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Friday, March 4, 2016

Banning bans on plastic bags is a victory for small government

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

I have been shocked to see how many liberal Democrats support the right of cities to ban black people from living within the city limits. As I observe Democrats' uncompromising advocacy for "home rule" it becomes obvious how there is a frightening undercurrent of racism in this position. They want local government to have more authority so they can abuse that authority to discriminate.

Note for the terminally stupid: The above is sarcasm.

Yes, I understand the difference between prohibiting racial discrimination and prohibiting bans on plastic bags. I am not equating the two kinds of laws, and I recognize racial discrimination enshrined in law is far worse. I was using an admittedly extreme example to make the point that there are, and there obviously should be, limits on "home rule" and what local government is permitted to do. There should be limits on what the majority of voters can do through their elected representatives. The question is obviously not whether there should be limits. Of course there should be limits. The question is what those limits should be.

While I understand the objections some conservatives have to a law "increasing the power of the state" and preempting what a "majority" of local residents want as expressed through their elected officials, the power of the majority should not be unlimited. Prohibiting local government from banning plastic bags is a good, small government law that limits the ability of local government to micromanage business and limit consumer choice. State government has a legitimate interest in guarding against the tyranny of the majority in local communities.

Passing laws is not necessarily big government, if those laws limit the power of the government to meddle in our lives. Limits on government power are all through our national and state constitutions. At a time when even the supposedly "conservative" Republican super-majority is passing laws expanding the power of government, spending more money and regulating how we live our lives and manage our businesses, it is refreshing to see a law passed that actually limits the authority of government. We need a lot more laws like this.

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