THE MAYOR WHO WOULD BE KING
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg dreams of one day becoming an absolute monarch where he can freely dictate how others live. He is a throwback to the Hanoverian Kings of England. He too likes to rule by decree in ways that deprive individuals of basic rights and sovereignty, particularly in matters of food. Food freedom and Mayor Bloomberg do not get along well together, except that he very much values his own freedom.
There is inherent hypocrisy in those who think the rights they personally possess ought not be available to others. Bloomberg, for example, presumes it okay for him to drink three or four cups of coffee a day, consume pizza high in fat and carbohydrates every now and then, consume bagels, eat a donut every now and again, and eat hot dogs. Now there are many nutritionists who would debate the prudence of the Mayor’s dietary choices, but Bloomberg likes the freedom to choose for himself, he just does not like to allow others an equal freedom.
Undoubtedly if the Governor of New York were to appoint a food czar to perch atop Bloomberg’s offices and control the Mayor’s diet, Bloomberg would howl loudly that his basic freedom to live, to eat, was being deprived. He would find the injustice intolerable, but so long as he does not have to live by the limits on liberty he imposes on others, all is well in the House of Bloomberg.
When it comes to his constituents, Bloomberg is convinced that he knows better than they do what is in their best interest. After all, according to Bloomberg, his constituents and city employees are essentially too fat and too fickle to appreciate how to manage their own diets (why else would they be fat?). He does not appreciate that the dietary choices they make are volitional or that fat folks know they are fat, and some of them are okay with that. He thinks New Yorkers, like Americans in general, need to substitute his judgment for theirs. When it comes to basic food choices, Michael knows best.
So he proceeds with his crusades against food freedom. He effectively banned trans fats, forced restaurants to reduce salt, and most recently ordered sixteen ounce sodas out of restaurants, theaters, and food carts (only to suffer rebuke from Justice Milton Tingling of the New York Supreme Court).
Those actions strongly suggest that Bloomberg has need of nutrition for normal cognitive function. Even if you agree with the offensive supposition that government ought to dictate food choices, only someone lacking nutrients for normal cognitive function could think that a partial ban on select 16 ounce sodas could alter consumption patterns when a wide variety of other sugar containing beverages and foods proliferate and were left unaffected. Moreover, the hapless New Yorker angered that the Mayor will not let him or her buy a 16 ounce soda at a theater need only walk across the street to the grocery store before heading to the theater. There, the very same 16 ounce sodas are on the shelf, legal for sale. Moreover, New York City is not a desert oasis. Most folks live outside the city in the suburbs where the ban did not exist.
But lest you grab for a weapon to defend your next meal, Mayor Bloomberg has an answer for that. In select states, he is expending $12 million of his personal funds to fill the airwaves with ads advocating restrictions on gun ownership like the onerous ones adopted in New York. The Mayor, however, travels with an armed police detail at the ready exempt from the restrictions. In short, Bloomberg again presumes that he is entitled to be treated differently than all others.
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In the end, that is the aspect of governance Bloomberg appears to like best. He sets the rules but does not have to live by them. His chance to do that is somewhat limited by his office, but where possible he likes to take advantage of the chance to deprive others of liberties he enjoys himself.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg thus perfectly fits the Orwellian stereotype of the pigs who controlled the government in George Orwell’s 1945 classic Animal Farm. He too can proudly proclaim: ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.
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