What I love about Victor Davis Hanson is the breadth of his knowledge. In his recent column Hanson described the emerging medieval social and political organization of California (via Leslie Eastman). This structure rests on a “medieval” Pacific Coast state of mind, with environmentalism being one of the key orthodoxies of the increasingly unenlightened Golden State.
I have the misfortune to watch the environmentalist indoctrination in making. The recent grocery bag ban enacted by the Alameda County is the most recent sour spot. The ban, designed to eventually supplant all “single use” grocery bags, stirs residents of our counties (actually many municipalities in our state are heading this way) towards the use of grocery totes. Considering that the practice creates a public safety hazard, the fact that the now illegal plastic bags are probably more environmentally sound than any alternatives looks like a minor point. But the most egregious aspect of the prohibition is the effect on individual liberty. All of a sudden, what I do in the privacy of my own kitchen becomes everyone’s business.
Scratch that. Not “all of a sudden”. Personal has long been political, and our kitchens have been sniffed out by the PC police for quite some time. The government on all levels throws its weight around in favor of particular classes of appliances. American law requires food labeling, and these requirements are becoming increasingly more extensive. Considering the amount of social pressure to buy local and/or organic products, and the political outlook of the individuals who put this pressure on each other, a law prescribing the sale of politically correct groceries will be cheered on by a large segment of the California population. Just as well. We, California women, bought into the personal is political doctrine, so we have to reconcile with the political in our personal. The kitchens, traditionally a personal domain of women, are now invaded by the PC police.
If a mom is not careful, her kids might act as an arm of the PC police — kind of like the kosher police. An essentially secular in-law of mine enrolled her son in an Hasidim-run Jewish school with the reputation for academic excellency. In a short time the boy took to inspecting her pots and giving her advise on how to run her kitchen. Although she resented it then, towards the end of her life the auntie turned pretty religious and started keeping kosher. Now, environmentalism is unlike a religion in that the older we get the less likely we are to accept it. And so mothers of students enrolled in public schools might find themselves going through some dead-end nagging. But, because unlike religion, environmentalism does not create a sense of connection with the past, mothers should feel in no way compelled to accept the dogma pushed on family kitchens through the educational establishment.
My daughter’s kindergarten class were once subject to a f propaganda barrage connected with the bag ban. And now I read about a posh local elementary that was visited by representatives of a local environmentalist group, who, I gather, gave them a talk on pros and cons of the ban. All students of this posh elementary are above grade level, and all parents are the low level California aristocracy. Don’t tell them you don’t shop at Whole Foods.
The fifth-graders were so impressed by the talk, they spontaneously decided to write letters to the newspaper to argue pros and cons of the bag ban. For some not at all obvious reason, the overwhelming majority of letters were in support of the law. The minority opinion was mostly concerned with relative advantages of recycling various material (the online version of the paper didn’t include the minority student voice at all). Either we are so far gone here that there is no hope for us, or the students know something that they hesitated to put on paper. With their names attached to it. For everyone to see. Forever. Or perhaps what I saw in the paper is only representative of the children of the aristocracy. Black people don’t care much for environmentally correct practices, and Hispanics think that since the white people ruined the Earth, environmentalism is for the Caucasians. Well, maybe not all Hispanics, just the ones at UC Berkeley. Viva la Raza!
As far as I can tell, the fifth graders that weighed in on the ban are well on their way to Berkeley. For instance, one eager soul writes:
Many people are against it, but I think it’s the best thing that has happened to the county for a while.
Ask your mama if the ban is better than the reelection of Barack Obama. And check out this budding statist:
The bag ban is amazing — a perfect way to motivate us to use reusable bags. It’s a great way to make a cleaner and greener world. So keep the bag ban up and running.
I wonder if they discuss, in their “social studies” class, what the Founders would think of the government motivating we, the people, to transport our groceries in a specific manner.
We tell our kids that we expect them to learn math, reading and writing at school, and that everything else is just someone’s opinion. I will take responsibility for introducing them to great literature, science and history. I just hope their teacher doesn’t press them into a letter writing campaign.