Here is how New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg explained the importance of his widely derided 16-ounce limit on servings of sugar-sweetened beverages after a state judge overturned it last March: "We have a responsibility as human beings to do something, to save each other, to save the lives of ourselves, our families, our friends, and all of the rest of the people that live on God's planet." Bloomberg literally thinks he is saving the world one slightly smaller serving of soda at a time.45 ENEMIES OF FREEDOM
As grandiose as that may seem, it is consistent with Bloomberg's view of government. A few years ago in a speech at the United Nations, he declared that "to halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option," which he described as "government’s highest duty." On Bloomberg's to-do list for government, apparently, defending us against our own unhealthy habits ranks above defending us against foreign invaders or marauding criminals.
Public health is not the only area where Bloomberg's authoritarian tendencies are apparent. There is his enthusiasm for gun control, his illegal crackdown on pot smokers, and his unflagging defense of the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk program, which portrays the Fourth Amendment as a gratuitous barrier to effective policing. But his determination to halt "epidemics" of risky behavior shows him at his most arrogantly ambitious.
Bloomberg has pursued that goal not only by meddling with people's drink orders but by banning trans fats, pressuring food companies to reduce the salt content of their products, imposing heavy cigarette taxes, severely restricting the locations where people are allowed to smoke (even outdoors), mandating anti-smoking posters in stores that sell cigarettes (a policy that, like his big beverage ban, was rejected by the courts), and proposing a rule that would require merchants to hide tobacco products from people who might want to buy them.
The attitude driving Bloomberg’s crusade to "make healthy solutions the default social option" is reflected in another comment he made after his pint-sized pop prescription ran into legal trouble. "It was not a setback for me," said the billionaire with degrees from Johns Hopkins and Harvard. "In case you hadn't noticed, I watch my diet. This is not for me." No, indeed. It is for those poor, benighted souls who think it is acceptable to drink a 20-ounce soda.