Right Hooks

Are Cigarette Taxes 'Why Governments Are Instituted'?

Dec. 6, 2014

National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke writes of Eric Garner’s death, “Certainly, civilized nations need laws. But it is one thing to recruit armed men to prevent murder and rape and grievous bodily harm, and it is quite another to do so in order to regulate the manner in which cigarettes may be sold. Eric Garner was not killed while robbing a bank or starting a fight in a bar, but while selling tobacco on the street without a license. Is this really what the state is for? … [W]e should all be willing to acknowledge that Garner would never have been so much as approached had the city not wanted its pound of flesh in the first instance. Because there are consequences to all laws – however minor – it is incumbent upon us to ask if those laws are worth the risks that they yield. What, I wonder, would the anti-tax rebels who threw off the British Empire make of the news that a man had lost his life for peacefully selling a ‘loosie’? Once again: Is this why governments are instituted among men?” More…

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