“We simply cannot allow toxic things to be in our schools,” said a spokesman for the Texas school district that confiscated the suntan lotion of a ten-year-old who then became sunburned on a school trip. Students “could ingest it,” the spokesman explained. “It’s really just a dangerous situation.” Not as dangerous as entrusting children to schools run by mindless martinets.
Contempt for government cannot be hermetically sealed; it seeps into everything. Which is why cupcake regulations have foreign-policy consequences. Americans, inundated with evidence that government is becoming dumber and more presumptuous, think it cannot be trusted to decipher foreign problems and apply force intelligently.
The collapse of confidence in government is not primarily because many conspicuous leaders are conspicuously dimwitted, although when Joe Biden refers to “the nation of Africa,” or Harry Reid disparages the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision as rendered by “five white men” (who included Clarence Thomas), Americans understand that their increasingly ludicrous government lacks adult supervision. What they might not understand is that Reids and Bidens come with government so bereft of restraint and so disoriented by delusions of grandeur that it gives fighting knives to police and grief to purveyors of non-compliant cupcakes.