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Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
― C.S. Lewis
In the special session of the Texas Legislature, a bill has been introduced stripping municipalities of the right to pass special condition legislation. These include things like disposable bag bans, forcing landowners to get permission from the city to remove trees (or certain types of trees), and banning short-term property rentals. When I looked through the list of things this would ban control of I was struck by one thing. Every one of them dealt with issues of aesthetics rather than public safety. Every one was an example of virtue signalling. They all assume government knows best. They are passed by local busybodies who want to feel better about themselves by compelling others to do the things the busybodies desired – for the good of those compelled, of course.
Take the bag bans. Measured by energy consumption disposable plastic bags consume less energy than the reusable totes (over the lifetime of the tote). This ignores the additional energy consumed in sterilizing the totes, which if not done, makes the totes a health hazard. But plastic bags littering the outside are ugly. Better to waste energy and risk the public’s health than to leave the place ugly. (Or to pick up the litter.)
I believe there is a primal human need to bully others. Some individuals satisfy that need by serving in municipal politics, others by becoming members of the media, and still others by becoming busybody SJW snoops. That way they can bully to their hearts’ content secure in the knowledge it is for the bullied parties’ own good.