The legislature’s bill to ban limitations on gas stoves is little more than a juvenile exercise in Berkeley-bashing. Following 20 other red states, the General Assembly has peevishly introduced a proposal to preempt our state’s local governments from requiring clean-powered appliances in new homes. Hippies, take that.

Passing stupid and embarrassing legislation is hardly a novel pastime for the North Carolina General Assembly, nor is joining into waves of mutual red-state imitation. From a state currency (prohibited, ironically, by conservatives in the original North Carolina constitution) to vicious attacks on trans health care, this legislature delights in exploring the remotest crannies of conservative rabbit holes. But this volley against the ghost of the ’60s has a surprising significance. For all its pettiness, the gas-stove ban reveals a dynamic that has fundamentally reshaped the state’s politics.