The Tyranny of Having Too Many Choices

Imagine you are at a fast food restaurant. You have selected your sandwich and your side order of fries, and you realize that this meal will make you thirsty. You will need — nay, you will require — a beverage to wash it down. So you say to the woman at the register, “I would like a soda.”

And she looks at you with her dead eyes, her soul withered away by years of menial work in the service industry, and she utters the immortal question, “Small, medium, or large?”

You look at the three cups — your three possible destinies. Pick one too small, and you will be unsated — your throat parched from the salty food, crying out for relief. But picking one too large is dangerous as well. These beverages are filled with sugar, which could bloat your body and erode your muscle, leaving a flubbery blob where once there was a man.

You are frozen in indecision, the gravity of this choice crushing you. If you make the wrong call, your life could be ruined! You want more time, but now the look of indifference from the lady at the register is turning into hatred, and you can hear the grumbles of the patrons behind you. You must make a choice, and… You. Must. Make. It. Now.

The panic builds inside you and finally bursts. You scream, “Large!”


That’s right. You picked too large a beverage, and now you will die from obesity or obesity-related illnesses, such as a porch collapse.

Now, imagine the scenario again, but this time you look down to see a heroic figure scurrying forward to save the day: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. With a short hop, he clambers over the counter and then climbs a step stool to swat away the large beverage choice. Now you only have the small and medium sizes to choose between. Are you a little thirsty or a lot thirsty? It’s a simple question now, and you make your choice with confidence. You have been saved from the tyranny of choices!

America was built on the principle that a man could make choices about his own life. This has been a complete failure. You remember when pioneers set out by themselves into the untamed frontier? And you remember what happened to them? That’s right: They all died. Lacking a government to tell them how much soda to drink or salt to eat, they became too obese to run away from bears and mountain lions. It’s a sad chapter in our history, but luckily when people headed out west the next time, they brought lots and lots of government with them and founded California. And thanks to its huge amount of laws telling people what to do, that area has flourished (well, I haven’t read any news about California in a decade or so, but I assume it’s still doing pretty well).

Anyway, the principle we’ve learned is that man can’t survive if he has to make choices for himself. Think about it: From what to eat to what to wear to what to do, you basically do nothing but make choices about your life all day long. It’s annoying and tiresome, and none of us has read all the scientific studies to know what’s healthy to eat and how much exercise we need. We need smart people to limit this insane number of choices so we can know what to do. Thus we have politicians who hover above us (or, in Bloomberg’s case, below us) watching us lovingly and telling us what to do for our own benefit.

Or at least those are the forward-thinking ideas Bloomberg subscribes to. He’s a shrewd and cunning man — a regular Tyrion Lannister — and with his bans on trans-fats, salt, and large sodas, he’s taking away many confusing and wrong choices in order to make life easier and better for us all. Now, some people may say he should focus on job growth instead of individuals’ health, but Obama has been trying to add jobs for some time and hasn’t been able to, and if Obama can’t figure that out, obviously no one can. So Bloomberg is going to give up on complicated things that are out of his hands, like the economy, and instead focus on what he can control: you.

So does Bloomberg hate people eating sweets and other tasty foods? Obviously not. In fact, one of his first jobs was working inside a tree making cookies. And he’s been a longtime member of the Lollipop Guild. He just knows that without his direct control, you won’t be able to enjoy unhealthy foods in moderation, because, really, just look at how fat and stupid you all are. Actually, don’t look; it’s too depressing. Instead, keep your gaze on the health guru Bloomberg. Don’t you want a physique like his? He’s like a halfling warrior. See, Bloomberg embodies his own principles, as he’s not a wastefully large politician like New Jersey’s Chris Christie; instead, he’s fun-sized.

So whether you want to or not, you’re going to get healthy. Because whether or not to be healthy is yet another one of those confusing choices that Bloomberg is making for you. Right now, he’s taking away unhealthy choices. Perhaps  his next step can be to take away your choice to not eat healthy things like apples (not that apples are always safe — just ask Bloomberg’s close friend Snow White — but they’re certainly safer than anything fried or containing bacon). And should you exercise? If you’re confused on that question, don’t worry; Bloomberg will decide that for you.

Some people are getting angry at Bloomberg for this, but that’s pure ingratitude. Bloomberg doesn’t need all this grief about making decisions to keep us all healthy; instead, he could have spent a quiet life back in the Shire. But he was too worried about us ending up like those frontiersmen, flailing our pudgy arms while we’re torn apart by wolves. That’s why he’s creating a new, wondrous future where people are no longer oppressed by confusing and important choices about their health and well-being. With all these worries gone, we can stop constantly choosing and just veg out in front of the TV (though for only as long as Bloomberg determines is healthy). Some people think he’s limiting freedom, but that’s ridiculous. In Bloomberg’s America, we still have vast and unlimited freedom — all the freedom we could possibly want. We just have much fewer choices to use that freedom on. So it’s a new, easier freedom without all the confusing and dangerous choices.

So do you want a small, medium, or large number of choices to make about your daily life? Well, Bloomberg has swatted away that large option, so don’t let it worry you any further.