The Magazine

The Next Big Stink

The killjoys are back. What do they have in store for us?

Feb 9, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 19 • By P.J. O'ROURKE
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In fact, we'd be wrong to use any of the above methods to foresee what Democrats will attempt to constrain or forbid. A better way to approach the problem is to ask, "What would annoy the most people the most often?" That is the true test of government intervention in life. The Secular Grail of liberal Democrats is a program or policy that combines the intrusion of the census, the depredations of the income tax, the duress of school busing to achieve racial balance, the expense of Social Security, the nuisance of Medicare paperwork, the inconvenience of car registration, the pettiness of a congressional investigation, and the fine print on the label of flame-resistant children's pajamas.

My guess is that the next great government crusade will be against soap. The president will appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission, which will determine that soap releases polluting grime into the ecosystem, leads to aquifer depletion, and contains fatty acids that laboratory studies have shown to be acidic and not fat-free. Soap encourages teenage pregnancy as well as adult sexual activity with multiple partners, driving America's divorce rate higher, causing more children to live under the poverty line in single-parent households. Soap is a factor in many cases of child abuse, according to small boys in bathtubs. Soap bubbles may contain methane, especially if rising to the surface of bath water containing small boys. Soap marketing sends the wrong message about the Ivory trade and also about Irish Spring, which is being altered by climate change. Soap degrades the flame-resistant properties of children's pajamas. And soap makes whales foam when they spout.

Socialism--you can smell it coming.

P.J. O'Rourke is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.