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Bill Maher Embraces Sugar Stalinism

September 23, 2009


Stalinism hasn’t really gone away. It’s just gotten a lot wimpier — and sweeter.

Case in point: Bill Maher’s most recent New Rules segment from Friday’s “Real Time” (reprinted as always at Arianna Huffington’s leftist mega-blog Huffington Post):

And since Americans can only be prodded into doing something with money, we need to tax crappy foods that make us sick like we do with cigarettes, and alcohol — and alcohol actually serves a useful function in society in that it enables unattractive people to get laid, which is more than you can say for Skittles.

I’m not saying tax all soda, but certainly any single serving of soda larger than a baby is not unreasonable. If you don’t know whether you burp it or it burps you, that’s too big. We need to make taking care of ourselves an issue of patriotism. If you were someone who condemned Bush for not asking Americans to sacrifice for the war on terror, the same must be said for Obama and health care.

Maher had mentioned this idea back when he found himself as the only leftist on a panel of Ross Douthat, Ashton Kutcher, and General Anthony Zinni. The panel could agree that wellness needs to be promoted but none embraced his Sugary Stalinism of wanting to use the government to try and tax bad eating out of existence.

Maher and many so-called “progressives” are no doubt blind to seeing any connection between their seemingly wholesome desires to save people from their own bad habits and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s programs of institutionalized murder and repression. (In fact I imagine the very suggestion would send them into tizzies of “McCarthyist!” and “Red-Baither!” The Dave could care less. “Sugar Stalnism” has a good ring to it. Alliteration is a virtue — and trumps political correctness.)

But there is a connection: both represent thuggish attempts to use the cudgel of government to reshape society. The Stalinism of the USSR and the Sugary Stalinism of many of today’s leftists both think that government should be utilized to kill anything that gets in the way. Stalin just went further. He actually killed people. Progressives think you can just tax bad things and pass laws. But you know that many of them deep down just wish that the malevolent conservatives that stand in their way would die.

The problem that Maher refuses to confront — and putting the morality aside for a moment — is this: his Sugary Stalinist dreams will not work. If the real Stalinists could not kill their way to a better world then how can “progressives” tax and legislate their way there?  Government attempts to try and remake society and save a people from their “vices” are  doomed to failure. We tax alcohol and cigarettes already. Is it effective to get people to give up either? Absolutely not. The government even spends billions of dollars a year fighting to keep drugs like marijuana criminalized. That doesn’t  work either. (We won’t get into the amusing paradox of Maher wanting to tax junk food but legalize weed.)

What makes Maher think government force will work for food? Further, what makes Maher think it could even be implemented effectively? (Black market Mountain Dew anyone?)

Oh wait, I know. Nothing makes Maher think it would work. Maher’s not thinking period — just like so many other well-intentioned leftists today.

  1. Paul Cooper permalink
    September 23, 2009 6:13 pm

    Many of them are pro-death for babies in the womb and the elderly, because they hurt the environment. Here’s a quote from a guy I knew in High School-he wrote this on facebook to a note I wrote.:
    “Evil is also blatant disregard for our social welfare. The planet simply cannot sustain toxic agricultural runoff, a warming climate, deforestation, etc. Furthermore, it will not sustain an imbalance where one species dominates and pollutes with no compunction. Access to family planning and the access to abortion services is major difference between us and the global south where women spray out babies like piglets because they have no options.”

    • Swemson permalink
      September 23, 2009 8:19 pm

      Not sure where you’re coming from here Paul ….

      Do you think it’s fair to the infants in the third world for their parents to keep “spraying” out babies that they don’t have the ability to feed, educate and care for ?

  2. Cas Balicki permalink
    September 23, 2009 9:01 pm

    Taxing our way to utopia, what a slogan, maybe the Democrats should take it out for a spin during the next election?

    Here’s the problem: Government has grown so large and comprehensive, even ubiquitous, that when it passes a law that same law has both positive and negative consequences on its population. The government will say that they balance such consequences, but in reality the balance skews in the direction of the loudest voice of protest. If we’re lucky most of the consequences of enacted legislation are foreseen and have no greater import than an increase or decrease in revenue or spending. If we’re unlucky most of consequences, even the most impactful, go unforeseen. The most obvious example of the latter was government’s push for fuel economy, which was sold as an “environmental good.” Sadly, this push produced a massive and still ongoing surge in SUV sales—an environmental bad. The reason this is such a good example of how the best of intentions almost always pave the road to Hell, is that none of the government apparatchiks even came close to predicting this consequence. As Donald Rumseld so eloquently defined it: it was an unknown unknown as opposed to a known unknown.

    Now imagine this: Maher wants taxes on foods he thinks junk, but being an Obama supporter he probably also supports socialized medicine. If a future government finds itself underwriting the cost of healthcare, will that government not be in a conflict of interest when it comes to the regulation of both food and pharmaceuticals to cite but two examples. It currently costs over a billion dollars to develop and test a “miracle” drug, after which process we must add to the development cost the cost of receiving regulatory approval. As the underwriter of medical care would not the government be in a conflict of interest as an industry regulator? Here are just three governmental options I see: 1) the government could change the regulatory rules, 2) the government could change the patent laws, and 3) the government could confiscate the drug from its inventors. If the confiscation option seems too communistic, consider this, the government now has two reasons to justify its actions where in past it only had the public good. An Obamacare government, when it comes to confiscating pharmaceuticals would be able to add a fiscal reason to steal someone’s intellectual property to any other of its cited justifications.

    That Maher is a fluffy –light thinker is obvious to any who have ever heard him speak. Were he to think beyond his prejudices, he might conclude that his perception of the public good is not necessarily the best or wisest route to the real Public Good. Yes some people might drink too much soda, but then again some might smoke too much marijuana. Maybe we sould pass a law prohibiting smoking more than one joint a day? I’m just spit ballin’ here, so I’m open to debate on the issue.

    • Fritz Becker permalink
      September 24, 2009 9:12 pm

      Here’s an excellent question, who determines what “The Public Good” is?
      Here’s another thought, since statistically speaking doctors kill more people then guns every year through the errors that they have made would they also kill more then soda pop and candy? Given that governments world wide have killed more people then any other entity in human societies could you trust a government with your medical care?

      • Swemson permalink
        September 24, 2009 9:31 pm

        “The Public Good” is one of the key phrases that the far left has used to subvert our Constitution.

        It’s a legitimate term if used in the manner intended, i.e.

        “A network of safe highways, benefits the public good”

        The corrupt far left unfortunately, uses it differently, as in:

        “Insuring that all American’s have access to quality health care, benefits the public good”

        They use it as a philosophical justification for confiscating wealth from those who produce more than they need to survive, and redistributing it to those who don’t….

        The answer to your question is that NOTHING can legitimately serve the public good if it requires the sacrifice of the rights of even ONE free individual… because if society is allowed to sacrifice even one of us to its needs, then none of us have any rights any more.

  3. jbtrevor permalink
    September 24, 2009 7:34 am

    What I don’t get is how Maher’s statement can simply be absorbed by the human brain unquestioned:

    “And since Americans can only be prodded into doing something with money, ”

    is really saying “the only way we can get you to behave the way WE think you should is to take your money – impoverish you to the point that you comply”.

  4. ElSe permalink
    September 24, 2009 8:12 am

    I’m not sure that you’ve got right the idea of Stalinism, David. When one reads Solzhenitsyn’s memoires (or any memoires of the Stalin’s survivors, in that matter) one clearly sees that Stalin’s meat-grinder wasn’t meant to reshape the society or have had any particular targets , it meant to serve the psychotic monster with his appetite for power, servants and personal greatness. And the best way to do so was to manufacture killing, forced labor and fear among millions. No one had 100% chance to survive this “ideology” because ideology was just a screen for paranoid narcissist. Few people actually believed to the crap Stalin fed them (and some of those few sang a different tune after they found themselves in the concentration camps), most of the Stalin’s choir mumbled his propaganda out of fear for they life, plain and simple ( “clapping for our father Stalin” episode in the “GULAG archipelago, part 1” is a classic example of this mood).
    People like Moher, with their moronic “ends justify the means” fit perfectly to the Lenin’s ideology rather than Stalinism, when they still honestly believed that they have the right prescription for changing society for better at any price.
    My two cents…

    • September 24, 2009 8:34 am

      This is a good thought. Thank you for sharing.

      Sugar Leninism doesn’t have the same ring to it that Sugar Stalinism does, though. Have any suggestions for a better term?

      • pbrauer permalink
        September 24, 2009 8:56 am

        David, why do you need a term? Can’t you just disagree with him without being so hyperbolic? Comparing Mahar with a monster such as Stalin, is way, way out there and disgusting. Besides such comparisons affect YOUR credibility.

        You say that taxes has had no effect on the consumption of cigarette in our country, yet cigarette smoking has been on a steady decline for the past 30 years or so. There has been many reasons for this, but it cannot be denied that taxes on cigarettes has had a huge effect. If taxes had no effect on the consumption of cigarettes, tobacco companies would not oppose increased taxes.

        • September 24, 2009 9:13 am

          You didn’t really grasp the argument. Doesn’t surprise me.

          • jbtrevor permalink
            September 24, 2009 1:39 pm


        • AHarry permalink
          September 24, 2009 11:35 am

          That is an overly simplified conclusion. Don’t forget that in that same period of time research showed that smoking had devastating health effects on not only the smoker but on those around the smoker. Campaigns ensued that preached to one and all about the harm smoking brought to infants, unborn babies, and everyone else. There eventually was an entirely different understanding of smoking and the risks which don’t even apply to drinking or eating “unhealthy” foods. During the 1970’s and 1980’s people still accepted smoking as readily as they had in the 1940’s.

          As evidence that your argument is leaving out very important components, need I remind you that no one taxes sunbathing, and there are no credits for using suncscreen, and yet over the last 20 years skin cancer + sun protection awareness has spread and become basically common knowledge.

          We have to be really careful not to make statements that are “absolute” cause and effect when we are leaving out relevant factors.

        • AHarry permalink
          September 24, 2009 11:39 am

          Sorry- disregard my comment (and the accidental duplicate one- don’t know how that happened.)

          I just reread your original statement and realized you did acknowledge that there are many reasons for the decrease in smoking. It just didn’t come across in my first read through of it.

      • theblanque permalink
        September 24, 2009 6:22 pm

        Mellifluous Maoism? (Works with the Van Jones angle, but it’s a mouthful.)

        • theblanque permalink
          September 25, 2009 7:08 pm

          Wait, wait…maraschino Maoism!

  5. pbrauer permalink
    September 24, 2009 9:00 am



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