March 12 was supposed to be the last day to legally buy a large soda in New York City. But thankfully, a New York state judge stepped in on March 11 to stop the ban, which is a political and personal blow to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
State Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling struck down Bloomberg’s ban on the sale of 16-oz. or larger, non-diet soft drinks, and called the ban “arbitrary and capricious.”
Tingling’s decision isn’t just a temporary restraining order putting Bloomberg’s proposal on hold for a few weeks. The judge struck down the ban permanently, as overstepping the rightful legal powers of the New York City Department of Health. This means that the city cannot go back and reissue the regulations on its own authority, even if Bloomberg — or any other politician — should develop a better factual basis for the ban.
Bloomberg, a billionaire entrepreneur, is one of the country’s most ambitious political leaders. As the mayor of America’s largest city, his voice carries a lot of weight in the media and in politics.
Unfortunately, Bloomberg’s voice has become a destructive one, especially to the personal liberties of those who live in New York City.
Over the last decade, Bloomberg has transformed himself immensely — from a politician dedicated to protecting and empowering consumers to make healthier, better choices, into a self-absorbed lecturer hell-bent on forcing consumers to make the right choice. His hubris has shifted him from public citizen to paternalistic wannabe administrator of the nanny state.
The soda ban became the symbol of big government nanny statism run amok. A well-intentioned idea of encouraging people to watch their sugar intake took a wrong turn into overkill, overregulation and a violation of personal freedom.
Career politicians like Bloomberg have forgotten that Americans have inalienable privileges provided to them by the Constitution. Like many other statists, he wishes to abandon the constitution and slapped down the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The right to make one’s own beverage decisions is surely among these values; it’s unconscionable to think otherwise. Even if you are sympathetic to the goal of tackling the nations obesity epidemic, Bloomberg’s policy is, plain and simple, an infringement on individual liberty and that is wrong.
In recent years, a distributing trend has occurred in America. Whether liberal or conservative, politicians have sought to impose their own opinions and morals upon the people they seek to govern.
Obviously, the government is sometimes required to impose restrictions. One shouldn’t be allowed to sell alcohol or cigarettes to children or speed on a residential street. But there is a difference between those restrictions — which local, state or federal governments impose to protect health, welfare and property — and restrictions that simply tell citizens what to do.
If a person is not free to make bad or stupid decisions, he or she is not free. It is an enduring truth of which we seem to need constant reminding. Protect your liberties because there are those around you who wish to restrict them.