Downsize Sodas, Downsize Government

By | March 11, 2013 | 0 Comments

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When Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City began issuing his nanny-state decrees, many lovers of freedom objected. Removing the salt shakers from restaurant tables was annoying. Locking up baby formula in hospitals as if it were a narcotic, and haranguing new mothers to breast feed, was demeaning to women. Banning sodas over 16 ounces was restrictive but ineffectual – you could always order two. And now Bloomberg wants to ban Styrofoam cups and loud music – even when played through ear buds. What next?

For control freaks, there is never enough. There is always “more.” More things and activities to regulate or ban. More freedoms to restrict. More choices to take away. H. L. Mencken remarked, “Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” Likewise, liberalism and environmentalism are characterized by the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be exercising free choice.
To these people, “choice” means only one thing – abortion up to the ninth month, for any reason whatever, or no reason at all. But the choice of what light bulbs or toilets to use, what size sodas to drink, what to feed our babies, what school our children will attend, or whether to own a gun for self-protection? No way!
Educate people about a healthful diet? Educate people about infant nutrition? Educate people about hearing loss from loud sounds? Educate people about the benefits and risks of gun ownership? What, and then let them make their own decisions? Are you some kind of libertarian lunatic? Let the “masses” decide things for themselves? Ridiculous! They’re far too ignorant. The self-anointed “elite” must decide for them, and the government must enforce these decisions. That’s the “progressive” way.
Nevertheless, perhaps lovers of freedom should reconsider. Perhaps the overreaching, mini-tyrant Bloomberg deserves our thanks. Perhaps the would-be totalitarian has inadvertently awakened the somnolent to the dangers of creeping totalitarianism.
The sleepers dozed complacently when the government decreed what light bulbs and toilets we can use.
They remained snoozing peacefully when the government mandated increasingly severe fuel-economy standards, thus requiring smaller cars that are more dangerous in a crash.
They continued in a stupor when doctors were told to ask patients – even children – about guns in the house and other non-medical issues, and then to make this record available online to government snoopers.
They rolled over in bed, but promptly went back to sleep again, when the government seized control of the health care of all 315 million Americans – thereby granting itself the power to make life-and-death decisions for us and our loved ones.
But maybe – just maybe – somnolent Americans will open their eyes and grumble in irritation at Bloomberg’s intrusive and small-minded restrictions on their freedom. Maybe – just maybe – these lesser deprivations of liberty will seem more annoying that the greater ones. Maybe – just maybe – the petty tyrant will prove to be more tiresome than the bigger one.
Maybe – just maybe – once we see that we can get along with a 16-ounce soda, we will awaken to the possibility that we can also get along with a 16-ounce government. Maybe – just maybe – downsized sodas will help us to understand that we can get along, and get along very well thank you, with a downsized government.
● We can hope that repeated, minor irritations will prove to be more annoying than major assaults on freedom.
● We can hope that little Napoleons will prove to be more obviously ridiculous than big ones.
● We can hope that the exasperating pettiness of a Bloomberg will prove to be more infuriating that the overblown pretentiousness of an Obama.
● We can hope that when we breathe a sigh of relief as Bloomberg leaves office, we will realize that we will breathe an even bigger sigh when Obama leaves office.
● We can hope that – before it is too late – we will remember that we are unique human beings created in God’s image.
● We can hope to remember what the Founders taught us – that our rights come not from the government, or even from the Constitution, but from God.
● We can hope that this time, the intrusive, snooping, meddling, over-controlling enemies of freedom have gone too far.
But here is the key point: People who are so incompetent that they cannot be trusted to decide for themselves what kind of light bulbs or toilets to use, or whether to breast feed their babies, or what kind of car will best protect their families, or what size soda to drink – or to make many other choices for themselves – also cannot be trusted to decide for themselves what kind of government to have.
Some believe that the tombstone of liberty will have a swastika engraved on it. Others believe that the tombstone of liberty will have a hammer-and-sickle engraved on it. But I believe it is more likely that the tombstone of liberty will have a 64-ounce Double Big Gulp soda engraved on it.
Do we need a soda that big? Not really. Are we better off without it? Probably. But is our freedom safe when the government has the power to control our food and drink? No, it’s not at all safe. Big government has killed vastly more people that all the salt shakers and big sodas combined. It killed over 100 million civilians in the 20th century. If health is truly our goal, freedom – not big government – should be our top priority.
Citizens choose. Subjects don’t – the government chooses for them. For their own good, of course.
Such dependent, clueless sheep obviously need a shepherd who will make decisions for them – and enforce his decisions with the aid of sheepdogs. Many sheep feel comfortable being taken care of by the shepherd. They get used to leaving even minor decisions to the shepherd. They get used to the sheepdogs nipping at their heels to keep them in line. They even get used to being fleeced every April 15. But when the truck pulls up to take them to the slaughterhouse, it’s too late. Sheep have few rights. Lamb chops have none at all.
If we can get along with a 16-ounce soda, we can also get along with a 16-ounce government. If we can live without Big Gulp, we can also live – and live very nicely indeed – without Big Brother.

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Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.
www.stolinsky.com

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