A couple weeks ago, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his plan to prohibit the city’s retail stores and restaurants from selling certain large-sized sugary drinks. No more giant Slurpees, no more large Cokes and no more 20-ounce Arizona Green Teas with ginseng and honey.
Giddy with the possibilities, Bloomberg’s lackeys at the Board of Health went on a supersized brainstorming session this past Tuesday. The next targets of the Calorie Crusades? Movie popcorn, milkshakes and lattes.
Disgusted with English rule, a hundred men made 1773 the year of the Boston Tea Party. Let 2012 be the year of the New York Sundae Slam.
If you live near New York City, you have a mission: Converge on the city and find the nearest Burger King. Demand a recycled-cardboard drink holder, the kind that bends in the middle just enough to drop your extra-large soda on the ground. For each slot, order one of Burger King’s newest desserts, the all-American bacon sundae.
With your bacon sundae in hand, march to City Hall, stand in Steve Flanders Square and start shoveling down the most American dessert ever made. The sundaes may melt, but American indignation in the face of sugary micromanagement will remain. You can steal a little liberty here, nibble around the corners there and throw up some red tape, but you can’t take away our food, sex or sleep without really ticking us off.
Motivated by profit, Burger King is giving Americans everything they want. Motivated by self-righteous grandeur, Bloomberg is trying to take it away.
Facing a backlash from the public over his plan, Bloomberg said, “If government’s purpose isn’t to improve the health and longevity of its citizens, I don’t know what its purpose is.” In other words, the mayor of the largest city in the United States doesn’t know what the purpose of government is.
This same man who tried to ban smoking in public places and now wants to ban Big Gulps also said, “We’re not here to tell anybody what to do. But we certainly have an obligation to tell them what’s the best science and best medicine says is in their interest.” Obama, admiring this bit of chutzpah, plopped down in front of a television, nodded his head, and whipped out his iPad to take notes.
You know what else the best science and medicine says? Exercise at least half-an-hour a day. Get eight hours of sleep every night. Don’t try to drive out of Manhattan at rush hour.
Also of note: The best science and best medicine in 1865 told surgeons to bleed the hole in the back of Abraham Lincoln’s head after John Wilkes Booth put a bullet in it.
What other liberty-sucking bans and regulations will Bloomberg and his ilk justify under this banner?
As it’s a local matter, the ban isn’t unconstitutional, but it’s emblematic of a utopian impulse that spreads into a soft tyranny. The underlying assumption is that mayors are kings and regular people are idiots.
To be sure, New Yorkers may be idiots: They disapprove of the ban by a mere five-point margin, 51-46.
New York City is the city that never sleeps — at least until Nanny Bloomberg bans caffeine and sends you to bed at 9 p.m. because the “best science” says eight hours of sleep is good for you. But considering New Yorkers changed the rules just to give Bloomberg a third term, maybe they like being tucked in at night.
Robert J. Guenther is editor-in-chief of the conservative website BiasBreakdown. He can be followed on Twitter @biasbreakdown.