THE TAXATION ON FUN

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By Max Wachtel

 

Beer at most pubs has gotten really expensive. More than $10 a pint? How are we supposed to drink away our troubles now that our list of troubles includes the unaffordability of beer? Drinking at home is an option, but the whole reason pubs are great is that a variety of other members of the public are there. And there is something special about a tap beer had in the midst of a darkened, beery-smelling venue.

 

No doubt the government has much to do with this, trying to price us out of doing harm to our bodies. Same with cigarettes – many pre-rolled cigarettes are now in excess of a dollar each, putting them out of reach for those who probably can’t afford to pay for the healthcare needed to deal with the consequences of a lifetime of smoking. Preventative healthcare is always a good idea, but at the expense of our freedom to do things we really want? Things that some might argue make our lives more enjoyable to the point where the health consequences are worth it?

 

The government is presumably making a decent sum of money from the taxation of legal drugs, so it’s unlikely they’ll stop any time soon.

 

Yet, taxation has led to a positive increase in the popularity of home brewing. Industrious seekers of a delicious refreshing ale are spending weekends bottling the fruits of their labour for a fraction of the cost of shop-bought beer. Growing tobacco is illegal, but why? Smoking it is fine, and would many people even be able to identify a tobacco plant to dob you in?

 

Dependence is an issue, but excessive pricing doesn’t seem to be a great deterrent for those who really become addicted. Heavy drinkers will turn to cask wine for their fix, or will just stop spending money on more important things like food. Is there really that much of a difference between cigarettes being increasingly taxed until they are $100 a pack and them just being made illegal? Probably not for the average person, since making things prohibitively expensive has the same result as outright prohibition. Addicts will still find a way; homelessness is preferable to quitting for many who are dependent on things like heroin or meth.

 

Should altering our state of consciousness be a human right? Nobody seems to have a problem with coffee, but that’s because it can help to get things done. The main objection to other drugs is that they can hamper productivity in many ways. The thing is, creativity has always been altered or enhanced by the changes in thought processes brought about by a few drinks, a cigarette, or even more fun illegal drugs.

 

Doubtless there will be no end to the taxation of having a good time, but people will always find ways to circumvent regulations laid out by those with different ideas of what people should and shouldn’t be doing. When a pint costs an hour’s wage, and a pack of cigarettes a day’s, we’ll probably all just get into hyperventilating till we fall over for a good time anyway. That’ll show ‘em.

 

Max is a person who enjoys existing, absorbing sensory information and sustaining his life force with a variety of liquids and solids. His favourite activities include being amused.

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