The Daily Gamecock

NYC soda ban infringes on natural rights

As children, our parents are responsible for making sure that we eat (relatively) healthy and get the full, rounded diets that we need to grow up big and strong. Our parents make those decisions for us because we’re too young to know any better, and would likely eat nothing but cake and ice cream if we were allowed to choose for ourselves.

Now that we’re in college. the only limit on our dietary choices are what’s in our price range. Most of us even shop for our own groceries. From the time we’re on our own to the time we end up in the grave, the only thing that can truly dictate what we eat is our wallet.

Or Mayor Michael Bloomberg, if we happen to be in New York City. The city’s “soda ban” was in the news again this summer as a state appeals court handed down its unanimous decision that the ban as currently constructed was utterly unconstitutional. This month, the city asked the state Supreme Court to take up the case.

Until July’s ruling, the ban kept residents and visitors of the city from purchasing sodas larger than 16 ounces. For comparison, a regular can of soda is 12 ounces and the bottles sold in the Russell House and other places on campus are 16.9, meaning they would have been illegal under the ban.
While the soda ban itself is dead for now, the paradigm shift of government from “by the people, for the people” to “I’m the parent, and you’re the child” is still alive and well. The problem behind this idea is quite striking: The American people aren’t children, and we are perfectly capable of making decisions for ourselves.

While I admire Bloomberg’s passion and think that he genuinely believes he’s doing what’s best for the people of New York, I still hope for the sake of freedom that he continues to fail in his efforts.
The implications of a so-called “nanny state” are extremely dangerous. If people aren’t free to make the wrong choice, then they aren’t free at all.