Friday, June 1, 2012

The Right to Keep and Bare Sodas

So now the New York City government headed by Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban large size sodas and juices in all public forums including food carts on public sidewalks and stadiums. I have to ask myself where does this type of thinking end? And, where in the constitution is the government given the responsibility of determining what and how much I should eat or drink?

Is obesity a problem? Probably. Is banning any kind of food or drink going to curb that trend in any way? Probably not. But that isn’t the issue. The issue boils down to freedom. The freedom to drink soda may seem trivial but, to me, this ban represents the first step down a long and treacherous road, a road that in time will lead to the government telling us how to live our lives (much more so than it does already). Do you want the government looking at your medical records and telling you what you can and cannot eat? That is where this leads and what is truly frightening is the number of people who support that very notion. The willingness to give up essential liberties in order to force people to conform to some sort of societal idea of what is appropriate is antithetical to the pursuit of happiness. Even worse, some cite medical costs as the need for such legislation.

When you put a price tag on freedom, and that is exactly what such thinking does, you make the constitution irrelevant. If your freedoms are predicated not on the fact that they are endowed by your creator but on how much they cost then they are not freedoms at all. They become privileges. Privileges can be taken away. Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who give up essential liberties to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Those who are willing to give away essential liberties such as the right to choose what and how much one will eat or drink simply to save a few bucks or because they find fat people offensive do not deserve the liberty they have in this country!

The right to Keep and Bare Sodas may seem trivial but it is, in its own small way, part of the essential freedoms we are endowed with. The more you chip away at those freedoms the closer you get to not having any freedom at all. If this legislation is adopted do not expect it to stop at limiting the size of sodas. Such legislation only leads to more legislation and regulation. Just as with seat belt and helmet laws this type of regulation will spread across the country. Before you know it, it will become Federal Law. Then one day, at the checkout stand, as you punch your USDA approved dietary allotment card to receive your USDA approved daily nutrition allocation you will wonder, “How did this all begin?”

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