Comedian Bill Cosby spent years rendering fatherly advice on the hit sitcom The Cosby Show, but in recent times has received more press for the fatherly advice he has given off screen. And he’s on the social stage again with a New York Post article in which he discusses apathy, responsibility, race and religion. Unfortunately, his pleasingly paternal prescriptions were mixed with statist paternalism — and naiveté.
Cosby opened his piece with a defense of Little Big Gulp’s (a.k.a. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s) health puppeteering, writing:
No 1: Smoking — and a big howl went up from people who want to smoke. But when you look at it, everything points to smoking as a problem; whether a person dies from cancer or not, it’s still other things — emphysema, all kinds of breathing problems…. Mayor Bloomberg jumped in on that and people complained. Restaurants complained, people complained, why did they complain?
Money. That’s why. People are greedy. It wasn’t about somebody dying, it is all about money, so they use something called choice, which makes no sense at all. I have the right to smoke myself to death, they say.
No. 2: Juvenile diabetes. Children are not being taken out of harm’s way. And there are many things that we also can do, but one is you don’t want your child consuming too much sugar. That is what the mayor tried to do with the sugar in the soft drinks.
There is much wrong with this passage. Yes, people want to make money, greed has always plagued man, and everyone knows that excessive smoking and sugar consumption is a problem. But none of these things is the issue. You could outlaw ice cream citing health concerns and, when people complained, accuse them of greed for wanting to sell a fat-laden food that is a “problem.” The real question, however, is always the same: What freedoms should people have and what is the proper role of government?
Click here to read the entire article.