Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Father of Mischief

Continuing my reading of Washington, I find his very clear analysis of games of chance.

.....avoid Gaming. This is a vice which is productive of every possible evil, equally injurious to the morals and health of its votaries. It is the child of Avarice, the brother of inequity, and father of Mischief. It has been the ruin of many worthy familys; the loss of many a man's honor; and the cause of Suicide. To all those who enter the list, it is equally fascinating; the successful gamester pushes his good fortune till it is over taken by a reverse; the losing gamester, in hopes of retrieving past misfortunes, goes on from bad to worse; till grown desperate, he pushes at everything; and loses his all....few gain by this abominable practice (the profit, if any, being diffused) while thousands are injured.
To Bushrod Washington, January 15, 1783. Writings Vol. 26 p. 40

Doesn't it just make you proud to be a citizen of a state that sponsors gaming of the very nature above described, promotes it as good fun, then adjures the citizenry through advertising to "play responsibly;" and gives a helpline telephone number for those who can't help themselves? And there are still those who believe it is, at worst, okay; and better, beneficial.

For this and a thousand other reasons, we must be thankful that those who fought to build a nation on solid principles cannot see us now.

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