H/T Audrey Silk for this piece by Scott Gottlieb, who is Trump’s appointee as new head of the FDA:
Smokers Are Pissed at Bloomberg
August 15, 2002 12:00 am | New York Sun
I am too young to have been 23 skidooed, the reference given to police officers
shooing men off the corner of 23rd street as they waited for unsuspecting women to
walk past the Flatiron building, the wind tunnel of which would billow skirts upward.
If such a spot in New York still existed, Mayor Bloomberg would set up a roadblock.
We should have seen it coming when Mr. Bloomberg, as chief executive of his
namesake financial company, banned certain dirty words from all the company’s
outgoing e-mails. This left his staff pissed, which, incidentally, was one of the
Now the mayor who smoked marijuana “and enjoyed it” cannot see fit to let fellow
New Yorkers puff on a cigarette or a stogie. His taxes already make New York the
most expensive place in America to smoke.
Mr. Bloomberg is an avowed antismoker and he wants the rest of us to follow his
rules. But when government officials impose their own values on the people who
elect them, it tears at the fabric of the law.
Puritans had laws against women who talked too much. People were whipped for
having sex outside marriage, or even for idleness. Cursing could put you in the
stocks. And, yes, there really was a scarlet letter for adulterers.
Few protested when Mayor Koch closed the bathhouses or when Mayor Giuliani shut
down sex shops. Certain behaviors, such as drug use and prostitution, are illegal
because they degrade society. Smoking is not one of them.
Mr. Bloomberg, who has called smokers both “crazy” and “stupid,” betrayed his
motives when he said he despises smoking because it is unhealthy and dirty, and
that he cannot see how others do not share his view. The same logic leads to all
kinds of inappropriate intrusions into private lives, and a sense among legislators
that they can impose model lifestyles by punishing unhealthy behavior.
What started innocently enough 50 years ago as an effort to cut down on cavities by
adding fluoride to drinking supplies has developed into more serious intrusions into
our personal choices in the name of promoting good health. Bans on smoking are of
a piece with recent legislative efforts to tax junk food, sanction soda makers, and
There are a lot of stupid things that you can do with your life, and people do them
all the time. But there is a difference between what wise people do and what the law
When Mr. Bloomberg’s British staffers found out that the word pissed was banned
from the company’s computer system, they grew, well, angry. “The word is perfectly
acceptable in our country,” one of them told a local paper. “How dare you rob us of
our very identity by trying to strip us of the vernacular that makes us unique, that
makes us free, that makes us proud to be British.”
After a revolt, the word was added back to their network lexicon, a sign for angry
smokers that if they get pissed enough, Mr. Bloomberg may still recant his decision.
Scott Gottlieb is a resident fellow at AEI.
I hope his opinions in 2017 remain what they were in 2002.
Most reviews of him seem only to mention his ties to pharma companies.
And did puritans really whip people for idleness? If so, the author of Idle Theory – in which idle time is the summum bonum – might have expected to have been imprisoned or even executed.
And was the Flatiron the place where Marilyn Monroe had her skirt blown up?