SIN, SIN, SIN!….So it turns out that virtue czar Bill Bennett is a bit overfond of gambling. The comeuppance is pretty amusing, and since I think Bennett is one of the most annoying little prigs around I guess I’m all in favor of piling on over this.
As Atrios points out, there’s nothing wrong with gambling per se, and Bennett has never condemned gambling, so he’s not a hypocrite. But why not? Why did he write book after book condemning other private conduct such as homosexuality, drug use, porn, etc., but never included gambling in that list of sins? It is certainly a coincidence that he blamed the decline of western civilization on an entire catalog of garden variety sins except for the one he happened to practice himself, no?
Actually, though, my favorite part of the article was this:
Bennett claims he’s beaten the odds: “Over 10 years, I’d say I’ve come out pretty close to even.”
“You can roll up and down a lot in one day, as we have on many occasions,” Bennett explains. “You may cycle several hundred thousand dollars in an evening and net out only a few thousand.”
But the guy only plays slot machines. It’s literally impossible to believe that he’s gambled millions of dollars over the span of a decade on slot machines and come out ahead. One might as well believe that in a gigantic thermodynamic coincidence all the air in a room suddenly drifted off into a corner and that’s why there’s a dead body on the floor.
So not only is he a gambler, he’s obviously a liar too. His sins are mounting….
UPDATE: It just occurred to me to go check and see what the Cornerites have to say about this. Jonah Goldberg’s not sure; before he writes anything he wants to know if any other conservatives think this is a big deal. Way to stick to your guns, Jonah! Better check with the Wurlitzer before you make up your mind.
Jonathan Adler, on the other hand, needs no hand holding: gambling is perfectly legal, so there’s nothing wrong with it. Even if, um, you do make a living telling everyone else that they should rein in their animal urges. Note to Jonathan: cheating on your wife is legal too. For now, anyway.
Kathryn Jean Lopez opines that “Bennett’s never sold himself as the model of virtue,” he’s only written lots of books about the virtues of being virtuous. She continues: “You know, there are conservatives who drink, too. And some are divorced.” Funny how conservatives only seem to object to other people’s vices, isn’t it?