Bob Barr

Fortunately, public backlash and court challenges stopped a few of Bloomberg’s most absurd edicts. For example, when the soda ban was challenged, the state court slammed the Board of Health for assuming legislative powers it did not have. The surprisingly blunt decision made clear the board (and by implication, Bloomberg) “cannot exercise sweeping power to create whatever rule they deem necessary.”

Other crusades however, such as Bloomberg’s war on “illegal” guns, had ramifications far beyond the Big Apple’s municipal limits, and threatened the liberty of innocent Americans who wanted nothing to do with Bloomberg’s Big Brother-ism. Unlike the public health campaigns of granola-eating commercial developers, the government’s thirst for a Nanny State cannot be contained to four concrete walls. And as Bloomberg clearly demonstrated with his actions against a Georgia gun store owner, the rights of all Americans are targets -- not just those who voluntarily retreat into social or geographic isolation.

Worse still, as I wrote back in March, the Nanny State is quickly becoming the “default” position for government. One might think a shirt from the NRA would be acceptable to be worn most anywhere in America, considering the right to bear arms is woven into our country’s DNA. Such an assumption would be wrong, however, as one New York high school student discovered earlier this year when he was suspended for doing nothing more than wearing a shirt that proclaimed, “The Second Amendment shall not be infringed.” It is probably good the student never made a hand gesture resembling a gun, or he would have been sent to a “Zero Tolerance” re-education camp aimed at eliminating such barbaric behavior.

This is just one example of what is to come if we adopt Europe’s “regulate anything offensive to anyone” mentality as our own; a scenario in which our Constitution would come to resembles nothing if not a piece of Swiss cheese (organic, of course).

If we institute “fragrance-free zones” today, will not “gun-free zones” be close behind? But wait, don’t we already have the latter; and are not “smoke-free zones” becoming the norm in communities across the country? Are the citizens in Zurich simply taking what we already are becoming accustomed to in America to the next logical level? Before we laugh off the absurdity of Switzerland’s latest move toward a completely homogenized society, perhaps we need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.