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Ban This! Ban That! Ban This and That!
Townhall.com ^ | February 6, 2013 | John Stossel

Posted on 02/06/2013 3:30:05 AM PST by Kaslin

I like to bet on sports. Having a stake in the game, even if it's just five bucks, makes it more exciting. I also like playing poker. "Unacceptable!" say politicians in much of America. "Gambling sometimes leads to 'addiction,' destitute families!"

Well, it can.

So politicians ban it. It's why we no longer see a poker game in the back of bars. Half the states even ban poker between friends -- though they rarely enforce that.

After banning things, politicians' second favorite activity is granting special privileges to a few people who do those same things -- so big casinos flourish, and most states run their own lotteries. Running lotteries is one of the more horrible things our governments do. The poor buy the most tickets, and states offer them terrible odds. The government entered the lottery business promising to end the "criminal numbers racket." Now states do what the "criminals" did but offer much worse odds. Adding insult to their scam, politicians also spend our tax money promoting lotteries with disgusting commercials that trash hard work, implying that happiness comes from hedonism.

Hypocrisy.

Politicians also ban some medical innovations that might enhance athletes' performances. Teams buy high-tech equipment to get better results. Doctors prescribe all sorts of special medications if an athlete is injured. Competitors try dubious vitamins and "natural" food supplements.

But they better not use steroids.

The public supports this ban, but they rarely think it through. Why are steroids bad but eye surgery OK? (Tiger Woods did that to improve his vision.) Athletes will constantly try new ways to maximize their strength and endurance. Why is government even involved?

Don't get me wrong. If players promise not to use steroids but then use, that's wrong. Lance Armstrong is despicable not because he injected drugs like testosterone or did blood-doping, but because he proclaimed that he didn't, then did, then lied and bullied people, and threatened to sue them, to wreck their lives, for telling the truth. That's evil. Steroids themselves are just another form of eye surgery or better shoes.

If the NFL or Tour de France or the Big Ten wants a no-steroid rule, fine. But in America, if an athlete uses steroids, it's not just a violation of a private organization's rules, it's a federal issue. Congress has held nine -- that's right, nine -- hearings on the "problem" of steroids in sports. The pols know that yelling at baseball stars will get the pols face time on TV. There they are, bravely solving America's problems! But clumsy federal law doesn't even stop the cheating.

Politicians blithely ban this and that -- at the expense of their own constituents. Billions of dollars in banned Internet poker profits move offshore -- to countries with sensible rules.

A final stupid sports ban: Connecticut and New York will not allow MMA, mixed martial arts competitions. This booming sport is called "mixed" martial arts because it's more than just wrestling or judo or boxing, it's ... fighting. To win, one must excel at all martial arts. Yes, it's violent, but so are boxing and football. Mixed martial arts is actually safer than boxing, because the athletes don't spend 12 rounds getting hit on the head.

I can go to Madison Square Garden to watch boxers smash each other in the face. I can take little kids there to watch fake wrestling, which looks even more violent.

But Sen. John McCain called mixed martial arts "human cockfighting" and demanded it be banned. When he couldn't pass a national ban, he sent letters to governors of all 50 U.S. states asking them to ban MMA events in each state.

Fortunately, governors ignored him, and now in most of America, a new sport that brings in millions of dollars in business, opportunity and tax revenues blossoms. But not in New York or Connecticut. There, politicians wait for the lobbyists to kiss their rings. If they contribute enough to their campaigns, maybe they'll relent.

Gambling, steroid use and violent sports ought to be choices that consenting adults are free to make.

Politicians should butt out of sports.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: banning; biggovernment; johnmccain; lancearmstrong; lottery; mma; politicians; sports

1 posted on 02/06/2013 3:30:14 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
Politicians should butt out of sports damned near EVERYthing!.
2 posted on 02/06/2013 3:48:45 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Kaslin

Ban Islam

problems solved.


3 posted on 02/06/2013 3:50:28 AM PST by Eye of Unk (AR2 2013 is the American Revolution part 2 of 2013)
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To: Elsie

Correct


4 posted on 02/06/2013 3:52:01 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin

5 posted on 02/06/2013 3:57:16 AM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: JoeProBono

In Maryland you cannot drink beer until you are 21,but you can play the Lotto at 18.

And of course poker among friends is illegal .

I don’t go for steroids to enhance athletic ability because of the long term damage it may do to a person.

I give Schwarzeneggar as an example, his mind was so bent he married a Kennedy.


6 posted on 02/06/2013 4:22:09 AM PST by Venturer
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Please don't ban bumps.

ff

7 posted on 02/06/2013 4:26:39 AM PST by foreverfree
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To: Kaslin

Just begs to be photoshopped!

8 posted on 02/06/2013 4:33:35 AM PST by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: JoeProBono

If you were an elementary school child... you’d be suspended, Joe. LOL!


9 posted on 02/06/2013 4:36:22 AM PST by momtothree
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To: momtothree

Alex is just as perplexed as his mom. “I was trying to save people and I just can’t believe I got dispended,”


10 posted on 02/06/2013 4:46:54 AM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: JoeProBono

My 19 year old summed it up perfectly. “Dad, why can I go halfway around the world and die for my country, but I cannot sit in the living room with you and have a beer?”


11 posted on 02/06/2013 5:24:58 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (I own a weapon to protect my family from those wanting to take that weapon away.)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Because of insurance companies.

Look at most of the regulations and you will find insurance companies benefitting.


12 posted on 02/06/2013 5:38:51 AM PST by Chickensoup (200 million unarmed people killed in the 20th century by Leftist Totalitarian Fascists)
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To: Kaslin

Bingo for $$ is illegal in retirement communities in SC ..also 50/50.


13 posted on 02/06/2013 5:54:02 AM PST by ThePatriotsFlag (...and to the Republic for which it STOOD...)
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To: Kaslin
After banning things, politicians' second favorite activity is granting special privileges to a few people who do those same things ...

Good observation, and it demonstrates, again, that the point is not safety, protection, or avoiding harm: the point is power. Politicians get the charge of feeling good about themselves for "helping," the enjoyment of the power to give or take away, and of course, the money they're paid to allow the special favors.

14 posted on 02/06/2013 5:59:31 AM PST by Tax-chick (Watch out for spiders.)
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To: Kaslin

Following Stossel’s logic about the use of steroids for enhancing athletic performance, why shouldn’t athletes be allowed to use mechanical devices in a similar fashion? If some brainiac comes up with a way to make a bionic human whose limbs could hit a baseball 1000 feet (if the ball was not demolished by such force) or throw a ball 150 mph (if any catcher could catch a ball thrown that fast), why should it not be allowed? What if someone comes up with a drug that makes muscles perform better than even steroids? A drug that would make an average athlete superior to the best athletes now? What are the limits? Stossel says there shouldn’t be any. I tend to disagree.


15 posted on 02/06/2013 6:10:54 AM PST by driftless2
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To: Kaslin

Government has done a thorough job of usurping the function of the criminal and is becoming a greater and greater threat to the safety and welfare of the citizens having long ago surpassed any traditional criminal class in robbing, killing and marauding. The smartest criminals always gravitate to government so that they can commit crimes while pretending to work against crime.


16 posted on 02/06/2013 6:23:25 AM PST by RipSawyer (I was born on Earth, what planet is this?)
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To: driftless2
Stossel says there shouldn’t be any. I tend to disagree.

Stossel says no such thing. You really ought to READ the article before posting.

Stossel has no issue whatsoever with limits and regulations - as long as it's the league or other self-regulating sports body making the regulations. People can make their own rules, and anyone wanting to participate will be obliged to follow them.

But the government does not need to insert itself into private conduct.

The greatest test that every politician faces is to stand up to the chorus of "we have to DO something". Most times, that's just a load of crap. What I love is a "do-nothing" Congress. Let's have more of those.

17 posted on 02/06/2013 6:23:39 AM PST by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

When I turned 18 I could legally buy and consume beer in South Carolina but I could NOT vote until I reached 21. Today the situation is reversed. Personally I think 18 year old citizens can more safely be trusted with a beer than with a vote.


18 posted on 02/06/2013 6:27:41 AM PST by RipSawyer (I was born on Earth, what planet is this?)
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To: John Valentine

I did read the article. Among the points Stossel tries to make is whether taking steroids is any different than getting eye surgery. I was following that line of argument. My points had nothing to do with government infringing on private rights.


19 posted on 02/06/2013 6:45:39 AM PST by driftless2
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To: driftless2
What are the limits? Stossel says there shouldn’t be any. I tend to disagree.

Your words, not mine. "Stossel says there shouldn't be any." Your words - and false ones. That was my point.

20 posted on 02/06/2013 7:01:06 AM PST by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: John Valentine

Stossel wondered why if vitamins and protein supplements were legal, then why not steroids.


21 posted on 02/06/2013 12:39:44 PM PST by driftless2
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To: RipSawyer
Personally I think 18 year old citizens can more safely be trusted with a beer than with a vote.

I think that only about 1/2 of the 38 yo's can be trusted to vote!

22 posted on 02/06/2013 1:31:07 PM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: driftless2
Stossel wondered why if vitamins and protein supplements were legal, then why not steroids.

And? Your point being what, exactly? In fact, steroids are NOT illegal, generally, are they? You can be prescribed steroids quite legally. Stossel's problem is government deciding that they ought to be illegal for SOME, like athletes, and legal for others. This is not a proper area for the application of governmental force - that's Stossel's point. If the sporting bodies want to ban these substances, that's their prerogative. No problem for me, Stossel, or perhaps you.

I can tell you that to my certain knowledge there are some nutritive supplements with enhanced delivery coming down the pike - already being used in racehorses to astounding effect - which provide increased stamina and endurance. These supplements and the associated delivery technology are certain to find their way into human supplementation. The company behind the technology already does business with GNC, so GNC is certain to be aware of it. To repeat - these are all entirely natural and legal supplements, just delivered more efficiently.

Should they also be made illegal? Illegal for everyone? Illegal for some? Made illegal by government? And if so, to what legitimate end?

23 posted on 02/06/2013 2:34:11 PM PST by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: Tax-chick
Legislatures today address all issues with one of three actions, ban it, tax it, or regulate it, in some cases so completely that the rules effectively do both of the first two at the same time.
24 posted on 02/06/2013 4:57:39 PM PST by SoCal Pubbie
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To: John Valentine
I don't think you understand what I'm trying to get at. I'm not talking about government's intrusion. My point is: what are the limits for what athletes can use to enhance performance? Maybe steroids should be illegal, maybe they should be legalized. But does anything go? If not, why not? Steroids obviously helped a lot of athletes do things they wouldn't have done without them. A number of athletes, like Ken Caminiti, admitted as much. Steroids were not available, or not in the current form, forty years ago and more. So you have athletes today setting records they might not have come close to without steroid use.

People look at the records of great players from the past and see their records, achieved with no peds, shattered by athletes who may not have come close to those records without steroids. And when baseball cracked down on steroid use, homerun production went way down. So how can I, and millions of other fans, seriously take the records set by players who might not have come close to setting records if they hadn't used artificial means i.e. anabolic steroids to do it?

25 posted on 02/06/2013 5:56:43 PM PST by driftless2
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To: driftless2

They’re just games. I find it ridiculous that “athletes” can’t use substances I hear advertised on the radio.


26 posted on 02/06/2013 6:08:20 PM PST by Fledermaus (I'm done with the GOP. Let them wither and die. Let's start over.)
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To: driftless2

I’m sorry, but this does not seem to be anything at all like the original position you espoused. Besides, all the introspective musing in the world won’t allow you to escape the final question: Who gets to decide?

And when it comes to whether you can take athletic achievement seriously with or without steroids or whatever else, is a matter for you, and not for anyone else. Others can make up their own minds. Bottom line is, frankly, I don’t care, and I hope millions more don’t care either. Because, all this “caring” is leading us toward a society where long-nosed busybodies make more and more decisions that ought to be ours alone. Maybe I might want to take steroids - or maybe not. But I don’t want that decision left to the LLiC - that’s the “Local Libtard in Charge”. They have already started tagging non-steroids as steroids just to get them banned. This is what Fascists do.

Finally: “Steroids were not available, or not in the current form, forty years ago and more. So you have athletes today setting records they might not have come close to without steroid use.”

So what? The same thing will be true in another 40 years - when whatever performance enhancing substances have been developed in the meantime are matters for this unhealthy public “caring”. And as I said before, they are on the way, faster than you might think.


27 posted on 02/06/2013 9:44:30 PM PST by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: John Valentine
"so what"

Finally.... I ascertain that you don't care what athletes take and how it affects their performance. At least we've cleared that up. For the record, I do care. Especially if some substance or substances allows average athletes to surpass records set by superior athletes.

28 posted on 02/07/2013 3:28:48 AM PST by driftless2
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To: Fledermaus

I’ve never heard of anabolic steroids advertised on the radio, tv, or other media forms.


29 posted on 02/07/2013 3:30:08 AM PST by driftless2
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To: driftless2
Finally.... I ascertain that you don't care what athletes take and how it affects their performance. At least we've cleared that up. For the record, I do care.

For the record, I had already concluded that. The question is, do you think "something ought to be done"? And by who?

I have no problem whatsoever with sports bodies setting their own rules about anything, age, gender, drug use of all kinds, drinking, you name it. That's the nature of freedom. You don't want to play by the rules, don't play. It's simple.

But as for individuals, I can't see a problem. And as I have said, there is stuff coming down the pike that will test folks like you - LEGAL stuff that you really couldn't ban without exposing your innate bias against excellence.

Look, I wore glasses for years. I needed them as I worked with texts. Should I have been refused them because they were "unnatural" or gave me an unfair advantage, or that back in 1492 people had to do without?

I can't see a difference with athletics. Should baseball players be obliged to wear 1920's style footwear or football players wear protective gear as manufactured back in 1935, just so the stats can be leveled? Strikes me as a bit of nonsense, that's all, and besides, it can't and won't be stopped.

30 posted on 02/07/2013 6:33:59 AM PST by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: John Valentine

Wearing glasses? Glasses correct a deficiency...a fault with the body. Steroids give healthy athletes edges beyond what they’d achieve normally.


31 posted on 02/07/2013 10:26:55 AM PST by driftless2
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To: driftless2

Sorry, but you are making distinctions with literally no practical difference.

Who are you to say that one of your “average” athletes is not merely steroid deficient?


32 posted on 02/07/2013 8:33:36 PM PST by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: John Valentine

Fine. So you are on the record as supporting any drugs or measures athletes can use to increase performance. No limits...am I correct?


33 posted on 02/08/2013 3:42:06 AM PST by driftless2
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To: driftless2
No limits...am I correct?

No you are not correct, and again I implore you to actually read and understand what is put in front of you.

As previously explained, here it is again: The limits are whatever limits are agreed within a voluntary sports association such as a sponsor of competitive bicycling. Any participant under the auspices of the association would be obliged to follow the rules set up for all participants. Simple. Or, in the case of professional sports, all would follow the rules of their employment, again simple.

No need for heavy handed, coercive government head-bashing and clubbing of the uninvolved.

34 posted on 02/08/2013 6:22:33 AM PST by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: John Valentine

Well, actually you are agreeing with me. As long as it’s a private agreement with no government involvement.


35 posted on 02/08/2013 9:34:14 AM PST by driftless2
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To: driftless2

It was your use of terms like “illegal” that lulled me into thinking you had the government in mind. LOL!!!


36 posted on 02/08/2013 6:40:23 PM PST by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: John Valentine

I’m against government sticking its nose is places where it doesn’t belong as much as any other conservative. My concern is what are the limits to what athletes can put in their bodies to enhance performance.


37 posted on 02/09/2013 4:37:02 AM PST by driftless2
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To: driftless2

My basic position is that if they (the athletes) don’t stick their noses into your business, you could reciprocate.


38 posted on 02/09/2013 8:15:00 AM PST by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: John Valentine

You forget that what is the fan’s business (that would be people like me) is the player’s business. No fans, no players. If I, a fan, say what a player is putting in his body is important, it’s important. Period.


39 posted on 02/09/2013 6:48:20 PM PST by driftless2
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To: driftless2
If I, a fan, say what a player is putting in his body is important, it’s important.

Important to you.

Please, just don't ask your Congressman to "do something about it".

40 posted on 02/10/2013 4:12:26 AM PST by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: John Valentine

I’ve never asked my congressman to do anything. If I don’t like something sports related, I don’t watch it. But discovering sham heroes like Lance Armstrong brings everything down. Even if every other bicyclist was taking drugs like he was. And even if you had to put a gun to my head to make me watch bicycling. When I find out that some athlete set records only because he was training on steroids or whatever drug, I lose all respect for that athlete.


41 posted on 02/10/2013 6:08:28 AM PST by driftless2
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