I am impaled on the horns of a dilemma.
Mayor Bloomberg telling me I can’t smoke a cigar in Central Park
I think everyone should be treated as equally (as though he or she were) grown-up.
And yet …
I find myself liking the fact that they are going to outlaw 640z sodas in NYC.
I hate seeing people drink those things. I wish I knew how to find a principled yet nuanced way of both defending my right to stupidly smoke and simultaneously preventing people from drinking 64oz sodas, trashcan-size movie popcorns, Carnegie Deli sandwiches, lousy-restaurant-size bowls of pasta, 30 oz. steaks and all the other gross disgusting unnecessarily large things that often pass for food here. This isn’t pure snobbery; some of these things, especially the steaks and pasta, sell in classy restaurants too.
I struggle to find a fine enough sieve to separate these things, but if there is one, I think it has to do with limiting the rights of corporations. I’d like to defend individuals’ rights to harm themselves, but not defend corporations’ rights to profit by persuading people to do harmful stuff.
The big difference between people and corporations is that people don’t have a purpose (or if they do we don’t know what it is), and corporations do. Therefore corporations should have greater constraints imposed on them than on people.
It’s not a perfect world. Corporations selling harmful stuff is the thesis. Bloomberg is the antithesis, not the synthesis. Maybe that’s OK.