Vice Versus the State
Posted by PintofStout on November 30, 2006
This morning I heard on the local NPR station an interview with Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell talking about the state of gambling and casinos (and the incredible minutia the state is tying its puppet strings to). His comments, as always, leave me with a sense of ease and well-being knowing that the benevolent State of Pennsylvania is controlling how many free drinks the privileged few casinos (a stretch of the term similar to calling a hamburger a raging bull) can serve me. They may as well make the sales tax on free stuff 150%, too! That would solve all the state’s fiscal problems. Better yet, they could serve all the legislators all the free drinks they can’t handle and see what kind of policies come of it. I would say that would be rolling the dice, but that isn’t allowed.
What is the government trying to do when they say that something is bad and shouldn’t be allowed only to make it o.k. if it comes from them? Gambling is bad, but go ahead and spend your paycheck at the state-run lottery. Alcohol is bad, therefore only the state can sell it (or the ingenious idea of only selling it by the case!). A room full of one-armed bandits is bad, but the countries largest legislature full of two-armed bandits is just what the people need.
In Rendell’s interview he shared an anecdote about sitting at a blackjack table in some other state (remember gambling is bad) with an obviously inebriated man who had become so because the drinks were free. I’m sure the man would be inebriated if they weren’t free, but it was cheaper this way. Anyway, the dealer at the table cut the man off with nary a regulation in sight. He did it because it affected the play at his table and thus the profit to be made by beating two-faced (translating to several chinned) politicians at a game of chance. Did Grendell use this anecdote to illustrate the lack of need to regulate by force of law how many drinks one can have, or how evil gambling is not? No, that would make too much sense. Instead, his head spun around to reveal the other face (and several chins) and, contrary to all logic and evidence, proclaimed that table games such as blackjack are bad and that casinos were unable to self-regulate how many free drinks a patron can get and therefore needed the state to intervene and make absurd regulations. Bravo, you fat fuck! The theatre has never been more alive (or absurd)!