Governments have been taking big bites out of liberty these days, and now the mayor of New York City is taking a big gulp.
You see, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has this pathological obsession about obesity. It’s not about his own shrimp sized body, which would be fine -- he’s not obese -- but instead he obsesses about the body fat on everyone else in his fiefdom.
So the man has been campaigning against his subjects’ obesity ever since he became the Mayor. First he went hysterical about trans-fats in restaurant food; you know the stuff that makes it taste good. So he banned the substance altogether in his city. Now you can’t get a meal or a snack with trans-fats in it anywhere in the entire city of New York.
Then he forced restaurants throughout the city to post detailed calorie counts for every item on their menus as if anyone but he and his merry band of statist food nannies gives a shit about it.
Lately he’s been focusing his tyrannical attention on soda pop of all things. He doesn’t like the thought of his serfs drinking too much soda pop. They might get fat and that bothers the Mayor.
First, he tried to make the consumption of soda pop less appealing to the cities’ sheep by proposing a statewide tax on the soft drinks but his grand idea was foiled by the politicians in the state house at Albany. Then he attempted to block people using food stamps from buying soda pop at the stores but federal regulators squashed that move.
Not about for one second to give up on his anti-obesity crusade, now he’s proposing another ban on the “unhealthy” soda pop business in his jurisdiction. He wants to outlaw Big Gulps, super-sized sodas, and other sugary bottled or fountain drinks larger than 16 ounces per serving at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts.
Any food establishments caught violating the ban would be subject to pay $200 fines. Bloomberg declared that he "thinks it's what the public wants the mayor to do."
At least one of the Mayor’s fawning subjects agrees with him, opining that "sodas are really unhealthy and I don't see any reason you need to drink 20 ounces of soda." Instead of making a reasonable resolution to keep his own soda pop consumption to a minimum this fledgling tyrant thinks it’s just fine to stomp on the liberty of everyone else.
Personally, I would have trouble downing 16 ounces of soda. I’d have difficulty drinking a full 12 ounces, but I’m the last person on Earth who would interfere with the right of any business to sell any quantity of a lawful product that any customer desires. After all, this is America. We’re all supposed to be free here. Who am I to say no?
It’s one thing to restrict or prohibit smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places, an edict which Mayor Bloomberg has also accomplished to his credit. The stinking smoke that smokers emit from their filthy habit actually interferes adversely with the personal space and health of others. Prohibiting smoking in public is therefore justified for the same reasons using a bull horn to speak in public might rightly be proscribed.
But it is quite another thing to prohibit the size of soda pop servings the consumption of which has no affect upon others. It’s none of a city mayor’s business if someone in his city wants to drink more than 16 ounces of soda pop at once. It’s none of his business that some people are fat and consume too much for their own good.
If the Mayor can dictate the size of soda pop servings, he can dictate every other aspect of any business in his city. He could pass an ordinance restricting donut shops from selling more than 2 donuts at a time to a customer. He could outlaw larger portions of French fries; more than one pork chop per plate; any serving of steak more than ¾ of an inch thick – there is no limit to what evil he could do to our appetites.Me thinks the Mayor this time has taken too big a gulp of our liberty to swallow.