Gosh. So ol’ Billy Bennett is a gamblin’ man.
I have to confess that just for a moment, I was tempted to dismiss the news with a yawn.
It’s not necessarily hypocritical to espouse a standard to which one fails to live up in practice. Remember when the world learned that a famed conservative historian had a mistress and liked to get spanked? At the time he remarked, “I still believe in family values.” Well, some people thought that remark was hypocritical. I didn’t, and I defended it. He really did believe in “family values,” I said, and he wasn’t willing to renounce those values just because he himself didn’t embody them in every respect.
I was briefly tempted to take the same tack with Bennett. “So he gambles,” I was tempted to argue. “That doesn’t make him a hypocrite; he genuinely believes the bland, boring tripe he spouts in those bland, boring kiddie books of his, even if he doesn’t live up to it himself.”
But then I remembered his victims.
In particular, I remembered the late Peter McWilliams, who, like many others, paid with his life for Bennett’s allegedly high allegedly moral alleged standards.
McWilliams was the author of, among other books, Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country. McWilliams gave a speech to the Libertarian Party on the Fourth of July, 1998; you can read it here if you want to know what McWilliams said about Bennett and his moronically deadly policies.
It’s not up to me to “forgive” Bennett. It’s up to his victims. And many of his victims, including McWilliams, are dead.
I have no doubt that McWilliams would forgive Bennett; in fact, he may already have done so.
But that’s because McWilliams was a vastly better human being than the self-righteous power-seeking “drug czar” whose idiotic policies resulted in his tragic death.
May 9, 2003