Barney Bishop on the ‘Mother, May I?’ society

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Editor’s note: The following is a guest column from Barney Bishop.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has done it again.  First it was Tran’s fats, now it’s the Big Gulp.  It must be something in the water up in New York City that makes him feel like he has to be the Mother for all of us.  I used to admire the man.  I mean what’s not to like about a billionaire who dedicates a part of his life to public service?  I’m just glad that he’s not running for President because I was gullible enough at one time to think he’d make a good one.

For all of us over 21, we don’t have to ask anymore, “Mother, may I” but if the Mayor has his way, we will be forced to forfeit our free will for the will of the government if you go to a restaurant in NYC.  It’s okay though for you to have that deliciously big banana split or to eat all the chocolate that you want, but anything larger than 16 ounces of a carbonated drink, he’s drawing the line.

It’s the same thing in San Francisco.  Remember last year they wanted to ban toys in Happy Meals for kids because McDonalds was essentially bribing kids to eat their food?  They must have the same water problem in San Fran that they have in the Big Apple.  It seems that some elected officials just believe that we can’t make good decisions for ourselves anymore, regardless of our age and wisdom, that government is compelled to make the decisions for us because we just aren’t smart enough to make the right decision for ourselves.

This is what is scaring me about our country.  From political correctness to now government telling us that we must all have health insurance and if you can’t afford it, we must all pay for you to have it; we are quickly losing our right of self-determination.  If I had wanted that however, I would have moved to France a long time ago.  I didn’t so leave me alone.

But that’s not good enough for the do-gooders.  Their patronizing attitude is that we need a Mother, in this case the government, to make us do the things that we, in their opinion, should do.  This isn’t liberating in the American tradition, it’s suffocating.  It’s why the Tea Party has become such a revolution because every day Americans more and more are tired of unneeded, unwarranted government intrusion.

It’s a violation of our Declaration of Independence which calls for us to be free so we can enjoy “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  There is no doubt that as I have gotten older, I have indeed become more conservative.  I have never thought of myself as a Libertarian, but if the Nanny State keeps this up, I’m not sure I’ll have any other choice.

I know, I know, obese people cost our society a lot of money in health care costs.  But, think for a moment if everyone was thin, we wouldn’t need Jenny Craig anymore.  Or diet pills.  Or gyms.  All of those businesses wouldn’t be around anymore. If we don’t have fat people to beat up on any more, I guess next on the list are ugly people?  Of, if we are to believe the woman from Britain, you can even be discriminated against if you are too beautiful as well!

What has our society come to that we have to have a maternal government deity to control our lives because some people think that only they know what is best for the rest of us?  I thought that a democracy was about the tyranny of the majority, the preservation of individual rights and the protection of minorities – whatever shape, color or ethnicity that we come in?  Now, the minority is too empowered to rule our lives.  It’s why, more and more, I believe Americans are saying to themselves that we want government out of our lives whether it’s the social issues important to the Left or the Right.  We just want to be able to live our lives with the least amount of intrusion.

We know that we need to have government for the common good and to defend our way of life, but extremism from either side is abhorrent.  That’s why most Americans are centrists, though we don’t often vote that way.

In the final analysis, I really don’t have to worry about the NYC Big Gulp Ban because I rarely, if ever, drink carbonated drinks.  But, if we let the Mother May I’s win on this one, what’s the next cause that they will campaign on?  I shudder to imagine.  If we are not careful, the do-gooder’s are going to do so much good, that there will be no free will left.  When that happens America is no longer the dream that our forefathers fought so hard to establish.  We’ll be just like every other benevolent dictatorship in history, a failure.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.