I’ve only been to New York once, many years ago, but it left a dazzling impression on me. What I saw was astounding enough (skyscrapers that literally scraped the sky, the Central Park Zoo, the subway, the endless variety of people), and it dazzled the mind to think of the things I didn’t see. I only had a few days, so I missed the Statue of Liberty, art museums, endless ballet and theater performances, and literally millions of other diversions. What an incredible place.
And yet you couldn’t pay me to live there. Why? Because NYC apparently is in the grip of a popular mayor who believes in the draconian control of its residents.
This is the mayor who thought that blocking food donations to all government-run facilities that serve the city’s homeless was a brilliant idea, because donated food cannot be policed for nutritional specifics such as salt, fat, calorie content, fiber minimum and condiment recommendations (condiment recommendations?!). This is the city that pioneered food laws such as banning sugary drinks over 16 ounces. “We’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things,” Bloomberg condescendingly assured New Yorkers. “We’re simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup.”
And doubtless this is just the tip of the iceberg. Since I live on the other side of the country (literally and figuratively) from the Big Apple, I’m quite certain there are dozens of other loony rules and regulations specific to NYC of which I’m unaware.
Mayor Bloomberg, as I was told by Jeff Stier (senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research), loves to push avant-garde initiatives. “The mayor has long prided himself on setting what he calls ‘cutting-edge policy’ and pushing the envelope,” said Mr. Stier, “whether it’s a ban on trans-fat, a reduction on salt, or bans on outdoor smoking. Bloomberg prides himself that city policies he instigates will help develop policies across the country. He wants to use the city as the model.”
Remember those words for a few moments.
Bloomberg’s latest boondoggle involves a woman’s most intimate and private decision: whether or not to breast-feed her baby. Despite not having (working) breasts, Bloomberg is a big advocate of breast-feeding over formula. His spiffy initiative would lock down formula at hospitals and require new mothers to have consultations with lactation specialists.
Please don’t get me wrong: I’m a huge fan of breast-feeding (and at least I have the redeeming quality of having breasts that worked). I nursed each of my girls for two years. The physical and emotional benefits of breast-feeding are indisputable. I am second to none in my admiration of moms who nurse their babies.
But what if a new mom can’t breast-feed? Or more pertinent, what if she doesn’t want to? How, by any conceivable stretch of the imagination, is this any of Bloomberg’s business?
It’s amazing how progressives are so pro-choice … as long as you choose their way.
There are a thousand and one reasons why a mother may chose not to nurse her baby. These reasons range from the purely selfish to the medically necessary. Some moms don’t want to ruin their figures (gack). Others are taking medicines that could harm their infants. Others are returning to work and may not be able to pump milk. Yet others tried nursing and found it excruciatingly painful or horrifically difficult (contrary to popular belief, breast-feeding can be agonizing and/or almost physically impossible for some women). All these are reasons why women may choose to feed their babies formula.
“The NYC mayor says the initiative is merely a suggestion, not an obligation,” notes Anna Lanfreschi, writing at HLNtv.com. “The campaign is asking hospitals to voluntarily store formula under lock-and-key. That means nurses will need to sign it out to any new mom who asks for it, and moms will need to have a reason for asking. Bloomberg says mothers won’t ever be denied formula when they ask for it, but they will get a pep-talk from the nurse on why they should stick to breast-feeding.”
Now before the progressives jump all over me and tell me Bloomberg’s initiative merely means that formula won’t be handed out for free in hospital goody bags, I wish you’d please consider the deeper implications of this concept. Ready? Got a pencil?
IT IS NOT THE GOVERNMENT’S FLIPPIN’ BUSINESS WHETHER OR NOT A MOTHER BREAST-FEEDS HER BABY.
“The emerging tragedy,” notes columnist Walter Williams, “is our increased willingness to use the coercive powers of government, in the name of health or some other ruse, to forcibly impose our preferences upon others.”
And remember, Bloomberg’s policies are “cutting edge.” Progressive. Avant-garde. He “prides himself that city policies he instigates will help develop policies across the country. He wants to use the city as the model.”
Here’s the thing about New York City: If I don’t like the way it’s being run, I have the choice not to live there. But what happens when those wacky rules and regulations become federal law? What happens when there’s no other place to go (except to leave America)?
That’s what scares me about things like Obamacare. If the government controls my health care, they control ME. In the twisted brain of a progressive, anything can be classified as health-related. They can dictate what I eat, how much I exercise, whether or not I should breast-feed and even how and when I die. They can regulate insurance, the Internet, advertising, travel and religion … all on the basis of whether (on some bureaucrat’s whim) a health connection can be made. Since health care touches nearly every facet of everyone’s existence, government control of health care conceivably amounts to government control of everything, literally from cradle (womb, actually) to grave.
Too many people have become convinced that safety is superior to freedom and privacy. Benjamin Franklin said it first: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Bloomberg’s initiatives are part of that slippery slope of safety over freedom.