Sarah Palin’s “liberty”.

I saw this over at TPM and it put a few thoughts in my head:

Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin on Monday couldn’t hide her satisfaction with a judge’s decision to strike down the ban in New York City on large-sized sugary beverages, declaring over Twitter that the ruling represented a triumph for “liberty-loving soda drinkers.”


And some other Republicans are all over this.

Other notable conservatives, such as Fox News Channel’s Eric Bolling and Republican strategist Michael Biundo, also took to Twitter to celebrate the decision. In their characteristically punchy style, the New York Post and the New York Daily News each used their covers on Tuesday to needle Mayor Michael Bloomberg over the ruling.

Bloomberg, meanwhile, has vowed to appeal the ruling, telling late night host David Letterman on Monday that “we gotta do something” to counter the country’s obesity problem.

I’m on the fence.  Sure, obesity is a big health problem and the USA is pretty bad about it.  On the other hand, I value personal freedom even to the extent of harming one’s self.  The rub is whether or not there’s a high likelihood that the rest of society will pay a hefty price for wide-spread, individual self harm.  Then it becomes society’s business.

Anyway, all that aside, if Palin supports liberty-loving soda drinkers, can we ask for her support on the next bill to enable liberty-loving pot usage?  Well, we can ask, but I suspect “liberty” for that type extends up until the point that it offends their sense of propriety.  Then people can have the liberty to abide by what Sarah Palin likes.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    It is only liberty when it opposes what a Democrat or liberal wants.

    When a conservative or Republican does it, it is for the preservation of liberty.

    And I see the point of the ban, but I don’t think anyone has that authority.

  • Aoife

    I think that if the government is to stay out of people’s refrigerators, it should also stay out of their bedrooms and uteri.

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Refrigerators are American and they’re protected in the Constitution, it’s the *ahem*-*cough* Amendment. The Constitution does not mention women. QED, which is book-larnin’-talk for HAHA.

      • Aoife

        Good thing I’m not American then. Us Europeans love us some book-larnin’ and where I’m from we amend our Constitutions like we change our shoes*.

        …on the other hand, ’round these parts we do have constitutions telling us where to put our wimminfolk (A special place in the home!) and how important ladies who are born are (Exactly as important as a just-implanted embryo!) so I’ll, er, be backing away slowly and hoping nobody understands my accent..

        *In my case, every few years or when the important bits stop working.

  • SpaceGhoti

    “Govt, stay out of my refrigerator!”

    But ultrasound wands in womens’ vaginas are an acceptable government intrusion?

  • Chris Johnston

    I totally read her tweet in Tina Fey’s voice.

  • Volizden

    I replied that it was Ironic considering she and her party want to crawl into women’s Uteri

  • neatospiderplant

    I agree that healthy eating/drinking habits are a problem, but I’m not sure limiting the size of drinks sold would have helped much. What would stop people from buying two medium cokes instead?

    • John Horstman

      I did not understand the motives behind the ban in the first place. The hypothetical connection to combating obesity is shaky at best (I guess maybe it forces one to walk down the block to get more sugary goodness if refills are also banned, which is a little exercise?), but I also don’t see any particular profit motives in banning large sizes (and it’s bad for the environment in the case where people drink the same amount but require/use more material for packaging or containers). Perhaps it was a purely symbolic law to appease an uncritical constituency; any which way, striking it down is a good call.

      • M

        There’ve been a lot of studies on portion size and how much people eat/imbibe. Bigger portion sizes mean people eat/drink more and don’t realize it. A lot of people will have “one cup” of soda, pretty much no matter what size that cup is. Limiting the size of the cup doesn’t stop anyone from getting more, but it does mean people drink less soda. This regulation is not an infringement on liberty- people can still get as much soda as they want. They can refill their cups, buy two or more, etc. Regulating drink size is no more ridiculous than regulating the amount of sugar/fat/salt that can go into foods and we do that already.

        • Glodson

          I get the reasoning, but I just don’t know if the city has that authority to pass the ban. I would need to look deeper into it.

          I wouldn’t call it infringing on our liberty. Partly because it is about the size of the soda and not a direct attempt to ban the sodas. Mostly because the word liberty is abused enough. However, it might be an overreach of governmental power.

          • Nate Frein

            It might be a better strategy to impose a “cup tax” on larger sizes of drinks

  • Adam

    Couldn’t be more behind the judge’s decision. If this was seriously an attempt to contain obesity then it’s a lousy one. As you pointed out JT, it’s a shame that people don’t have the same attitude towards drugs. I shouldn’t have to be punished for someone else’s overindulgences. Of course Palin’s double standards are amusing too.

  • unbound

    I’m not a fan of the ban anyways. It isn’t like smoking that affects the people around them. I’m all for people being healthier, but sodas are only one factor of the problem. Much of the dietary science is far from settled and relies largely on weak statistical significance for relationships.

    Sodas are a source of empty calories, but so is (to a very large extent) everything that we eat that are highly processed such as breads, cereals, pastas, and candy. Empty calorie foods don’t harm you unless you are getting the majority of your calories from them. Someone who drinks a large soda, but predominantly eats fruits, veggies, and meats is much healthier than someone who drinks water but predominantly eats highly processed foods.

    The solution is education and likely some incentives for the food industries to provide healthier foods at cheaper costs as well as disincentives for producing cheap, highly refined foods.

  • guest

    americans seem to turn everything into a “civil right” “liberty” thing. Here is the problem: Instead of banning soda/pop, tobacco, alcohol, how about you take the civil right of education serious and educate your people. Don’t want to become obese? Don’t buy a liter of pop. Don’t want to be a sloppy drunk? stop after drink 3 (4..5..depending on what you can take). “Personal responsibility” should be the new buzzword, stop talking about liberties.

    • M

      See my reply above. Personal responsibility sounds great until you realize how much of our activity isn’t actually under our conscious control. Portion size, presentation, the people around us … all those affect how much we eat/drink. Reducing portion size without actually banning anything makes a big difference and takes advantage of the unconscious processes we use to regulate ourselves. “I’ll just have one cup” is pretty common- so reducing the size of that one cup is meaningful.

  • Darren

    I would suspect a better target to the be the advertising of fast and other high-calorie convenience foods and beverages.

    Dictating personal choices is against my moral system; restricting corporations free speech rights is not.

  • Keith Erick Fix

    KT, it worries me that you’re on the fence re: NYC soda size. This is only a societal issue because liberals insist healthcare isn’t subject to economic reality – until that reality necessitates limiting freedom outside economic forces.