Any aging baby boomer (like myself) knows that the anthem of the radicals of the 1960s and 1970s was sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Let the good times roll. Back then, the joke was that a conservative was someone who lived in mortal fear that someone, somewhere, was having fun.
But if this new generation of authoritarian liberals has its way, sex and rock 'n' roll will be illegal.
As I've said in the past in these pages, the ironic ideological twist that has occurred over the past 20 years is that the once permissive "live and let live" Left is now the nonpermissive Left. The leftists in America are the new puritans.
If you think I'm exaggerating, consider in just the past few months the laundry list of things that liberals want to abolish. The same movement that wanted to legalize almost all drugs now wants to make smoking a menthol cigarette illegal. It's OK to roll a joint, but not a tobacco cigarette. (Just for the record, I am not a smoker -- and have never been one.)
The Left wants to save the planet by abolishing cars. No, not all cars for now. But if you have a car with a combustible engine that guzzles gasoline or diesel, they are coming after it. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg wants all new cars to be battery-operated over the next 10 years.
Never mind that Americans have a special love affair with their cars. Polls show by decisive margins that we want to decide for ourselves what kind of car we will drive, not leave it up to Uncle Sam. But if the climate change fanatics have their way, your right to choose your own car won't exist. Oh, and by the way, in the Left's utopian future, there won't be any need for cars for the masses. We will ride around on buses and trains. Only the political elite -- the beautiful people -- will have cars.
Some of the more radical environmental groups want to abolish refrigerators (they use too much energy), light bulbs, guns (of course), straws (they kill dolphins), diving boards at pools (too dangerous), charcoal grills and disposable diapers. They want to regulate the temperature on your thermostat in your home in the winter and summer months so you don't use too much energy. They are talking about wanting to install government-controlled switches so that bureaucrats can set the temperature in your bedroom. The Left wants strict restrictions on how much water can spray out of the nozzle of your shower so that you don't waste water.
Now, the latest planetary villain that needs to be outlawed is ... plastics. On June 30, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law to reduce sharply the use of plastics in everything from water bottles to grocery bags, containers and packaging. This is the state's solution to the mounting garbage crisis that the politicians can't solve. Violators will face fines as high as $50,000 per infraction.
The new law sets strict recycling requirements, but apparently, no one told these genius lawmakers that recycling plastics requires huge amounts of energy, and sorry, that can't happen if you're dependent on wind and solar power.
The good news is that at least in America, we still have a right to complain openly about these mounting restrictions on the way we live our lives free of a tyrannical government. But for how long? Liberals will no doubt soon regard columns like this as subversive "hate speech" and abolish this, too.