Americans Haven’t “Caught” Nanny-State-itis


We’ve noted that bad ideas, like New York City’s for-now-enjoined ban on certain soft drinks, have a habit of expanding beyond their original territorial boundaries. To us, that’s an annoying problem: Unproven, potentially counterproductive infringements on consumer choices mutate and spread before their unintended consequences are revealed. So even while a judicial panel has provisionally struck down New York City’s rule, other cities and foreign countries (absolute monarchies, naturally) are considering misguided soda bans of their own.

Of course, what freedom-lovers find a bug, statists find a feature. To diet book author Lisa Young, this habit of bad ideas spreading quickly is wonderful, and proposes emulating the kill-joy dictators:

While we wait for the courts to determine whether or not a 16-ounce soda will be the default “large” at eating establishments such as fast food restaurants delis, and movie theaters, the United Arab Emigrates [sic] (UAE) has decided to ban supersize sodas.

It’s enlightening to see the tax-and-ban activist crowd exposing themselves as the totalitarians they are. The UAE, Young’s model nation, gets a “not free” rating from reputed human rights watchdog Freedom House for suppressing criticism of the government, having no democratically elected legislature, and censoring academics, among other abuses.

While seeing her preferred policies enthusiastically adopted by totalitarian states may not trouble Young, Americans see the issue differently. Recent polling by the Pew Research Center found that over two-thirds of Americans opposed soda size bans like the one proposed in New York City and adopted by the Emiratis. While activists hope that foreign adoption will lead to American acceptance, the evidence suggests people are willing to resist the anti-choice agenda and protect their freedoms

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