Thursday, January 8, 2009

A tribute to intellectual inconsistency in nanny-state thinking

The hardest part about actually being a Libertarian is not arguing for your own freedom to do X, Y, and Z (which are all, obviously, the pursuits of a cultivated, intelligent mind), but not trying to forbid freedoms to other people on the basis that you know what's best for them better than they do.

Particularly if they happen to be poor, because we all know that poor people have to be kept from making bad decisions by the government.

So it is with a hearty chuckle that I present a textbook case in nanny-state intellectual inconsistency, courtesy of jason330 at Delawareliberal.

First, here's jason on legalized sports betting in Delaware, from a post on 5 January 2009:

The state needs money, but if we pass sports betting to raise money it is a stone cold lock that four out of every 100 new gamblers created in this state will become addicts.

Are we really that morally bankrupt?

Studies show that sports betting is the type of legalized gambling most likely to hook young people.

Bottom Line: Whatever money the state brings in by being a party to this tax hike on the least among us will be going right back out in order to deal with the wrecked families and lives that are a direct byproduct of this “industry.”

Vowing to veto sports betting was Ruth Ann Minner’s finest moment in office.

Now, here's jason--just three days later--arguing for legalized on-line poker (which he happens to like playing):

I want to pay more taxes.

So do a whole bunch of other people who play poker online.

The government is passing up hundreds of millions if not billions in revenue by not regulating and taxing online poker.

Anyway, I hear Obama is a poker player, maybe there is hope for a more sane online poker policy under this administration.

If you visit the comments section of the first post, you can find jason standing up self-righteously to protect the poor from themselves:

Good point. Why not legalize drugs if we do this? Why not prostitution for that matter?

If this is a “free market” state why not allow the state to get it’s tax cut of these underground economy mainstays?


Sports betting, like lotto, is a regressive tax on poor people.


Look. It is not my opinion that state sponsored lotteries are a regressive tax on poor people, it is an established fact.

Poor people play lotteries and gamble. Rich people don’t.

Any speculation about why poor people support lotto schemes and slot parlors in disproportionate numbers is just that…mere speculation.

All of these arguments are ... strangely missing ... three days later.

Apparently poor people don't play online poker, so it's safe to keep it around for middle-class liberals like jason, who possess the requisite smarts to be trusted to make their own decisions with their own money.

Freedom: it's a tough sell, unless it's your own.


Anonymous said...

I am waiting for someone to suggest that civil liberties and free will only apply to certain people in a specific income range.

Bowly said...

I think "nanny-state intellectual inconsistency" is putting it too kindly. Hypocritical, unprincipled, patronizing...I like those better.

a most peculiar nature said...

Freedom: it's a tough sell, unless it's your own.

That should be the Libertarian motto. Great post.

Mike W. said...

I'm not surprised. Sadly it's human nature for people to want to attack the evil vices of others while making rationalizatons as to why their own vices are OK.

I'm still wondering how Jason can claim that sports betting disproportionately impacts the poor? or young people? or why that even matters? Rich or poor, people make a choice to engage in those activities, thus it is a voluntary expenditure not a "regressive tax."

I'd venture a guess that there are far more young folks playing online poker than engaging in sports betting. I know I did a bit of both in college.

Hube said...

The problem with this post is that "intellectual" and "jason330" were used within several words of one another.