Ken Connor

schiz·o·phre·ni·a – a state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements.

By now most people have heard about New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's battle to ban Big Gulps in the Big Apple. According to the Bloomberg's Health Commisioner, Thomas Farley:

We have a crisis of obesity. People often go with the default choice, and if the default choice is something which is very unhealthy and is feeding into that health crisis, it's appropriate for the government to say, "No, we think the default choice should be healthier."

In the eco-conscious, health-obsessed culture that characterizes America's urbane elites, it is widely considered to be a moral imperative for government to do whatever it can to stem the tide of obesity in America. Tackling childhood obesity is First Lady Obama's signature cause, and she's done an admirable job of encouraging families to move their bodies more and make better choices about what they put on their plates. In the case of Mayor Bloomberg and sugary drinks, his desire is to limit consumer choice because the "default choice should be healthier."

In other words, neither Mrs. Obama nor Mayor Bloomberg has any qualms about taking a firm "moral" stand on the issue of nutrition. Their logic: Drinking a 64-ounce cola is bad for everyone, and government is morally-justified in using its power to remove that choice from the public realm. Big fat people shouldn't have the right to choose something that will make them bigger and fatter, more unhealthy, and more of a drain on public resources. Unrestrained "choice" isn't always good.

Ironically however, both Bloomberg and the First Lady are fervent advocates of a woman's "right to choose" abortion, and view any efforts by government to restrict such choice as inappropriate and overly intrusive. Which brings us to another story making headlines in recent days: Congress' refusal to outlaw the abhorrent practice of gender-based abortion. Most Democrats are so terrified of appearing even slightly judgmental about the morality of terminating a pregnancy that they can't even bring themselves to vote on the subject!

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.