Government increasingly tells private business what it can and can’t do—gender-neutral toys are just the start
‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Ronald Reagan called them the nine most terrifying words in the English language — and, indeed, it’s getting scary for retailers in California.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “California became the first state in the nation Saturday to adopt a law requiring large retail stores to provide gender-neutral toy sections under a bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The new law, which takes effect in 2024, says that retail stores with 500 or more employees must sell some toys and child-care products outside of areas specifically labeled by gender. Retailers can continue to offer other toys and child-care goods in traditional boys and girls sections if they choose to.”
The Times goes on to explain, “Assembly Bill 1084 continues a gradual shift in the retail industry away from strictly marketing children’s products under traditional gender stereotypes, said Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), who introduced the legislation. Target dropped boys and girls toy sections in 2015, and other retailers have since moved away from gender-specific labels.”
If the industry was already moving in this direction anyway, why is it necessary for legislation to be enacted? As usual, the government is of the mind that they need to be involved in every societal decision, no matter how trivial. Even kids’ toys.
To what end? How does the government define the scope of its power? Over the last year, that’s become an important question few have bothered to ask. Should the government be able to close businesses or tell them how to operate?
During a pandemic, the government decided that yes, it has that authority. And apparently outside of a pandemic, the government has decided that they have jurisdiction as well.
What kind of economy do we have? One that is centrally planned by government bureaucracy or a capitalist one where our needs are determined by the markets? Increasingly, it feels like the former.
In small, incremental changes over time, some under the guise of “emergency powers,” we’re sliding in a direction Americans have not consented to.