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.