Historically, individuals with strong persuasive personalities, having risen to positions of power and influence, become surrounded by followers who reinforce and inspire misguided conclusions, decisions and actions. Michael Bloomberg is one of the many such individuals in America (especially in Washington, D.C.) and the world today that exemplify this pattern. Not knowing what is in his heart, whether truly well intentioned or merely motivated by a quest for power (or possibly a combination), Bloomberg repeatedly originates or supports initiatives rooted in control to prevent us poor folks from harming ourselves.
Whether the cause is obesity or firearm violence, Bloomberg consistently demonstrates good initiative and bad judgment. How would banning one large size container of a sugary drink prevent an obese person from buying two or more small size containers for the same, if not worse, health effect? How about pizza, ice cream cones, hamburgers or your mother’s meatloaf? What law would prevent a person from having two or three servings? Obesity is an important national issue but it will not be resolved through government control.
His same faulty logic applies to gun control. How does making it more difficult or impossible for law biding citizens to practice their 2nd Amendment right keep criminals from getting and using guns to harm others? A smart person like Bloomberg would not be able to come to such conclusions without the pandering support of his closest followers.
It is one of the personal traps that invariably follow becoming a celebrity. You enter an insulated world of paid security, staff and assistants. The fame and fortune of Hollywood and elected office have proved the downfall of many a gifted individual. In Hans Christian Andersen’s story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, this phenomenon of human nature was vividly captured.
First published in 1837, this children’s story has been read and its timeless message learned by millions world wide. In Andersen’s tale, the emperor is a victim to fast talking tailors. He is duped into appearing au naturale in public in a nonexistent garment that is only present in his mind – a delusion facilitated by his followers. The emperor’s error is only revealed when the veil of illusion is lifted by a question from an innocent child. Being human, this message is often lost upon those fortunate enough to climb the ladder of success in America today.
Bloomberg, many Hollywood celebrities and Washington insiders would be well served by embracing this lesson. When one is constantly surrounded by people whose livelihood and future is perceived as depending upon remaining in your good favor – watch out – your thoughts and conclusions will seldom be challenged. Initiatives based upon good intentions, but bad judgment, will often result.
Whether you’re focused on obesity or gun rights, start with the facts and by studying history. Collect input from accomplished individuals of diverse backgrounds. Test the hypotheses before broad scale application. The answers reached might not be so popular in New York’s and Washington’s elitist circles, but might actually help solve important issues in the lives of us common folk.