So New York City is in the news again and much like every other time, it’s not there for a good reason. Today’s attempt at limiting liberty in the big apple stems from drinking too much soda. Mayor Bloomberg in all his infinite wisdom has decided that drinking a coke or other carbonated sugary beverage that is greater than 16 oz. will make you fat. He is proposing that pretty much anything with sugar in it cannot be sold in a greater than 16oz size anywhere in New York. This of course does not apply to grocery stores, because it is apparently still illegal to tell people what they can and can not do in their own homes. But if you want to get a hotdog and a soda from a cart, buy one at a sports arena, or get one at a fast food joint, you are soon going to be out of luck. Bloomberg is concerned about the obesity on the New York transit system. People eat too much and get fat. This fatness leads to obesity and obesity means your butt is too wide to sit in a subway seat. These subway cars fill up too fast now that asses fill two seats instead of one, which is causing a revenue drop in New York. additionally these plus sized people are hard on the furniture, they tend to crack the seats and whatnot.
If that was the scenario Bloomberg was using, obesity in New York is directly hurting New York, I could buy it as a measure designed to keep the transit system from breaking down, but no sadly this is not the case. Bloomberg believes that obesity is a nationwide problem, and he is correct in this assumption. I have watched Americans consume things that would feed twenty people at once in a third world country and then go back for seconds. We are the nation of plenty and we tend to eat like it. However, Bloomberg is wrong in thinking that he as mayor of New York should get involved with the banning and limiting of beverages to curb obesity. Bans do not work, people who want a 32 oz. big gulp will just end up buying their own cup to put soda in, or buy two sodas, or sneak a 2 liter with a straw into the movies. If you outlaw something, they will find a way to get it anyway.
This is not a case of what is best for the people, this is a case of telling people how to live their lives. You see these rules, these laws, are not designed to protect or better society, they are designed simply to keep people from doing things they want to do. These are rules for the ruled, not rules for the ruling class. New York has banned smoking in public, trans fats, food donations to the poor where calorie and salt content are not readily available on the label, and forced restaurants to post their health department letter grades prominently. The only one I agree with is the letter grade posted, that is just good common sense. “Your argument, I guess, could be that it’s a little less convenient to have to carry two 16-ounce drinks to your seat in the movie theater rather than one 32 ounce,” the mayor said. “I don’t think you can make the case that we’re taking things away.” Not completely, but your toe is slipping over the fine line between governing and dictating.