A 60-year-old Motueka man was fined $6000 in the Auckland District Court today for the unlawful manufacture of tobacco.
The man was growing enough tobacco to sell. Which raises a question: what's more important for a society, that an individual is left the volition to exercise the choice to grow tobacco that other individuals have the choice to buy for their own pleasure, or, that a government holds a suffocating mandate to punish those choices that lead to bad health outcomes, or, just 'stuff' it doesn't like?
We've been here before.
Again, it's a moral question. It's freedom of choice versus the coercive state that can punish us for our own good, or the perceived common good of others - or at least the good as voted by a tyranny of the majority. Yes, sometimes the choices we make may harm us: freedom has to include the freedom to die stupidly. That is much better than the alternative: the thug state that steals our volition, and with that, our lives. The war being waged by the state against choice, is the war being waged against freedom, and the state is winning.
And, of course, this man's real crime: no doubt he wasn't giving his pound of effort to IRD on the sales.
My comment posted to the NBR thread linked above:
"... In the battle between freedom of choice to live our lives as we would want, and the thug state that exists to tell us how to live those lives according to its want, I have to draw the nasty conclusion on who has won.
As for these 'tirelessly working customs officers', evident of the harm done through the new found glory they believe themselves to have received from that lowest common denominator of Monday night reality TV, a Harry S. Truman quotation would seem appropriate:
"Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship ..."