Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NYC's Waning Freedom

For all of us at Willets Point the undeserved third term that Mike Bloomberg bought can't be over soon enough-and the idea that Speaker Christine Quinn, the midwife of this fiasco, is seen by some as a front runner to replace the mayor is, well, laughable. Some of our feeling were reinforced when we read about the George Mason University study that labeled our state, "dead last in liberties."

It goes without saying that NYC drives a great deal of what's wrong with the entire state. And, as the study pointed out, the permissive use of condemnation was one of the reasons why NY was criticized so severely:

"Ranking worst in the categories of economic freedom and fiscal policy, New York also landed near the bottom for the categories of personal freedom (48th) and regulatory policy (40th). The study cites New York's restrictive gun-control and anti-smoking laws and sky-high cigarette taxes and the Big Apple's ban on trans fats. The researchers also slam New York's "excessive" home-schooling regulations and its strictest-in-the-nation health-insurance rules. The authors rap New York for curbing the rights of individual property owners. "Eminent domain abuse," the report says, "is rampant and unchecked."

Mike Bloomberg is, without a doubt, the driving force behind the city's restrictive control over so many of our personal freedom-imposing his own paternalistic sentiments without concern for what the citizens might want. An English paper captures the Nudger in Chief perfectly: "If you had to think of one city on earth where the rulers should not try to impose a standard of ‘good behaviour’, it would surely be New York. Who in their right mind would seek to sanitise this concrete jungle, to sedate the city that never sleeps, to demand conformism and obedience from the inhabitants of a place which, in the words of a popular tourist T-shirt, is known as ‘New York F**kin’ City’?"

Yup, Mike Bloomberg's the one-and the Spectator goes after Super Nanny with a vengeance: "It is hard to convey the impact of this state-enforced calorie-counting. It effortlessly zaps the fun from eating out. It is designed to induce caution, even guilt, in New Yorkers, to make them stop and think before snacking or dining, to make them treat calorific consumption as something akin to snorting cocaine — an act that can have grave consequences. As a regular TGI Friday’s patron told a reporter when the display law was introduced, after she noticed that the Brownie Obsession dessert had ‘1,500 CALORIES’: ‘I’m so upset. I wish they wouldn’t have done this.’"

This is precisely the soft despotism that Tocqueville warned about years ago-and it fits right in to the unethical third term that most New Yorkers didn't want: "In a complete reversal of the traditional democratic relationship, Bloomberg and co don’t consider it their duty to mirror the desires and outlook of those who elected them. They want to remake New Yorkers as models of what they consider to be healthy citizenship."

So it's not only your property that these proto-fascists want; your soul is up for grabs as well. Disdain for property rights, high taxes, and unwanted intrusions into our daily personal lives, is the legacy Mike Bloomberg will leave us with. And, by the way, he couldn't even plow the streets in a timely fashion. Quite a legacy!