A Reasonable Response

I often refer to laws as arbitrary rules. This doesn’t sit well with statists because they believe that laws are more than arbitrary declarations by politicians. In their world laws are the result of a problem being recognized, intelligently discussed, and sensibly addressed through appropriate legislation. But when the “problems” being identified are as minuscule as disposable straws, any claim that the problems being addressed by politicians are actual problems at all gets tossed out of the window:

Calderon, the Democratic majority leader in California’s lower house, has introduced a bill to stop sit-down restaurants from offering customers straws with their beverages unless they specifically request one. Under Calderon’s law, a waiter who serves a drink with an unrequested straw in it would face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

“We need to create awareness around the issue of one-time use plastic straws and its detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways, and oceans,” Calderon explained in a press release.

If this were being proposed anywhere besides California, I’d bet against it going anywhere. But since it is being proposed in California, I give it even odds. That state’s politicians are especially loathsome. But I digress.

Let’s consider the problem. Apparently Calderon is upset about disposable straws ending up in landfills. I highly doubt Mother Gaia is going to keel over on account of a pile of straws, especially when I consider all of the other major environmental issues, many of which are created by the government. So I think it’s safe to list disposable straws as a rather minor issue deserving no real attention at all. But since it’s being given attention the punishment should at least be minor. However, Calderon’s proposal is to destroy the lives of waiters who give unrequested straws.

Waiters aren’t known for raking in money. A $1,000 fine is a pretty significant chunk of change for somebody making waiter money. But the real icing on the cake is the jail sentence. If a waiter is forced to miss work for months, they will likely find themselves without a job when they return. Furthermore, that waiter will then have a criminal record, which will make finding another job difficult. For the “crime” of distributing a disposable straw a waiter would find their life completely destroyed by this legislation.

There is nothing reasonable about this proposal but it could be passed into law because laws are arbitrary decrees issued by politicians.