Put the Fanny State Behind

In the interest or saving trees, the legacy of Mr. Whipple (please don’t squeeze the Charmin!) could be a thing of the past. The greens have already succeeded in taking away well-functioning toilet bowls, why not soft toilet paper? Michael Fumento notes today on his blog how the greens want to ban soft toilet paper (see Washington Post story). Instead, we will only be able to buy toilet paper made with recycled materials, which might make fine-toothed sand paper feel smooth in comparison. They also want your soft tissues. Imagine wiping your sick child’s sore little nose with nasty, rough recycled-content tissues.

Greens say the soft stuff is bad because it comes from old growth trees. So what? Forests change over time as older trees die or are harvested for products. This process has been going on for centuries. The key is not to abandon forestry and live inferior, less-pleasant lifestyles, it’s to operate forests  in a truly sustainable way. And contrary to the “politically green” approach, the true way to do this is through private forestry that uses, manages, and re-grows forests. Since we began to sustainably harvest and use forests on a private basis, we actually have more forests in the United States than we did at the turn of the century.  In contrast, in places where the government owns and manages the forests “for nature,” we have major mismanagement problems, pest problems, and fires, which wreak far more havoc for wildlife than harvesting and replanting on private land.  Developing nations might not have privately managed forests yet, but we should work toward that with them rather than abandon trade.  The greens’ no-trade, approaches only leave developing nations in the dark ages, perpetuating poverty and environmental destruction.

It might sound silly to worry about toilet paper, but letting the greens have their way will this “fanny-state” regulation will mean even more intrusions to our freedom in the future. It’s time consumers started watching their backs—or there will be no freedoms left behind.