The following is today’s op-ed by my friend (when I haven’t been doing my level best to sorely piss him off) and political ally, Lindsay Perigo. Perigo is still New Zealand’s #1 libertarian. Partly because the competition is unhealthy, but mostly because … well, the gem of an op-ed below speaks for itself. Cheers, Linz!
In the Declaration of Independence, ratified in 1776, America’s Founding Fathers affirmed that the role of government was to secure the inalienable rights of all citizens to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In 2012, the Mayor of New York affirms that the role of government is to forbid the sale of super-sized sodas.
Michael Bloomberg has announced a ban, not yet ratified, on the sale of sugary drinks in containers holding more than 16 ounces.
It is an illuminating snapshot of how far the United States has been dragged from its founding principles by obnoxious wowsers like Bloomberg that he can indulge his odious urges with such impunity.
“Big Brother Bloomberg,” as Fox News’s The Five have dubbed him, has already succeeded in banning the smoking of tobacco in public and the use of trans-fats in restaurants.
Bloomberg is now a one-man obesity nazi, on a mission to force fatties to shrink. He has bought into the latest dietary theology that sugar is the main cause of flab, and thinks it’s government’s job forcibly to limit how much of it citizens may ingest.
The last time a politician took such an invasive interest in his subjects’ health his name was Adolf Hitler. He too campaigned against tobacco, along with white-bread and meat-eating.
If New York’s citizens had any understanding of what the original Tea Party was all about, they’d eject Mayor Bloomberg from his office forthwith, before he bans smoking in their homes, criminalizes caffeine and reintroduces alcohol prohibition.
Instead, many are treating his proposed ban respectfully, as though he indeed has a right to institute such a thing. And disastrously, opponents are not staking out a position based on principle—that government under the American system has no business dictating how much sugar people may consume—but on quibbles as to whether sugar actually is the culprit (tacitly conceding that if it were, the move to restrict it would be valid). They also point out that the ban could be easily circumvented by the sale of two 16-oz sodas instead of one 32-oz one. These “arguments” remind me of the hypothetical group of folk, conjured up by Leonard Peikoff in his lecture on why people don’t think in principles, who idly muse on whether it might be a good idea to rob a bank. “Which bank?” one of them asks.
Many of Bloomberg’s opponents are of the “which bank?” ilk, toying with the proposition that robbing a bank might be OK but fretting over which one has the laxest security, the easiest escape route, etc. They forget what they were raised, rightly, to believe—that it’s flat-out wrong to rob banks, period. Bossyboots Busybody Bloomberg is radically, fundamentally, treasonously out of line with the Declaration of Independence in his relentless Nanny Statism … and this is what his critics should be hanging him in effigy for.
Here in New Zealand, the National Socialist Government has announced that the excise tax on tobacco will be raised 10% a year over the next four years, meaning a pack of 20 cigarettes will end up costing over $20 a pack. It has also set aside $20 million of taxpayer money to facilitate the path to a “smoke-free New Zealand” (no smoking in private homes?) by 2025. A freedom-conscious citizenry, smokers and non-smokers alike, would storm Parliament over intolerable outrages such as this. Alas, we do not have a freedom-conscious citizenry, just a flock of sheeple.
America once had, but no longer has, a freedom-conscious citizenry. “Don’t tread on me” has become “please tread on me.”
“The natural order of things,” lamented Thomas Jefferson, “is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
In which case, paraphrasing Diderot, liberty will be safe only when the last pathological power-luster has been strangled with the guts of the last congenital control-freak.
And when its champions are able to defend it on principle.
Lindsay Perigo: email@example.com
[Reproduced with permission! The original is online at http://www.solopassion.com/node/9150.]