Jewish World Review June 5, 2012/ 15 Sivan, 5772
Americans have a right to be bloated
By Dan K. Thomasson
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I'll drink to that! But if I'm in New York City it won't be out of a cup that exceeds 16 ounces if what I'm drinking is a sugary substance that will add to the nation's obesity dilemma. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that is a mortal sin and he wants to prohibit the sale of these superdrinks.
That of course raises questions about how far a democratic government can go to protect the health and welfare of its citizens without encroaching on the freedom we cherish even to do foolish things that harm only ourselves.
The U.S. Supreme Court says we have an individual right to bear arms so why can't we order a 24-ounce soda? What's the difference between the right to blow out our brains and not our bellies?
No one will dispute that we do a lot of things to excess, including eating and drinking too much.
Has it strained our hearts, cost us millions in health care, shortened our lives and made us just plain look bad? Certainly it has.
But isn't it our choice to resemble the Pillsbury Doughboy if we want to? That seems to me to be indisputable.
And by the way, who is going to police the distribution of oversized drinks - a whole new set of bureaucrats and law enforcement agents called the BGC (Big Gulp Cops)? To my way of thinking, Bloomberg has just created another expensive problem for his taxpayers. What if this silliness spreads to other major cities? I can foresee a revolt from every movie theater, convenience store, fast food restaurant and ballpark in America. Then we're talking real bucks and much mayhem, with straws the major weapons.
It isn't far-fetched to imagine the high court slurping in anticipation of this one, a case that is bound to happen. A major consumer group already has taken full-page advertisements depicting Bloomberg as a "nanny" all frocked out in a light blue number. They're making it clear he hasn't heard the last of this. While the temptation is to treat this whole brouhaha as one of the least serious threats to our way of life in this world of turmoil, it would be wrong to do so.
The good mayor's move is a dangerous example of stepping all over our liberties in direct contravention of that big document hammered out by a group of guys who never heard of soda pop.
Maybe that's a good thing. They might have decided to enshrine the privilege of gluttony in the Bill of Rights despite warnings from Ben Franklin and others that it could only lead to the ruination of our waistlines. Besides have you ever seen one of their dinner menus?
This all started when the courts said states could order drivers to buckle their seat belts, thus depriving them of the right to lay maimed or worse in the middle of twisted metal. The fact is that most citizens were doing that anyway, making those laws less a target of diehards who saw it as another case of over protectionism by Big Brother. But telling people they can't buy a soft drink of more than 16 ounces strikes me as something else altogether. It's one of those "butt out, buddy" orders that in the old days would have produced a fistfight on the floor of Congress.
I heard Michelle Obama on television the other morning conceding that all she could do to promote less obesity and better health was use her jawbone and her own example of feeding her children the healthiest food she could.
The First Lady's trumpeting of a more nutritious diet has jostled the sensibilities of those who resent being told anything. But she was correct when asked if she could do more, she made it clear that in this free society the answer is no.
I've never had a 32-ounce drink, well not of soda pop anyway, but lots have and that's their prerogative.
What's to stop them from buying two 16s and combining them into a left-over bigger cup? "Nanny" Bloomberg has his heart or maybe his stomach in the right place, but where our own is, is our business.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment by clicking here.
• 06/01/12: Quota system would dilute school's quality
• 05/27/12: Even now, Memorial Day means summer camp
• 05/18/12: Is there a public right to know too much?
• 05/09/12: American exceptionalism --- exceptional generosity
• 05/04/12: The Edwards trial is a sorry affair
• 05/02/12: Common sense needs to be taught . . . to school administrators
• 04/30/12: We must deal with college student debt rate
• 04/10/12: At least Ryan has a deficit-cutting plan
• 04/05/12: Celebrate one-year rent-a-teams?
• 03/12/12: A kinder, gentler day when fists settled disputes
• 03/05/12: Do conservatives want a victory or a statement?
• 02/27/12: Hillary vs. Jeb?
• 02/17/12: Why wait for the until GOP nominating convention?
• 02/17/12: Prez is not a god, just a cause of O.G. D.: Obama Governmental Dysfunction
• 02/13/12: Minor tardiness doesn't warrant court action
• 02/08/12: College rankings aren't always reliable
• 02/01/12: Millionaire Fans Watching Millionaire Players
• 01/30/12: Kiriakou case may plug leaks, stifle democracy
• 01/09/12: Feds need to find if Brit hackers targeted 9/11 families
• 12/23/11: NIH flu-strain decision endangers us all
• 12/09/11: U.S. Postal Service may be beyond saving
• 11/30/11: Do-gooder gets deserved earful
• 11/24/11: Lawmakers should pledge to think on their own
• 11/22/11: Iowa: Vital to GOP now, irrelevant later
• 11/16/11: Pentagon's senior mentor service takes hit
• 11/14/11: With Congress, expect more intransigence
• 11/08/11: Paterno's illustrious career faces tarnished end
• 10/31/11: The FBI is burned by its Boston informants
• 10/18//11: President Inexperienced again picked style and enthusiasm over caution. He must pay
• 10/10/11: Prosecutors routinely abuse plea bargaining
• 10/04/11: In Christie,shades of William Howard Taft
• 09/27/11: One word for Obama's prospects --- bleak
• 09/26/11: Obama quickly running out of time
• 09/23/11: Big-time college football is now all about the money
• 09/22/11: A trip to the dentist cleans out your wallet
• 09/06/11: College rankings a useless exercise
• 08/31/11: Thankful a mother isn't alive to see this hungry mess
• 08/30/11: Supercommittee should meet in secret
• 08/22/11: Is college still worth it? Some majors are
• 08/15/11: Pray for miracle from debt committee
• 08/09/11: S&P mixes credit ratings with politics
• 08/08/11: Politics again takes precedence over common sense
• 08/04/11: In modern society, a distinct pattern of senselessness
• 07/29/11: A debt solution: Throw the rascals out, all of them
• 07/21/11: Campaign finance reform --- you're kidding, right!?
• 07/08/11: Casey Anthony jury did its job
• 07/05/11: Nailing a prominent figure or institution should come at a heavy risk and an even greater price if proven a hoax
© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE