Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nannies Strike Again

[Sorry for the recent posting drought. Going on a short vacation leads to playing catch-up at work.]

Once again I am outraged at our representatives. The US House passed a bill that would outlaw online gambling in America (the Senate still needs to vote on the bill).

I’ve mentioned before that I play penny-ante poker at an online casino. I find it relaxing, I improve my skills, and I almost always win. And don’t tell me I could play for free. If you’ve ever tried it, you’ll see people going “all-in” with a seven-deuce unsuited. After all, it’s only free points they can renew in an instant.

Now the House wants to protect me from spending my money in a way I see fit. Their bill puts teeth in laws against online gambling and cracks down on banks and intermediaries that pass money to online casinos.

Don’t these representatives have better things to do? Shouldn’t they pass bills that would remove unconstitutional and unfair gun laws? What about homeland security concerns? What about cleaning up the tax code? What about—whatever? No, I guess the representatives are only trying to nanny us because they “know” what is best for us.

Even a Massachusetts liberal, Barney Frank, sees the bill as a new form of prohibition that will not work. Unfortunately, a lot of the bill’s supporters are Republican although many Democrats also voted for it.

It’s nannyism like this that prevents me from becoming a Republican even though they are much better than Democrats on gun rights—a primary interest.

Here’s something else to consider. With a fall of a gavel, the House moved to make it illegal to use credit cards, check, and other financial instruments to gamble online. Using this model, a future House of Representatives could pass a bill that makes it illegal to use financial instruments to buy ammunition, gun parts, gun books, or accouterments online.

A truly evil group of Representatives could even pass a bill that banned the use of financial instruments to buy guns period. One could always use cash, but even that could be regulated with harsh banking rules. Also, imagine if a gun store owner had to buy his inventory with cash. Therefore, legislators wouldn’t have to touch the Second Amendment or make guns illegal, they would just make them harder to get.

Making it harder to get guns is Massachusetts’ model. With its licensing and registration hoops, its legislators have made it much harder for an average person to buy a gun. Because there is so much effort involved, many people don’t bother with it. Or they own a gun illegally.

Nannyism is a state of mind in which the nanny believes they know best for us and want to regulate us out of our "vices.". True, one can point to people who can’t handle online gambling just as one can point to people who drink too much, drive too fast, and use guns criminally. Still, many voters find nannyism acceptable—after all, gambling is “immoral.”

Nannies are never satisfied. Their urge to do good just keeps on going. Nannies count on the support of good people who believe that “someone needs to do something about that.” Yesterday it was drugs, today it’s online gambling, tomorrow it might be guns.

Just remember, you may support a law that seems good, but eventually someone will sponsor a bill that will outlaw something you enjoy.

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