The left has been pushing their latest attempt to restrict our freedoms: Banning plastic straws. It sounds absurd on the face of it, but yes, many people really do take this very seriously. I went out to Santa Barbara, a place where the plastic straw ban passed, to see if regular people on the streets were actually in favor of the ban, or if the mainstream media had exaggerated its support. The results were shocking.
Before I went out to film, the team at PragerU and I talked about whether or not people would actually say yes to plastic straws being banned. It was unanimous,” we all agreed that even people in far left Santa Barbara weren’t that brainwashed. Apparently we really are all in a bubble, because we were very, very wrong. Every single person I talked to was for the ban, and some went so far as to say it was one of the most important issues facing America today!.
In an attempt to see just how far these leftists would go, I asked “what’s worse in California, plastic straws, or illegal immigration?” Once again, every single person said banning plastic straws was a bigger priority than stopping illegal immigration. Many of the people asked couldn’t even fathom the question, saying illegal immigration isn’t a problem at all.
Look, I’m not heartless. I get that the sight of a sea turtle with a plastic straw in its nose will cause anyone to rethink what kind of straw they use. But when you get the government involved in the ban of anything, especially when there is no practical solution in place, you are bound to run into more trouble than when you started. For instance, banning plastic straws could have a horrible impact on the disabled, who use plastic straws as an accessibility tool. Also, the paper straw replacements being offered at many restaurants and coffee shops already are wildly ineffective. They get soggy and twisted after only a few sucks… and anyway, isn’t that just killing more trees? That doesn’t seem too environmentally friendly.
When you look at the negative environmental effect or plastic straw use, you’ll see that the impact is negligible as well. First off, 95% of the Earth’s plastic pollution comes from Asia and Africa, so banning them in small cities across America has little-to-no impact. Secondly, the impact plastic straws have on the environment compared to other plastic products such as plastic bags, food wrappers, and bottle caps is miniscule. If the government really wanted to help the environment, they should put more focus on those items, and less on plastic straws. Plus, when you realize the statistic about how many plastic straws we use originated with the questionable research of a 9-year-old, the whole narrative begins to fall apart.
As the government continues down this slippery slope, more items will continue to be banned in the pursuit of “helping the environment” without sufficient alternatives in place and a lack of reliable data. If a business chooses to be more environmentally friendly by stopping use of plastic products, they’re certainly welcome to, but when the government gets involved and tells businesses what they can and can’t do, we have a much bigger problem.