A FEW months ago Mary Harney signed a document and the right to buy what are termed ‘magic mushrooms’ was abolished. Just like that. The people who were affected by this decision were not asked their opinion.
No one cared much, as usual. Some probably laughed. Who cares about a few druggies?
Now Michael McDowell has turned his attention to Dublin’s casinos and card clubs. As private clubs, these places are not supposed to have gambling for profit. But a blind eye has been turned and some of these establishments have become pretty much like any other casino anywhere.
Now, with one downward stamp of his jackboot, Michael wants to ban them all. “I honestly believe that they do not add anything to the good of life in Ireland,” the bould Michael is reported as saying.
So he looked into his heart and he knew what was good for us. This statement is breath-taking in the scope of it arrogance. It could have been said by any conservative in the 1980s about condoms or divorce or homosexuality.
However, despite Michael’s desire to protect us from ourselves common sense has intervened and he has had to do something of a u-turn. He has acknowledged that the trade would be simply driven underground or on to the internet.
So his change of mind has nothing to do with personal liberty.
I personally disapprove of gambling. I think it is a feckless form of entertainment and potentially very damaging. I think the national lottery is nothing more than a scam to get poor people to pay for things which should be paid for by the State.
So I’m no advocate for the gambling industry. But the thing is this: if another adult wishes to take the risk of blowing their money then they are entitled to do so. Most people who gamble are not damaged by it, just as most people who drink are not damaged by alcohol. It is right to put a ban on everyone just to save the few? Absolutely not.
But the way these lifestyle dictats work is that they use the majority against the minority. There won’t be a general ban on gambling because it wouldn’t suit the majority of people.
So you can see that our magic mushroom eaters didn’t stand a chance when the roadroller of lifestyle fascism bore down upon them.
As of now the plan is to have the casinos tightly regulated. Local councils will be able to operate bans in their areas. The local Talaban will have a field day.
The only people who protested about the casino ban was the casino owners. The only ones to fight the smoking ban was the pub owners. And ditto with the magic mushroom ban.
There seems to be no intellectual bell going off in the heads of the Irish people to warn them that someday the lifestyle nazis will want to outlaw the things that they hold dear.
So even if you don’t eat magic mushrooms, want to smoke while you drink, or bet in a casino, you should stand up and defend other people’s right to run their own lives as they see fit.
Otherwise you’ll have Mary Harney and Michael McDowell running your life for you.