07 September 2009

Random thoughts, late at night: Where are we going, and what's with the handbasket?

Damn... I hate insomnia...

Anyway... I had mentioned the stupidity of the sin tax on cigarettes. Allow me to steer this ole' girl into some treacherous waters, and ramble on for a bit...


Ok. Now, I'll never claim that tobacco is "healthy", or "safe", or any such nonsense. I think there've been enough studies and experiments to prove that nicotine (not to mention all the other chemicals in cigarette smoke) is a poison. I get that. I also tend to believe that, in a free society, adults should be allowed to do whatever they wish within certain limits*.

The joke our society has become says otherwise. Or rather, takes "certain limits" and defines them as "anything we wish".

We are rapidly approaching the level of Demolition Man. For those not familiar, let me quote the relevant exchange. Went something lilke this:

-You, get me a Marlboro.
-Yes, of course.
-What's a Marlboro?
-It's a cigarette. Any cigarette.
-Smoking is not good for you.
-Anything not good for you is bad
-Hence, illegal. Alcohol, caffeine,
contact sports, meat--
-Are you shitting me?

Yes, folks: that's where we're heading. Don't believe me? How many of you remember wearing a bicycle helmet as a kid?


But what does this have to do with taxes? Well, that's a fun one.

See, Wisconsin has been using a "sin tax" on tobacco for awhile now. It was never all that big, and it was always described as "an attempt to make it too expensive to smoke".

Of course, what they failed to mention is that nicotine is one of the most addictive chemicals we've got. And despite their claims ("we want to reduce smoking"), every year they figure on the take from the sin tax as part of the budget.

Yes, you read that right: they project what their "take" on that tax will be (remember, the one that's supposed to reduce use of the product?), and figure that amount into the budget. Anybody see a problem?

And isn't it funny how Wisconsin's budget is #11 in deficit, with a 2.3 billion shortfall.

Want another joke in there? Anybody remember the tobacco lawsuits? Guess where all THAT money went? Here in WI, it was used to balance the budget... temporarily...


Sorry about the rant, there. It's late, I'm probably not very coherant. But this is getting worse and worse. And I keep asking myself, "Where IS the breaking point?".

No, I'm not suggesting that we should all start putting on web gear and shooting police and politicians. But the nation as a whole DOES have a point where violence will start up. How far away from that point are we?


And for those saying "we've passed that point, and should start hangin' folks now!": the next "civil war" in this nation is going to make the previous one look like a pick-up game of paintball. It's not gonna be "you'n's over thar, and usn's over heah". It's going to be a wild ride of "everybody against everybody", with the fate of the nation in the balance. Watch the end scene of Reservoir Dogs: that's the next American Civil War in microcosm.

So think of hitting the aforementioned paintball field, with several hundred of your closest friends. The field is the city you live in. Each and every one of the players has a different goal to achieve to "win". And each is completely convinced that there can be only one winner. Sounds like it'll be a nice clean game, doesn't it?


Hey, while all the "manly men" are off fighting each-other, how about we take a minute and think about the future. No, not the "Want to help me eliminate Ed?" future of tomorrow, but the "What do we replace the current system and critters with?" future.

I've heard many plans of how to take over the government, overthrow them, run them out on rails, and (my favorite) dress them as clowns and use them as live fire targets. Great: "we" somehow manage to remove these folks and their bloated system. What do we replace it with?

We can try using the Constitution: it was goo for a couple hundred years, before a reset was needed. Right?

Take a look at the US Code sometime. Not in-depth, just a glance at how much is there. Is it ALL junk, that needs to be discarded?

No? Then who decides what to keep and what to toss?

Oh... while we're playing that game, remember that we DO have enemies, and there WILL be people here in the states that are gonna try and steer us back to the nanny state we're in. How much time do we have to get everything figured out and in place, before the Madagascar Expeditionary Force decide to invade?


Sorry 'bout the rambling. I got to thinking, and that's NEVER a good thing...

* "certain limits" means direct impact on another.

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