The Corner

About Barnett

Randy Barnett’s interesting piece on NRO today only confirms my sense that William Bennett’s critics are trying to destroy him because they disagree with his policy views, not because of his alleged hypocrisy. Even Barnett admits that Bennett’s problem is “not so much his hypocrisy” as his opposition to drugs. I don’t see how Bennett’s having personally been the drug czar changes the fundamental issues here. And I don’t agree that Bennett’s swearing off of gambling is an admission of earlier hypocrisy. Obviously, the efforts of Bennett’s opponents to destroy him with a storm of publicity have forced him to take that step. Still today, but even more so back in the 1950’s when Bennett grew up, there would have been nothing surprising at all about someone who smoked and periodically traveled to Las Vegas to gamble, but who thought that legalized drugs were a bad idea. Society is entitled to choose which forms of pleasure are permitted and which are prohibited. It’s always going to be a mixture. And someone has to enforce the prohibitions society decides upon. It’s silly to pretend that prohibiting one pleasure has to mean that no other pleasures are legitimate–for the enforcers, or for anyone else. There are good arguments for and against legalized drugs. There’s a strong case for the medical use of Marijuana, but also an argument that this is just an opening to further legalization. And there are lots of reasons to think of drugs and gambling as different in their degree of danger. The debate on drug legalization is important and legitimate, but that doesn’t change the fact that the charges of hypocrisy against William Bennett are bogus. Indeed, even if Bennett’s personal gambling skirts the edge of what’s excessive, it doesn’t change the principles at stake. It is not hypocritical to believe that recreational gambling is OK but recreational drugs are not.

Most Popular

White House

Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame

President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14. This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame

President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14. This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to ... Read More
World

China’s Pandemic Deception

You’ve made it to December in our annus horribilis. On the menu today: sorting through CNN’s fascinating but not completely illuminating bombshell involving leaked documents from the Hubei, China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, filling in some details about the early days of the pandemic. More ... Read More
World

China’s Pandemic Deception

You’ve made it to December in our annus horribilis. On the menu today: sorting through CNN’s fascinating but not completely illuminating bombshell involving leaked documents from the Hubei, China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, filling in some details about the early days of the pandemic. More ... Read More
Culture

Our Real Systemic Problem

America’s got a problem that’s systemic in nature. This problem has less to do with individual intentions than the structure within which our intentions are formed. That structure explains a great deal about observed disparities in wealth, and other advantages, between various racial and ethnic groups. It ... Read More
Culture

Our Real Systemic Problem

America’s got a problem that’s systemic in nature. This problem has less to do with individual intentions than the structure within which our intentions are formed. That structure explains a great deal about observed disparities in wealth, and other advantages, between various racial and ethnic groups. It ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Cinderella Man 2

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about politics, language, culture, and, this week, film criticism. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox as God and John Wayne intended, please follow this link. The Mona Lisa of Hillbilly Literature The Ron Howard film Hillbilly Elegy, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Cinderella Man 2

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about politics, language, culture, and, this week, film criticism. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox as God and John Wayne intended, please follow this link. The Mona Lisa of Hillbilly Literature The Ron Howard film Hillbilly Elegy, ... Read More