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Jay Nordlinger talks with George Will.

John Tierney reports that even Greenpeace now admits that recycling doesn’t work. Two slices:

The Greenpeace report offers a wealth of statistics and an admirably succinct diagnosis: “Mechanical and chemical recycling of plastic waste has largely failed and will always fail because plastic waste is: (1) extremely difficult to collect, (2) virtually impossible to sort for recycling, (3) environmentally harmful to reprocess, (4) often made of and contaminated by toxic materials, and (5) not economical to recycle.” Greenpeace could have added a sixth reason: forcing people to sort and rinse their plastic garbage is a waste of everyone’s time. But then, making life more pleasant for humans has never been high on the green agenda.

These fatal flaws have been clear since the start of the recycling movement. When I wrote about it a quarter-century ago, experts were already warning that recycling plastic was hopelessly impractical because it was so complicated and labor-intensive, but municipal officials kept trying in the hope that somebody would eventually find it worthwhile to buy their plastic trash. Instead, they’ve had to pay dearly to get rid of it, typically by shipping it to Asian countries with cheaper labor and looser environmental rules. In New York City, recycling a ton of plastic costs at least six times more than sending it to a landfill, according to a 2020 Manhattan Institute study, which estimated that the city could save $340 million annually by sending all its trash to landfills.


Environmentalists’ zeal to ban plastic is far more destructive than their former passion to recycle it; it’s also harder to explain. Recycling, while impractical, at least offered emotional rewards to hoarders reluctant to put anything in the trash and to the many people who perform garbage-sorting as a ritual of atonement—a sacrament of the green religion. But why demonize plastic? Why ban products that are cheaper, sturdier, lighter, cleaner, healthier, and better for the environment? One reason: the plastic scare helps Greenpeace activists raise money and keep their jobs. Environmentalists need something to replace their failed recycling campaign.

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board rightly ridicules Progressives’ – including the Biden administration’s – utter irrationality about energy. Here’s the Editorial Board’s conclusion:

Mr. Biden and fellow Democrats simply refuse to understand the economic consequences of their assault on American fossil fuels. They have come to believe that climate is a crisis and that banishing oil and gas is urgent. But that means higher prices, which they now blame on the very companies they want to go out of business. Economic logic won’t persuade them, but maybe a rout at the ballot box will.

David Simon asks: “Who are the real climate science deniers?” A slice:

In “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters,” Obama Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science Steven Koonin shows that the United Nations climate models that the doomsters use to predict future global temperatures are so speculative and unreliable that they have been unable even to reproduce the 20th century’s temperature changes.

Steven Greenhut describes Gavin Newsom as “doing his best Jimmy Carter impression.”

Wai Wah Chin writes that “racial discrimination in college admissions is uglier than sausage-making.” (HT George Leef)

Favorably reviewing Robert Ellickson’s new book – a book on zoning – Howard Husock decries zoning’s “vast collateral damage.” A slice:

A professor of urban and property law at Yale Law School, Ellickson gets quickly to the heart of the matter: “Local zoning measures may be the most consequential regulatory program in the United States. Local barriers to housing production elevate housing costs and distort household migration decisions. Nonetheless, members of the mass media tend to regard anything that happens at a city hall as unworthy of attention.” He characterizes zoning’s reach into private life as “Leviathan gone Local.”

In case after case, he illustrates how typical zoning standards drive up home costs. These include minimum sizes for both the size of a lot and of a house, as well as the widespread requirements for detached single-family homes or even sharp limitations on where townhouses or duplexes may be built. In much of Greenwich, Connecticut, for example, a new home requires a lot size of four acres. Three Silicon Valley towns (Los Altos Hills, Woodside, and Portola Valley) have a combined area of 30 square miles, of which only two acres (0.01 percent) are zoned for multi-family homes. It’s no surprise that in nearby Atherton, which requires one-acre minimum lots, the median home value is $6.5 million. Palo Alto, California, finds another way to restrict construction—by limiting the height of potential apartment buildings downtown. Five of the Connecticut towns that Ellickson analyzes not only mandate large lot sizes but also restrict 99 percent of the land to single-family detached homes. And once a neighborhood is zoned that way, it almost never changes—thus, the “frozen” part of his title.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Edward Blum – founder and president of Students for Fair Admissions – makes a strong case that “race has no place in college admissions.” A slice:

Harvard has a long and ugly history of discriminating against high-achieving minorities. As many historians have pointed out, Harvard’s leadership once believed it had too many Jews on campus because almost a quarter of all Harvard freshmen were Jewish. Holistic admissions criteria were concocted to limit the number of Jews admitted.

GMU Econ alum Michael Thomas has tips for driving liberty in the traffic of tolerance. A slice:

When politics is expanded to include ethics it becomes picking winners from among those groups vying for rents. This eliminates the role of providing formal rules for procedure and becomes arbitrating between prescriptions for ethical living. When the sphere of government extends beyond what Adam Smith would call the grammar of justice, the what of the ethical becomes salient for every member of society, especially underrepresented groups. Citizens caught between contested ethical claims must position themselves to win the way that some drivers use horns and trade paint. A proper set of political institutions frees us from vying for rent.

David Stockman cheers “Bravo, Elon!”

Vinay Prasad tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

I hope Elon swaps out the COVID-19 health experts curated by Twitter with people who actually understand evidence based policy

Writing in Newsweek, Laura Rosen Cohen decries the political left’s hypocrisy about mental health.