What is the role of government?
The Vermont House has endorsed a measure to ban so-called microbeads from personal-care products sold in the state. The tiny plastic particles are used to make some soaps, toothpastes, and over-the-counter drugs more abrasive. But environmentalists said they pose a threat to water quality, marine life, and possibly to human health. Microbeads are blamed for attracting and becoming a vehicle for toxic chemicals in water. One concern is that they then can be eaten by fish that are later eaten by humans. A bill given preliminary approval Tuesday would ban the sale of personal-care products containing microbeads beginning at the end of 2018, and in over-the-counter drugs in late 2019.
Vermont lawmakers are considering whether to become the first state Legislature to legalize marijuana.
A political showdown is developing at the Vermont Statehouse over a gun control bill. The governor doesn’t support it.
Seattle began enforcing this month a new law, which aims to curb the amount of food sent to landfills. As of January 1, residents of the city, including all commercial establishments, must have a composting service haul away their food waste, drive the waste to a processing site, or compost it themselves at home or on-site. The law applies not only to food but also any cardboard or paper with food on it.
For those unwilling to cooperate, there will be a price.
For now, the cost of defiance will come in the form of public shaming. Those who refuse to separate their garbage will find their bins tagged with a red sign for all to see. The hope is that the tags will help serve as both a warning as well as an incentive to make composting a habit. But come June, after a public education campaign lasting several months about the new rules, violators will begin facing fines—$1 per infraction for households; and $50 per breach by apartment buildings and businesses.
That’s a bit of a walkabout from life, liberty, and the pursuit of #2 plastics.
But I’m torn. The more local the government, the more it represents the will of the people it governs. But as these cases clearly show, local government represents the will—the tyrannical will—of the majority of the people it governs. The minority can get [bleeped].
Think I’m wrong?
Seattle’s new law is meant to help the city achieve its goal to recycle 60 percent of waste by the end of this year. Strict rules, which have banned recyclables from trash bins since 2005, have helped Seattle come within striking distance of that promise—the city currently recycles approximately 56 percent of its waste. But progress toward that goal appears to have stalled; the percentage has barely increased in recent years, and even fell in residential homes between 2012 and 2013, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.
You don’t get in much more Marxist marching formation than in Seattle. And they still can’t reach that Utopia of universal recycling and unanimous composting. Even with Maoist public shaming.
I hold nothing against recycling (even after watching Penn & Teller’s vicious beatdown of the program), and nothing for microbeads. But ask anyone who knows me and they’ll answer as one: I hate being told what to do. What I have to do. I have a compost pile because I have a garden. I half-assedly throw kitchen scraps into a bin for mixing in with leaves and other yard waste. (To be honest, I just as often throw the crap into the garbage after marinating in its own supperating juices for a week.) But the moment my community passes an ordinance mandating compost piles, I am going to pour lighter fluid all over mine and set a match to it. They’ll see it from the International Space Station.
Like the old lady here in Concord, Mass who spearheaded the ban on the sale of individual bottles of water. How did the tyranny of this individual benefit the rest of the citizenry? She was portrayed as a Joan of Arc. To me, she was Typhoid Mary, Tokyo Rose, and Axis Sally rolled into one.