Check out this video of Mayor Bloomberg speaking to Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN just after his recent ban on large sodas was approved by the Board of Health in New York City. In the clip, Bloomberg does a better job than any libertarian ever could of demonstrating how centralized economic plannning per force results in the violation of personal liberty. For all “left-leaning libertarians,” please take this as an opportunity to observe how government provided economic services cannot coexist with personal liberty. Specifically, Bloomberg’s argument demonstrates that the primary danger of Obamacare is not how it will impair the quality and availability of healthcare itself (though that is inevitable and a valid fear) but the primary danger is that Obamacare will be used as a justification for total control over what should be personal choices.
In the video, Bloomberg rightly points out that the cigarette ban was widely criticized when it came to pass but now that us frogs have been boiling for awhile we don’t even feel the heat. He goes on to claim that you can’t find anybody these days who will admit to having been against the smoking ban when it first came out. I guess he hasn’t been to any Ron Paul rallies lately!
Seriously though, Bloomberg implies, probably rightly, that it will be the same with the big soda ban: people will just get used to it. In the immortal words of Fyodor Dostoevsky, “Man is a creature who can get used to anything, and I believe that is the very best way of defining him.” For liberty’s sake, I hope that’s not true!
But back to the connection–or should I say disconnection–between socialism and personal liberty. Bloomberg begins with the assumption that everyone accepts the smoking ban as a justifiable use of government power (because they are used to it!), then he draws a direct line between his 16 ounce soda “cap” and universal healthcare when he says,
The big difference between smoking and obesity is if you smoke and I’m in the same room I get hurt; if you and I are in the same room and you’re obese I don’t get hurt, short term, but I do have to eventually pay your medical bills ’cause that’s actually what happens.
And Dr. Gupta draws a direct line between Bloomberg’s totalitarian diktats and his megalomania when he says, “As a mayor though–what you’re doing–I can sense the sense of satisfaction in your voice as you’re getting these things done.”
Gupta goes on to ask Bloomberg to define his legacy, to which Bloomberg responds with the positively preposterous claim that his big soda ban will result in “3 years improvement in life expectancy for 8.4 million people,” boasting, “that’s a pretty good legacy to have.” (BTW, even if this were true, which I am certain it is not, three more years tacked on to the end of the lives of 8.4 million people would result in over 25 million years of old age healthcare costs, but I don’t guess he’s netting that out.)
Here’s the video for you to see for yourself, if you have the stomach for it!