sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

March 15, 2013

My Kitchen — My Rules

Filed under: Bay Area politics, education, environmentalism, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:41 pm

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.



  1. Liberalism is a disease that appears to run in families and is passed down through the generations. All that’s necessary is leaving your common sense at the door.

    Comment by Harrison — March 15, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

  2. Soon ALL bags, plastic and paper will be banned. Instead, the serfs will carry “fresh, green, organic, grown by leftist’ groceries home in their arms while singing an appropriate leftist, Earth-worshipping hymn.

    Comment by Infidel de Manahatta — March 16, 2013 @ 4:27 am

  3. 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.

    As a teacher who has taught 5th grade, I call BS on that spontaneity. It was manipulation on the part of the teacher. Take my word for it!

    Comment by Always On Watch — March 16, 2013 @ 5:47 am

  4. Elites send their children to private schools to learn to be leaders. Everyone else go to public schools to learn to be followers.

    Comment by Conservatives on Fire — March 16, 2013 @ 6:22 am

    • Good point. What I’m talking about here are the low level elites; people who are trying to hold on to their status via adherence to ideology. The likes of Obama daughters are in exclusive private schools.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — March 16, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

  5. those snippets were hilarious. Most of those pro ban kids probably don’t really care at all–they are just writing to their audience. of course, the dangerous part is the way they get used to this type of micromanaging of their/our lives.

    its a political minefield we parents raise our kids in these days, innit?

    Comment by nooneofanyimport — March 16, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

    • kids will inform on their parents. Back in the day, little fascist children informed on their parents, resulting in their parents just not ‘talking’ in front of their children. A woman raised in Maost China didn’t know that her mother was a Christian who prayed hidden away in a closet, until long after Mao was dead. These environmentalists, given just a little bit more power, will be as harsh as their compatriots in 20th century China and Europe.

      Comment by heathermc — March 16, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

      • a good but frightening point.

        Comment by nooneofanyimport — March 16, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

      • Have you heard of Pavlik Morozov?
        He was praised in every Soviet elementary school. Adults were afraid to talk around their kids.

        Comment by edge of the sandbox — March 16, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

        • My point is that these environmentalists are just as harsh as any despotic force ever, and they will take any power we let them have. That is why I am so pleased to see an active and spreading home-school movement. And no, I had not heard of this Pavlik boy. But children will want to fit in with their classmates, and as the ‘family’ fades in strength, well, the school and govt ideas hold ever more power over children.

          Comment by heathermc — March 16, 2013 @ 10:54 pm

  6. for example: Zimbabwe:
    The illegal seizure of wind-up radios reached new levels this week with reports that the police are now using primary school pupils to source information about the receivers.

    Villagers in Lupane revealed that the police have been visiting schools and asking little children in Grade 0 and Grade 1(aged between 4 and 6 years) whether their parents own or listen to any radios.

    This follows reports that suspected state security agents on Tuesday raided several homesteads at Mpofu village in the Gwampa area and confiscated the wind-up radios…..

    Zimbabwe was once a peaceful and net exporter of food. Before the Red Revolution, Russia was also a net exporter of grains. America is not going down that hill, but it could. You can’t take liberty – or your home – for granted!

    Comment by heathermc — March 16, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

    • Yes, there is that, but not all is lost. On the other hand, there is my childhood. My parents told me to never tell anyone about the conversations in our house (same was true about pretty much all kids I knew, I think). They also told me to never talk about being Jews. At this point Judaism didn’t enter much into being Jewish. It was purely an ethnic identifier because we couldn’t worship. That I was Jewish was pretty obvious, but I was kind of freaked out about the whole thing.
      I grew up brainwashed, thinking that my teachers were right and my family was wrong, but I kept those thoughts to myself. I certainly appreciated the care packages our relatives sent from the US, though.
      By the time puberty hit I figured things out. Then Perestroika came along.
      I feel bad about certain things I tell my daughter, like don’t check the mail when we have visitors. I tell her mail is a private affair. I don’t want her running to me: “Mommy, here is your National Review”, not that anyone knows what National Review is… She was a bit dumbfounded. Oh well, she’ll figure it out eventually.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — March 17, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

  7. […] I start this post, let me explain the title.  I wrote a bit about the plastic grocery bag bans sweeping California towns, and in the process discovered […]

    Pingback by “Bang!” The Ban | sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue — March 19, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

  8. You have to educate your kids on environmentalism, economy, and politics yourself. Warn them that teachers aren’t always right and give them resources for counterargument.
    I don’t tell my kids to argue with their teachers, but just to expect certain types of disinformation that they should discuss with us. As they’ve gotten older, we’ve started to advise them on debate with adults. Fun, heh?

    Comment by AHLondon — March 26, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

    • At this point I’m not sure what I can leave to public schools. I think I need to be a step ahead in everything. I was doing homework with the kindergartener tonight, and in her math assignment she was asked to guess and than do the calculations. Odd. I need to find a 1950s textbook and start working with that.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — March 26, 2013 @ 10:07 pm

      • The “new math” was intended to make the students truly “understand” (like “grok” ) arithmetical operations. Thus, it would be important to look at the numbers, and the operation, and in your head, guess the answer. You see, that is what advanced sophisticated mathematicians see when they approach a mathematical equation. Memorizing multiplication tables, doing repetitive problems… so boring, lead to a lack of understanding, a vast chasm that must be filled with songs.
        This goes along with whole word methods of teaching reading: good readers read in chunks. So, why not start that way? Why drag a classroom of children through the alphabet and all that ‘sounding out’ that is so old hat?
        And then, we have the teaching of history… why bog one down with dates, when it is so much more interesting to chat about slavery and Hitler and Rosa Parks?
        Interesting, eh? Math without numbers; reading without the alphabet; and history without dates: all so that children learn how to ‘think’ and be ‘creative’.

        And we wonder why there are so many ‘low information’ voters. Do you know that in 1900, the poems of Rudyard Kipling and Robert Service were best sellers? LOTS of people read those works. My niece, when in grade 7, could not read the poems because she did not have the vocabulary necessary to understand them. She comes from an upper middle class home, too.

        The public school system is a broken one. If only it were not only useless, but actually not harmful. But it is.

        Comment by heathermc — March 26, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

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