uses a litter box, you see.

On your second point, I suggest that many of those thinking we're so safe and prosperous have no experience of slum life or of life near slums or of life in cities.

Eric Hines

Elise said...

have no experience of slum life or of life near slums or of life in cities.

Agreed. We tuck that out of sight of those of us who make policy. And besides those problems seem intractable. Plastic bag bans are easy.

Grim said...

We tuck that out of sight of those of us who make policy.

In fairness, those people would love to ban guns, too. Although I happen to believe that would make the slums worse, just as it did in Brazil and Mexico.