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LETTER: Speaking of prohibition versus taxation ...

['WS-xx-letter to the editor']
['WS-xx-letter to the editor']

Dear editor: The Canadian Medical Association seems to think that since physicians earn money by keeping people healthy, in addition to healing them when they are ill, our politicians should likewise profit.

That is what I infer from the CMA’s urging the government to levy a tax on sugar-containing soft drinks.
The purpose of taxation is to pay for government’s carrying out its proper purposes.
If government deems it wrong for citizens to consume, or for soft-drink makers to sell, something that contains more than a certain proportion, or a certain amount, of sugar, then government ought simply to forbid, and punish fittingly, such sale or consumption; government’s function is not to discourage wrong while yet permitting it but to prohibit it outright; discouraging while permitting, though, may seem a suitable procedure to follow for a government apparently two-faced enough to deem execution both too cruel to inflict on murderers and yet the ultimate final kindness for members of the CMA to proffer to the terminally ill.
Speaking of prohibition versus taxation, there may be a graver instance in which prohibition should prevail, if it is true that “85-per-cent of cancers are environmentally caused.”
Where carcinogens occur quite naturally in a given environment, residents there ought themselves to remove or destroy these, or to leave, with government being concerned only to prohibit and punish their wrongly harming others thereby.
However, where commercial or other interests were somehow putting carcinogens into an environment where humans work or reside, then government ought to punish any contributing thus to humans’ being wrongly harmed.
Levying taxes on those who profited by contributing to wrongful harm, so that government could treat those wrongly harmed, as if governing were the practice of medicine, would render political employment necessary, and maybe lucrative, in a way that political employment ought not to be.
Anyway, most governments today seem to ignore the fundamental principle which ought to govern taxation: Citizens ought to provide by their own bodily work what those in government need to govern them; they ought to provide these goods out of an abundance of what they make or grow to supply their own needs, for what rulers need in order to govern is not much different from what citizens need to live.
The managers in a managerial society may deem themselves better than those they manage, but those who govern in a state well governed do not deem themselves better than those they assist in governing themselves.

Colin Burke
Port au Port

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