Montana governor wants libertarians to move to Idaho ..

Russell Turpin deafbox at
Fri Apr 25 15:37:07 PDT 2003

>So I'm seeing this sort of Online Gambling/duty free tabaco confederation 

So here I'm going to say something unlibertarian.
Or at least, point out how laws spill across
geographic boundaries. A libertarian would argue
that a nation is, in some sense, better off if
gambling is legal. And I might even be persuaded,
if it were made legal so broadly that it became a
secondary part of culture. But gambling isn't
legal in the US. Instead, it is mostly illegal,
except for state lotteries (of course) and little
pockets where the state and community have allowed
casinos, such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Biloxi,

This has had an effect similar to zoning. Not only
are the ill effects of gambling thus concentrated,
but in the communities that allow it, gaming
becomes a dominant influence on the local economy
and the culture. The end result are places where
most people wouldn't want to go, except when
they're in the mood to gamble. I can't think of
one I want to visit, much less move to!

That makes a problem for any group that wants to
establish a libertarian island nearby. It WOULD
become a gaming center. And it wouldn't be gaming
as might develop in some theoretical, ideal
libertopia, but gaming as imported from the US.
That would not be the case, if gambling were legal
everywhere in North America. But BECAUSE gambling
is largely illegal in the dominant nation, any
nearby small island that legalizes it will turn
into a target for the gaming industry, with
significant effect on the local economy, culture,
and politics. Note that this is not a result of
libertarianism, per se, but of the non-libertarian
nature of nations surrounding the libertarian

These effects would filter what immigrants are
attracted. Most people who think they would be
lured by a libertarian outpost have some notion
in their mind of the nature of that community.
But there are many factors that determine its
nature other than its own law, including the law
of its neighbors. If the only way I can move to a
more libertarian domain is to move to an offshore
gambling haven, I doubt I would be interested. I
might anchor my boat there for a bit. But then I
would move on to more pleasant and cultural places,
even if they are not as libertarian.

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