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Beryl Wajsman

BERYL WAJSMAN: Virtue and Vice

“It is the function of vice to keep virtue within reasonable bounds.” ~ Samuel Butler Recent history, from the time of Prohibition in 1920’s America, has demonstrated that attempts by the state to engage in social engineering are doomed to failure. People will get what they want. And in so doing strengthen the so-called criminal elements among us. The only proper role for state security is to protect citizens from violence and from threats of, or incitement to, violence. For example, to those who would argue that the health costs of indulgence in tobacco, alcohol and drugs are a strain on the health-care system, we would remind them that citizens who indulge in hedonistic pleasures pay enormous consumption taxes on the products they buy -- eight times greater than average Canadians -- most of which go to support the health-care system. They also tend to die younger thereby being less of a burden on the chronic-care system. That is their choice. And choices, as former Justice Minister Irwin Cotler has pointed out in his arguments for studying the decriminalization of assisted suicide, are the point of a free society. When Pierre Trudeau said that government has no place in the bedrooms of the nation he also meant that it had no role regulating actions of consenting adults. Not everything is going to be perfect in life. Not every problem can be solved by legislation. No politician should pretend it can and be allowed to put into force straightjacket law that seeks to micro-manage every aspect of our lives. They should be exposed for what they truly are: unimaginative and cowardly functionaries staggering from election to election who, fearful of tackling the vested interests on the really important issues necessary to protect the public good, hope that creating some body of work… Read More