On a recent episode of Fox News Channel's Geraldo at Large, Ann Coulter squared off against Nanny State enthusiast MeMe Roth regarding New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's crusade against just about everything. It's an interesting segment, not least of which because Coulter is totally right (!). Here's a partial transcript courtesy of Mediaite's Andrew Kirell:
Anti-obesity advocate (and big Bloomberg fan) MeMe Roth started off praising the mayor’s various efforts by noting that he is a “student of behavioral psychology” who understands that “increasing the inconvenience just a little bit” will lead to better choices by the consumer....
When Roth made the claim that bans on various unhealthy activities are warranted because “we pick up the tab” for other’s bad habits, Coulter countered that “I think you’re going to have to do something about the gay bathhouses.”
“AIDS is very expensive, and if I’m paying for it, how about discouraging that behavior?” she explained.
Later, while clarifying that she doesn’t actually want to ban homosexual activity, she told Roth, “If you’re argument is ‘Smoking: we all have to pay,’ then why not ‘Sodomy: we all have to pay.’” She told Roth that a consistent position on “nannying” would require her to be “anti-bathhouses” in addition to anti-smoking.
For her part, Roth sticks to the point that because of socialized medicine, we're all picking up the tab for other people (she ignores data suggested elevated health risk factors for gay men). Coulter goes out of her way to say that she doesn't want to ban anybody from doing anything - she wants to de-socialize health-care systems so these sorts of things are not political issues.
Hand it to Coulter, who has done fundraising for gay groups and calls herself a "right-wing Judy Garland": She's absolutely right to underscore the incredibly selective bias of most nanny-state activists. And to emphasize the incredibly reactionary logic underlying attempts to control people's behaviors.
The logic of the nanny staters should compel them to target all sorts of behaviors to which they give a pass - really, why not ban skiing if you're against activities that cost the rest of us money? That nanny staters routinely focus things such as smoking, drinking, gambling, TV watching, weight issues, and the like strongly suggests an implicit class bias in which relatively wealthy and politically connected elites are simply enforcing their preferred lifestyle choices over the less powerful. It has nothing to do with "public health" or helping people. As I suggested earlier today in regard to Bloomberg's soda ban -which would do absolutely nothing to slim waistlines in New York - it's about elevating personal preference to the status of scientific decree.
Here's the Coulter/Roth vid.
For previous posts about Ann Coulter, including her tirades against libertarian "pussies," go here.
In 2010, I debated MeMe Roth on Stossel. Check it out here.