I’m a huge Cuban cigar fan and have long been annoyed by the embargo that prevents me from easily acquiring them. I’ve also riled at the obvious hypocrisy wherein we will deal with the horribly repressive regime of China and not with the horribly repressive regime of Cuba. Yes, I know the reason is that the business of Cuba doesn’t amount to a hill of beans compared with that of China. I’ve also wondered if the notion of economic isolation is really the best way to change those regimes. However, the Cuba’s recent crackdown on dissidents (sentencing opponents of the government to sentences of up to 28 years) has led me to wonder how a man of conscience can deal with these countries. I don’t think one can. When we buy from brutal governments who treat their people like slaves, we treat them as an equal partner in trade wherein we agree on like terms. But there can be no agreement between the man of liberty and the man of brute force. While it will be tough to give up the Cigars and almost impossible to give up on the electronics of China, I guess I have to start taking morality not as a conversational subject but as a way of life.

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