Reason Writers Around the Web: Radley Balko Concludes His Gambling Debate for the Economist


Today at the Economist website, Reason Senior Editor Radley Balko and Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling conclude their debate over the legalization of gambling. Excerpt from Balko's piece:

In his rebuttal, Les Bernal stakes a much more absurd, downright Orwellian position: Banning commercial gambling would expand our freedom…

Mr Bernal knows it would be unpopular to argue against personal freedom. So he's trying to change its definition. In Mr Bernal's world, freedom means having the government take bad decisions away from you. To borrow from (and slightly bastardise) a song by the great Kris Kristofferson, for Mr Bernal, freedom's just another word for nothing left to choose.

And from Bernal's:

Virtually no one would disagree that some forms of predatory gambling would occur underground. Yet only the uninformed and the ignorant can argue that organised crime would be running almost 900 casinos across America, overseeing 800,000 electronic gambling machines and pushing instant lottery scratch tickets up to $50 in tens of thousands of locations in cities and towns across the country, all backed by billions of dollars of advertising on TV, radio and billboards alongside state-of-the-art marketing technology.