I heard someone on the radio today defending New York ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s various bans–large sodas, too much salt, smoking, etc.–as “common sense.”
“For all practical purposes,” the speaker argued, “we have socialized medicine in New York City. If you get sick, we have to treat you. But why should we have to pay all that money treating medical problems that people have brought on themselves by doing things that aren’t good for their health? It’s really just common sense to ban those things.” (I am simplifying here, but that’s the argument: I’ve heard it before, and so have you.)
It seems to be common sense; but the question that must arise is, “Well, then, where do you stop?”
How intrusive do you want the government to be? If it’s going to ban unhealthy actions–eating too much fast food, drinking too much soda, what have you–why not mandate healthful behavior? Wouldn’t that save a lot of money? Go to bed at such-and-such a time. Get up in time to do your mandatory calisthenics. If you have to go anywhere, walk or ride your bike. And we’ll check to make sure you do those things. We’ll hire a whole army of busybodies to keep tabs on you.
I think the term for that kind of life is “dystopia.” Or “perpetual childhood.” If that’s common sense, they can keep it.