Not to step on DrugMonkey's toes here, but I am continually struck by the obsession that many USians have with "freedoms". Perhaps it's our heritage and history stemming from the revolution. Maybe it is the perpetuated belief that the class system is more fluid in the US than other places. I honestly don't know. But the mere hint of government regulation of things that are demonstrably bad for people sets of a firestorm of protest.
The current "NOT R FREEDOMZ!!!" cry is coming from NYC, where the mayor wants to limit the sale of sugary soft drinks to 16oz. Mind you, this is just a measure to limit the serving size, but not the number of 16oz servings you buy. Although I wonder a little about the added waste of more cups vs. bigger cups, I can't really see this as a major issue. There is no "ban" as the media is fond of calling it, you can still drink as much soda as you want for the same price (i.e. no extra taxation).
It seems I am in the minority.
From the reaction to this move you would think Bloomberg was trying to ban fully automatic "hunting" rifles or armor-piercing bullets.
The noise from this NYC thing reminds me of the freak out over the smoking ban in restaurants and bars. I lived through this twice in two different places and the process was shockingly similar:
Step 1: Smokers and restaurant/bar owners lose their collective shit and claim that business will end, people won't go out, dogs and cats living together...
Step 2: Petitions, more freak out as the drop dead date approaches.
Step 3: Ridiculous anti-climax where nothing really changes except that the non-smokers don't wake up the next morning feeling like they slept in an ashtray.
Step 4: Business is actually better because a lot of people were staying away to avoid the smoke and everyone who wasn't still wants to eat and drink.
Step 5: One finds it very odd and backwards to visit a place that still allows bar smoking / waking-up-ashtray.
At the end of the day, the result was good for public health (unless you think those formerly avoiding the bars and restaurants are now less healthy) and did nothing to hurt business, nor personal freedom. So how is limiting the size of one's soda cup such an affront to everything we hold dear? Someone explain to me how government intervention for the betterment of public health is such a horrible thing, without going all unreasonably Orwellian on me.