From a reader:
Jonah, You are correct, drug use is not the right comparison. However, Bennett has spent a good deal of time condemning television, movie, and music producers for activity that is perfectly legal, but nevertheless, destructive of the things Bennett stands for. Gambling, lotteries and casinos in particular, have been shown (by the National Gambling Impact Study, for example) to increase crime, bankruptcy, domestic abuse, suicide, and divorce. Bennett’s immediate reaction to this controversy, “If you can’t handle it, don’t do it,” is to me too similar to the common rejoinder when people such as him criticize television producers, “If you don’t like it, turn the channel.” One more point. While I love Bennett, and will continue to do so, Bennett has chapters in his books entitled, “Self-discipline,” “Work,” “Industry and Frugality,” and “Honesty.” Gambling, even if one can afford it, seems to me to be contrary to these principles. I am disappointed that so many conservatives seem to be focusing on the legality of the activity, rather than the destructiveness of the activity. Sorry, one more point. Gambling is different from drugs in another way, it can be criminalized without the same effects. Indeed, Utah and Hawaii still criminalize all forms of gambling with very few problems. Being that most of the problems come from casino gambling, Bennett’s initial reaction does seem, I’m sorry, a bit hypocritical.