Here’s a letter sent a few days ago to the New York Times:
Frank Bruni applauds Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to ban the sale of large sugary drinks (“Trimming a Fat City,” June 3). H.L. Mencken, in contrast, would slam Bloomberg’s officiousness for what it is: a modern manifestation of the Puritanism that has long contaminated life in these United States.
Mencken’s description of a 1920s-era Puritan applies perfectly to Michael Bloomberg, Frank Bruni, and the countless other Puritans today who, like Puritans of the past, self-gratify their egos by stalking, pestering, and shackling innocent people: “With the best intentions in the world he cannot rid himself of the delusion that his duty to save us from our sins – i.e., from the non-Puritanical acts that we delight in – is paramount to his duty to let us be happy in our own way.”*
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
* H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy (New York: Dissident Books, 2009 ), p. 133.