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Here a sin, there a vice and liberals want to tax them all

By J.J. Jackson
web posted February 14, 2011

Raise your hand if you have ever sinned.  Ok, shame on those of you who kept your hands down because you have sinned once again by lying.  I know you will not admit it.  But you have.  Stop pretending.

When it comes to demagoging, sins are always easy things to target considering their nature.  As such they often sport big red bull's-eyes for those that want to force others, and perhaps even themselves, from partaking of them.  Some of these sins even get special treatment such as the seven deadly ones which get singled out as Capital Vices.  While some sins, if not checked, would lead to societal collapse such as murder and lying under oath in a court of law because they specifically involve someone other than the person partaking in the vice being harmed, most sins are actually quite harmless except to the person partaking of them.  At least to start out.

Sins do have a tendency to get out of hand.  Lust, for example, does not in and of itself harm anyone except the person engaging in those desires.  But when the person consumed by lust, for example, commits rape and violates the person of another to fulfill that desire or murders her husband so that she can be with her lover it is without a doubt true that things have gone too far.  And our laws should and do reflect that.

But because some people carry their sins, which are normally harmless to others, to a level where actual harm is visited upon another, is that a reason to try to control the sin?  No, especially when most of the time the sin is known only to the mind of those engaging in it.  Thought Police are a scary thing to contemplate and would be necessary if sins were to be punished by law carte blanche.

Our religions have become infested with the same sorts of liberals that have corroded our government.  And when these two groups, liberals representing religion and liberal representatives in government, join forces, the result is a public attempt to punish and regulate sins that have not moved to the realm of harming others.
 
A prime example of this was the temperance movement in America during the early twentieth century.  During that period religious liberals thought it was their right to push for the abolition of alcohol because it was being consumed for pleasure.  And after all, liberals, no matter their stripes, hate anyone having fun.  After years of getting some tentative footholds around the country the liberals in both church and state got the Eighteenth Amendment ratified.  That amendment prohibited, "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes."  Scholars to this day still marvel at how what turned out to be such an unpopular thing ever managed to get passed as a Constitutional amendment in the first place.

Ratified on January 19th, 1919, though not going into effect until one year later, the whole thing was undone in 1933 by the Twenty-first Amendment which repealed this silly, and as liberals quickly learned, nearly unenforceable law.  How bad was it by the time Prohibition was repealed?  Thirty-eight states voted at the time for the repeal amendment and only ten states either rejected the amendment, refused to consider the amendment or simply did not ratified it.  That was a big shift from the approval of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919 when States could not wait to approve the amendment and forty-six of the forty-eight did just that.

Talk about liberals getting taken to the woodshed!  The left might as well have tried to outlaw breathing.  I believe they might have even had more success with that!

But just because America rejected the prohibitionists does not mean that the liberals got the message.  Nope.  Here in Pennsylvania the religious and political liberals who thought it was their birthright to regulate our lives to the hilt plowed onward.  Sure, prohibition was officially over but they were not going to take no for an answer.  Instead they instituted the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board just four days before the end of Prohibition.  The Governor at the time, a self-righteous progressive sort (and sadly also a Republican), by the name of Gifford Pinchot, said of the Board that its job was to, "discourage the purchase of alcoholic beverages by making it as inconvenient and expensive as possible."  As a central planner, Governor Pinchot had no qualms about sticking his woohoo in affairs which concerned no one but the person involved.

Oh, and by the way, we are still dealing with the insanity of the PALCB to this day here in the Keystone State.

Like Pennsylvania, Georgia still has silly Blue Laws promoted and defended by religious liberals that prohibit alcohol sales on Sunday within the State.  Governor Nathan Deal says that if the legislature in that State passes a law to undo the Blue Laws he will sign it.  Boy, oh boy, are the liberals running some of the religious groups and churches down there in a tizzy over that!  They come up with all sorts of vapid arguments about why Georgia must keep this ban in place and infringe upon the liberty of others.  I have even heard the argument that there must be a day where people do not need to buy alcohol in Georgia thus the Blue Laws must remain to ensure this.  As if anyone "needs" to buy alcohol ever?  I bet you folks living down in Georgia never knew that you "needed" to buy alcohol did you?  If you have not bought any recently you had better get moving and satisfy this "need" immediately.

Basically these liberals are upset that people will not follow their particular version of Christianity and want to enforce their religion on others.  Essentially they believe that their freedom of religion trumps your liberty if you disagree and want to have an adult beverage on Sunday.  It is absolute silliness by even the most lax standards of humor.

And things are just going to get worse.  With States from coast to coast running in the red, talks between the religious and political liberals are heating up even further.  States want revenues and religious liberals want to use the power of the State to make others conform to their beliefs.  So it is a match made in Hell.

Both are out there pumping the idea of levying new or raising existing taxes on not just alcohol, but every various vice you can name that has not been already outlawed.  The religious left sees punitive taxes as a way to get people to shy away from doing things they find objectionable; smoking, drinking and so on.  The liberals in the positions of authority within the State are just looking to keep the pitchforks and torches at bay a few more years as promises made become promises broken.  They hope that new revenues from sin taxes can help stave off the inevitable collapse of their ideology.

The danger here is that these sorry folks might actually succeed in their quest.  Personally, for me, I say that taxing sin gives the sin more notoriety than it deserves.  Punish those that take their sins to excess.  Punish the man who drinks and then drives and puts the welfare of others at risk.  But do not control those who want to responsibly enjoy a libation every now and again. ESR

J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com.  He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at http://www.libertyreborn.com.

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