Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Right to Play Online Poker

I have read a lot about the legality of internet gambling and various proposals to allow us to play poker on the internet. The call for the legalization of internet poker includes the thought that we should “let the government tax it”. To me this all begs the question. The first question we should ask is does the government have the authority to prevent internet gambling at all.

At the beginning of time, when people came into being in the universe, people had absolute power and authority over themselves. No one could tell a caveman that he should fold jacks. For various reasons, including security, people banded together in groups. The caveman gave some of his power and authority over himself to the group. This is where it began to go down hill. Somehow we ended up with kings and such that claimed authority from god to rule over everyone. That lasted for a while until, for us in about the middle of the 1700’s, we said no more. Maybe you remember some of the phrases, inalienable rights, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and all that stuff. Anyway we asked the king to leave and set up another way of providing for our security and common welfare.

The federal government of the United States came into being in or about 1787. The government was created by the Constitution of the United States. In this document the people defined the government’s responsibility and the people gave the government power to accomplish these responsibilities. We the people conveyed to the government the power to govern. Before we created the federal government it had no right to control anything or anybody. In addition, we reminded the government that any powers not specifically grant to the government in the constitution, were reserved in the people.

I hear the phrase that I have constitutional rights. This most often is a reference to the bill of rights. You know those amendments that were added to the constitution about things like free speech and freedom of religion. At the time the constitution was being voted on, people were afraid that the government would try and make law about these things. The bill of rights is an affirmation that we had the rights listed already and we were not giving the government power to take them away.

Somehow everybody in America has forgotten this. Now everyone has the idea that the government is the source of our rights. People believe that the government gives us the right to drive or marry or whatever. People believe that they have to ask the federal government for permission to play poker online.

We the people are the source of the power to govern in this country. The Federal Government governs at our direction and with our consent. The federal government has no authority to prevent anyone from playing poker. We should not allow the government to extort a tax from us so that we may engage in an activity that the government has no right or power to prevent.

So what is the current status of our relationship with our government? We the People will pay you the government if you let us ___________?  You fill in the blank.  This is not how I think it should be. How about you.