Tobacco & Firearms

Up in Smoke

January 30, 2018

The global story is dramatically laid out in a new book by my dear friend Dr. Vanessa Neumann that bears the pointed title Blood Profits. I ran into Dr. Neumann—a tireless campaigner for good and scourge of Maduro (the socialist dictator, not the cigar tobacco)—gracing the beaches of Tulum this past New Year. Her Blood Profits reads like a thriller, connecting the innocent purchase of a fake handbag—even I can’t buy real ones for all my girlfriends—with the tyrannical bloodletting of Chinese triads. The key point is that gangsters and terrorists of all stripes cooperate financially and logistically using the dark web. This means the dollars you spend on under-the-counter goods may come back at you in a burst of 7.62mm rounds while sitting quietly on the Champs-Élysées.

When it comes to illicit cigarettes, this dynamic is abetted by the left in more ways than one. If taxation drives downstream demand, then denial is the lubricant of the final transaction. This denial is enthusiastically promoted by the bovine politicians of the Labour movement—who remain so blinded by their hatred of tobacco companies that they deny its research into the above connections. “Ah,” said the British shadow-health minister when challenged on this topic a few years ago. “But that’s only ever been corroborated by Big Tobacco.” Her debater was too timid to call down a moral air strike by pointing out that it has been—by every law enforcement agency from the Feds to Europol—and that in denying this the good lady was facilitating terror-funding. Mind you, the modern left has become notably well versed at defending its ideologies with fact-proof moral grandstanding that tramples mere human life. In their hierarchy of irritations, the sheer disobedience of someone lighting a cigarette is a far greater affront than some noble Levantine freedom fighter drawing an automatic weapon on a Western street. Next time you light a cigarette and give yourself up to meditation, you might therefore want to make the subject of that meditation the moral case for lower—or, at the very least, uniform—tobacco taxation.

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