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Friday, July 3, 2015

'The Goode Family' and Progressive Fascism of Plastic Bag Bans

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Considering that Massachusetts is the birthplace of the American Revolution, it is hilariously ironic that action by the modern-day (largely progressive democrats) Massachusetts legislature is motivating this July Fourth post on an absurd deprivation of freedom. As an aside, the thoughts in this post are consistent with the "FU MA" sentiment in a recent post on modern television depictions of the Boston area accurately depicting the sad commonwealth of affairs here.

The response to folks who suggest leaving the state if I do not like it here is that I am; the advantages of moving less than a mile across the border include buying a house for at least a third less than the price of a comparable one immediately across that line. Significantly lower taxes and health insurance rates are icing on that tasty tasty cupcake.

Said legislature is considering a statewide expansion of the plastic bag ban that plagues many communities in the state. This popular green effort is right out of the horribly maligned (and Unreal TV reviewed) 2009 Mike Judge failedcom "The Goode Family." The fact that this fall-on-the-floor-funny show about a family of extreme environmentalists lasted a small fraction as "King of the Hill" from Judge shows that politically incorrect folks can laugh at themselves far more than those on the other end of the spectrum.

A scene from "Goode" in which mother Helen juggles (and drops) groceries from a Whole Foods style store rather than endure the humiliation of getting paper bags is highly relevant. Witnessing a friend who is very active in the Green Party do the same (and his missing the sarcasm behind a  subsequent remark that his enormous tote is large enough for a week worth of groceries) verifies that "Goode" is funny because it is true.

A 2015 take would have Helen and her clan leading the fight for a plastic bag ban and (like their real-life Massachusetts counterparts) treating those who simply want to continue enjoying the convenience of plastic bags like the tree-decimating villain in "The Lorax."

Judge further would almost certainly include a "ripped from the headlines" scene in which the titular family would waste 1,000s of plastic bags in dramatic demonstrations designed to show the wasteful nature of plastic bags.

Judge going on to to do a holiday special in which the Goodes lead a campaign to ban real Christmas trees based on environmental concerns only to have the resulting increase demand for artificial trees prompt a company to clear a forest to build a new factory would be equally awesome.

As Judge would point out, the bag ban is largely hypocritical in that virtually every proponent is guilty of practices that are unfriendly to the environment. Environmentally conscious practices of your friendly neighborhood ban opponent include driving a coupe, always combining errands, drying laundry on racks, being very conservative with lights, etc. For that matter, most plastic bags serve the dual purposes of first being used for trash and then as the container for the "presents" that my cat leaves in the litter box.

One related element of this is that elected officials and other ban proponents suggest that dog and cat owners both use paper or reusable bags and buy plastic ones for their pet waste. They literally cannot accept the logic that this impacts the environment far greater than merely using plastic bags from the checkout line for the dual purposes described above.

The "Goode" style "independence" element of the bans is that those behind it are also the types who validly raise major fusses when rights that they value are trampled but seem to either be oblivious to or choose to ignore that they are doing the same. Most people recognize that plastic bags harm the environment and do not challenge the right of folks to not use them. The issue is that those folks lack the right to take that choice away from those of us who have used those bags for roughly 25 years. This further prompts a sentiment that extreme environmentalists must pull my plastic bag from my cold dead hand.

The same reasonable individuals described above would NEVER compare being deprived use of plastic bags to the never-before (and hopefully never-again) atrocities of the Nazis. However, imposing the ban as a means of exerting the will of those adequately in charge follows the same fascist principles. As a friend states, propaganda that supports your view is still propaganda.

The practical effects of a current ban include stockpiling plastic bags ahead of the effective date of that new law, belonging to the silenced majority that no longer shops in that community, and taking more bags than otherwise would be taken when shopping in communities that respect the right to chose your form of shopping bag. This suggests that imposing the ban both increases the demand for plastic bags and significantly hurts local businesses that are already financially struggling.

The final note is that personal rebellion related to the ban includes bringing plastic bags on the rare occasions that quickly needing just one or two items requires shopping locally. ONLY concern for the environment prevents advocating protest in the form of dumping reusable bags (which still must be manufactured and transported to stores and that should be frequently washed) in Boston Harbor.

Anyone with CIVIL questions or comments regarding this post is welcome to either email me or connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.