Government Working Around It’s Own System

Not too long ago, the Department of Justice (DoJ) sued a 90+ year old lady for failing to report the sale of a product (in this case suicide kits) in her taxes. Keep in mind the DoJ has made it clear that they are not suing her because of the sale of the suicide kits. But I think it is clear that the main reason that the DoJ sued this lady is because she is selling something that the government feels wrong to sell. The police department in San Diego know of at least four people in the last year that have committed suicide using these kits and one of them happens to be a 19 year old kid. This at least provides the incentive for government officials to get this product off the streets, even though it is not illegal to sell suicide kits.

But then one might say to me so far, “Well you are just being suspicious of the government. Clearly, she has done something wrong (not reporting the sales in her taxes) and she has to pay for it. The government just wants the taxes, nothing more, nothing less.” And I would agree with this criticism, maybe the government only wants the tax money and could care less about the product she is selling, if it wasn’t for the court’s ruling on this case. The court’s ruling states that she has to work for the IRS to pay back her debt, and she has to agree that she would not sell these suicide kits again. The first part of the ruling is pretty common in cases like these, ‘ You fail to pay your taxes, so you have to work to pay back the debt you owe us,’ but the second part is clearly not, ‘You failed to report the sale of suicide kits in your taxes, so you must agree to never sell these suicide kits ever again!’ Clearly the government wanted these suicide kits off the streets, and since there is no law restricting people to sell such objects, they have to work around the system. Wow, the system working around its own system, how ironic.

This is even more absurd if we were to substitute other objects instead of suicide kits For example:

  • ‘You failed to report the sale of used televisions in your store, therefore you must pay back your debt, and agree to never sell used televisions again’
  • You failed to report the sale of homemade candles at this swap meet, therefore you must pay back your debt, and agree to never sell your candles again!’

This is an obvious case of the government breaking its own laws. Don’t get me wrong, I want a government, I believe that in order to have a stable decent society, the society must have a government (which I know my ideas of the government differs from those of other libertarians, maybe it is more correct to call me a classical liberal), but I want a government that knows its laws and is consistent in how it looks after its society.

– Isaac Marmolejo


4 responses to “Government Working Around It’s Own System

  1. The first part of your post is awesome, but the second part (where you believe there is a legitament role for the government) is wrong and is not libertarian. Have you read “The not so Wild Wild Wrst” ? Good libertarian article showing the West without a government.

    • Yes I have read that article. Did you get to the part in that article which it described the ‘Moderators and Regulators’ feud? Very bloody feud that divided society into accepting one or the other group, and one in which was not solved until Sam Houston sent forces to end the feud.

      Also, I don’t really care if what I consider libertarian is not the same as what you might consider libertarian. I don’t consider Rothbard’s requirement (one must hate the state) as necessary for being libertarian.

  2. Hey Izzy… I’ve been trying get hold of some Shackle writings on the internet and I am having a hard time trying to locate his writings. Is there any over the internet, and ones that are free? I like your blog, you got me interested in Lachmann. And by the way, just out of curiosity, what was Lachmann’s view on the role of government?


    • AJ,

      I do not think there are any of Shackle’s books out on the internet for free ( I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen any). If you have Jstor access, you could look at many (most) of Shackle’s articles there. If I were you, I would ask Lord Keynes (from the ‘Social Democracy’ blog (link to his blog is in my blogroll section) or Greg Hill (found at

      Also, thanks for your compliment, I am glad to hear that I got you interested in Ludwig Lachmann.

      Your question, though, is a bit hard to answer. He thought of himself first as an economist, and in doing so, he did try to limit the topic concerning political stuff. If you read Peter Lewin’s biography on Lachmann, he stated somewhere in there that if Lachmann did have political views, he rarely expressed them in his economics classes.

      But we can say that Lachmann was a classical liberal. Im assuming that much of what Hayek had to say about political philosophy, Lachmann would agree with, although he was a bit more ‘conservative’ than Hayek was, for example, he was in favor of a ‘lender of last resort’ banks.

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