Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

The death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Staten Islander, by police chokehold, not only sparked in me the usual combination of sadness, anger and frustration — there was an additional element: would this do it?

Would the nation’s shock, incredulity, indignation amount to anything?

Lots of questions. But one thing not being focused on in the standard reports was noted by Scott Shackford of Reason. It’s not merely a question of why the bust went so violent. Why, he asks, a bust at all? “We should be concerned that the reason why the police swarmed Garner in the first place is getting lost. He allegedly possessed ‘untaxed cigarettes.’ That is it.”

A tax matter.

The police are arresting people — and going into overkill mode in the process — on tax matters.

Couldn’t this such issues be handled by mere citation, followed by a court summons? With an arrest the last resort?

Why go all violent when violence is not really in order?

But maybe it’s not just about the taxes. Or “contraband.” Maybe this is also about “drugs.” (Yes, tobacco’s a drug.) We’ve long had a “War on Drugs” in this country. It has not gone well. As I suggested last week (as well as yesterday, on Townhall), the effects have not only been wide and deep, but inevitable.

War is like that. Expect the “unintended consequences.”

Scott Shackford suggests that New York lower the city’s high sin taxes on cigarettes.

But maybe the whole mindset of the modern state needs changing. Big things, like murder, slavery, etc., those are worth fighting about. Let’s not go to war over the little things.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Doug Watts says:

    Perhaps, this tragic incident is a result of Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s ‘transcendent’ ‘progressive” policy doctrine. Police need to lay off profiling potential gun-toters in high violent crime areas while punishing tobacco use and tax scofflaws. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  2. Ron Nielsen says:

    This is just one of several instances of overuse of Authority for minor offenses.

    I was helping a friend jump start her car and 2 police officers in a town of 1900 told me I could not do that while they had their hands on their guns

  3. JFB says:

    Paul, the country is on the edge of a schism, vs the 1% who, if they believed this was reversible, would shrug as opposed to moving themselves and their enterprises out of harm’s way.
    Reality is the government is too large and expensive to allow any revenue source to escape, and knows full well that non-compliance with the tax policy is the most effective and least disruptive means of folding the house of cards. There is a reason that murder and failure to file have the same federal statue of limitations. Do not expect any mercy for either transgression!

  4. joe appelbaum says:

    Do you ever write about BLACK brutality, BLACK criminality, and BLACK savagery? Just curious.

  5. Duane says:

    This is also an illustration of the even more basic point that ALL government legislation implicitly carries the threat of capital punishment for noncompliance.

  6. Rick says:

    To me just another example of the financially broke government trending toward fascism to maintain revenue which means control.

    ~50% of jobs derive from government now. The best & brightest are trending to jobs in government because that’s where they are. They will be sucked into the mindset of control, propaganda and salvaging their pension systems regardless of what it does to “the people”. It’s just the way it plays out in dying capitalist systems. Capitalism gets a bad name in the process but it’s not capitalism killing the system, it’s government, regulation and oligarchy killing the system.

  7. twv says:

    Lots of questions, indeed. Did you see Lucy Steigerwald’s wrap-up?

    I like Rick’s comment, though I would like to offer some optimism. Late capitalism may be beleaguered by the parasitism and subversion (h/t Stanislaw Andrewski) of the modern state, but hey: its progressive nature has offset a lot of ruin in this nation, and elsewhere.

    It is a race to the Singularity!

  8. Rick says:

    Didn’t realize there were EMTs at the scene who chose not to help the guy. It’s time to re-watch “A Clockwork Orange”.

    Sociopaths in control, creating sociopaths everywhere they go.

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