The Corner

Regul8rs Gonna Regul8

Mayor Bloomberg’s latest wheeze is a plan to ban sales of sugary drinks (by street vendors, movie theaters, etc.) in units larger than 16 ounces. After spending 30-odd summers in New York City, I can confidently assert that it won’t work. Most food carts stock sodas in 12-ounce cans and 20-ounce bottles, and on any reasonably warm and sticky day, a can won’t make a dent in your thirst, while a bottle is barely adequate. So if you can’t buy a 20-ounce container from the vendor, and there’s no bodega handy, you’ll buy two cans and end up drinking 24 ounces of death-dealing Dr Pepper instead of 20. Take that, health police!

It’s been said that every economic argument boils down to a conservative saying “the market isn’t free, so let’s make it freer” and a liberal saying “the market isn’t free, so let’s regulate it.” In this case, the liberal argument seems to be that evil corporations are forcing helpless New Yorkers to consume mass quantities of soda by pushing super-sized containers; conservatives reply that it isn’t MegaSugarCorp, but Old Sol.

That’s as good an example as any of the liberal mindset: The notion that nobody would buy a 20-ounce Coke on a hot day unless they were forced to — with the corollary that people can be manipulated just as easily to drink less soda as to drink more, and the unspoken assumption that since they can be manipulated, they should. Conservatives, by contrast, say: “I can’t even get my kids to pick up their socks; how do they propose to change the response to thirst of 8 million New Yorkers?” But careerist bureaucrats and legacy-seeking mayors are too busy running everyone’s life to bother with such quibbles.

Fred Schwarz — Fred Schwarz is a deputy managing editor of National Review.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More