Bag tax risks encouraging a tax on sarcasm

Sounds like reusable cloth bags should come with a warning: “The use of reusable cloth grocery bags may cause E. coli, bubonic plague or Rocky Mountain tick fever. In some rare cases, the use of cloth bags has resulted in high blood pressure, hair loss, impotency, irritable bowel syndrome, hives, acne and restless leg syndrome. If any of these conditions occur, cease the use of cloth bags immediately and contact the nearest radio talk-show host.”

In fact (in keeping with standards set by politicians and pundits, the writer is not responsible for the factuality of any declared facts), unwashed undies cause more illness than unwashed cloth grocery bags. Boxers or tighty whities, reach for the bleach. What bacteria are responsible for affecting critical thinking to the point one believes the planet needs more plastic?

But we know the plastic bag ban/tax is not about hygiene and disease; it’s a matter of freedom. And we haven’t learned anything from the long list of precedents. We once were free to drink Coca-Cola made with coca leaf extract, and we have not been free to drink 7Up with mood-soothing lithium since 1948. Can’t put leaded gasoline in our gas tanks or paint our houses with lead paint. Locally, we cannot even enjoy the pleasures of secondhand smoke outdoors. When we lose the freedom to choose the kind of light bulb we want, will we be able to see this or any issue clearly? The electric bill might be lower, we might be healthier, and the planet might be healthier, but what good is that without freedom?

Give me liberty or give me a long, slow, agonizing death brought on by dog germs, myopia and motivated reasoning. What’s next, a tax on sarcasm?

Kevin Devine


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