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Keep the sugary drinks

March 14, 2013

Published here on March 12, 2013

I’m just going to come clean: I’m a flaming Republican. If you’re a regular Technician reader, you may have noticed that recently, my columns have flirted with Republican ideology. Readers, I’m ditching flirtation for full-on advances. The not-so-secret secret is out. Get ready, because from now until the end of this semester, you’re going to get weekly columns full of talk about smaller government and capitalist practices. I’ve decided to champion the Republican cause. You can call me RepublicMan … see what I did there?

First things first: I’m not conservative. I hate camouflage, I’ve never shot a gun, and I’ve already written about how I refuse to oppose gay rights. These columns are not going to be about social issues. Conservatives and Republicans are not one and the same, and hopefully, I will help illustrate that over the coming weeks. I am, however, staunchly in favor of smaller government, and I believe that business is the key to our country’s greatness.

Which would explain my deep man-crush on Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. Yesterday, when I read about his rejection of New York City’s ban on large sugary drinks — Well, I guess you could say I felt a Tingling sensation.

According to The New York Times, Tingling struck down the ban because he is “wary of government’s power.” While “wary” isn’t the word I would use to describe my own view of our government, The Times got the basic idea. “Annoyed” is a better word for me. Or “perturbed.” Or “so flustered at federal government’s presence that I want to beat it out of my life with a baseball bat.”

Someone recently told me that they were a Democrat because they liked the idea of helping people. Fantastic sentiment, but the guise of “helping people” has been used so often for the justification of our bloated government that it’s lost meaning.

Besides — and this is important — the United States did not become great because it helped people. Conversely, it is only after we became the great nation we are today that we were able to start so many aid programs, both domestic and foreign. Remember that one of the key reasons that our country is the superpower it is today was FDR’s decision to enter World War II so late. Isolationism was essentially national selfishness.

Wow, it just got super controversial.

Additionally, aid doesn’t always work. The Journal of Humanitarian Aid reported last week that aid can often “push recipients into a dependent state and negatively impact confidence, building capacity and future sustainability.” There’s value in social work, yes, but what’s that phrase about teaching a man to fish as opposed to just giving him one?

Before becoming an international Ironman champion, Chrissie Wellington heavily invested herself in social work with Nepalese women. In her biography, she talks about getting frustrated with trying to help the locals. She even bought one woman a cart to help her make an income, but to no avail. Wellington ends the chapter with a poignant point.

“We ride into town and hand things out, sometimes through guilt, but also through concern for our fellow human beings and a desire to make things better,” Wellington says. “But it doesn’t work. The change has to come from within.”

What does this have to do with banning soft drinks? The government, under the umbrella of “helping” us, has just become too big, nannying its citizens into dependency. That is my issue with big government. I am all for social work, but not when it breeds a lack of initiative and not when it’s forcing our government into $1 trillion-per-year deficits. The change has to come from within.

Bigger government comes at the cost of higher federal deficit, higher taxes and less opportunity for small business growth. It rarely solves any social problems. I hate to use such a hot-button example, but look at gun laws. According to The Telegraph, knife-related deaths are almost twice as high per capita in Britain than gun-related deaths in the U.S. Its gun laws didn’t fix homicides. The change has to come from within.

So thank you, Justice Tingling, for seeing through the misguided (but well-meant) intentions of New York City’s big government. This RepublicMan is so proud of you.

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