EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

March 10, 2013

Column: Bloomberg is a latter-day Carrie Nation

New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the new Carrie Nation, and that’s no small thing because she was no small thing.

Says one biographer, she was the “prime dragoness on a field strewn with the bones of sinners,” a hatchet-wielding, epithet-spouting, hymn-singing crusader who broke whatever was breakable and threw bricks at whatever moved. Her purpose was to stymie booze consumption through bar destruction.

She started her demolition derby in Kansas City, Mo., did most of her handiwork between 1900 and 1910, was dubiously a follower of the Prince of Peace and intemperately a leader of the temperance movement that ultimately pushed the nation to Prohibition.

When you saw all 6 feet of her headed toward you, you’d likely get out of the way or call the cops, who stuck her in jail 30 times.

This firebrand figured she knew truths others should heed, and not just about alcohol. She also hated sex, government and tobacco, according to Robert Lewis Taylor in “Vessel of Wrath.” Bloomberg seems to have some different attitudes — he certainly cherishes government — but is similarly on a mission to save wayward souls with his supposed moral insights.

One of those is that it’s devilish connivance to sell sugary drink in containers of 16 ounces or bigger. He said as much last September as he urged the city’s health board to limit the horror with a law that’s in the news again because it’s due to take effect March 12. Bloomberg is ecstatic.

“This is the single biggest step I think any city has ever taken to curb obesity, but certainly not the last step that lots of cities are going to take,” he said. “And we believe it will help save lives.”

I don’t think so. I think sugar pursuers will buy two smaller drinks for more money than one would have cost. Maybe that expense will curtail sugar consumption to some slight degree, but not enough to be noticed, I would suggest, and no lives will be saved, only made more difficult.

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