Even if you are not a citizen of Colorado you should care about Colorado's Amendment 72. Why, you might ask? Because it is a perfect example of what the political process has become throughout the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, as well as being another sterling example of how smokers have no rights in this tyrannical country. Let's consider it for a while today.
According to Debra Dyer (M.D. and chair of the Department of Radiology at National Jewish Health), "Amendment 72, which raises the tax on a pack of cigarettes from 84 cents to $2.59 will not only help reduce tobacco use in the state but also will generate revenues that will be used exclusively for health-related purposes." Amendment 72 is a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of Colorado. When special interest groups are unable to get the legislators of their state to pass new laws giving them special government protection and privileges their Plan B usually revolves around some sort of constitutional amendment referendum. In this case the legislators in the Colorado Congress were unwilling to pass a new law raising the tax rate on a pack of smokes. Rather than acknowledging that the "will of the people" had spoken through the inaction of the legislature, a special interest group on a crusade against tobacco products and those who smoke cigarettes decided to take their proposal directly to the people by means of a constitutional referendum. They hope to find a more sympathetic ear for their cause among the people who vote. Given the fact we live in a democracy, where the majority always wins, and given the fact that smokers are a distinct minority it is highly likely the amendment will pass.
Some time in the not so distant past I wrote a post to this blog in which I suggested that the various legislative branches of government in this envy filled and idolatrous land should all be abolished and replaced by an annual vote of the citizens. That is, in essence, what the constitutional amendment referendum is. The career politicians elected by the minority of the citizens of a state who vote for them are paid to sit around and create a bevy of new laws for us all to obey without question. The way the game is usually played dictates that we bribe our career politicians in order to get special government privileges from them. Now, when those career politicians refuse to do the bidding of a special interest group, that group goes directly to the people and conducts a concerted campaign of propaganda designed to get the majority of those who vote to approve their plan. If they can get the majority to vote for them we have a new law imposed upon us. I propose that we simplify the process and abolish one of the two groups. Either abolish the Congress and have an annual vote by which the voters determine the new laws that will be enforced upon us or abolish the process of amending the constitution simply to put a new law on the books.
Debra wants the the voters to approve Amendment 72. She believes that a constitutional amendment is the best way to raise the amount of tax paid on a pack of cigarettes in Colorado. Does it seem unreasonable to anyone besides me to put a mundane issue like the rate of tax on a pack of cigarettes into a state constitution? Debra does not think so. Debra also believes in the power of the omniscient and beneficent State. In a phrase, she is a worshiper of civil government. She believes she knows what is best for people, even if what she believes is best for people is not what the people themselves believe is in their best interest. It does not matter what the people believe is in their best interest as they are all simpletons and idiots anyway, Debra has a plan for their lives and she is going to force them into compliance with her plan by means of an amendment to the constitution of the State of Colorado.
Debra believes that tobacco use in the state needs to be reduced, whatever that means. Why does she believe this? She writes, "As medical providers specializing in lung diseases at National Jewish Health, we see the damaging effects of tobacco on a daily basis and feel that continued efforts are needed to reduce the impact of smoking on our state." Well there you have it. Debra treats someone called "our state" on a regular basis. She believes "our state" should stop smoking cigarettes because smoking cigarettes can cause lung disease. Debra therefore "feels" (does anyone think anymore?) that the voters of this state need to approve a 208% increase to the state cigarette tax to accomplish her goal.
Why does Debra "feel" that raising the cigarette tax is the best way to help keep "our state" from contracting lung disease? "Tobacco tax increases are used in other states as an effective, evidence-based strategy to reduce smoking and tobacco use. Studies show that for every ten percent increase in the price of cigarettes, consumption decreases by 3 to 5 percent in adults and 6 to 7 percent in kids." Debra's evidence is no doubt quite true. In general people with lower incomes tend to smoke more than people with higher incomes. (I was too lazy to look up the actual statistics but you can find them somewhere if you don't believe me.) That means the 208% tax increase will make it more difficult for the lower income groups to purchase cigarettes, thus causing more of them to smoke less. Why the power of government should be used to control the non-sinful and voluntary behaviors of individual citizens is not explained. Why Debra should be able to force her will upon the citizens of this state is not developed by rational argumentation. All that we are to know is that Debra is our superior and she believes we need to smoke less.
Debra continues her diatribe in support of using the Colorado constitution to punish people who make the legal, moral and voluntary decision to smoke cigarettes with this gem, "The funds will support those disproportionately affected by smoking, including low-income residents, those living in rural or under-served communities, and veterans who have been particularly burdened by the ravages of tobacco." Only an elitist worshiper of civil government can reconstruct the facts of a case to make a tax increase designed to hurt the poor the most into a source of revenue designed to help the poor the most. I guess logic was not one of the classes required when Debra obtained her M.D. Debra also resorts to the common practice of ex-soldier worship to further fortify her case. Veterans, heroes all, are somehow victims of tobacco, having been "ravaged" by this insidious beast against their will at some point in their past lives. Who can oppose a tax increase when one of the stated beneficiaries of that increase is our heroic warriors of past wars of empire expansion?
Here is the bottom line. It is wrong to worship civil government. It is wrong, that means immoral, to use civil government to control the amoral behavior of citizens under that government. It is wrong, that means immoral, to use a constitutional amendment to increase a tax to modify the behavior of a select group of citizens, even if you think it is in their best interest. It is wrong, that is immoral, to force your view about amoral issues upon another group of people. It is also wrong to vote for Amendment 72. Many well meaning members of the deplorable classes will vote for this amendment in order to get a warm feeling in their hearts and convince themselves that they are doing something to help the poor when, in reality, they are oppressing and exploiting the very group they believe they are helping. People should be free to smoke cigarettes. Indeed, people should be free to smoke anything they want to smoke. It is none of my business what people smoke and it is also none of your business what people smoke. We would all be much better off if everyone minded his own business. Won't you make a commitment to mind your own business and refuse to support Amendment 72? In fact, how about making a commitment to mind your own business and cease the practice of voting altogether?