Escondido, CA

Of plastic straws and environmental extremism

I hope this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back: the camel being the ridiculousness that is much of the environmental movement. I’m sorry, but it is loony to look upon plastic straws as being a threat to the environment, or more to the point, a threat to the oceans.

At least it is true if you live in the United States and are not one of the main countries that contribute to the mass of plastics that end up in the ocean.

I’m not saying that plastic is a good thing when it floats out into the ocean, or if you find it along what ought to be a pristine stream. But the United States is very responsible about how it treats its plastics, and the huge majority of winds up in landfills, where it’s very unlikely to end up in the ocean.

It’s actually emerging nations like China and India that are the real culprits when it comes to filling the oceans with plastics. Why should we punish ourselves for what they refuse to do to address the problem?

Starbucks, the prince of Virtue Signalers among corporate America, after having badly botched the aftermath of the situation of the two black men who came to use the restroom and were turned away when they refused to buy something —is flailing about it desperation to try to be more virtuous than thou.

Earlier this week Starbucks announced it would be phasing plastic straws out of its locations entirely by 2020.

Right now, there is a lunatic Sacramento legislator (but I repeat myself) riding a wave of idiocy who has proposed a law that would send waiters to jail if they bring restaurant customers straws without being asked first. There is a movement to replace plastic straws entirely with the awful paper straws that used to be the norm. There is a reason why the plastic straw replaced the paper straw. It’s because the paper straws didn’t suck enough. By that, I mean that they do suck, but not efficiently, and unfortunately, they begin to biodegrade before you finish your drink. They literally come apart in your mouth.

California is the environmental extremist capital of the world. Former Jesuit and current Governor Jerry Brown has run the Golden State’s environmental policy like the Inquisition that he unfortunately missed by being born several hundred years too late. Brown’s policies subject the businesses in the fifth largest economy in the world (think how big it might be if allowed to flourish!) to the monotonous bastinado of regulations that, even if they are imposed to the greatest extent, will make little or no impact on Climate Change, although they will make a big impact on the economy.

Yet a recent Daily Mail article cited a study by Germany’s Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research which determined that 90% of the world’s plastic waste comes from ten rivers in Asia and Africa, with China’s Yangtze River being the worst polluter, dumping about 1.5 million tons of plastic into the Yellow Sea annually.

All you need to do to convince yourself of the validity of this conclusion is to Google the mass of photos showing the banks of these rivers, which look like a carnival midway on half price beer Saturday multiplied by a thousand percent.

Taking plastic straws away from consumers will be just another stupid way of punishing members of a high tech, consumeristic society by politicians and environmental crazies who can’t stand the modern world and want to force us all to eschew as much of it as possible.

The fact is that if we do away entirely with plastic straws it won’t have a measurable effect on the plastic that goes into the world’s oceans. But it will make anti-capitalists happy—for about a minute.

I once knew a woman who had a mental condition that prompted her to punch herself in the face uncontrollably when she was emotionally excited, which was often. Those who set the standards of virtue in our society hate our consumer driven economy. They have decided that they don’t want to use straws, so they want to make it impossible for the rest of us to. Their guilt and self-loathing require that when they see the face of capitalism and consumerism in the mirror, they must lash out at it in anger.

For them, taking plastic straws away from the rest of us will only be a small victory. Because they can never win enough. As President Trump has said in another context, there can never be too much winning.


*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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