A few weeks ago we pointed out the conceit of New York City health commissioner Thomas Farley, who called every single New Yorker “my patient.” The implications are even scarier when you realize that the good doctor isn’t even an elected official, but an appointed one. But with New Yorkers rejecting Farley’s latest prescription to fight obesity, a ban on large soda, who wins the battle between the self-important state and public opinion?
In New York, it looks like the self-important state wins. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg “isn’t contemplating any changes to his proposal to ban restaurants and other venues from selling large-size sugary drinks.” Hizzoner also channeled “toxic sugar” mythmaker Robert Lustig. Lusting ironically characterized his own proposal for a ban on (among other things) letting children buy cookies as “trying to undo the nanny state.” The mayor claimed that companies have been “dictating” portion sizes “all along.”
But unlike New York City government officials, beverage companies listen to the public about soda sizes. In response to consumer demands for lower-calorie options, store shelves are now stocked with the option of smaller soft drink cans for people who want them. Or, you know, you can also just not drink soda if you don’t want to. No one is forcing you to buy or drink it—but Bloomberg and Farley are forcing New Yorkers to abide by their ridiculous edicts.
New Yorkers—even those who maintain a healthy weight—will be prohibited from buying large sodas at the ballgame on a government doctor’s orders. One of these is not like the others, and Hizzoner is playing a very Orwellian game by claiming they’re the same.