Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Forget Your Father’s "Dreams" . . .

. . . how about some good old-fashioned "Wisdom" from our fathers or, failing that, from our grandfathers? Victor Davis Hanson offers some today at the close of an article discussing the lessons to be learned from the financial mess we’ve all created: "Save your money. Don’t borrow what you can’t pay back. Look first at a man’s character, not his degrees. And if a promised return on an investment seems too good to be true, it probably is." Good advice like this is hard to come by these days because we have gotten out of the habit of understanding it. It is even harder to take such advice when we have gotten out of the habit of desiring to deserve our gains more than we desire the gains themselves. But perhaps, in the end, this mess will have a chastening effect as the baubles of illusory gain appear more and more illusory and it becomes clear to more and more people that the only reliable way to achieve some level of material success is to put the bulk of one’s effort into the service of deserving it.

Discussions - 6 Comments

So we should all oppose legalized gambling, especially the use of lotteries for public revenue. What do the libertarians say?

Steve, in truth, my only objection to ending all legalized gambling would be on prudential grounds. There's something to be said for the steam vent on a pressure cooker, etc. And, in the grand scheme of things, this probably isn't our largest domestic fiscal or moral problem--certainly not right now. But, in principle, I probably would favor reasonable efforts to end state lotteries . . . if they were properly pursued. I think lotteries exploit the poor and the ignorant, teach a poor moral lesson with the appearance of government sanction and, in short, they are a disgrace. I'm sure libertarians will disagree but, since I'm not one, I feel no pressure to think inside their box.

Julie, I agree with your point about prudence.

1) VDH and your post is why I opposed the bailout, which has of course not done anything but waste tax dollars trying to stop the inevitables of the market.

2) As for "legalized gambling-" sure if we really legalize it. No state has legalized gambling, they just have small state-granted monopolies. Gambling isn't profitable, even for the casino, if it has to compete in the open market. The only reason that gambling appears economically beneficial is that access is restricted. Take away the state-granted monopolies and investors would have way better things to build than a casino. A nationwide ban on gambling or complete free market gambling would lead to the same end--no gambling.

People, you might be interested in Hugh Hewitt's interview of VDH, from yesterday, which can be found on Hugh Hewitt's website at It was a 2 hour interview; it's worth the while.

Clint . . . I begin to wonder if despite your admonitions against "prudence" yours might, ironically, have been the better part of prudence. But I think it is still too soon to say for certain one way or the other.

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