Liberty, Up in Smoke

Reginald Firehammer

A Journal for Western Man-- Issue XXXIV-- April 28, 2005

On March 17, 2005, it was announced an "agreement" had been made between the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), various State Officials, and the major credit card companies, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. That agreement signals the beginning of an insidious evil, a merger between two opposite kinds of power, the power of coercive (read destructive) force, represented by government, and the power of economic creation represented by the credit card companies, The sole purpose of the merger is the limiting of individual liberty.

The major credit card companies will no longer handle Internet sales of cigarettes, or any other tobacco products. The agreement, led by the attorneys general from New York, California, Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin, has one purpose, to prevent individuals from keeping more than $1 billion a year that would otherwise be taken from them in the form of taxes.

Even more insidious is the fact, "the credit card companies also agreed to adopt policies for investigating and taking action against Internet cigarette sellers who allow site visitors to use plastic for their purchases." When private enterprise becomes an arm of coercive government, the end of liberty is at hand. There is probably no industry that is more pervasive in terms of knowledge of both individual and industry business information than the credit card industry. This blatant control of the economy by the government, euphemistically called an agreement, is plain and simple, fascism, and the United States is no longer a republic.

The growth of fascism always proceeds in the same way. What it takes over is always regarded by most people as inconsequential, because it does not directly effect them. Most people do not buy tobacco products on the Internet—what's the big deal. Most people do not make their living selling tobacco products on the Internet—it's not an issue for them. No one at all notices this intrusive government oppression is without passing a single law?

It's as I said in "Atlas Shrugged: A Model for Individualist Revolution,"

"If one aspires to nothing more than existence, if one has no desires beyond the satisfaction of their immediate animal cravings, if one is fully satisfied with whatever entertainment that comes their way, and has no desire to do anything or have anything the "authorities" have forbidden, what would they need freedom for?

"It is only those who aspire to do or be something the government has forbidden or regulated that will feel the burden of government. Only the producers will feel the weight of tax slavery, only the creators will feel the chains of government regulation, only those who have more important things to think about than what the latest government forms, licenses, permits, regulations, and restrictions are before pursuing their purposes will be crushed by the oppressive control of the government."

U.S. retail e-commerce (Internet) sales for the fourth quarter of 2004 was $18.4 billion. You can be certain the government has no intention of allowing this source of revenue get away. The so called "agreement" is just the beginning of the government's intention to take over the Internet. Most people do not know or care how they are losing their freedom, nor will they until it has gone up in fascist smoke.


Reginald Firehammer is a filosofer and author of the book: The Hijacking of a Philosophy: Homosexuals vs. Ayn Rand's Objectivism. He is the author and host of The Autonomist, an online intellectual journal, as well as a contributor to The Rational Argumentator. In the future, he intends to produce a comprehensive treatise on ontology, consciousness, and ultimately filosofy itself. Mr. Firehammer can be contacted at

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