Over the weekend I saw an article claiming that 70% of Australians wanted something done about gambling. As usual that “something” is code for government intervention of some description. The end result is generally inconvenience for the majority with no impact on the intended market.
I buy lotto about three times a year and last put $2 on a roulette wheel over 10 years ago so any changes that may be made will not affect me.
However the ongoing “assaults” on gamblers and others whose pastimes are deemed “bad for them” reminds me of these famous words by Martin Niemoller.
When the Nazi’s came for the communists I remained silent; I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats I remained silent; I was not a social democrat.
Then they came for the trade unionists but I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me there was no one left to speak out.
Lets get something clear. Smoking is bad for your health and it is far better if people choose not to smoke. Excess alcohol consumption is hazardous not only to the individual but also those they may come into contact with. Gambling more money than you can afford to lose also harms the individual and potentially those around them.
However despite all the “awareness” that we have today some people continue to choose to indulge in habits which others disapprove of. In centuries gone by this would have been portrayed as moral weakness. In today’s era of moral relativism it is described and presented in “evidence based” health terms.
Rather than being morally wrong to gamble the rent, it is an illness or the fault of the casino. Hence the individual is portrayed as powerless to stop unless the nanny state steps in. This powerlessness is exactly the same view as we had in the old days when people were possessed. Today instead of being demonic forces it is “brain biochemistry” that they are hostage to.
The central point here is that people can and do make choices. Some will make choices, which others don’t like. Some will make choices, which may be seen as “not in their best interests”. This will occur even when they have all the information and are “fully aware”.
It is easy for the rest of us to ignore attacks on the rights of smokers or gamblers, as it does not affect us. But much as in the parable above what happens when the nanny statists come for their next target.
A Canadian mother was fined for not putting processed food in her child’s lunch. That’s right a homemade lunch of roast beef, vegetables, milk and oranges did not meet the Manitoba legal requirements. The centre provided Ritz crackers and “charged” the mother $10. The crackers (full of additives and sugar) meet the standards of being a “grain”.
And then they came for mothers!
The monetary amount is not the issue. The issue is that the state dictates what a mother can feed her children. This would be unacceptable anyway but the state is WRONG in its view of what constitutes a healthy lunch.
Their view will no doubt be informed by guidelines and protocols designed by the public health lobby. In turn this lobby constantly bleats for more funding. And never tires of looking for new ways to impose its particular world view on others.
To quote C.S. Lewis; “Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive”.
The argument of the nanny statists is that their policies are “good for us”. Maybe they are but that is actually irrelevant. What is relevant is whether others have the right to impose on me their view of what is good for me.
I am a great believer in people looking after their health and am dedicated to assisting where I can. However I absolutely respect the rights of people to choose not to prioritize their health if that is their wish.
When a mother is penalized for not feeding her child processed packaged food by the nanny state, it means they have come for the rest of us.
Who will join me and speak out?