July 17, 2018

BAN ALL THE THINGS! Kristin Tate at Reason TV on the left’s newest obsession that we all must get onboard right now because it’s super cool and this time it will like totally save the planet and everything — banning plastic drinking straws:

Angela Logomasini, a senior fellow at Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Tate that “the idea that you’re going to ban straws and save the world is ridiculous.”

Plastic pollution in the ocean is a real problem, but only about 1 percent of it comes from the U.S. Of that 1 percent, only a tiny fraction comes from plastic straws.

How can that be? Celebrities tell us Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day. “Polluting water and killing sea life,” according to actor Adrian Grenier.

The 500 million number is repeatedly used by the media. But it comes from a nine-year-old’s school project.

Watch the whole thing – the ending is a riot.

Related: Virginia Postrel at Bloomberg:WeWork’s Meat Ban Tells Us Who They Are:”

WeWork Cos., the SoftBank Group Corp.-backed startup that rents out co-working and office space, recently told its 6,000 employees worldwide that it won’t pay for any meals that include red meat, poultry or pork. It justified the policy as environmentally friendly.

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The shift from function to meaning as a source of economic value also shapes who works where. Instead of trying to be blandly inoffensive, workplaces embody the cultural values of their tribe. That’s why we see Google employees refusing to work on Defense Department projects or companies boycotting the National Rifle Association.

Nothing says “We’re a tribe” like food taboos. Dietary restrictions establish boundaries and define identity. Think of kosher food and Jews, halal meat and Muslims, vegetarianism and Brahmins — or the cultural differences between completely secular vegans and paleo diet devotees.

“Any food taboo, acknowledged by a particular group of people as part of its ways, aids in the cohesion of this group, helps that particular group maintain its identity in the face of others, and therefore creates a feeling of ‘belonging,’” observes ethnobiologist Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow in a much-cited paper. Think of the ban as team building.

I’m thinking of it as something else as well. But it is alternately fascinating and more than a little worrisome to watch the left, whose unofficial motto used to be “do your own thing,” now wake up each day and ponder what to ban next.

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