Kevin Williamson explains why Left-Coast Progressives are simultaneously eager to legalize smoking pot and to ban e-cigarettes.
The goal of progressivism is not to make the world rational; itâ€™s to make the world Portland.
Vaping is, from the point of view of your average organic-quinoa and hot-yoga enthusiast, a lowlife thing. It is not the same thing as smoking, but it looks too much like smoking for their tastes. Indeed, California cites the possibility of vapingâ€™s â€œre-normalizing smoking behaviorâ€ as a principal cause of concern. Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, says that vaping should be treated like â€œother important outbreaks or epidemics.â€
But epidemics of what? Prole tastes?
Progressivism, especially in its well-heeled coastal expressions, is not a philosophy â€” itâ€™s a lifestyle. Specifically, it is a brand of conspicuous consumption, which in a land of plenty such as ours as often as not takes the form of conspicuous non-consumption: no gluten, no bleached flour, no Budweiser, no Walmart, no SUVs, no Toby Keith, etc. The people who set the cultural tone in places such as Berkeley, Seattle, or Austin would no more be caught vaping than they would slurping down a Shamrock Shake at McDonaldâ€™s â€” and they conclude without thinking that, therefore, neither should anybody else. The wise man understands that thereâ€™s a reason that Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors; the lifestyle progressive in Park Slope shudders in horror at the refined sugar in all of them, and seeks to have them restricted.
There is not much that I myself am inclined to ban, from Big Gulps to recreational drugs, and I do appreciate that the main problem with rocky-road ice cream is the same as the problem with cocaine: It is exactly as good as advertised. But progressives, who so frequently adhere to insane theories of parenting, have trouble saying â€œnoâ€ to their children. Which is unsurprising, if you think about it: If you wonâ€™t say no to your teenage daughterâ€™s elective mastectomy, how are you going to say no to an ice-cream cone? If you want a brief encapsulation of the view from Park Slope, consider this parentâ€™s complaint about the ice-cream vendors in the park: â€œI should not have to fight with my children every warm day on the playground just so someone can make a living!â€ Making a living â€” psah! If only those ice-cream-peddling nobodies had had the good sense to get an MBA â€” or to marry somebody with one.
They cannot say no to their own children, but they can say no to grown adults theyâ€™ve never met. Itâ€™s the only rational thing to do: Science says vaping is dangerous, and progressives are all about the science. Until they arenâ€™t. …
There are many conservatives who prefer organic food, who do yoga, who like trains, and who would prefer living in Brooklyn to living in Plano. De gustibus and all that. The difference is that progressives, blazing with self-righteousness, believe themselves entitled to make their preferences a matter of law.
And thatâ€™s the Left in short: A lifestyle so good, itâ€™s mandatory.