Berkeley Is No Longer a Gas – and You Better Watch Your Mouth

As Daniel Turner notes at Fox News, Berkeley, California, has become “the first city in America to ban natural gas from new homes and businesses, including restaurants that use natural gas for stoves.” This alleged victory for the environment has prompted more than 50 other California cities to follow Berkeley’s lead. For Turner, the ban is a bad idea because “natural gas is incredibly clean, producing very low emissions,” and thanks to the fracking revolution, “American natural gas production has exploded.” Berkeley imagines helping the planet by switching to electrical heating and cooking. As Turner notes, California “imports electricity from neighboring states like Utah and Arizona where it is generated by coal.” As it happens, Berkeley’s natural gas ban is not a one-off.

“The city of Berkeley, California, is banning some commonly used words in favor of more gender-neutral alternatives,” CBS News explains. “Manhole” and other gender-specific language will be eliminated from the municipal code. “Gender” is actually a grammatical term, but such realities count for little in Berkeley, which lives in the subjunctive mood. On the other hand, some terms associated with the town could stand some cleaning up. 

For example, the city is supposedly the home of the “free-speech movement.” Actually, that movement began several centuries before, and as Thomas Sowell has pointed out, the American free-speech zone includes the entire country. 

Berkeley was also a center of what is called the “anti-war movement.” Actually, the New Left activists of the 1960s were not against war itself, only U.S. participation in wars against Communist movements. As a piece of New Left doggerel had it, “Ho Ho Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the NLF is gonna win.” That is not the language of an anti-war activist, but the realities of the movement have slipped down the memory hole, and a whole generation never knew them in the first place. 

Meanwhile, Berkeley now mounts a war against free speech, natural gas, and common sense. In California, just about everything is under threat these days. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.
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