State Lotteries Disgust Me

State-sponsored gambling disgusts both sides of my political personality. My cold, rational, libertarian side is completely offended by the idea of the state banning a commercial activity between consenting adults in order to have a monopoly over that activity and use it to raise money from the population. It just aggravates the offense that (1) the gambling ban is based on moralistic principles, which principles are then conveniently forgotten in the pursuit of lottery money; and (2) not only do we have the lottery, but my tax dollars go to finance ads encouraging people to gamble in them.

And then my warm, fuzzy, liberal side is absolutely disgusted by the idea that my tax dollars are going to ads to encourage people to gamble away their livelihoods via lies like “everyone deserves a bonus! daily scratch is the best way to get a bonus!” (yes, that’s more or less a quote from a radio ad). Okay, if people want to go out and piss away money they can’t really afford gambling, it is their right to do so, but do my taxes have to be used to entice them to do it? And does my very own government have to be the agent of their corruption?

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