by Greg Krehbiel on 12 March 2013
You’re probably aware by now that New York’s ban on large sodas has been struck down by a court. It wasn’t just rejected. It was slapped down. It was a “stinging setback” for the nanny state. See Judge halts Bloomberg’s large soda ban one day before it’s set to go into effect
While I was listening to a discussion of the issue on the radio this morning, it seemed as if we’ve crossed some sort of social barrier.
Yes, too much soda is bad for you. And yes, the government does regulate — and should regulate — unhealthy stuff. The government stops stores from selling old meat, stops farmers from selling some things directly to consumers, and sets health standards for restaurants. We don’t think those things are an assault on our freedom.
The problem with the soda ban, I think, is that it just seems silly. But more than that there is a sense that they’re doing this because the government is taking over more and more of our healthcare. There’s a 1984-ish quality to the government deciding what’s good for you and making you do it. Or not do it.
Is Major Bloomberg going to lead us in daily toe touches now?
Then I got to thinking about other things we do that are bad for us that the government refuses to regulate. Like fornication.
Sex outside of marriage is a serious health issue. People who sleep around can get very sick, require costly medical treatments, and sometimes spread lethal diseases. Aside from that, out-of-wedlock childbirth is a bad thing — for the child, and for society.
But if the government started regulating sex as a public health issue, the outcry would be deafening.
The world seems to have turned upside down. Fifty years ago the idea of the government discouraging a hook-up culture was fairly non-controversial. Governments might, for example, not allow unmarried people to rent a room. They might regulate access to birth control. Or even make adultery a crime. (Heaven forbid!)
On the other hand, the idea that the government would regulate how many sweets you had in a day would have seemed preposterous.
Fast forward fifty years and it seems preposterous that the government would regulate people’s sex lives, but it doesn’t seem quite as silly for the government to regulate our diets, and it’s not far-fetched that requiring exercise will be next.
-- 2013-03-12 » Greg Krehbiel