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June 12, 2011

The Spectator: The Men Who Killed New York

"What was once the most exciting city on the planet has turned into the world capital of health-obsessed control-freakery."

Interesting that a British publication would be the one to publish a scathing article about the negative effect of overbearing, paternalistic government. But the author, Brendan O'Neill, is also a contributor at Reason.

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’?

You’d be surprised. New York is currently governed by a gaggle of health-obsessed bigwigs who believe they have a duty to grab New Yorkers by the scruffs of their outsized necks and drag them towards lives of bicycle-riding, non-smoking, booze-avoiding, fruit-snacking conformity. City Hall, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is awash with that new breed of psycho-politician known as the ‘nudger’, who believes that he has the right to use psychological techniques and brute censorship to manipulate and ‘improve’ human behaviour.

The Bloombergers have become world-beaters in the banning of public smoking and the demonisation of junk food. It is testament to their successful colonisation of these islands that the banning of smoking in all public parks, pedestrian plazas and beaches . . . .

The Wikipedia entry on O'Neill says, "In January 2006, he co-founded the Manifesto Club, an organisation 'with the aim of challenging cultural trends that restrain and stifle people’s aspirations and initiative.'" His journalism can also be found at Spiked. (Link fixed.)


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