Michael Bloomberg is moving forward with a ban on large sizes of soft drinks in New York City under the guise of fighting obesity. Besides the issue of unintended consequences (now will people buy two drinks instead of one and create more trash?), the obvious encroachment of the nanny state is extremely concerning. Many New Yorkers are rightfully outraged, but others are rationalizing the decision with some of the worst logic.
You can find some of these rationalizations on the New York Times article covering the ban. One of the most typical defenses of the nanny state is the "we all have to pay for this" argument.
As one of the readers wrote: To those who are appalled by this controlling action by the City of New York, who do you think pays when you end up in the emergency room with a stroke, who pays for artificial limbs when they are lost to diabetes, who pays for seeing eye dogs when diabetes leaves you blind, and who takes care of your family when a heart attack kills you: The answer is the City of New York, the State of New York, and your fellow citizens. No matter how much health insurance you have it doesn't cover your life. Moreover who loses your productivity and perhaps your genius? The answer is that since the American People have displaced a gross, unexplainable lack of control over their intake of heart attack, stroke, diabetes causing sugar, someone has to treat them like the infants that they are. Bravo Mike!!!
Well, with this line of thinking, why don't we just ban alcohol entirely, as it hurts so many lives with alcoholism? Oh, that's right - we already tried that.
Here's one of the strangest examples of logic I've ever read - and it's one of the New York Times top comment "picks" and the top Reader Pick:
Am I the only one who feels gratitude? I get why people are worried (slippery slope, government control) but here's the thing:
Say I want to buy a small soda. Well, twenty years ago, I would have gotten an 8 oz cup. Now I get a 16 oz cup. There is no small soda anymore. And large has become not 20 ounces but 40 ounces. People keep claiming you have a "choice" to eat healthy, but you really don't. Maybe you can drink half a soda or completely forego it, but for most people, that's not the way human nature works. (Most people go to a movie and want a soda, for example.) Today, you not only can't trust restaurants to do what's best for your health, you can't even expect them to give you the option to eat a small portion. This is a last-resort law because portion sizes have gotten absurd -- and the government is footing the bill through health care.
Sugary drinks are the number one contributing factor to obesity, in terms of calories, compared to how we ate 20 or 30 years ago. People may hate Bloomberg for this, but my money is that it will help.
OK, so based on this person's inability to stop drinking their soda (or throwing half of it out once they get it), they feel all large drink cups should be banned. I wonder what other things this person would ban due to their own personal inconvenience. He's decided that radio stations are too loud for him (despite having volume control on his radio), so he advocates a law to limit how loud any radio station can broadcast. Yeah, that's a smart way to legislate.
Will New Yorkers become sheeple and accept this latest transgression on their civil liberties? Or will they finally wake up and ask their local government to get in line?
One organization works to stop nanny state food laws. Their site is at: http://myfoodmychoice.org/