Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I agree with Catherine Deveny!


After you have picked yourself up from the floor, dear reader, you may wish to pick up today's edition of The Age and read this article by the archpriestess of indecent invective, Catherine Deveny: "Gambling revenue is a tax society can do without".

Either someone has kidnapped the real Catherine Deveny and put an imposter in her place (quite possibily one of the senior editors at The Age, fearing the inevitable defamation law suit on her account), or Catherine has found a conscience--AND discovered that she can actually make a reasoned and logical case instead of relying on insult and crudity to make her point. (For an example of her lowest ebb, you might want to fish out her column in the A2 a couple of weeks ago, or refresh your memory about this one).

But today she is all reason and logic and conscience and social responsibility as she makes a very good case for getting rid of poker machines from our society (or rather, exposes the very poor case for having any in the first place). Which leads one to wonder exactly what our dear Deveny finds herself wondering:
I have trouble reconciling my strong sense of civil liberty with the overwhelming feeling that all poker machines should be piled up and detonated. We humans are weak and some people need to be protected from themselves. We're pleasure-seeking machines programmed to a certain level and type of risk that gambling exploits. We think "It won't happen to me", despite the fact that sometimes it does.
If indeed she is right, and that the blanket cry of civil libertarians ("We're all adults and should be allowed to do whatever we like") is not, in fact, the golden rule of the moral life, then why should she draw a line at pokies? Are there not a dozen other acts of questionable morality which she has casually defended over the years that are just as dangerous (if not more) to the lives of individuals, their loved ones and society as a whole? What might this crack in her civil libertarian armour portend?

It is interestin that the editorial in today's edition is about exactly the same thing (and makes an insightful comparison between Daleks and Poker Machines). There might just be something to my theory that the real Deveny has been kidnapped by an editor...

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