On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to limit sugary drinks served in New York City restaurants to 16 ounces was submitted to the city's board of health. Setting aside for now the question of whether the proposal is justified, I wish to show that one thing in particular which Bloomberg has said – that the proposal does not take away your freedoms –can't be true.

This may seem obvious to some, but, as Bloomberg has pointed out, "we're not banning you from getting the stuff." Though individual drinks couldn't exceed 16 ounces, you'd still be allowed to buy as many as you wanted of them, and this fact is the basis for Bloomberg's defense: the proposal won't take away your freedoms because it allows you to buy any amount of soda that you were allowed buy before.

This defense invokes a natural idea about freedom, which is that your freedoms haven't been taken away if you are still allowed to do what you were previously allowed to do. As a defense, though, it is self-defeating. There is at least one thing which the proposal would not allow you to do which you could do before, namely buy a soda larger than 16 ounces at an NYC restaurant. The proposal fails to meet Bloomberg's own standard of freedom preservation.





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