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September 28, 2013


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Brad F

I really enjoyed the column and your expanded thoughts above.

However, I am a bit confused at your LAT finish:

"Those who fear that nudging will put us on a slippery slope to an Orwellian nanny state ought to recognize that we are already on that slope. Nudges offer an offramp to a more sure-footed terrain that people across the political spectrum should prefer."

Can you clarify what you mean by already being on a slippery slope (you dont allude to being on any kind of slope in the piece). Additionally, by inferring the need for an offramp, you connote a negative destination. Is that so?


Michelle Meyer

Hi Brad,

Thanks for your comment. I take your point about our final sentences. They would have made more sense had our brief commentary about Bloomberg's soda ban not been cut for space. There, we characterized the soda ban as a shove*, and noted that, although the ban has run into legal difficulties, banning soda is not per se unconstitutional. So that was the missing example of the slippery slope.

As for the implication that the bottom of this slope would be a bad place to be, we weren't so much expressing our own view on that, one way or another, so much as appealing to libertarians, for whom being nudged should be preferable to being shoved. (To that end, and especially since the piece ended up in the L.A. Times, we probably should have said that "Nudges offer an offramp to a more sure-footed terrain that *those with libertarian inclinations* should prefer.")

* Others have characterized the soda ban as a nudge. See my exchange with Brian Galle here:

I. Glenn Cohen

Great column!

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