The Great Soda Pop Kerfuffle 2010


Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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40 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Great stuff. How to balance the needs of the individual and the community is one of our long term challenges of human society. Each will take precedence at times and none of us have the “correct” answer or the answer that will work in every case. To many people are to happy to indulge in self-righteous condemnation, especially about philosophies which resist hard and fast proof.

    I raise my generic diet lemon lime soda to you.

    Sort of ironic how many pixels have been spilled over soda in SF while there has been a big trial ending in Oakland about a far more significant issue.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Farmer says:

    I agree with you to a point. But after you’ve been in a thousand debates, you begin to realize a pattern, and what I’ve noticed, defending the libertarian position, is that there’s a tendency to dismiss it as “utopian”, “naive”, “rightwing extremism”, etc. — so, at some point, you just throw it out there and stop worrying about the seduction. I’m not necessarily trying to change people who have their own views, but rather making sure the ideas get in the debate and are not smothered by popular opinion. If my voice is too mousy, it appears I’m not sure of my ideas, or I’m simply including a piece of relativist information to consider as an interesting aside. I have passion regarding liberty, limited government, individual rights and free market principles, so I can’t be too concerned with niceness, especially when opponents would just as soon send me to the extremist wilderness. That’s how I approach it, right or wrong. Now, if someone is genuinely interested in learning why I think the way I do, and they want to engage in a serious back and forth of ideas, I’ll be Gentlemen Jim with all the requisite humility and grace. The mistake that many make, who hold a minority position, is that they cower to the magnitude and bulliness of the majority opinion, so that they won’t be ostracized or framed in an unflattering way — I stopped worrying about that a long time ago. You’ll always know where I’m coming from.Report

  3. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Rufus, I love ya dude!
    And, Mike Farmer you nailed it.
    For me there’s two choices: first, you can join me in accepting the Myth that carries the truth of the Logos in it’s noetic and pneumatic reality or you can, second, reject that myth and engage any number of available ideologies.
    My own opinion is that heaven isn’t going to be particularly crowded however, as a provocateur I see my job as helping you kids get your heads outta your ass and providing one moment in your lives when you may have the hope of immortality…but I can only go so far.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      @Bob Cheeks, Bob, if it’s that important perhaps you could drop a note to the great almighty. We modern folks have a hard time accepting that words handed down from ass scratching tribalists two thousand years ago are literally the divine commandments of God. Especially when following them entails such misery for some. Could you suggest to the great almighty that the written word is an old media now and maybe he could do some manifesting and unambiguous miracling to help dispel the doubt from all the skeptics?

      Oh and drop a word to the faithful too, if the nonbelievers are destined for an eternity in hellfire it strikes me as pretty low for the faithful to make the non-believers few living years here on earth hellish too. It’s like stealing bread from a pauper.Report

      • Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

        @North, Thank you North, I love it when you are angry! At least I gotta response which means you can still have your “come to Jesus” moment or not…you libruls are sometimes right, it is about choices.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          @Bob Cheeks, Did I come across angry? I was trying for whimsical. My bad.Report

          • Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

            @North, Whimsical shimsical, my disappointment with a gentleman with a marked intellect is in his critique of my proposition totally ignores the work of Toynbee (sp), Jaspers, and Voegelin in their differentiation of the Axial Age where man participated in a “leap of being.”
            Voegelin’s differentiation of that remarkable phenomenon explicates not only the tension of existence which you continue to hypostasize but also the metalepsis, which you continue to ignore.
            Again, I love ya dude and I’m only a minor irritant.Report

  4. Avatar Charlieford says:

    So now not only are you trying to force the hand of local government back into its pocket, but you’re trhying to micro-manage the debating style of every living American. You are on one giant power-trip, dude.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Farmer says:

    I don’t see this is micro-managing the debating styles — Rufus makes a good point regarding the power of persuasion — the clearer we can be with ideas, the better, and it’s far more important to present clear ideas that re well-reasoned than to impugn the integrity of those holding opposite views.Report

  6. Avatar Rufus says:

    For the record, here’s what got me thinking about this: a conversation between myself and a liberal woman we met recently about the G-20 protests and what sort of Canadian would actually welcome the slow strangulation of their civil liberties. I was going into my usual rant/comedy routine on the subject and it sort of occurred to me that, wait, the people I’m describing as bed wetters or authoritarians are, at least for the time being, in the majority, and maybe there’s a better way to win them over than insulting them to a like-minded person. So, again, my real target here was myself, but I’ve been sort of thinking more generally if hanging out with like-minded people and psychoanalyzing those who disagree with “our” point of view isn’t a bit of a thing these days, and maybe the internet is part of that. So that was the whole point of that.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      @Rufus, I’ve found if you want to win somebody over the first thing to do is agree with them. Then move towards where their values are also served by agreeing with your values.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      @Rufus, I agree wholeheartedly. In recent years, I’ve found it very helpful to have at least one room full of friends where I am not the most X guy in the room for a handful of values of X.

      Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, smart (easy to do), so on and so forth.

      When a friend starts giving a speech about the evils of immigration, or the evils of pot legalization, or the evils of children dying from lack of government provided health care, it’s good to know that this is so-and-so, a good friend with whom you play poker/D&D and who backed you up that one time in that bar.

      And you aren’t dealing with yet another ignorant X who wants to treat you immorally for the benefit of his clique, but you’re dealing with so-and-so.

      While it’s easy to compare all you people on the internet to Nazis and/or Communists, it’s a lot harder to think of so-and-so in those terms. So-and-so is a good dude, a good husband, and a good dad. It helps me try to keep in mind that all y’all are similar.Report

      • Avatar Rufus says:

        @Jaybird, My sister is a hippie liberal who lives in Morocco and disagrees with me from time to time, but is still my sister. My father is a die hard conservative Republican who lives in Maine and disagrees with me from time to time, but is still my father. I do think it helps to think of my sister when talking to liberals and my father when talking to conservatives.Report

      • Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

        @Jaybird, Why can’t we just pick a fight?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @Bob Cheeks, I’m down with that too, from time to time.

          At the end of the day, though. These are folks who helped me move. They helped me transition from “still in college with retail job” to “real job”. They invite me to their kids’ birthday parties.

          In the same way that I know that they don’t want me to starve to death in the gulags with the other Kulaks, they know that I don’t want their child to languish away without a prayer to reach adulthood… I bought the kid a See and Say, for god’s sake!

          Sometimes throwing down is fun, though. But, honestly, that’s what the intertubes are for.Report

  7. Avatar Bob says:

    “Ah, to be honest, I usually assume Jaybird’s tongue is at least partially in his cheek.” Rufus

    That make me feel better and hopeful.

    “LA and Oakland aren’t the same place?” Jaybird

    It’s been years since I’ve visited but very distinct places then. Things change and not always for the better. If Oakland has become LA I’m weeping like Glenn Beck.Report

  8. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Excellent post, Rufus.Report

  9. Avatar Trumwill says:

    I wish I had time to comment more thoroughly, but I did want to say that posts like this are why Ordinary Gentlemen is easily my favorite blog on the whole Internet these days.Report

  10. Avatar sam says:

    Hey, here’s a question for y’all. In the best science fictiony sense (and with the total impugnment — I made that up — of character), let’s suppose there was a palinesque revolution, you know with guns and stuff. Whom to do think the palinistas would put up against the wall first, libertarians or liberals?Report

  11. Avatar BSK says:

    I’m curious… if a private company did this, we might still find it paternalistic, but we’d likely respect its rights as a private entity (especially the libertarians among us). But because it’s public, we feel differently. And I would agree if they were trying to apply this rule publicly, to the city as a whole. But they’re only applying it to their employees, which seems legitimate. Shouldn’t public groups still retain some rights over how they do business? Otherwise, couldn’t we argue that even dress codes in public businesses are inappropriate? What rights do public employers maintain?Report

    • Avatar Trumwill says:

      @BSK, Yeah, this is kind of my thought. The government takes on many roles. When the role is that of employer or property manager, they should be allowed to act in a way more like that of a private employer.Report

    • Avatar Rufus says:

      @BSK, I tend to be a bit more critical than most when private employers are paternalistic with their employees, actually. But my father was a union representative for 20 years and there were a lot of businesses that we didn’t patronize for labour relations reasons.Report

  12. Avatar Andy Smith says:

    As I read this post, it smuggles in the notion that this is a debate between people who want to be free to choose what they consume and people who think the government should promote healthy consumption. At which point Rufus can say, ah, ha, I’m for freedom, and let me try to convince you why you should be, too.

    But framing the debate in this manner involves a number of questionable assumptions, beginning with the notion that when people seek out soda, they’re acting freely. Before I bought that, I would want to delve more deeply into what it is exactly that makes people want or need or think they want or need soda.

    I would also want to know exactly what it is about soda that makes its absence seem to some people an infringement on their rights, when there are a whole host of other things that will not be available, and the absence of which is not complained about. Particularly since when I think of “occasional indulgences” to break up the routine of life—and I’m a big fan of those—soda pop is so far down the list that I can’t even see it.Report

    • Avatar Rufus says:

      @Andy Smith, Is free choice associated with how often they drink pop? I’ve heard people say it’s habit-forming. Having had two or three bottles a day for about 20 years and then finally quitting that habit, I agree. But what if they rarely drink it, and just like the taste? Is that freer choice?

      Is it an infringement on their rights? I’d say yes- but employers always infringe on their employees’ rights. I’m actually okay with criticizing private employers on that count.

      As for things I’d like to drink at work, pop’s pretty low on my list too. I’d, personally, like to bring back the two martini lunch. However, I guess my question in response would be what we actually accomplish by making the workplace pop-free? It seems, to me, that if we can agree on the benefits, and they outweigh the inconveniences, then we have a good case for removing it. But I can’t see how telling people that they can drink all the pop they want, but they can’t buy it at work, really renders many benefits. Wouldn’t a better solution be to provide workers with healthier choices for a lower price? Part of the reason people drink pop and eat chips is that those things are cheap.

      I think people complain about lack of rights whenever anything that was once allowed is forbidden. They’ll probably get over it. And in the grand scheme of things, I freely admit that this is small beer (so to speak), but I need more proof that there are positives that outweigh the, admittedly small, negatives of this decision.Report