The Daily Switch

It’s for your own good, don’t ya know?

Posted by Ender on April 10, 2009

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.  C.S. Lewis

Tyranny does not always start with goose stepping soldiers storming your house to take away unauthorized items.  Sometimes it starts with the government taking small things that you actually agree with.

For instance in NYC, Mayor Bloomberg banned smoking in the early 00s.  I am sure that many out there appreciate this ban because they don’t have to worry about stinking for the rest of the day after going out to eat.  However, think about your liberty and the liberty of all the restaurant owners in the state of NY.  Aside from the fact that the ban was based on junk science and bad statistics we need to remember that the government should not have the power to force businesses and individuals to ban a legal activity.

Mayor Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s basis for the policy was to prevent “thousands” from dying each year.  The problem is that the individuals involved (waitresses, bar tenders, customers, owners) chose to work in these restaurants.  They could have chosen to go to different restaurants, have different jobs or own different businesses.  Beware of policy that tells us to do something for our own good.  I am much better qualified to decide what is  for my own than the government.

In 2006, NY moved to ban trans fats from restaurants. Again, I am left to wonder on what basis is the government allowed to do this?  Can’t I decide whether or not I want to risk the slight increase in risk of heart disease by eating trans fats?  If consumers truly wanted a ban on trans fat they would stop eating at places that cooked with it.  This in turn would lead those businesses to stop using it in order to keep their customers.  No law necessary.  But, who’s going to argue when it’s for your own good.

Perhaps there are some out there reading this who say “Well, I see your point but smoking in public and trans fats are really bad so I don’t mind the government taking those things.”  My question to you would be: where does it stop?  What would they have to take away?  What about Twix bars or table salt?  That would be ridiculous, no?

If you had to guess which mayor in the US was attempting to ban table salt; who would be your first guess?

Bloomberg?  You’d be correct. Bloomberg announced “that the city is starting a “nationwide initiative” to pressure the food industry and restaurant chains to cut salt intake by half over the next decade.”  Don’t bother him or others with the fact that it is based on junk science.  (Read the article for details)  Just remember that this is for your own good.

C.S. Lewis had it right when he said “those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”  Who would have thought that the smoking ban would have led NYC down this slippery slope?  People need to realize that they are responsible for their own health, not the government.  The government needs to realize that it cannot legislate a healthy society.

You’ll have to excuse me for a moment while I convert my flask to be able to handle covert salt transportation because eating a steak without salt is just plain unacceptable to me…….


9 Responses to “It’s for your own good, don’t ya know?”

  1. Liberty Lloyd said

    Let’s not forget the ban on undercooked eggs in NJ circa 1992

  2. Randy said

    So are you guys in favor of banning abortiion or gay marriage.

    For the record, I don’t believe in abortion or gay marriage, but if you want to complain about the loss of liberties then you musn’t have a problem with either abortion or same sex marriages. Just another example of big brother correct.

  3. Shooter McGavin said

    Now I agree with a lot in the article. The overall assessment and thesis is spot on. I’m not sure however, that when you deal with an issue such as drug use (which I think should be illegal) how it is much different than banning grossly unhealthy food. Now, I realize that one is much more extreme than the other, but in both cases the government is deciding what is best for the people. Where then is the line drawn? Is there even an objective line to be drawn?

    Now some could raise an argument about the immoral use of drugs which functions as the main determinate, but is eating unhealthy necessarily not a moral issue? Can’t eating/feeding unhealthy food burden not just ourselves, but those around us? We see more societal harm from the results of unhealthy eating in heart disease and cancer (as the leading cause of death every year) than we do from overdosing on drugs, gang violence, and other drug related deaths. There is an idea of good stewardship to care for our bodies, which makes it a moral issue leaving the question: where is the line drawn for the government to ban items that harm its people?

  4. Shooter McGavin said

    Randy, I hear what you are saying, but it doesn’t really follow. These issues are different, so I’ll deal with them individually.

    The idea of abortion being a right and therefore any attempt to stifle it is tyrannical is misleading at best. Now proponent of abortion always talk about it as it being “their right to choose” which intentially diverts the conversation away from what the debate is truly over: whether or not the fetus is a human life. Now, I’ll tell you the truth, I’ve been in the company of strong pro-lifers without and pro-abortion people around and I never once heard any of them talk about wanting to ban abortion to keep women down. The pro-lifer views the fetus as a life and therefore the right of the fetus to have a life overrules the convenience of the woman who wants to destroy the fetus. Therefore, for a conservative to be a pro-lifer, he reinforces his pursuit of societal freedom.

    Now concerning gay marriage: there are different views and so I will deal specifically with gay marriage (as opposed to dealing with the notion of civil unions). Now the conservative never says a gay person cannot get married, they can just like everyone else. The problem arises when they want to marry someone of the same sex. The notion of a same-sex marriage is oxymoronic. I believe words have meaning, and though many people today sporadically like to change the definition of words to suit their purposes, though when this occurs its strips the word of having any meaning and thus any power/effectiveness. Marriage is (throughout all history) a covenant between a man and a woman. And so to institute gay marriage is as futile as saying a bicycle (in the technical sense) can have three wheels. Sure you can make a tri-cycle and call it a bicylce, but it will never be. And so, to call a union between two people of the same sex a marriage, is to deny the very substance of marriage. The conservative is then not denying freedom.

  5. maker said

    There is no need to ban gay marriage and I would like to see the states vote on the legalization of abortion rather than having a law that would have never been voted for by the citizenry forced on us by liberal activist justices. I am in favor of defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. The idea that this needs to be defined is curious to me, and equally puzzling is the notion that extinguishing a life for convenience or redefining something as basic as marriage could be called liberty. It seems to me that marriage has been pretty well defined by hundreds and hundreds of years of human practice.
    Following your logic, child molesters would also be categorized as oppressed by big brother, as would tax cheats, polluters, speeders, and drug users. I have a problem with abortion, same sex marriage and all the other things I listed. I also have a problem with murder, embezelment and animal cruelty. Does this mean I am a proponent of big government?

  6. Randy said


    I think you may have taken things to an extreme with what I said. Let’s take abortion out of the picture for now as that can be considered murder.

    Lets just talk gay marriage. Again I agree with the traditional defintion of marriage as between a man and a woman. My question to you and others is that a constitutional ban on gay marriage could be considered as taking a way a person’s liberties by the government.

    As opposed to your murder,embezzlement and animal cruelty argument, in gay marriage there is no victim. It is two consenting adults who chose that lifestyle. Again this is just a devils advocate stance I am taking here. I just wanted to get your thoughts.

    I also have a question maybe you can answer. I always kind of viewed the conservative movement and libertarian movement as very closely related. But I heard of a rift over the tea parties between the two groups. What are the main differences between libertarians and convservatives?

  7. Ender said


    Here’s my two cents (in short):

    For abortion, I would not consider a ban on abortion a loss of liberty. To argue that this is a loss of liberty ignores the liberty of the baby inside the womb. So, in my opinion an abortion violates the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of the baby. The mother should not have a choice to kill the child. Also, when the argument comes up that the mother should have the right to choose, I disagree. The mother already made her choice to engage in behavior that led to the outcome.

    For the gay marriage issue, aside from the arguments listed by Shooter and Maker, I disagree with it because the “right” to gay marriage would violate another’s right to free speech or religion. Say for instance gay marriage was constitutionalized, what would happen to churches all over the country? Could they deny a gay couple their constitutional right to get married? This would in effect make Christianity illegal. In fact, there are already cases in Canada (no monument to free speech) where churches are being sued and attacked for their criticisms of gay marriage. To me this is an extremely dangerous path. I’m not going to speak for every conservative but I don’t have problem with a civil union between two men, it’s marriage that I have a problem with.

    As far as the rift between libertarians and conservatives, can you link to an article about the rift over the tea parties? I’d be very interested in reading about it because I haven’t come across any. However, one rift that I think may occur is over the conservative support for Bush. Bush was not even close to 100% conservative he strayed far from the path in many economic aspects. Some of those aspects are extremely important to the libertarian movement. Also, libertarians differ from conservatism when it comes to matters of national security. In my opinion, conservatism will not regain any power until they acknowledge their libertarian roots and come back to fiscal conservatism. So, I appreciate and encourage the libertarian debate/aspect to conservatism because for the most part I feel they are very compatible with each other and need each other. I’d like for conservative leadership in the media and politicians to embrace the libertarian views more.

  8. Randy said

    Stephen Gordon was on Rachel Maddow talking about. Here is the video

    Despite what you may think of Maddow I thought it was a pretty good and fair interview. Apparently Gingrich, Huckabee and Keyes are not well liked among the Libertarians.

    Also you can find it on the The Liberty Papers website with some comments:

    Back to the gay marriage issue. I can see your points but the bottom line is that a church has the right to hold it’s parishoners to their values. I was born and raised Catholic. A Catholic preist will not marry a couple outside of the church. Also, my wife’s cousin who is in church every week faithfully, does not go to communion because he was married outside of the Catholic church. So I don’t see a way that the government could force a church to believe or to force something on the church that is not in the church’s teaching. Just my thoughts.

  9. Ender said

    I watched the video, looks like my guess was right on track. Libertarians are turned off by the spending, bailouts and expansion of government programs.

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