The Corner

A P.S. On Vice

While I am not at all an enthusiastic defender of gambling, I’m not certain that “vice” is even the right word for Newsweek and others (though I wonder if this will go too much beyond the Saturday New York Times) to use. According to the Catechism of Bennett’s church, “Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others.” As Jonathan noted, Bennett, who has made no secret that he gambles, told The Washington Monthly (repackaged by Newsweek in an added attempt to make it news even if it isn’t): “I play fairly high stakes. I adhere to the law. I don’t play the ‘milk money.’ I don’t put my family at risk, and I don’t owe anyone anything.” Assuming that’s all true, it might not be my preference for spending a weekend away from work, but it’s legal and probably not immoral, so long as the gambler knows his responsibilities.

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