Skip to comments.Ban This! Ban That! Ban This and That!
Posted on 02/06/2013 3:30:05 AM PST by Kaslin
I like to bet on sports. Having a stake in the game, even if it's just five bucks, makes it more exciting. I also like playing poker. "Unacceptable!" say politicians in much of America. "Gambling sometimes leads to 'addiction,' destitute families!"
Well, it can.
So politicians ban it. It's why we no longer see a poker game in the back of bars. Half the states even ban poker between friends -- though they rarely enforce that.
After banning things, politicians' second favorite activity is granting special privileges to a few people who do those same things -- so big casinos flourish, and most states run their own lotteries. Running lotteries is one of the more horrible things our governments do. The poor buy the most tickets, and states offer them terrible odds. The government entered the lottery business promising to end the "criminal numbers racket." Now states do what the "criminals" did but offer much worse odds. Adding insult to their scam, politicians also spend our tax money promoting lotteries with disgusting commercials that trash hard work, implying that happiness comes from hedonism.
Politicians also ban some medical innovations that might enhance athletes' performances. Teams buy high-tech equipment to get better results. Doctors prescribe all sorts of special medications if an athlete is injured. Competitors try dubious vitamins and "natural" food supplements.
But they better not use steroids.
The public supports this ban, but they rarely think it through. Why are steroids bad but eye surgery OK? (Tiger Woods did that to improve his vision.) Athletes will constantly try new ways to maximize their strength and endurance. Why is government even involved?
Don't get me wrong. If players promise not to use steroids but then use, that's wrong. Lance Armstrong is despicable not because he injected drugs like testosterone or did blood-doping, but because he proclaimed that he didn't, then did, then lied and bullied people, and threatened to sue them, to wreck their lives, for telling the truth. That's evil. Steroids themselves are just another form of eye surgery or better shoes.
If the NFL or Tour de France or the Big Ten wants a no-steroid rule, fine. But in America, if an athlete uses steroids, it's not just a violation of a private organization's rules, it's a federal issue. Congress has held nine -- that's right, nine -- hearings on the "problem" of steroids in sports. The pols know that yelling at baseball stars will get the pols face time on TV. There they are, bravely solving America's problems! But clumsy federal law doesn't even stop the cheating.
Politicians blithely ban this and that -- at the expense of their own constituents. Billions of dollars in banned Internet poker profits move offshore -- to countries with sensible rules.
A final stupid sports ban: Connecticut and New York will not allow MMA, mixed martial arts competitions. This booming sport is called "mixed" martial arts because it's more than just wrestling or judo or boxing, it's ... fighting. To win, one must excel at all martial arts. Yes, it's violent, but so are boxing and football. Mixed martial arts is actually safer than boxing, because the athletes don't spend 12 rounds getting hit on the head.
I can go to Madison Square Garden to watch boxers smash each other in the face. I can take little kids there to watch fake wrestling, which looks even more violent.
But Sen. John McCain called mixed martial arts "human cockfighting" and demanded it be banned. When he couldn't pass a national ban, he sent letters to governors of all 50 U.S. states asking them to ban MMA events in each state.
Fortunately, governors ignored him, and now in most of America, a new sport that brings in millions of dollars in business, opportunity and tax revenues blossoms. But not in New York or Connecticut. There, politicians wait for the lobbyists to kiss their rings. If they contribute enough to their campaigns, maybe they'll relent.
Gambling, steroid use and violent sports ought to be choices that consenting adults are free to make.
Politicians should butt out of sports.
In Maryland you cannot drink beer until you are 21,but you can play the Lotto at 18.
And of course poker among friends is illegal .
I don’t go for steroids to enhance athletic ability because of the long term damage it may do to a person.
I give Schwarzeneggar as an example, his mind was so bent he married a Kennedy.
Just begs to be photoshopped!
If you were an elementary school child... you’d be suspended, Joe. LOL!
Alex is just as perplexed as his mom. “I was trying to save people and I just cant believe I got dispended,”
My 19 year old summed it up perfectly. “Dad, why can I go halfway around the world and die for my country, but I cannot sit in the living room with you and have a beer?”
Because of insurance companies.
Look at most of the regulations and you will find insurance companies benefitting.
Bingo for $$ is illegal in retirement communities in SC ..also 50/50.
Good observation, and it demonstrates, again, that the point is not safety, protection, or avoiding harm: the point is power. Politicians get the charge of feeling good about themselves for "helping," the enjoyment of the power to give or take away, and of course, the money they're paid to allow the special favors.
Following Stossel’s logic about the use of steroids for enhancing athletic performance, why shouldn’t athletes be allowed to use mechanical devices in a similar fashion? If some brainiac comes up with a way to make a bionic human whose limbs could hit a baseball 1000 feet (if the ball was not demolished by such force) or throw a ball 150 mph (if any catcher could catch a ball thrown that fast), why should it not be allowed? What if someone comes up with a drug that makes muscles perform better than even steroids? A drug that would make an average athlete superior to the best athletes now? What are the limits? Stossel says there shouldn’t be any. I tend to disagree.
Government has done a thorough job of usurping the function of the criminal and is becoming a greater and greater threat to the safety and welfare of the citizens having long ago surpassed any traditional criminal class in robbing, killing and marauding. The smartest criminals always gravitate to government so that they can commit crimes while pretending to work against crime.
Stossel says no such thing. You really ought to READ the article before posting.
Stossel has no issue whatsoever with limits and regulations - as long as it's the league or other self-regulating sports body making the regulations. People can make their own rules, and anyone wanting to participate will be obliged to follow them.
But the government does not need to insert itself into private conduct.
The greatest test that every politician faces is to stand up to the chorus of "we have to DO something". Most times, that's just a load of crap. What I love is a "do-nothing" Congress. Let's have more of those.
When I turned 18 I could legally buy and consume beer in South Carolina but I could NOT vote until I reached 21. Today the situation is reversed. Personally I think 18 year old citizens can more safely be trusted with a beer than with a vote.
I did read the article. Among the points Stossel tries to make is whether taking steroids is any different than getting eye surgery. I was following that line of argument. My points had nothing to do with government infringing on private rights.
Your words, not mine. "Stossel says there shouldn't be any." Your words - and false ones. That was my point.