New Republic Liberalism: Let Dialysis Patients Die, Criminalize Paid Consensual Sex, and Keep on Fighting That Drug War!

I count exactly one benefit to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on some soft drink containers larger than 16 ounces: It has smoked out some of the worst public policy thinking this side of the cash-for-clunkers brainfart. Jacob Sullum has previously pointed out New Yorker writer Alex Koppelman's do-something hi-five for Bloomberg's "incorrigible nannyism," and evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman's startling conclusion that "we have evolved to need coercion."

Add to that list The New Republic's featured columnist, Timothy Noah, in a no-really-he's-not-joking column headlined "Nanny Dearest: In defense of Bloomberg's war on soda." Some lowlights (and you really should read the whole thing for more):

The truth is that there's nothing inherently wrong with paternalistic government or, in the harsher, feminized shorthand of its detractors, the "nanny state." Parents and nannies can be good or bad. No adult likes to be told how to live his life, but most of us benefit from baby authoritarianism far more than we'd like to admit. [...]

What about when the nanny state instructs us to behave in accordance with its views of morality? I disagree with conservative aspirations to install the nanny state in my bedroom, but I wouldn't necessarily begrudge the state its power to play moral cop elsewhere. I approve of the government prohibition against the selling of organs, and I would never want the government to stop discouraging illicit drug use and prostitution (though I might quibble with its methods). These prohibitions all constitute the government helping to define the nation's collective values, which is entirely legitimate.

Public health paternalism can be carried too far, but in the current anti-regulatory political environment, I don't waste a lot of time worrying about that. [...]

Indeed, the 16-ounce limit might actually enhance individual liberty by compelling restaurants and bottlers to sell soda in the smaller quantities that people often want but can't get. It might become possible once again to order a Coke at a movie theater in something less than a Jacuzzi-sized tub. After all, the government isn't the only actor imposing its will on Americans today; corporations boss them around quite a bit, and, unlike the government, they seldom have to answer to anyone but their shareholders for it. When their bullying gets rough, it sure can help to have a tough nanny in your corner.

The organ-sales prohibition that Noah actively endorses contributes to around 18 deaths per day of people waiting for a kidney transplant. The government's discouragement of illicit drugs that Noah supports has eviscerated a Fourth Amendment that liberals at least used to pretend caring about, while stuffing America's prisons to shameful, world-historical levels. Prostitutes working in black markets suffer more violence and have more unprotected sex (with cops!) than in the few places where it's legal. The alleged "anti-regulatory political environment" we live in today is overseen by a president who A) replaced a president who had been the biggest significant regulator since Richard Nixon, and who then B) passed gigantic pieces of legislation (Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, most notably) that gave unprecedented amounts of future rule-writing to the regulatory agencies he oversees.

I'll let commenters chew on the other scraps.

Noah points out in his column that the left has (thankfully, in his view) largely abandoned anti-authoritarianism, while the right has learned to love paternalism. As evidence of the latter, just read the headline of David Frum's latest blast of reform conservatism, "Bloomberg's visionary move against obesity." A brief excerpt:

Good for Bloomberg. Obesity is America's most important public health problem, and the mayor has led the way against it. This latest idea may or may not yield results. But it is already raising awareness. [...]

But if a restraint on soda serving size will not do everything, it may still do something. Or possibly not. The idea may fail. The idea is an experiment, and most experiments fail. We learn from failure how to design a better effort next time. And when we do at least succeed in this difficult struggle for public health, we will all owe New York's visionary mayor our thanks for leading the way.

This is exactly the type of unscientific, detail-free, big-government WTFery that I attempted to describe in "The Simpletons: David Brooks, Thomas L. Friedman, and the banal authoritarianism of do-something punditry."

More Reason commentary on Bloomberg's soda ban from Jacob Sullum, Baylen Linneken, Ira Stoll, Shikha Dalmia, and Reason.tv:

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • R C Dean||

    The truth is that there's nothing inherently wrong with paternalistic government

    That's as far as I got.

  • Joe R.||

    Then you missed this gem:

    I disagree with conservative aspirations to install the nanny state in my bedroom, but I wouldn't necessarily begrudge the state its power to play moral cop elsewhere.

    For thee, not for me.

  • wareagle||

    yup...that's the one that jumped off the page at me, too. It's okay to use govt to coerce people into behavior I approve of but not when it gets in my way.

  • JW||

    Shorter Noah: The beatings will continue even if morale does manage to improve.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Me too. No sense in reading the ramblings of someone without any logic skills. Or even clicking really.

    If it was written as a poem I might read it.

  • Pi Guy||

    No sense in reading the ramblings of someone without any logic skills.

    And, yet, we keep replying to Tulpa.

  • Tulpa the White||

    LOL. Assertion is our ally!

  • T||

    You keep saying that... almost as if you were... what's that word?

    Ahh, I'll think of it later.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Yes, I'm asserting that he was asserting. But the evidence backing up my assertion is half an inch above my assertion, while the evidence backing his is...I don't know where.

  • Number 2||

    I couldn't get past, "we have evolved to need coercion."

  • Invisible Finger||

    I want to know who forced him to write that.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Well, provided that you reject both liberty and equality, there's nothing wrong with paternalism.

  • tarran||

    Indeed, the 16-ounce limit might actually enhance individual liberty by compelling restaurants and bottlers to sell soda in the smaller quantities that people often want but can't get.

    Yes, because those idiots at Coca Cola are too stupid to figure out they can make their customers happy by offering smaller sizes. Where would we be without the hectoring of smarter newspaper columnists to help them?

  • Aresen||

    I wondered about that point. I have never been in any restaurant, movie theatre or other vendor of soda pop that did not offer smaller sizes.

    I remember noticing the advent of the micro-sized pop cans (6 oz, I think) last year. My reaction was "somebody on the marketing team figured out a way to up the unit price and have people like it."

  • tarran||

    Are you seriously asserting that Timothy Noah doesn't know that 8oz Coke cans can be purchased in any super-market?

    Are you seriously accusing this wise solon of being out of touch with the people?

    Take that back!

  • The Craig||

    Where the fuck are the 2 oz cans!

  • Pi Guy||

    Meh. I'll just drink 10 of 'em.

  • Number 2||

    "I have never been in any restaurant, movie theatre or other vendor of soda pop that did not offer smaller sizes."

    Smaller sizes are a gateway drug to 16oz drinks!

  • Rick O'Shay||

    And what's wrong with throwing it away before it's empty.

  • CE||

    There are thirsty kids in India, so you need to finish it.

  • NoVAHockey||

    The buses are advertising "mini" cokes here in DC. 8 oz cans i think.

  • Ska||

    I buy ginger ale in those cans... but that's because flat soda makes shitty highballs.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Ginger ale ruins whiskey.

  • Scarcity||

    But ginger beer enhances all.

  • Scarcity||

    Particularly dark rum and lime juice. Dark and Stormy for the summer drink win.

  • Ska||

    Cap'n and ginger....

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    ...enhance individual liberty by compelling...

    Liberty doesn't mean what he thinks it means. I don't understand the mindset of people like this, or why anyone would want to associate with them. They are truly vile, despicable beings.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Since the cost difference of 40 oz worth of Coke syrup vs. 12 oz worth of it is tiny, stores and theaters that sell soda dispensed into cups have every incentive to only offer large sizes so they can charge more -- the higher price is nearly pure profit.

    Getting soda out of a dispenser is already such a foolish economical move that anyone who's doing it is either a captive audience or unconcerned about the price, so Adam Smith 101 doesn't apply, as market participants aren't rational actors.

  • Aresen||

    WTF are you talking about?

    While the vendor may make more profit on the large size, that is not the same as saying they do not offer the smaller size. If you know of cases where the small size is not offered, cite the instance. I have never seen a vendor that does not offer the smaller sizes.

  • Rick O'Shay||

    Hold on a second, you're buying soda from a machine! Fucking sweet. How tight do they tie the knots, any rocks in there?

  • GILMORE||

    Tulpa gets maybe 1/3 of the facts right in that post.

    He's right that in the dispensed business, volume is king.

    He's wrong that it's necessarily a foolish economical move. Keep in mind the history of soda itself was primarily as a dispensed product, not packaged. Also, note that when you buy a packaged soda, you're buying it from a *bottler*. When you buy a dispensed product, you're buying more or less directly from either the KO or PEP head-office. The beverage companies control dispensed - the bottlers control the package/distribution business.

  • nicole||

    Let's also keep in mind that fountain soda, unless the retailer is really skimping on the syrup, tastes way better than (same-brand) soda from a can.

  • GILMORE||

    Yes, because those idiots at Coca Cola are too stupid to figure out they can make their customers happy by offering smaller sizes.

    People debating the whole 'portion size' thing from a distance seem to think the industry hasn't been aware of this issue at all.

    As someone who worked in/with/around the US beverage biz, I can tell you that the trend to move away from the 'industry standard' 20oz bottle has been well underway for close to a decade, and that detailed econometrics have been done on how changes to portion/package sizes may most likely *increase* volume consumption AND $ spending overall. Research show that if smaller (8-10oz) portions were available for $1 or less in a variety of non-traditional locations, many non-soda-drinkers would find occasions to satisfy a quick refreshment occasion.

    The fact is, two decades of 'supersize me' portions have accelerated perceptions that soda is 'devalued'. If they sell it in barrel sized cups, give free refills, etc. - it shouldn't be *worth* $2 a 20oz bottle. Going back to ~$1 for a 12 oz can/bottle as the primary preferred package has been the trend for a long while now, without any prompting from do-gooder politicians. CPG analysts like me have long predicted that as the US aged, we would likely 'become more like Europe Japan' - where smaller portion sizes are the norm.

  • ||

    Another douche with a punchable face

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    His words killed my soul. I'm done.

  • Ben the Duck||

    There is nothing so singularly shameful or soul-deadening, ultimately, as a slave who whimpers and begs his master for just one more sweet, sweet kiss of the lash.

  • ||

    +1 to you Ben

  • Scarcity||

    I had to google it to see if one of an assortment of luminaries may have written it.

    +another 1

  • Randian||

    I have no idea why you would ever engage these people in polite conversation. They deserve a vociferous, one-way smackdown in any and all media, and then should be thoroughly ignored.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Indeed. Shunning seems to work well for the Amish.

  • John||

    ^^This^^ I don't know why the Reason staff insists on trying to be friendly with these douche bags. They have nothing serious to say. They deserve nothing but scorn and ridicule.

  • ||

    It's the liberaltarian alliance thing. Foolishness if you ask me.

  • John||

    That is what I liked about Breitbart. He never kissed those fucker's asses. He knew what they were and he called them that and didn't give a shit if they liked him or not. I get the feeling a lot of the Reason staff wants really badly for people like Noah to like them.

  • ||

    Not necessarily like them, John, but try to get the Lefties to realize the Reason Staff aren't icky moralists (Irony in whom they are trying to appeal!) and will play nice. It's the delving into the social issues and eschewing the economic ones, though Matt consistently tries to include the economic aspects, to his credit.

    Doherty wrote a very thoughtful slog about this a while back.

    Breitbart was a flaming proggie lib at one time, and knew well the ilk and their tendencies.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Breitbart turned off plenty of moderates to the Tea Party.

    I think he did more good than bad, but he could have done even more good if he hadn't stooped to certain levels.

    You can be a devastatingly effective arguer without calling people names.

  • Randian||

    I mean, really, look at this shit:

    I disagree with conservative aspirations to install the nanny state in my bedroom, but I wouldn't necessarily begrudge the state its power to play moral cop elsewhere.

    That requires massive cognitive dissonance or out-and-out lying. Either way, reasonable debate isn't going to save these people.

    We shouldn't be engaging Movement Leftists. Anybody who's squishy or moderate or unsure or somewhat sympathetic should be engaged. But anyone with the kind of epistemic closure it takes to simply say "It's OK to ban soda but not gay sex, and I love the Nanny State" is just not worth saving.

  • John||

    No they are not. Because for them it is about power. Noah loves the nanny state so long as it is an instrument to punish people he doesn't like. It is really that simple. And he is not someone who should ever be taken seriously.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Problem is, moderates listen to that kind of thing -- and many people are simply not sufficient critical thinkers to see the line you quote as blatantly hypocritical.

  • Tulpa the White||

    It's generally a good policy to assume good faith while engaging in rational discussion (even if only one side is rational). Scorn and ridicule is never helpful.

    Of course, they could ignore the left's yammerings, but unfortunately the left is too influential to make that a good idea.

  • John||

    Scorn and ridicule is never helpful.

    Not true. You can't argue with someone like Noah. His points are too incoherent and he is too much of a fanatic. But you can ridicule him. That is like kryptonite to these people. They can't stand the idea of not being taken seriously. Their earnestness is their downfall.

  • Tulpa the White||

    They have to engage them because other people do listen to people like Noah. If they don't respond he can claim that they're conceding his points, and people will listen to him.

  • Aresen||

    We must DO SOMETHING about Cyberslacking!

  • TWylite||

    If the nannies can run your kitchen, why the hell can't they run your bedroom as well? Those who trade their freedom for security, etc. etc.

  • MJGreen||

    Seriously, he does himself in when he says it's "entirely legitimate" for the government to "define the nation's collective values."

    The government has decided that anti-abortion is another collective value. Same for banning or severely restricting divorce. Totes legit.

  • Joe R.||

    I like my cotton picked for free, by black people.

  • nicole||

    "entirely legitimate" for the government to "define the nation's collective values."

    And when I see claims like that, I'm just like...I have to cross so many words out of your bs sentence that it just turns into nothing. "nation"? No, no nation here. "collective values"? Ditto. THERE IS NO WE, SLAVER.

  • Sudden||

    EURO 2012 THREAD HIJACK:

    Watching the Greece vs. Poland pregame. They were panning across Greek fans that were in their 20's and I wondered how many were already retired.

  • ||

    No spoilers! I got my dvr running.

  • Sudden||

    If we learned anything from the Game of Thrones (or more accurately, Song of Ice and Fire) thread yesterday, it's that I simply cannot avoid spoiling things for others.

  • mr simple||

    GOOOOOAAAL!

    Just kidding.

  • John||

    And how did they get the money to travel to the Ukraine?

  • Invisible Finger||

    The better question is how will they get the money to return. Then again, maybe they prefer to stay in a country with an actual economy

  • Sudden||

    I'm guessing that whole bank run the media was reporting on the other day had nothing to do with getting their Euros out before the fall of Europe and re-emergence of the drakma. It was all just travel plans to Poland. They merely expect the govt to reimburse them.

  • Brett L||

    All class for the home states. Racist chants at the Dutch warmup. Although, this is unpossible because everyone knows the Europeans are too enlightened to be racists, right?

  • ||

    Potential triple crown winner pulled from race. Everyone goes back to not giving a shit about horse racing.

  • Sudden||

    Do those who bet on him get their money back?

  • ||

    It's in the same place as the Social Security Lock Box.

  • Scarcity||

    To answer seriously, yes they do. A scratched entry gets a refund.

  • Ted S.||

    Goes back to? I never gave a shit in the first place.

    Except for the fact that my tax dollars help fund Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga. If they have to put a horse down, I want my taxes to go to having horse shot, and have it filmed so we can see the horse's head jerk back like Kennedy's head in the Zapruder film.

  • mr simple||

    Science, I hate David Frum with a passion. I don't understand how anyone can stand to be in the same room with him.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Scratch a liberal, find a Puritan.

  • John||

    That is an insult to Puritans. The Puritans were intellectually serious people who had a consistent if strict ideology. Liberals are neither, serious nor strict. They are just fucking insane.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Government = God is a rather strict ideology.

  • John||

    But it is not a serious one. At least not when you think it is okay for government to control everything but your sacred cow.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    But it is not a serious one.

    It is a very serious ideology. And the fact that they are willing to use it to enforce their ideas on others makes it dangerous as well.

    Not to start a fight, but many Christians pick and choose which parts of the Bible they follow as well. But they do not have the power of the state to enforce those views on others.

    Welcome to human nature.

  • John||

    it may be threatening but it is not consistent or coherent. And that to me makes it unserious just not benign.

    And love or hate Christianity, but at its highest levels is most certainly a serious ideology. Not all of Christianity is cafeteria if it feels good do it Christianity.

    And for the record liberalism wasn't always this stupid. It was always wrong. But it wasn't always this obviously incoherent and self serving.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    I meant serious as in it can affect me physically because of the force of the state behind it, something Christianity can't do. You mean it as in intellectually serious, which I agree with you it is not.

    I neither love nor hate Christianity as it is a label applied to the people who practice it. I've known good and bad Christians, and it is the individuals that I either like or dislike.

  • John||

    I love how it is okay in Noah land to regulate every single aspect of our lives except for sex, provided no one pays anyone. What is so special about sex? STDs, divorces, and other consequences of free sex cost the country just as much money as fat people do.

    But in Noah land sex is "abortion" and abortion is sacred. For what reason he has no idea. But it is sacred. It just amazes me how stupid and awful these people are.

  • ||

    I was gonna say that it is quite impressive to be so cognitively dissonant that you can say the government should legislate morality for everything but abortion and sex (as long as no money changes hands).

    I mean at least the fucking stupid socons want to legislate ALL morality.

  • John||

    It would be like SOCONS saying we should ban strip clubs but prostitution should be legal because that takes place in the home.

    For people like Noah it is just crude "do whatever the fuck I tell you" thinking.

  • Scarcity||

    It generally seems to be summed up as "common sense" thinking. "It's just common sense that __________," as a substitute for reason and critical thinking.

  • The Other Kevin||

    This is a good point and it should be used more often. Don't STD's, AIDS included, kill a lot of people every year, and add a lot to society's "health care burden" ? How many kids are born with health problems due to STD's? So if you think regulating food and drink is ok, you should also support regulating sex.

  • ||

    Demonlition Man looms large. I do notice more Taco Bells these days.

  • ||

    They've already announced their intention to try more upscale food. Demolition Man looms large indeed.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    There's no logic to it. It's just that Noah can imagine himself having sex with a woman in the privacy of his home (doubt that's ever happened for him, but a guy can dream), but can't imagine himself going out and paying for sex. The instant that he can, he'll reverse himself. It all comes down to personal preference and government as whim-granter for folks like Noah and Frum.

  • Randian||

    It's a cultural bias too. Big fatties in the suburbs and Small Town America with their sweat pants and their traktor pullz suck down big ol' sodas and get fatter and fatter and vote Republican.

    Meanwhile, Noah envisions that trendy urbanites such as himself need to be protected in case they become the living embodiment of 50 Shades of Grey. And, you know, he has guy friends, as is Contractually Required in order to become an Official Citizen of the World.

  • Randian||

    has gay friends...

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Absolutely. Almost everything that leftists want to ban is related to the aesthetics of flyover country and their cultural affinities, just as conservatives favor the drug war because of perceived connections with urban living and liberals*.

    *Notwithstanding the fact that meth and "hard" drugs tend to be done more in rural areas than urban ones.

  • John||

    "We can't let those idiots shopping at wall mart buy big sodas" is just the 21st Century version of

    "We got to do something about those nigger jazz musicians smoking weed and corrupting our women."

    Same level of ignorance and bigotry.

  • ||

    *Notwithstanding the fact that meth and "hard" drugs tend to be done more in rural areas than urban ones.

    Especially meth! Good SOD.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Don't worry, it didn't make sense the other way. Everyone read it like that.

  • John||

    You are correct Randian. It is totally a personal culture war. Notice we are not talking about limiting the size of roof raised New York City honey. He would never agree to control anything used by people he likes. He sees government as an instrument for punishing and controlling those he hates.

  • Pi Guy||

    He likes hot dogs, I hear.

  • Invisible Finger||

    He doesn't want the government to regulate sex because one day he hopes to have some.

  • R C Dean||

    So, if I'm following, the government should control what you put in your mouth, unless its someone's cock.

  • John||

    +100000!!!!

  • NoVAHockey||

    yeah, i'm stealing that one.

  • Tulpa the White||

    I've seen liberals blatantly admit that you should be free to do what you want until you make money or employ someone, then you become the govt's bitch.

    That was before the era of food nannyism that we have now, though. Not sure if they've amended the list of things you're allowed to do.

  • rac||

    So, people drink less soda. They are healthier, and live longer, in theory. Don't longer-lived people cost more in health care costs? shouldn't we be killing people earlier? Whatever happened to Brave New World? Where the fuck is my Jet pack?

  • John||

    There isn't even any evidence of that. Most of the evidence I have seen suggests that it is lack of physical activity, not fat that kills you young.

  • rac||

    If we had jet packs, our shorter lives would have more meaning.

  • Marshall Gill||

    http://martinjetpack.com/

    Only a few grand.

  • ||

    Cool....X10

  • Scarcity||

    "The price has not been set yet while the jetpack is still in development. The Martin Aircraft Company is targeting a sales price of US$100,000 for the recreational version of the aircraft but this may take some years to achieve."

    We have different ideas of "a few." Also, not available yet.

  • Ben the Duck||

    ... or at least be one helluva lot more exciting. However briefly.

  • Ted S.||

    They live unhappier, too.

    I know I'd have a higher quality of life if I didn't constantly have to hear Nannies who get their rocks off on it trying to control my diet.

    And I say this as somebody who doesn't drink soda since I don't like carbonbated beverages. (I don't like beer either.)

  • SIV||

    There's nothing like bringing in David Frum as an example of "the Right does it too!"

    Ah, those legions of TEAM RED marching in lockstep with David Frum. I guess that's why Rand Paul got slaughtered in the 2010 Kentucky GOP primary and Jim DeMint's endorsement is the kiss of death.

  • John||

    That is David Frum's entire purpose in life. He is a total mediocrity who managed to get himself hired by one administration. No one on the Right can stand him. They fired him from his think tank job for lack of production. So what is he to do? Become a professional concern troll. Let the mask slip and let his lefty big government juices flow and allows left to point at conservatives and say "see even one of your own thinks you are crazy". He is nothing but a professional concern troll.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Yes, but let's not forget that during the Bush years, he was on the inside and had his moment denouncing conservatives who opposed spending more than they wanted to invade Iraq. IIRC he was a fairly significant speechwriter for the Bush administration and was of a mind with Bush's "compassionate conservatism".

  • John||

    Yup. And he is hated for it. But rather than fess up and take some responsibility. He ran to the left and became a pet apostate.

  • Killazontherun||

    I think what bothers many conservatives, not one myself, but I can see their reasoning here, about the characterization of Bush by the MSM and liberals as a conservative is that he was from the start a compromise candidate for the purposes of electability. His fucks ups in both foreign and domestic policy were the results of going along with the DC groupthink. It was always a matter of Bush taking the heat like a chump while doing what the establishment wanted.

  • Tulpa the White||

    The right isn't coterminous with the Tea Party. It is sloppy to claim Frum as the epitome of the right, but he does represent a very significant faction.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Indeed, the 16-ounce limit might actually enhance individual liberty by compelling restaurants and bottlers to sell soda in the smaller quantities that people often want but can't get.

    I'm not sure if I've ever seen the phrases "enhance indivual liberty" and "compelling" so close together before.

  • Joe R.||

    Good catch.

  • cgy1||

    The fact of the matter is so-called liberals in this country really think that anyone who doesn't agree with them is an idiot.

    That's why they want to overturn Citizens United because they think the only reason the people do not vote like them is because people are dumb and easily swayed by campaign ads. And they want to regulate what people can eat because they think people who don't have the same dietary habits as them must have been brainwashed by McDonalds/Coca-Cola/etc. They seriously cant' understand why any rational person would not act exactly as they do.

  • Scarcity||

    It's that coupled with the idea that everyone has the exact same utility function. It is inconceivable that anyone would willingly make different choices than they would.

  • califernian||

    "Public health paternalism can be carried too far, but in the current anti-regulatory political environment, I don't waste a lot of time worrying about that"

    Good god what country does he live in . "anti-regulatory political environment"? Please tell me where is this mythical place so i can move there

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Just look at what he's saying. Regulation should be implemented regardless of democratic consent, rights-based hierarchies, narrowly-defined public interest, or results. Anything short of arbitrary government by royal decree is "anti-regulatory", when one starts with those premises.

  • John||

    Public health paternalism can be carried too far

    If deciding what sized drink someone can order is not carrying it too far, one can only wonder what would be.

  • Ben the Duck||

    "Eat your peas."

  • Alan Vanneman||

    "But if a restraint on soda serving size will not do everything, ...." It won't? Shit! What a letdown!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    You know what? I refuse to believe that Timothy Noah is a real person. It took two well-written seasons of Game of Thrones to loathe Joffrey as thoroughly as I loathe Noah -- that can only be the result of careful and elaborate trolling.

  • Rob||

    cash-for-clunkers brainfart

    That (partial) line alone guarantees I will be donating to Reason Foundation again this year.

  • ||

    Indeed, the 16-ounce limit might actually enhance individual liberty by compelling restaurants and bottlers to sell soda in the smaller quantities that people often want but can't get.

    Yes, it's too bad no mechanism exists to cause corporations to manufacture and sell the products their customers want to buy, some sort of natural response to the demands of buyers.

  • Scarcity||

    Corporations are unresponsive, all-controlling monoliths! Unlike government, which artfully bends to the will and desires of it's subjects.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Most of the giant-big-gulp places have customers who are captive audiences or are too much in a rush to care about the large size.

    Since soda from a dispenser is essentially pure profit for those merchants, they have every reason to try to force their customers to buy more of it than they'd like.

  • Ben the Duck||

    Most of the giant-big-gulp places have customers who are captive audiences

    Leather restraining straps... rubber tubing rudely jammed down their throats... gallon after desperately unwanted gallon pumped into 'em, via cunningly designed gravity feeds.

    Must be hell. Poor, suffering bastards.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I went to the movies a couple of weeks ago and didn't buy any soda at all. Boy, I must be one hell of a bad-ass, fighting off all of the killer robots forcing people to buy big soda pops.

  • Ben the Duck||

    I generally pelt 'em with peanut MMs; until they eventually retreat... but, then, that just leaves me open to the ninjas, dammit.

  • ||

    Either someone commandeered Tulpa's handle or that is some Grade A liberal speak.

    (I totally brain farted on what to call it when you can parrot the talking points of the other side and make it sound believable.)

  • ||

    Dear Timothy Noah - Please let me know if you ever plan to visit my area. I would really like to know exactly when and where you will be.

  • Loki||

    I'm so glad I didn't click on the full articles from either one of these assholes, Noah or Frum. Just the excerpts here nearly made my head explode. Good. Fucking. God. Is it too early to start drinking?

  • Brian D||

    John Stossel needs to have "Professional Curmudgeon" added to his business cards.

  • ||

    The one on the right almost never drinks soda, FWIW

    WTF?!?!

    California boy Matt just called pop "soda"!!!

    I knew once you got a French wife and moved to the East Coast you would be a sell out!!!

  • Redland Jack||

    Wouldn't they just charge more for a small size if they had a captive audience? That's how they do it at airports.

  • Redland Jack||

    I was trying to reply to Tulpa. It's good to see that I've botched my first comment under registration...

  • ||

    I just took it as an homage to P Brooks.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    No adult likes to be told how to live his life, but most of us benefit from baby authoritarianism far more than we'd like to admit.

    Speak for yourself, limpdick.

  • ||

    I read the Noah article the other day and thought it was delicious satire. You're telling me that was serious?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    The truth is that there's nothing inherently wrong with paternalistic government

    The part where you kill people who aren't hurting anyone else is inherently wrong.

    See how simple that is, you stupid fucking sack of shit?

  • TheZeitgeist||

    The truth is that there's nothing inherently wrong with paternalistic government

    If that's the point you start from, the slope's long past slippery in your brain already.

  • ant1sthenes||

    The idea is an experiment, and most experiments fail.

    You know who else did experiments on unwilling human subjects?

  • moop||

    "These prohibitions all constitute the government helping to define the nation's collective values,"

    here's america's collective values in case it's been unclear dipshit: life, liberty, property

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