Jonah Goldberg from The Goldberg File
C. S. Lewis said:
We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
Which brings me to Michael Bloomberg, who seems to be very far down the wrong road.
One of the things Edmund Burke loved about the early Americans was their really interesting underwear. But that’s a subject for a different “news”letter. Another thing he dug about those hipcats across the pond was the way they worried about the infringement of their liberties before The Man actually got up in their grill.
In other countries [than the American colonies], the people . . . judge of an ill principle in government only by an actual grievance, [but in America] they anticipate the evil, and judge of the pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle. They augur misgovernment at a distance and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze.
In other words, in the immortal words of Will Smith in the original Men In Black, the Founding generation of this country worked from the principle: If the government “Don’t start nuthin, won’t be nuthin.”
I bring this up because for much of the last few years, to speak of potential death panels coming down the pike was to prove you were a paranoid idiot. More recently, to wonder aloud whether the government could, under the theories supporting Obamacare, force the American people to eat broccoli or join weight watchers, was to reveal your mulishness.
By the way, the funny thing about the broccoli question is that most liberals never answer it when asked. They say it’s not a relevant question right now.
And that’s sort of the point, right?
The tendency in the American character to anticipate encroachments of liberty before they happen that Burke admired so much has been so ground down, to even offer such concerns is now seen as a kind of ideological derangement.
Meanwhile, the Bloombergian belief that the war on smoking demonstrated that there’s no outer boundary, no limiting principle, to progressive do-goodery is riding tall in the saddle. “It worked for cigarettes, it can work for anything I don’t like” is the only meaningful metric for his ilk.
Already the shock troops of the nanny state are hoping to parlay Bloomberg’s anti-soda ban into an all-out prohibition on junk food.
“We’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things,” Bloomberg explained, “we’re simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup” [emphasis mine -- which just happens to be the title of my proposed sequel to the under-appreciated sci-fi movie Enemy Mine].
Is it really such a long trip from here to the insistence that the government can “force you to understand” that you should eat your broccoli?