Recently by Simon Black: Uncle Sam Admits Monitoring You for These 377 Words
The big news out of New York City these days is Mayor Mike Bloombergs proposed ban on the sale of soda drinks over 16-ounces (about 1/2 liter) at restaurants, movie theaters, sports stadia, street carts, fast food chains, etc.
Bloomberg stressed that we have a responsibility to combat obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and that the government must consequently regulate what people can/cannot put in their bodies. Michelle Obama even came down to applaud the idea.
Last night I was out with a group of friends at a chic Soho restaurant called the Dutch, and we started talking about the soda ban.
One of them defended it, saying that we have a responsibility to do something about the obesity problem in this country.
Excuse me, I asked, but who exactly is we ? I certainly didnt come into this world born with a burden prevent obesity. And Im pretty sure nobody else signed up for it either.
We is one of the most dangerous words in the English language, particularly when bandied about in Western representative democracy.
Its a term often used when a politician wants to thrust a burden or obligation onto everyone elses shoulders, but without being too direct about it.
We masks responsibility by pushing the burden to some nebulous collective like society or the country rather than directly to individuals. This makes things much more palatable.
For example, its easier to say We have a responsibility rather than You three guys Don, John, and Bill, have a responsibility.
We is disarming. It makes the stakes seems smaller, so its easier to achieve buy-in. And this is what makes it so dangerous because in actuality, we is code for you.