The Tyrant in Us All: Bloomberg Takes on Big Syrup



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Boss Bloomberg and the city mothers of New York City have decided to crack down on lethal weapons. No, they are not AK-47s and sawed-off shotguns: They’re large cups. Yes, you heard that right. In typical overreach, a decision was made to fight Big Apple, public enemy number one, HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup, aka “Sugar”), with the country’s first Size of Container Law. Soon, in NYC it will be illegal for fast food restaurants to serve soft drinks (or soda or pop or sweet tea) in cups larger than 16 ounces.

It would be easy to go after the good mayor for his do-gooder, nanny-like inclination to control the people of his kingdom, but it is the citizens themselves—and others like them all over the country—that I want to talk to today. Most people will comply and not make such a fuss over this new law. That is fine and dandy. I don’t think it does much good to hoot and holler when you are inconvenienced, when there are so many more important things in this world to fight for. I am often surprised at the indignity cigarette smokers are willing to put up with, however. Smokers who are 50 years old, but look 39 (like myself) often have to present ID to prove they are not 17. (Mind you, I don’t smoke, I only mean that I am 50-plus years old, but look 39-ish).

Many people think the Bloomberg ban is ridiculous, but here is a smattering of the responses from Bloomberg supporters at the New York Times:

“The problem is a nationwide and, now, a worldwide crisis. This Bloomberg effort is a baby step, but should be applauded wholeheartedly.”

“I think the ban should include diet sodas as well.”

“Something does need to be done.”

“This is a great idea and should be imitated by other localities.”

“And distasteful as it may be, if it saves lives, and much needed dollars in our medical system, it will have been a good thing.”

The last reason given above was the most common justification for regulating cup sizes: the burden on society for shelling out for the insulin costs of fat people. Of course, this begs the question as to why everybody is paying everybody else’s medical bills in the first place.

The Scriptures suggest the big-government impulse is at work in people since the fall. As I say elsewhere,

“Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden was not just a single act of wrongdoing. It was the first blast of man’s rebellion against his Creator and Ruler. One of Satan’s temptations was that Adam and Eve would be like God if they ate what God said not to eat. From that moment on, man’s offspring—rogues who want to be ruled by nobody and busybodies who want to rule over everybody—became mutineers. Rejecting God as ruler of the Universe (a violation of the First Commandment), the hearts of these men erected an idol in His place (a violation of the Second Commandment). One of the strangest paradoxes in the world is that Anarchist and Tyrant, Libertine and Legalist, Sadducee and Pharisee, natural enemies all, will unite in agreement: God must go….

It is quite possible for these two forces to coexist for a long time in a dying culture, just as fever and chills can live in the same sick body. When a nation permits parents to kill their own offspring with impunity, anarchy is at work. When the same culture criminalizes selling two-gallon flush toilets, buying 100-watt light bulbs, eating Happy Meal toys, or throwing Frisbees on a beach, tyranny is at work.”(1)

C. S. Lewis warned us about the likes of Mayor Bloomberg and the masses who are from the government and just want to help us in his book God in the Dock (see also Luke 22:25f):

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. (p. 292)

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(1)    David J Shedlock has written a book, With Christ in the Voting Booth, dealing with the causes of and the relationship between tyranny and anarchy. One chapter is entitled, “Anarchy: The Rule of a Thousand Tyrants.”