While I'm generally no fan of new laws, a law that prohibits stupid laws is a definite exception. And that's just what the great state of Mississippi is giving us by passing legislation that would prohibit localities from limiting food portion sizes, forcing restaurants to list calorie counts on menus, and banning the inclusion of toys with meals. The bill was inspired by Little Big Gulp (the man some still call Mayor Michael Bloomberg), whose current mission is to ensure that human life may not be endangered via imprudent use of fat, sugar, or bullets, but only through abortion.
The Mississippi legislation, which has been dubbed the "anti-Bloomberg bill," isn't just symbolic. When mayors such as Little Big Gulp (LBG) conjure up a new way to torment people for their own good, one of their aims -- often stated -- is to "set an example for the rest of the nation." And it works. Other politicians with more brazenness than brains will also go full nanny state and commit what is the worst of copycat crimes. Thankfully, MS has decided to prevent this with a bill that its governor is expected to sign.
As for LBG, he isn't just a tyrannical nanny stater, but also a rather dull one. Banning large sodas will have as much of an effect upon obesity as prohibiting a bayonet mount on an AR-15 will have upon murder. Large sodas have simply become the latest scapegoat, just as SUV's were with respect to glo-bull warming and Saturday Night Specials once were with crime. Even if you could keep a given gun out of criminals hands -- which you cannot -- they could just as easily use a different firearm; their problem is criminality, not their current method or tools for committing crimes. Likewise, obesity is generally caused a lifestyle, not one particular food.
In fact, how great a factor are sugary drinks, anyway? It isn't unusual for a fat person to get a diet soda -- and use it to wash down a piece of chocolate cake or bag of chips. After all, diet drinks are readily available and boast great taste, but we can't say the same for diet cake and chips. Moreover, having that low-cal soda can make a person feel better about eating the junk, as he can then rationalize that he's being proactive with respect to his weight in some way.
In reality, I think it's people such as me who are more likely to imbibe sugary drinks. I'm 6'1", 180, and I'll confess to a can-a-day Coke habit (and you'll have to pry that heavenly nectar from my cold, dead hands, LBG). And what of the lower-income folks who buy large drinks at a theater with the intent of sharing them with the whole family? I know money is no object to Daddy Warbucks LBG, but some people have to try to economize.
Worse still is the hypocrisy. Arianna Huffington was campaigning against the SUV some years back while buzzing around on private jets and using more energy than any 10 average Americans. Gabby Giffords' husband just bought an AR-15, and many pro-gun-control politicians have been found to be pro-gun ownership when it comes to themselves. And while we may not find LBG in a dark room somewhere suckin' on a Big Gulp like an Obama crony on the government teat, I've already mentioned his support for abortion. And how pro-death is he? Well, he once allegedly responded to a female underling who had just announced her pregnancy by saying, "Kill it!" Imagine, this from a man who recently said about his intent to use taxpayer money to fight for his soda ban in court, "I've got to defend my children, and yours, and do what's right to save lives." Billions of dollars and no brains.
But it doesn't take a big mind to enable big government. As to this, we should be mindful of a warning C.S. Lewis issued long ago:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
No doubt. Just as there will always be murder and hence always a call for more gun control, there will be obesity as long as there's prosperity. And this is why the LBGs of the world will torment us without end. For dare you emerge from the womb, you'll be the government's till the tomb.