Obtuse Award – Mayor Bloomberg Plans Ban on Large Sugary Drinks in New York CityMay 31st, 2012
Just how obtuse can you get? In a misguided effort to combat rising obesity, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is seriously proceeding with a sweeping policy proposal to enact a city-wide ban on the sale of large soft drinks and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts…
“The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.”
Think about that. If this ban goes into effect, then here in the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave, the country where oppressed people everywhere have fled to for centuries now to enjoy liberty and take hold of their birthright as human beings: the right to self-determination and to make choices about their own lives for themselves without the interference of tyrants or despots, here in a country such as this, one of its greatest cities will be telling grown adults that they can’t drink a drink if it’s too big (by whose standard?) or has too much sugar in it (according to whose judgment?). Of course you could just get two small ones. Or a large one with some milk in it:
“The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.”
Leave it to a government regulator to create a regulation with all the harms of a regulation, but plenty of loopholes so that it doesn’t even solve the problem it purports to solve. The way Michael Bloomberg et al. are framing the issue, the obesity problem is so rampant, so out-of-control, so destructive to human health and happiness, such a dire emergency, that nothing short of forcibly controlling the freaking beverage choices a grown adult makes about his or her own body is good enough to stop the onslaught. It’s that bad. It requires measures that radical and extreme. And yet it’s not bad enough to ban all the large sugary drinks.
If you still want a large sugary drink in New York City under the ban, all you have to do is get one with milk, fruit juice (probably 10% will qualify), or alcohol in it! But if sugar (like terrorists) is obviously an existential threat to everything we hold dear, so dangerous that it requires police state measures to combat and eradicate, why are we still allowed to drink as much of it as we want if there’s some milk or alcohol in it? Duh! Everyone knows milk is the antidote to sugar. It’s in my high school health textbook. You can consume as much sugar as you want in the form of milk and ice cream blended together and you won’t gain weight. It cancels out the effect! You can also swill down as much diet soda as you want with that super-sized meal, extra side, and dessert, and because it says “diet” in the name, you’ll stay just as skinny as Paris Hilton during a famine on meth. I’m so glad that people who know so much about health are working so hard to make sure we all stay healthy!
Let’s keep reading:
“The measures have led to occasional derision of the mayor as Nanny Bloomberg, by those who view the restrictions as infringements on personal freedom. But many of the measures adopted in New York have become models for other cities, including restrictions on smoking and trans fats, as well as the use of graphic advertising to combat smoking and soda consumption, and the demand that chain restaurants post calorie contents next to prices.”
Hmm… some people are wondering if maybe forcibly banning peaceful, voluntary exchanges of property between consenting adults is a totally obscene, fascist defilement of every principle that once made this country great. What’s the New York Times’ answer? But, Moooom. Other cities are doing it too! Good to see such intellectual rigor from the newspaper of record. Saying that New York’s nanny statism has become a model for other cities doesn’t answer the objection that it violates personal freedom. If that objection is valid, then the fact that Bloomberg’s obtuseness is spreading to other cities is just one more reason not to like his policies. Yes, New York City is definitely a trendsetter for other municipalities– that makes it even more important for its leaders to respect individual liberty and common sense.
Have we learned nothing from the failed War on Drugs? Over-bearing government regulations and sweeping government programs do not succeed in remedying unhealthy human behavior. Instead, they multiply its ill-effects with unintended market distortions that create perverse incentives for more destructive and more unhealthy behavior. We’ve seen it happen over and over again. You can just about bet money these days that any time the government declares a “War on” something that the problem will only get worse, and that we’ll only get more and worse of whatever the war has been declared on. Terrorism, poverty, drugs, you name it. When the government goes to war against it, for some reason it just becomes bigger and badder. A quick search of Google will reveal that the “War on Obesity” is already not a novel term in our discourse today.
Well good luck, Bloomberg. If your ban succeeds, I’m going to visit your city and illegally sell cartoonishly giant drinks with extra packets of sugar and splenda mixed in until somebody comes and arrests me. Then I’m going to sue you.
I don’t know if I should do any more of these Obtuse Awards. It’s hard not to pick a truly worthy recipient like Bloomberg this week without writing as sarcastically and bitterly as I have today. What do you think? More Obtuse Awards features each week, or no? Anyways, I’m thirsty: I’ve got to hit publish on this and go make a personal choice out of my own voluntary free will to drink some unsweetened almond milk. Yes, Mayor Bloomberg, I’m not obese because of my own personal choices. It’s that simple.
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