Politics

George Will on NYC soda ban: ‘The essence of contemporary liberalism,’ ‘preposterous,’ ‘sinister’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking a lot of heat for his move to combat obesity by banning the sale of large carbonated beverages in his city.

The latest criticism comes from Washington Post columnist George Will, who explained on Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” why Bloomberg’s move represents the flaws of liberalism.

“Let me read what Michael Bloomberg said. because in one sentence he’s got the essence of contemporary liberalism — that is something preposterous and something sinister,” Will said. “Listen to this: ‘We’re not taking away anyone’s right to do things.’ Could have fooled me. “We’re simply forcing you to understand.’ Now, that’s modern liberalism — the like of bossing people around, the kind of irritable gesture.”

Stephanopoulos interrupted to point out that obesity is an epidemic. But the Washington Post columnist responded that soda consumption was already decreasing before Bloomberg’s effort.

“Of course it is,” Will said. “Regulating the sizes of these drinks at some outlets will do nothing about it. By the way, the sale of sugary, carbonated sodas has fallen 24 percent since 1998. The American people are getting the word on this. What this really says is — what Bloomberg is saying is the government helps with your health care, the government is implicated in your health, therefore we own you, therefore the government can fine-tune all of the decisions that you make pertinent to your health.”

Near the end of the segment, Will compared the ban to efforts by government to combat climate change, which he said give officials license to control many aspects of people’s lives.

“This is one of the reasons liberals are so enamored with the issue of climate change,” Will said. “They say all our behavior in some way affects the climate, therefore the government — meaning we liberals — the part of government can fine-tune all of your behavior right down to the light bulbs you use.”

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