In the past few weeks, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made national headlines with his proposal to ban large sized sodas at restaurants, theaters, stadiums, delicatessens and food carts. The proposal aims to encourage people to drink less of the obesity-causing sugary drinks.
The immediate reaction in the media was not kind. Those on the political right attacked the ban as an assault on personal freedom. Even those associated with the left, like comedian Jon Stewart lambasted the proposal. A full page NY Times advertisement featuring Mayor Bloomberg in a dress was entitled, “The Nanny: You only thought you lived in the land of the free.” These criticisms are not, in my view, simply part of an ideological battle about the proper role of government but also part of a disagreement over the validity of the sociological imagination. (more…)