Does Rick Santorum Believe in the Nanny State?

I don’t gamble, unless you count investing in stocks gambling. I visit Las Vegas at least once each year. I’ve never put a penny in a slot machine, played Black Jack, or spun a roulette wheel. I take advantage of inexpensive hotel rooms (Mon. thru Fri.), great food, shopping, and magic shows. The Hoover Dam is a great visit as well as a number of museums.

Don’t forget the pawn shops. The pawn shop is the best friend of gamblers who don’t know when to quit and need enough money for their flight back home. If you ever pass through Las Vegas, be sure to visit the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, a 24-hour family business operated by the Harrison family, in downtown Las Vegas. You can see them on Pawn Stars on History.com. You can learn a lot of history. Really.

But let’s get back to the gambling. While I don’t gamble, I don’t want to pass laws prohibiting other people for gambling. It’s their money. Just don’t ask me to bail you out if you go broke. During a recent interview with Jon Ralston, Rick Santorum said the following:

I’m someone who takes the opinion that gaming is not something that is beneficial, particularly having that access on the Internet. Just as we’ve seen from a lot of other things that are vices on the Internet, they end to grow exponentially as a result of that. It’s one thing to come to Las Vegas and do gaming and participate in the shows and that kind of thing as entertainment; it’s another thing to sit in your home and have access to that it. I think it would be dangerous to our country to have that type of access to gaming on the Internet.

Freedom’s not absolute. What rights in the Constitution are absolute? There is no right to absolute freedom. There are limitations. You might want to say the same thing about a whole variety of other things that are on the Internet — “let everybody have it, let everybody do it.” No. There are certain things that actually do cost people a lot of money, cost them their lives, cost them their fortunes that we shouldn’t have and make available, to make it that easy to do.

This might explain why billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson plans to give another $10 million to Newt Gingrich’s campaign.

It’s Santorum comments in the second paragraph in his above remarks that are the most troubling. This is the way liberals think and get laws passed to take care of us. The following comments from my friend Mark Horne are worth considering:

I think “Nanny Statism” is the right word. Children are supposed to be taken care of by adults. The idea is that some day they will grow up and make their own decisions and bear their own consequences.

But there is a “never never land” view of politics, both on the Left and the Right, that says people are never supposed to grow up. They have to be constrained and watched to protect them from themselves and to protect “society” from negative spillover.

Go to the book of Proverbs and ask if Solomon thought it was in his job description as king to protect fools from their folly by coercing behavior and eliminating the consequences. He seems to think that, if a fool won’t listen to wisdom, then he will become an object lesson for others by the suffering and ruin he brings upon himself.

Instead of a nanny we need a wise teacher who warns us of what will happen to us if we give ourselves up to vice. Ridding society of vice is a program that will rid us of freedom and maturity, but probably leave vice intact.

When will so-called conservatives learn? “The good parent prepares his children for independence, trains them to make responsible decisions, knows that he harms them by not helping them to break loose. The paternal state thrives on dependency. When the dependents free themselves, it loses power. It is, therefore, parasitic on the very persons whom it turns into parasites. Thus, the state and its dependents march symbiotically to destruction.”1

  1. Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, 184. []