Friday, April 28, 2006

When Christian Conservatives become Legalistic Liberals

I have long believed that the fundamental tenet of Conservatism is a belief in smaller Government. Conservatives are supposed to support lower taxes and less Government involvement in our day-to-day activities. A Conservative does not believe it is the Government's job to protect us from ourselves or to guide and direct our morals. Those jobs fall to the Family and the Church, respectively.

There are some issues, however, when even the best intentioned of Conservatives slips into a Big-Government Liberal mindset. For some reason, many folks who are otherwise solidly Conservative in their political outlook think that we have to prevent people from participating in the "evils" of gambling. Now, why the Government should protect people from their own stupidity is beyond me.

I've heard more than one Conservative refer to gambling as a "Tax on the Stupid" or a "Tax on people who are not good at math." First, gambling is not a Tax of any kind, and calling it one waters down the principled Conservative opposition to new and/or higher taxes. Second, there are all kinds of entertainments out there that may be just as stupid and money-wasting as gambling, but we don't hear the clamor to outlaw them.

Some argue that gambling breeds crime, but like many things that are claimed to be causally linked, the proof is very hard to make. Poverty is said to cause crime, too, but Conservatives rightly counter that it's not the role of Government to protect people from poverty.

It is time for Conservatives to stop confusing what may be a sin with what should be a crime.

THANKS to DK for pointing out my typo to me.


Frank Gallagher said...

good stuff.

MDS said...

there's a key difference between the government saying that gambling is a crime vs. the government NOT sponsoring the lottery.