Big Soda Ban Still Fizzles

One of the Nanny State’s ninniest nannies is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, eager to save New Yorkers from big cups of sugary drinks. Big Soda supposedly makes you tubby. Bloomberg feels that it is the government’s job to prevent such tubbiness. (No word yet on bans of big chocolate, big hamburger, big pizza . . .)

In July, a court upheld a prior ruling that the NYC Board of Health had exceeded its bounds by trying to ban certain Big Soda sales. According to the Times, the justices objected to “exceptions and carve-outs in the rule [that] demonstrated that the board was concerned with matters beyond its core mission to improve public health. . . .”

The now-banned ban was indeed full of carve-outs and contradictions — unavoidable this side of a totalitarian state. To achieve its goals consistently, the government would have to monitor our every sip. How much more must it have to do to really stop us from gaining “too much” weight, Bloomberg’s rationale for the assault on Big Soda sales?

It is not government’s job to compel good living by violating the very political rights that we need in order to live well. Its job is to safeguard those rights; i.e., to safeguard the freedom to make choices about matters big and small according to our own judgment. A state that bans every conceivable “wrong” choice also prohibits our means of making the choices that are — for each of us, given our individual purposes and priorities — the right choices.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Aug
    5
    10:44
    AM
    drrik

    If we are endowed by our creator with inalienable rights, then the state can only take our rights away. If the state can eliminate our creator, then we have no rights, only privileges that the state can bestow or withhold.

  2. Aug
    5
    4:39
    PM
    Lynn A. Bloxham

    Though deceptively simple this essay well illustrates the arrogance most politicians display.

  3. Aug
    5
    4:49
    PM
    Kenneth H. Fleischer

    I agree entirely with the editorial, but I do have a gripe with the sidebar quote from Winston Churchill, “What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?”

    To live one’s life is all of the justification one needs or ought to feel a need for. The purpose of life is to live it, not to be of some sort of benefit for others. Besides, if one lives one’s life well, one is a benefit to all others around, just by being so good at living.

    It’s good to strive for noble causes, and it’s good to make the world a better place, but that is not, nor ought it to be, the justification of life.

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