"The New York Soda Ban," the tastiest debate for Americans to bite each other over since the "Super-Size" option was eliminated from McDonald’s menu. While it is easy to claim a breach of rights whenever something is taken away from our privileged lives, sometimes you just have to know when to say "enough is enough."

New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has begun a crusade on soda as the next step in reducing the American obesity pandemic, with Michelle Obama avidly supporting it. The ban will prohibit the sale of sugary soft drinks larger than 16 ounce from being sold anywhere but grocery stores and gas stations in the State.

As not much of a soda drinker, I don’t understand the necessity of a "liter a Cola" to wash down your Big Mac, but still this is land of the free, who is to tell us, "No, you can’t have this, don’t you know how terrible it is for you?"

The issue is not as simple as black and white, right and wrong; it’s a matter of personal value in good health and the specifics which constitute each individual's understanding of it. Nobody can argue soda is bad for your health, but that doesn’t mean everyone cares.

If we begin to ban unhealthy foods, where will we stop? We won’t stop until every item, food or not, which could be detrimental to your health is either banned or limited. On the other hand, is that such a terrible thing?

Before any emotions run too high, imagine the health issues we could resolve by even slight countrywide diet modification or the money saved in health insurance.

No one has said you couldn’t simply buy two sodas from now on when you visit the local McDonalds, but not many people would care enough to go to that trouble. And that’s the point: Right now, soda is overly convenienced and incentivized to buy large quantities.

There was a time when cigarettes were sold in vending machines, when cocaine could be bought at the local drug store and when a "healthy" person had two chins, three spare tires, and the same number of stomachs as the cow they daily gorged themselves on.

As full health risks of foods and drugs become known and better understood, steps should be taken to handle those risks and control their effects. Education should always be the primary action, but we’re well past that with this issue.

Next follows limiting accessibility, but nothing can be taken without complaint, good or bad, thus the human condition. But there must always be someone willing to make the tough and often unpopular decision, to move us forward.

Understandably, soda is not the worst of foods out there, and a ban of larger soft drinks will have questionable results. Still, this is a move in the right direction. This is a move to be built and elaborated on, with a promise to the future. Perhaps America isn’t ready to give up soda, but maybe this ban will help it’s citizens realize they don't need as much as they were consuming. Perhaps this can be a lesson on moderation and self-control.

Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Obama are making tough decisions as progressive minded individuals, with their eyes to the future. The sooner we as a people rid ourselves of what we know to be costly and harmful to us, the sooner we will see disease rates plummet.

Perhaps a "Big Gulp" soda ban is not eliminating freedom of food consumption, but simply restoring control and conservatism to our diets, even when we cannot will ourselves to do so.

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David Jackson
David Jackson

“We won’t stop until every item, food or not, which could be detrimental to your health is either banned or limited. On the other hand, is that always such a terrible thing?”
“Education should always be the primary action, but we’re well past that with this issue.”
“But there must always be someone willing to make the tough and often unpopular decision, to move us forward.”
“This is a move to be built and elaborated on, with a promise to the future. Perhaps this can be a lesson on moderation and self-control.”
“Bloomberg and Michelle Obama are making tough decisions as progressive minded individuals, with their eyes to the future.”
-Watson

Progression towards what exactly? What future are their eyes looking to? From this angle it looks an awful lot like a future where out public servants run our lives for us because we are brought up to be ignorant, physically and mentally weak, perpetual children who need to be told how to live, once legally emancipated trading our parents for our government. This type of legislation Bloomberg, and propaganda Watson, is pushing is mostly born from a certain portion of the voting population who would rather forgo ever becoming adults as they prefer to live on their knees protected from the challenges of life than stand on their own and take the responsibility to forge their own destiny. This coupled with politicians being politicians and by definition are all too happy to control all our lives for us when given the chance. We are trading the land of the free and the home of the brave for the land of the controlled and the home of the sheltered, because life is just too hard.

1.When did we surrender our rights and responsibilities to live free as long as we didn’t hurt anyone else and trade it for a society where the American citizenry needs a permanent legal guardian?

2.How the hell is treating everyone like a child progressive? What are we supposedly progressing to!?!

Scott Watson
Scott Watson

1. Not everyone is capable of making smart personal decisions. After all, there is a disease called addiction. Also, this proposition is not declaring soda illegal, it's making it harder to obtain large amounts of an unhealthy product.

2. It is progressive because we as a human race have no real need for food that slowly kills you. If your taste buds are adapted and suited to healthy foods you have no desire for unhealthy foods. Its all about what your body is accustomed to, as it always craves more of whatever you put into it.

However I agree with you in that there is a certain degree of government restriction taking place, but my point was essentially that sometimes taking rights isn't to harm the people, but help them when they are incapable of helping themselves (or failing to realize when help is being offered).

If you ate well, worked out, lived a healthy lifestyle, you certainly wouldn't want to have to pay for your neighbors medical bills because they refuse to give up their soda and pizza, would you? Without getting into a medicare debate, that is what the whole point boils down to.


Perhaps this is not the right time for this mode of action, but there will come a day when sugar and fat is targeted just like tobacco and alcohol was, best start thinking about it now.

jpierson
Jake Pierson

Since the reasoning behing this bann is that sugar is bad for you then can I still get a 32 oz. Diet Coke in NY?

David Jackson
David Jackson

"1. Not everyone is capable of making smart personal decisions. After all, there is a disease called addiction. Also, this proposition is not declaring soda illegal, it's making it harder to obtain large amounts of an unhealthy product.”
-Watson

No everyone is not capable of making smart personal decisions… so what? We are all supposed to give up the freedom to live as we choose and give government the regulatory power to make decisions for us in order to protect humanity’s lowest common denominator? How is this at all in keeping with living in a free society? This ban maybe only outlawing a certain size drink, but as with a lot of nanny state nonsense that’s not the dangerous part. As a law it would create legal precedence, the precedence that it’s governments job to take care of you because you’re not capable of doing it yourself is dangerous to put it mildly. A free society is built upon the principle people are capable of taking care of themselves. Regulating the personal decision making power of the individual is acceptable.

"2. It is progressive because we as a human race have no real need for food that slowly kills you. If your taste buds are adapted and suited to healthy foods you have no desire for unhealthy foods. Its all about what your body is accustomed to, as it always craves more of whatever you put into it.”
-Watson

This has nothing to do with the fact you support giving an authority the power to make decisions on your behalf.

“However I agree with you in that there is a certain degree of government restriction taking place, but my point was essentially that sometimes taking rights isn't to harm the people, but help them when they are incapable of helping themselves (or failing to realize when help is being offered).”
-Watson

In a free society taking away rights is harmful to the people. People who are incapable of helping themselves can get help from family, friends, charity, or a personal freaking trainer. Such people don’t need laws that tell everyone else, who has matured enough to harness the mystical power of self control; they can’t have or use something because some other immature people can’t handle it.

“If you ate well, worked out, lived a healthy lifestyle, you certainly wouldn't want to have to pay for your neighbors medical bills because they refuse to give up their soda and pizza, would you? Without getting into a medicare debate, that is what the whole point boils down to.”
-Watson

No, I would not, which is why arguments for single payer health care and universal Medicare are a joke, and which is exactly why freedom and socialism are incompatible. Making everyone pay for everyone else’s lives not only gives power to an authority which controls your money (legalized thievery) but also controls your life for you (authoritarianism).

Just because some people are too dumb, lazy, or ignorant to save for retirement, save for a rainy day, eat right, or exercise, does not mean we should give up the concept of personal responsibility or freedom of choice for everyone else.

David Jackson
David Jackson

Correction: The last sentence of my first paragraph should read "regulating the personal decision making power of the individual is un-acceptable."

hpetej
Heather Johnson

"Progression towards what exactly? What future are their eyes looking to? From this angle it looks an awful lot like a future where out public servants run our lives for us because we are brought up to be ignorant, physically and mentally weak, perpetual children who need to be told how to live, once legally emancipated trading our parents for our government."

So many people ARE ignorant, and that sets them up to be mentally and physically weak. We wouldn't need the government to discourage unhealthy behavior if we didn't have a society in which advertisers can tell almost any lie to get consumers to buy products, a society in which companies thrive on pushing harmful products, and a society in which education is undercut for children and adults alike. Failing schools have no money, and things like nutrition programs, spending on healthier school lunches, free and discounted lunches (that let some kids eat, PERIOD.), and physical education programs get the ax first so things like books can be preserved. We even live in a society where the people who oppose these kinds of laws will also criticize First Lady Michelle Obama for promoting healthy eating and activity programs to solve societal problems without NEEDING laws. There would be less need for a nanny if corporations and politicians weren't so entwined in an effort to dumb down the population for political and profit purposes.

David Jackson
David Jackson

The title of the story is Soda Ban for Progress. Progress is defined as: movement toward a goal, development or growth, or steady improvement. So if we are defining progress as NEEDING laws like this one, just what the hell kind of society are we moving towards?

Education does need to improve, both at home and at school. This is the root of many of this country’s current problems. The solution may be to take a look at how we as a Nation, State, City, and School District are running our education system. The solution may be we raise our kids to not be impulsive, undisciplined, weaklings. The solution is NOT to take personal responsibility away from the individual and hand it to government, at any level.

hpetej
Heather Johnson

If the law was against drinking soda, I think I would see your concern. However, this law is merely making it less convenient to drink tons of it at restaurants. It's been said already that anyone could still order multiple smaller sodas. I think at least some of the goal is to make people aware of portion sizes — like if they're ordering 2 or 3 reasonable sizes in the place of a single too-large one. Portion size is one of the things the food industry does its best to distort. Yes, a bottle of pop is 2.5 servings, but everyone knows the average consumer is going to drink it as one. Yes, you can buy junk snacks in bags that say 5 servings, even if they're what an average person would snarf down in one or two sittings. Pop bottles used to be 6 oz. and a single serving. Now they're 20 and still treated as single-serving. This isn't an unrelated phenomenon. These companies/advertisers are well-versed in psychology, and they very deliberately undermine the ability to make responsible choices.
If the food industry doesn't want to be clear about reasonable portion sizes, or doesn't want to make calorie and fat counts public, I don't see this as government making the decisions for us (as by banning pop), but giving us the chance to make a more responsible decision (by letting us be more aware of how much excess we're consuming).

jpierson
Jake Pierson

Still waiting for my 32 oz. Diet Coke that has no calories, sugar or impact on my blood glucose levels.

David Jackson
David Jackson

“Yes, you can buy junk snacks in bags that say 5 servings, even if they're what an average person would snarf down in one or two sittings. Pop bottles used to be 6 oz. and a single serving. Now they're 20 and still treated as single-serving.”
-Heather Johnson

You know it’s junk food in the first place don’t you? Any quantity isn’t “good” for you even if it’s only one potato chip or 1oz of pop and it isn’t that “bad” either. You know it has the serving size listed on the package for you to use as a judgment of how much to eat or drink right? You know if you buy this junk food from a restaurant or a street vendor it’s no different health wise than the crap you get from the junk food isle in the grocery store right? Bottom line, it’s not healthy food in the first place and unless you’re a small child or someone of mentally diminished capacity you know that. You have the knowledge and information presented to you, it’s your responsibility to decide what you do next. It is not Coke or Pepsi’s fault that peoples’ asses are too wide in this country, nor is it the local, State, or federal government’s fault or job to directly correct.

“If the law was against drinking soda, I think I would see your concern. However, this law is merely making it less convenient to drink tons of it at restaurants. It's been said already that anyone could still order multiple smaller sodas.”
-Heather Johnson

You have to look past the surface Heather. This law is regulating how much of a perfectly legal product a private vendor can sell in a single container one time with the aim of controlling something people have more than enough opportunity and brains to control on their own. Like I said before, every law sets a legal precedent. If it stands this one sets a precedent that it’s governments job to make decisions for us even though we are more than capable of making them on our own, because it’s for our own good. Like “The People” are damn kids who need a lifelong parental guardian to guide them through life. That’s dangerous and a lot more serious than just limiting how much pop you get in a cup. Good cause or not this is a bad and even dangerous law.

hpetej
Heather Johnson

OK, forget the junk food. There are skewed serving sizes in things that are perfectly healthy in a normal size. And without nutrition education, some people really do NOT understand how to read the information provided on the packaging. You can call those people stupid, but their problems are society's and the government's problems. Be sanctimonious about it; the fact is many people don't know what proper nutrition is. I myself know what is junk and what isn't, but there are a lot of people who don't make that distinction. Even with the soda, there are companies out to rename high-fructose corn syrup "corn sugar" to evade the stigma as soon as word gets out that HFCS is bad for a person. This is how these companies undermine responsible decision-making. But we've already agreed that education is the answer; however, we aren't funding it, so I view this is a reasonable step if formal education isn't happening. Do I wish more people would take it upon themselves to read up on nutrition? Yes. Is my wish going to solve the problem? I would say it isn't.

I do understand the concept of legal precedent, but we already regulate some unhealthy products, and I don't think it's led to calamity. In the mean time, I think education is far more important than passing more laws like this, but until that happens, I do think the government has an interest here. Again, they really aren't limiting how much a person can drink; they're just encouraging people to pay attention to how much they're consuming.

steve-gregg
Steve Gregg

All these arguments that claim people are too ignorant to run their own lives are, at their core, arguments against democracy and for fascism. There will always be control freaks who insist that they know what's best for all and impose their whims on everyone else. Maintaining a free nation requires a constant battle with the fascists among us who seek to chip away at our freedom. These fascists must be defeated even in the smallest encroachments on our liberty lest they be encouraged by our acquiescence to reduce us by ever greater degrees to their slaves.

David Jackson
David Jackson

“I do understand the concept of legal precedent, but we already regulate some unhealthy products, and I don't think it's led to calamity.”
-Heather Johnson

It’s rare that one law does Heather. Usually it takes several working in conjunction or working off the precedent of one that came previously before it reaches calamity. That doesn’t mean writing just one more rediculous law is ok, in fact that logic sounds a lot like the rational too many people have for their piss-poor diets. “Well just one more doughnut or 20oz won’t lead to being fat. I’ve already had several every day this week and haven’t run a single mile but I don’t think it will lead to obesity”

Why should the government, at any level, be our surrogate parent? Why instead of advocating a solution to the root problem of public indiscipline and ignorance do you support nanny state regulations? There is nothing sanctimonious about it, if this is so called “progress” we are moving in the wrong direction.