Walter E. Williams

In comes my hero the smuggler to the rescue. He's the guy who, in effect, tells us, "I know the government wants to interfere with your consumption of booze, tobacco, or tea, but I can get a deal for you." He might have to run clandestine operations, blackmail and corrupt public officials, but at least you get the item, if it has been prohibited, and for a lower price if it has been confiscatorily taxed.

The smuggler who uses the proceeds to finance destructive activity is not my hero, but that is not an argument against the smuggling itself anymore than it would be an argument against the practice of medicine if some medical practitioners used their earnings to finance terrorist activities.

The easy solution to cigarette smuggling, and its attendant activities, is to eliminate the confiscatory taxes. Unfortunately, for politicians and do-gooders, the attack on smokers is a moral crusade that sees only benefits and costs are irrelevant. Or as novelist C.S. Lewis put it, "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Walter Williams' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.


TOWNHALL MEDIA GROUP