Eric Garner’s death was a senseless act of State brutality. But Eric Garner is not dead because he was a black man. He is dead because he was suspected of daring to sell a legal product without charging his customers an outrageously high cigarette sales tax the State demands. He died because in the eyes of the State, he questioned their authority to enforce tyrannical laws. The darkly ironic thing is, liberals are protesting the death of Eric Garner, but liberals are the reason Eric Garner is dead. Liberals are the ones who called for sales taxes of several dollars per pack on cigarettes…It wasn’t about “black”, it was about the green: Money the State wanted.
Eric Garner’s death was a senseless act of State brutality. But Eric Garner is not dead because he was a black man. He is dead because he was suspected of daring to sell a legal product without charging his customers an outrageously high cigarette sales tax the State demands. He died because in the eyes of the State, he questioned their authority to enforce tyrannical laws. The darkly ironic thing is, liberals are protesting the death of Eric Garner, but liberals are the reason Eric Garner is dead. Liberals are the ones who called for sales taxes of several dollars per pack on cigarettes. In fact, it was the Obama Administration that raised the federal sales tax from .39 cents per pack to $1.01 per pack. In New York City, where Mr. Garner was slain for not obeying the State, the total sales tax is $5.85 per pack. It wasn’t about “black”, it was about the green: Money the State wanted.
Now, I have a few questions. First off, Mr. Garner was accused of selling “loosies”, that is, individual cigarettes from an untaxed pack. So, where now are these cigarettes Mr. Garner allegedly had? And how can the State demonstrate he was actually selling them and they weren’t his own for personal use even if he did have a pack on his person? Everything I’ve read says he was “suspected” of doing it when the police approached. Did they see him doing it? Or did they assume it? Be that as it may, the so-called “crime” he committed was selling a legal-to-possess product that was his to sell without extorting a ridiculously high sales tax from his customers. If he was doing that. What difference does it make what price he was selling them at? If he wants to sell them below cost, what business is it of the State? If he got them in a state with lower taxes, so what? Is it just as illegal if a person buys a crock pot in a state with lower sales taxes, brings it across state lines, and sells it out of his trunk? In the eyes of the State, it probably is illegal. It probably says so in a law code book as thick as the New York City phone book. Do we actually own personal property or not? If we do, why are we not allowed to sell it as we see fit? Why is it the right of the State to demand some of that money? They already taxed the money we used to buy the product in the first place.
Now, New York City is the perfect place for smuggled cigarette sales, thanks to their astronomically high sales tax. The sales tax is designed to “stop smoking” but we all know that all it really does is provide a market for smugglers. The cigarettes are purchased in states with very low sales taxes and hauled up to New York City to be sold for a mark-up that is still dollars lower than the “legal” ones. Now if Mr. Garner was selling these or not is really not relevant to the conversation. What he had was his product to sell. Why would it be different if he was selling individual sticks of chewing gum? Why is an individual citizen prohibited from selling his own personal property? This is the question we must ask when searching for the way to stop another death at the hands of police. The more laws we have, the more interaction the police have with citizens, often for asinine reasons such as that which cost Mr. Garner his life. When the State finally respects the rights of individual citizens to own property and buy and sell that property at will without government interference and/or extortion for a cut of the proceeds, then we will see less deaths at the hands of the police. Mr Garner’s senseless death need not have happened if the State just left people alone that aren’t hurting anyone. Was Mr. Garner hurting anyone? No, he wasn’t.
The protestors of Mr. Garner’s death are repeating what he said before he died: “I can’t breathe!” Mr. Garner’s last words were prophetic. We all can’t breathe, because the State has all of us in a chokehold of oppressive laws and taxation. We see what happens when people try to struggle out of it. Because that’s a human survival mechanism, by the way. Both literally in the case of Mr. Garner and figuratively for us all.
The liberals marching for Eric Garner need to realize they have a hand in his death. Why? Because they demand the government do this or that thing with laws to regulate things they don’t like. Such as smoking cigarettes, for example. Thus, they make the normal behaviour of a man selling his property into a “crime” and here comes the government via the police to use force in order to stop him. And, to be sure, jail him for the so-called “offense”. And guess what? The “crime” Eric Garner allegedly committed was one of the same crimes some of the Founding Fathers committed—evading sales tax. Such as John Hancock, for example, a smuggler seeking to evade high British sales taxes. So in high school history class, the State lionizes John Hancock, but then the State kills Eric Garner for the same thing? Had he not died, he would have been jailed and no one would know to what ends the State will go in order to protect its tyranny. But let’s not forget something. He was accused of this, he was not convicted of it. And, again, where are the cigarettes he supposedly was selling?
The State says Mr. Garner was obese, so it’s his fault he died. Huh? Wait, wait, wait. So, to defend their enforcement of a “public health-related law” (high sales taxes on cigarettes to discourage smoking) they call in another liberal “public health” issue: Obesity. And to combat that, they want to pass sales taxes on “junk food”. Another sales tax to govern behaviour and products liberals don’t like, just like the cigarette tax which the enforcement of killed Mr. Garner. Bravo! Marvellous! Gosh, if we only had a junk food tax decades earlier, maybe we could have saved Mr. Garner from dying at the hands of the cigarette tax praetorians! Come on you guys! How long did you have to practice that story in front of a bathroom mirror before you could deliver it publicly with a straight face? That’s as bad as the police themselves saying people ought to eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly. So they don’t die when the police put them in a chokehold they ought to be so prepared to endure. “Hey Bob, nice to see you at the gym! Working off the ol’ Thanksgiving supper, eh?” “Why, of course, Bill! What if the police put me in a chokehold for having a garage sale? Wouldn’t want to die, you know. That’d be my fault and my police chokehold insurance won’t cover me…” Not to mention here we have the State on one hand saying Mr. Garner was so big they needed to subdue him with a chokehold. But on the other hand, that’s why he was so weak the chokehold killed him. Well, which is it, Praetor?
So, when marching for Eric Garner, people would do well to remember who it was that sent those cops to Mr. Garner in the first place: The State. And who told the State to have and enforce such a law? The people who want to regulate the lawful behaviour of others at the point of a gun. Liberals think they can pass laws and everyone applauds and skips hand-in-hand down The Yellow Brick Road of enlightenment. Wrong. Those laws must be enforced by police. In the end, it is the liberals who passed these cigarette taxes that sent the police to Eric Garner. And also the State that can’t see it’s a citizen’s right to sell his own property. “He needs a business license, he needs to pay business taxes, yada yada…” Yeah, whatever. That’s still State tyranny against individual citizens. Do we actually own property or not? What, the State actually owns it? You’d think so if you contemplate the concept of property taxes. The State destroys the entrepreneur and safeguards their corporate buddies. Any who think otherwise are jailed or die in the process of getting there. Yeah, that’s freedom. Yeah, that’s justice.
Eric Garner isn’t just the face of African-Americans. He’s the face of all Americans. Let’s move beyond race and realize that the State is successfully dividing us against one another using race to take the heat off of them. Because if we were united, we’d see who really killed Eric Garner: The State. And it wasn’t about color. That’s what the State would like you to think. It was about power and money: Money the State wants and power both the State and the police wield to extract it. We’re all Eric Garner now.
Jack Perry [send him mail] is an arrowmaker and writer who lives in the Four Corners area of the Southwestern United States. He has been a truck driver, a purchasing agent at a now-defunct renewable energy company (don’t even ask him about the “Green energy” scam), and served in the 101st Airborne Division. He spends his time practicing traditional archery, making arrows in the wilds of the Arizona high desert, and finding himself only mildly amused by the antics of the Great Father in Washington.
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The Essence of Liberty Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic. This is the volume that pulls it all together. With reference to Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s description of Murray Rothbard’s work, it is a “unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.” Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.
You might be interested in the other two volumes of this three volume set: The Essence of Liberty Volume I: Liberty and History and The Essence of Liberty Volume II: The Economics of Liberty