Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Capturing the social libertarians

God hath declared it illegal to gamble at this table

A friend of mine who basically makes his living playing online poker is despondent about the fate of pokerroom.com, which is in the process of booting all of its U.S.-based players because of yet another idiotic law passed by the 109th debating society Congress -- which made it much more difficult for online gaming organizations to deal with U.S. players. Some little countries to our South are so pissed off about this that they're taking it to the WTO, where they will probably beat us. There is no legitimate argument that the government can make on behalf of the new law, and they know it.

As others have eloquently pointed out, making poker and other forms of online gambling illegal is counterproductive and pointless. People will figure out how to get around the laws, and the only people who will profit are either criminals or businesses based in other countries. If there are legions of mediocre poker players out there who want to give their money to poker sharks like my friend, then who am I or the U.S. government to stop them from doing so? The new gambling law is yet another example of how the Southern evangelical mode of thinking and social regulation has captured the public debate and made meaningful reform impossible. While banning online gambling is not the same kind of problem as the useless and globally destructive Drug War, it is representative of a certain kind of lawmaking.

I think there is a silent majority in this country that wants to be left alone to play poker, bet on football, pick up hookers, smoke joints, and find a nice doctor to euthanize them when they're ready to die. In other words, there's a silent majority of fun people in this country who want glassy-eyed scolds like Rick Santorum talking to them about sex, dying, and gambling about as much as they want to see Bill Bennett naked. And there is a major political vacuum waiting to be filled -- which is currently populated only by the far left and the libertarian party, neither of which has a great deal of influence on discourse in this country. The Democrats should recognize their historic opportunity to seize the social libertarian agenda and run with it. If people had any idea of size of the government-funded Leviathan that's being used to fight the drug war -- a "war" that can never be won unless Americans can be convinced to stop putting things that make them feel good up their noses -- they might adjust their voting priorities.


At 11:05 PM, Blogger Wendy Ginsberg said...

Please don't even speak of some people anonymously. I now have a tummy ache.

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Wendy Ginsberg said...

and stop using Nixon's silent majority to make your points. Fucking Republican.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger David Faris said...

Nixon was a bastard. But that silent majority elected him twice. As Homer Simpson would say, Stupid Silent Majority!

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