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Real issue isn’t plastic bags, but loss of liberty

Posted: December 15, 2010 9:35 p.m.
Updated: December 16, 2010 4:30 a.m.
 

I got a chuckle out of Howard Barr’s letter, “Baker’s views are typical of today’s radical right,” published Wednesday, in which he characterized as a “rant” my letter criticizing columnist Lynn Plambeck’s support of the plastic shopping-bag ban.

To quote Barr more fully, my letter was a “... tirade ...  a deranged rant ... (that) showed us instead the hateful, selfish, fearful, childish worldview of the conservative extreme ...”I guess Barr’s letter wasn’t a “rant” or “tirade” though, right?I know I’ve been effective when I’ve got liberals setting their hair on fire like that.

But more important, in his excitement, Barr missed the entire point of my letter, not surprisingly.The point at issue isn’t whether the ban on plastic shopping bags is “a sensible move to conserve the resources of the environment,” as he puts it.

The point is that when liberals can’t sell their agenda in the free market of ideas — as is obviously the case with these plastic bags, since people continue to use them rather than lug around reusable bags — they immediately rush to a court or government body to force them down our throats. If eliminating plastic bags was such a great idea, there would be no need for a law or court order to implement it; people would make that choice on their own, and plastic bags would go the way of the eight-track tape. That’s how the free market and free choice work.

But the exercising of actual “choice” by the public isn’t something liberals support since so much of their agenda fails to resonate with the public at large.We’re seeing the same thing as more new policies emerge: bans on bake sales at schools; bans on fast-food restaurants; on and on. All are “sensible moves” in someone’s book, and all are curtailments of liberty and free choice.

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