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Mobile Moral Compass
Authored March 2, 2004
Tonight's Caucus
Minnesota has this wonderful thing called a caucus. In states with a primary they simply have the voters go to the polls, pull the lever and leave. The caucus allows citizens to actually have a direct voice in the political process at the most basic (precinct) level. Here a person can offer proposals to change, add or delete planks from their party's platform and then have the precint vote on accepting it or not.

The largest precinct that I have seen contained about 25 people. The largest that I have been in was tonight's which had about 18. This is control by the people. Only about 3% of registered voters show up to the caucus. Despite the poor turnout for the caucus I believe that this is the best system.

Stop The Nanny State
I have heard conservative after conservative use the exact phrase "stop the nanny state". The complaint is that government should not be our protector from all ill and risks, especially those that are the result of life in general or those that are the result of our own personal choices.

I agree with this philosophy. The state being our protector is an improper role for the state.

Gambling in Minnesota
The current state of gambling is that the Indians can have casinos on the reservations. The state is allowed to have horse racing (and simulcasting) as well as the lottery (which includes pull-tabs and scratch offs). The state regulates to a limited degree the casinos, but there is no revenue at all that goes from the casinos to any Minnesotan citizen.

There is a growing movement to allow either state run casinos and/or private casinos. There are a few different reasons for the support of this. One of them is simply to give a new source of revenue to the state. Another is to make the Indian tribes realize that they have been playing the sovereignty/state dependency line for too long. Yet another in a long line of reasons is that the tribes do not share in any of the infrastructure costs leading to the casinos and this would allow the state to recoup those costs.

Suffice it to say that there exists gambling in the state and that there are sufficient reasons to allow it to continue.

Support The Nanny State
When I read in the the Republican State Party Platform that the platform calls for a ban of state sponsored gambling I figured now is a good time to remove that plank from the platform.

I was wrong.

Imagine my shock to hear these "conservatives" opposing an "expansion of gambling" because it is the state's job to prevent anymore people from becoming addicted to gambling.

WHAT? "What about personal responsibility?" I asked. They retorted with, "We can't have more people addicted to gambling."

It gets better (well, actually, worse). The next line of opposition was that there would be gambling in every gas station and that would be a bad thing. "You mean like the lottery?" There was no answer.

We can not allow something that is so possibly addictive to be so easily accessible, especially in the metropolitan area. (I do not understand what sense that makes, but a few people agreed with it.)
"You mean like alcohol or beer?"

Again there was no response except to reiterate that the state can not allow more addiction to gambling.

The Mobile Moral Compass
And with that it became clear that even at the most local level there was no consistency in beliefs. To confront an inconsistent rationale was taboo and the response was to ignore it. Sadly, this is the way things are with the average person. The fact that it permeates throughout every aspect of life was only proven again tonight.

Many people do not like to face this fact, but the behaviors that are cynically attached to politicians are those that are in everyday people. Tonight's experience shows that everyone has a Mobile Moral Compass. There are plenty of examples from the left, the right, the moderates and independents. Plenty of examples of this are found in politicians, friends, family members, co-workers and enemies as well.

Knowing it exists is half the battle. The other half is to change it.