The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Gov. Christie's sports gambling plan

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has proposed to legalize sports gambling in that State. Currently, however, there is a Federal law that would prevent it. In 1991, Congress passed a law that permitted it in four states: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana, which had permitted it by a deadline specified in that act. New Jersey, which had been given the opportunity to do so in 1991, did not. So, on what basis is Gov. Christie challenging the law?

There are two Constitutional provisions that call for uniformity in Federal laws across the States: Art. I, Sect. 8, clause 1 states that “...all Duties, Imposts, and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States,” and Art. I, Sect. 9, clause 6 says that “No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.” But there is neither a tax involved, nor an import duty or other port regulation. So all I can imagine is that Gov. Christie is using the text of Art. I, Sect. 8, clause 1 and Art. I, Sect. 9, clause 6 to imply that the Constitution requires uniformity.

Actually, I hope Gov. Christie wins. I'd much rather see governments get their revenue from the voluntary expenditure of gamblers — and there will always be people who want to gamble — than by raising taxes. And I think that Federal laws should be uniform across the States; the differences in State laws is another matter. But I really wonder how the Supreme Court will rule if the case gets to them. Why should New Jersey not be able to do what Nevada is doing? Common sense is in agreement with Gov. Christie. But it's hard to make a case that the Constitution is.

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