Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Principles

Reasonable, thoughtful members of Congress are few and far between, but it appears Barney Frank (D-MA) is at least on-target some of the time. He gives the proper response to the idiotic online gambling ban:

"People have said, What is the value of gambling ? Here is the value. Some human beings enjoy doing it. Shouldn't that be our principle? If individuals like doing something and they harm no one, we will allow them to do it, even if other people disapprove of what they do."

Can I get an 'amen'? My only quibble is that we shouldn't even think of "allowing" someone to do something that doesn't harm others. The right is not "ours" (aka the government's) to "allow".

3 Comments:

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Speedy said...

I have a question - what if it is something that, in some cases, does harm others? Or has a high potential to cause harm to otheres?

 
At 12:03 PM, Blogger Molly said...

One thought: In an old fashioned Locke-ian sense, the government can only interfere to defend life, liberty, and property. So, if one person's action harms someone else (hurts them, damages their property, endangers their life, what-have-you), then the government can and (because of the notion of existing by contract) MUST intervene.

The question of when one person's actions MIGHT harm another gets tricky.

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger Scott McC said...

Like, if I fire a gun off into a stadium, it MIGHT harm others? Well, I think even the staunchest libertarian will have no problem limiting that behavior. Unsurprisingly, I am with Locke in this - the actions must directly cause harm to the life, liberty, property of another person. Some quasi-"harm" like, I don't like it when my husband/wife/mother gambles does not warrant STATE intervention. That requires intervention by the friends and family of said person. We can't go around limiting what for many people is an enjoyable and completely harmless behavior because some people can't handle it. I fail to see how my gambling on sports or playing online poker (not that I do either) "harm" anyone else - except perhaps those who lose money to me (but they voluntarily entered the game knowing the risks).

Was there a specific case you were thinking of, Jamie?

 

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