Saturday, May 03, 2003


Over at O. Dub's place, commenter Leonard says this:

Once again, the essential is getting overlooked by the specific -- or, rather, we got us a big forest here. but hey! Look at this one tree!

Bennett isn't a hypocrite because he gambles; after all, as is rightly pointed out, he's never condemned gambling.

Bennett is a hypocrite because he's never condemned gambling.

Get it? His hypocrisy is not in condemning dope-smoking, homosexuality and porn, while he himself gambles; his hypocrisy is in condemning every vice except the one he happens to have. All the proscriptive arguments he makes in attacking vice could easily be applied to gambling; it's just, since gambling happens to be legal and he happens to enjoy it, he makes an exemption to his moral absolutism for gambling.

I don't have a problem with gamblers; it doesn't scandalize me one iota that Bill Bennett is a compulsive, self-deluding gambler. What's offensive -- and hypocritical -- is for Bill Bennett to defend his gambling with the argument that (a) it's harmless, (b) it's legal and (c) if it's a consenting adult doing it it's no one's business but his, and then to reject the exact same argument when it's made in defense of pornography or homosexuality (and could easily be made in defense of marijuana, were that legal).

Bennett's hypocrisy is made evident not by his gambling, but by the way in which he defends gambling.