So this last week, Bloomberg called for limiting soft drink sizes to 16 oz. Not limiting people to 16 oz. of soda, by the way, but limiting the cup size.
You would have thought he called for the end of freedom. I saw a lot of conservatives deriding this as the "nanny state" and an imposition on individual freedom.
Personally, I would advocate taxing soda and other foods that use high fructose corn syrup, but the Bloomberg model hopes that limiting cup size will serve as a subconscious trigger that the consumer has had enough. I don't know. High fructose corn syrup is different than other sugars, evidently, and may make people fatter than other sugars or fats. The argument here is that these sugary drinks contribute to obesity, which costs our economy billions in healthcare costs, lost productivity, etc. We all pay for those costs.
There are two real problems for me here. First, is the assumption that this limit is somehow the first government intrusion into the fast food or junk food arena--or that it is completely unprecedented. Yet corn is heavily subsidized (as is sugar) so this area is hardly some paragon of the free market. Second, this is hardly new. We have always made choices about things that we deem to be dangerous. We are increasingly limiting areas where one can smoke, and charge taxes on alcohol and tobacco. We force passengers now to wear seat belts (because the link between seat belts and saved lives is clear, btw), and impose all sorts of limits on various drugs.
But my first complaint with this is about the nature of conservative governing. Their philosophy, as I am told, is that they believe in smaller government and more individual freedom. Yet, the list of government intrusions they tolerate is rather stunning. These same conservatives had no problem with the Patriot act allowing the government to invade their privacy without a warrant. These same conservatives shrugged when their government tortured people. These same conservatives seem to have little problem with a state that executes people even when we know that the death penalty is rife with class and racial bias. These conservatives cheer a government that invades a woman's womb and reproductive system. Or cheer a government that allows doctors to lie to women, or in this case, denies a rape victim access to emergency contraception.
Access to healthcare and reducing soda intake offends my conservative friends. Torture and shaming a raped woman? Not so much.
Is it too much to ask for some philosophical consistency?