william bennett cant be wrong: gambling is the answer

I just received this note from Dave. It concerns the evils of gambling. I thought that you might like to see it.

I was reading the NY Times about states turning to gambling as a source of revenue. Although I’m generally Libertarian in my view that government should allow the people to fuck up their own lives as they see fit, legalized gambling and especially state-run lotteries have always bugged me. They seem very unwise. Anyway, I read the following fact and thought you might find it interesting. It surprised me.

“Americans now spend more on gambling than on movies, videos and DVD’s, music and books combined, and with an annual growth rate of about 9 percent since 1991, gambling is growing substantially faster than the economy as a whole.”

Here’s the article.

May the gas cloud at your back always be your own.

For what its worth, I agree with Dave and not just about the toxic gas cloud thing. Its a sorry state of affairs when the businesses of gambling and pornography are driving the biggest economy in the world. Its very telling too.

It reminds me that were all doomed.

Gambling has been around forever. I dont know the specifics, but wasnt our revolutionary war funded in part by a lottery? Even so, I also know that gambling has cost people their lives. My grandfather for one is dead because of his gambling addiction. Its a disease and it seems quite twisted that our states would prop themselves up on such a faulty foundation. It seems to me that the costs are as significant as the value in terms of revenue. At any rate, its something to think about.

Here in Detroit, there were ballot initiatives to legalize gambling for eleven years in a row. Every year, the bill was defeated. Finally, the twelfth time, the legislation passed. The casino lobby kept raising the issue and funding the campaign, and finally they tipped the balance. It just took a dozen years, and now they have direct access to the billfolds of the people of Detroit. While its likely that people so inclined would find a way to gamble even if the casinos werent here, its now a hell of a lot easier, and were beginning to see the damage.

On a happy note, however, were told that the casinos here rake in more cash per square foot than they do in Las Vegas. Now, thats something to be proud of.

fund it with porn
I had an idea the other day. As it is somewhat related, I thought that Id mention it. The idea is this: We (you and I) could get together a porn collective, an artists collective that funds itself with the proceeds garnered through the production and sale of hardcore pornography.

We would essentially use porn as a tool with which to acquire a massive amount of wealth which we could then use launch art initiatives (many of which could be anti-porn in nature). We could also invest in alternative energy technologies, low cost housing, and affordable education. We could build an entirely good corporation by leveraging money taken from porn buyers.

The porn itself, while being terribly raunchy and crude, could have artistic and political subtext. A pictorial, for instance, could show people being fisted on a draft of the Bush tax-cut legislation.

Im actually quite serious about this. I believe we could give birth to a brand new school of art, one that takes the ideas of Andy Warhol to a whole new level, one that not only blurs, but erases the line between art and commerce.

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