NYT op/ed writer: Quit yer b*tchin’, and embrace the nanny state!

The writer of this opinion piece – author and Bowdoin College assistant philosophy professor Sarah Conly – is not an official member of the NYT’s editorial board, but her drool-fest over Bloomberg’s nanny-state power grabs make her a strong contender should an opening become available (bolded emphasis added by me):

WHY has there been so much fuss about New York City’s attempt to impose a soda ban, or more precisely, a ban on large-size “sugary drinks”? After all, people can still get as much soda as they want. This isn’t Prohibition. It’s just that getting it would take slightly more effort. So, why is this such a big deal?

Obviously, it’s not about soda. It’s because such a ban suggests that sometimes we need to be stopped from doing foolish stuff, and this has become, in contemporary American politics, highly controversial, no matter how trivial the particular issue. (Large cups of soda as symbols of human dignity? Really?)


We have a vision of ourselves as free, rational beings who are totally capable of making all the decisions we need to in order to create a good life. Give us complete liberty, and, barring natural disasters, we’ll end up where we want to be. It’s a nice vision, one that makes us feel proud of ourselves. But it’s false.


A lot of times we have a good idea of where we want to go, but a really terrible idea of how to get there. It’s well established by now that we often don’t think very clearly when it comes to choosing the best means to attain our ends. We make errors. This has been the object of an enormous amount of study over the past few decades, and what has been discovered is that we are all prone to identifiable and predictable miscalculations.


We also suffer from a status quo bias, which makes us value what we’ve already got over the alternatives, just because we’ve already got it — which might, of course, make us react badly to new laws, even when they are really an improvement over what we’ve got. And there are more.

The crucial point is that in some situations it’s just difficult for us to take in the relevant information and choose accordingly. It’s not quite the simple ignorance [John Stuart] Mill was talking about, but it turns out that our minds are more complicated than Mill imagined. Like the guy about to step through the hole in the bridge, we need help.


Do we care so much about our health that we want to be forced to go to aerobics every day and give up all meat, sugar and salt? No. But in this case, it’s some extra soda. Banning a law on the grounds that it might lead to worse laws would mean we could have no laws whatsoever.

In the old days we used to blame people for acting imprudently, and say that since their bad choices were their own fault, they deserved to suffer the consequences. Now we see that these errors aren’t a function of bad character, but of our shared cognitive inheritance. The proper reaction is not blame, but an impulse to help one another.

That’s what the government is supposed to do, help us get where we want to go. It’s not always worth it to intervene, but sometimes, where the costs are small and the benefit is large, it is. That’s why we have prescriptions for medicine. And that’s why, as irritating as it may initially feel, the soda regulation is a good idea. It’s hard to give up the idea of ourselves as completely rational. We feel as if we lose some dignity. But that’s the way it is, and there’s no dignity in clinging to an illusion.

Let me repeat that: “but sometimes, where the costs are small and the benefit is large, it is.”  Even if the “small cost” is giving up your individual liberties bit by precious bit until none are left? Oh hell no, lady. I don’t think so!

This is the mind of the typical leftist: There is no such thing as personal responsibility – because you’re too stupid to take care of yourself and therefore Uncle Sam has to step in to “help” you control your diet, and anything else they decide is beyond your scope of being able to manage.  Anne Sorock at Legal Insurrection adds:

If Conly’s “Three Cheers for the Nanny State” is the best retort to New York Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling’s take down of the Bloomberg ban, which the Justice referred to as “fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences” and an “administrative leviathan” that would “eviscerate” separation of powers, then it is time to rejoice and give three cheers for Conly’s reveal of the left’s mental state.


Conly, educated at the bastions of high thinking Princeton (BA), Cornell (MA), and Cornell (MA), may be as fine an advertisement against the left’s thinking (as well as an Ivy League education) as any messaging campaign the RNC would hope to undertake.

Indeed.  Beware.

Hat tip: Mememorandum

This just in: If you oppose gun control, you might just be an Antisemite

**Posted by Phineas

According to MSNBC, that is.

Background: loathsome nanny-state Mayor (1) Mike Bloomberg has been on a crusade since the Aurora and Newtown mass killings to take New York City’s extremely restrictive (and, in my opinion, unconstitutional) gun laws nationwide, spending millions of his own money to pressure (2) Congress and various state legislatures. In reaction, defenders of the right to bear arms have been very critical of Bloomberg, both on policy grounds and his overall infatuation with statism. (3)

On America’s “lean forward” network, however, it couldn’t be that you oppose Bloomberg because you believe in the right to bear arms or that, in general, government should stay out of people’s private lives. Nope. If you oppose Bloomberg, it must be because you hate Jews:

According to MSNBC contributors Mike Barnicle and Al Sharpton, opposition to New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control push is partly the result of anti-Semitism. “Let’s get down to it, Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, there’s a level of anti-Semitism in this thing directed towards Bloomberg,” Barnicle argued on Morning Joe, “It’s out there.” “No doubt about that,” Sharpton responded.

“If he was not a big-city Jewish man and was from another ethnic group, in some parts, I think it would be different,” Sharpton continued. 

If you can’t win on the facts, fight with slander.

At PJM, Bryan Preston reminds us that both Barnicle and Sharpton are a bit lacking in the ethics department:

Mike Barnicle, who a few years back was caught plagiarizing, and Al Sharpton, who a few years before that built his career by accusing an innocent man of rape, have resorted to smearing those of us who think New York Mike Bloomberg should at least confine his overbearing nannyist instincts to the city that actually elected him.

So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at this latest bit of poo-flinging.

It’s all they have left.

(1) That Allahpundit has such a way with words.
(2) Or buy, judging by the results of the recent primary election in IL-2.
(3) And that’s putting it nicely. Michael Walsh comes right out and calls Bloomie a liberal fascist.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Britain’s Green chickens are coming home to roost, as will ours, soon

**Posted by Phineas

Christopher Booker in last Saturday’s Telegraph: “It’s payback time…”

As the snow of the coldest March since 1963 continues to fall, we learn that we have barely 48 hours’ worth of stored gas left to keep us warm, and that the head of our second-largest electricity company, SSE, has warned that our generating capacity has fallen so low that we can expect power cuts to begin at any time. It seems the perfect storm is upon us.

The grotesque mishandling of Britain’s energy policy by the politicians of all parties, as they chase their childish chimeras of CO2-induced global warming and windmills, has been arguably the greatest act of political irresponsibility in our history.

Three more events last week brought home again just what a mad bubble of make-believe these people are living in. Under the EU’s Large Combustion Plants Directive, we lost two more major coal-fired power stations, Didcot A and Cockenzie, capable of contributing no less than a tenth to our average electricity demands. We saw a French state-owned company, EDF, being given planning permission to spend £14?billion on two new nuclear reactors in Somerset, but which it says it will only build, for completion in 10 years’ time, if it is guaranteed a subsidy that will double the price of its electricity. Then, hidden in the small print of the Budget, were new figures for the fast-escalating tax the Government introduces next week on every ton of CO2 emitted by fossil-fuel-powered stations, which will soon be adding billions of pounds more to our electricity bills every year.

Be sure to read the rest. Not only is the government in London heavily subsidizing uneconomic wind farms and granting needless subsidies in tribute to get nuclear plants built, but they’re doing all they can to drive coal plants out of business, even though coal plants are necessary as backup for those times when the wind doesn’t blow. Hence the warnings about blackouts in the dead of winter. Britain is looking at a new Dark Ages, one wholly of its own doing.

And before we cluck our tongues at our cousins’ folly, this is just the future Obama and the environmentalist movement would lead us to:

Booker is right that Britain’s energy policy is insanity. But what can we say about a nation —us— that sits atop almost unimaginably immense energy resources, enough to restore the cheap energy needed for prosperity and make us nearly energy independent, and yet fights tooth and nail  against developing it in the name of battling a problem that does not exist?


(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

QOTD: On polls and popularity contests regarding the issues we face

Read this over the weekend from Pastor Rick Warren on Twitter, and thought it was worth sharing here:

“Popularity has no bearing on what’s true and what’s false. The crowd, and opinion polls, are often wrong.”

I bring this up because of all the bandwagon-jumping I’m seeing on the issue of gay marriage – especially from Democrats (like Senator Claire McCaskill – MO) and some Republicans, most of who are not doing this out of principle but rather out of a moderate to severe case of “opportunistic-itis.” I exempt Senator Portman on this because I can’t hold it against a parent to reverse course, considering the thought I’m sure he put behind this in light of his son coming out as gay. Unlike President Obama, who has strung liberal gays along (and they have allowed him to) with his seesaw positions on gay marriage – positions he took purely for political purposes, Portman has a reason to feel the way he does now, even though I disagree with the notion that you can’t still be supportive of your son or daughter when they “come out of the closet” if you don’t support gay and other alternative forms of marriage. But that’s another topic for another day.

Reasonable people can disagree on the gay marriage issue. Then again, it seems that the loudest voices on this issue are extremists on both sides, with no consideration given for the “in between” people who are ok with civil unions for gay couples but who also believe that ultimately the best environment to raise children in is the traditional male/female two parent husband/wife marital/family structure – and that it should stay that way. There are also those “in between” types who have family members or friends who have ‘come out” who believe in gay marriage but who believe it should be a state-level issue, not one decided by the feds. We need to hear more such voices, rather than the yelling on the far left and far right about “homophobia” and “end times.”

Back to Warren’s quote, it’s interesting when you think about it. Right now, with the SCOTUS poised to take up two “gay rights” cases this week, an increasing number of politicos announcing their support, etc, pundits on the left (and some on the right who have given up on this issue and want us to stop getting beat up over it) are saying the conservative right needs to “get with the times” as a “majority of Americans” now support gay marriage or civil unions. Think about this, though: Remember the run-up to, and the aftermath of the Iraq war, when polls showed the American people overwhelmingly supported taking out Saddam Hussein? Think liberals bought the argument then that because a majority of the American people supported going into Iraq that they needed to hop on board, too? No, they didn’t. They’ve never allowed popular opinion on any issue favorable to conservatives (or America, for that matter) to dissuade them from their viewpoints. Why should we? When you believe in something – no matter what the issue – a poll and popular opinion shouldn’t be your deciding factor in whether you keep your opinion on an issue.

Do your research. Talk to people. Look at ALL facts on the table. Then determine whether or not you feel the same. And stick with it if you think it is right. Over time, you will either be proven to be on the correct side of the issue, and history – or not.

And here’s something else: It’s ok to evolve on an issue. I changed my mind on a number of them during the course of my switch from liberalism to conservatism, and I didn’t base my view point on polls and popularity contests and pop culture, but rather careful thought and consideration. Don’t be afraid to have a change of heart. But also don’t be afraid to stand strong in the face of adversity and major pushback. As the old saying goes, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.