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Jordan Springer PHIL 103 Prof.

Seidler 5/9/13 Gambling: The Winners and Losers Consider for a moment the position you are in when you cross the threshold of a casino. The lights, dazzling and hypnotic, welcome you to a palace of future riches; the women, scantily clad and themselves wonders to behold, serve the patrons drinks with a smile and a suggestive wink; the victorious cacophony of buzzers and whistles ringing in your ears. Youre lured into a decadent world of pleasure, ecstasy, and victory. You have worked all week and it has all amounted to nothing more that the basic necessities, but here you are offered a chance to have something more. You are offered a chance to have everything you have ever dreamed of having. Youre presented with a world of possibilities. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. That is, nothing youre aware of, but how could you be? There is construct after construct, agent after agent working to ensure you never become aware of just why you are drawn to the casino. These agents are there to liberate you from your earnings, and the funny thing is they are also the ones that paid you in the first place. You are the victim of a lack of class consciousness, and youll pay for it. You will walk the ritzy floors of the casino unaware of your indentured servitude and just how much youve been manipulated into leaving with nothing but debt. You are a sacrifice to Mammon, God of the Casino, and he gnaws hungrily amidst the epic fornications of your fellow man for your crushed and beaten body to be hurled before him. All the while, youre unaware youve even stumbled into his church. Marx had something to say about religions place in society, but even more of exploitation: Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is,

therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo. Marx asserts that we are being lied to, and those doing the deceiving are masters of manipulation keen to use the very things weve accepted as part of our culture against us. These masters of mankind are ingenious enough to pervert the very faith of the people against them; is it outrageous to suggest that theyd build something from the ground up that has been fine-tuned to appeal to our most primal urges, deepest fears, and wildest wishes? Karl Marx does not believe they would be at all merciful. To Marx, all of history is the history of class strugglea lasting conflict between the bourgeoisie masters and their proletarian slavesand this conflict has culminated in the bourgeoisie pooling their resources together to ensure the proletarians will not revolt and in the meantime, exploit them for profit. The casino is just another way to capitalize on the misery the bourgeoisie propagate. Meanwhile, the slaves blame each other for their losses in these casinos. They believe that if one chose to visit the establishment and was unfortunate enough to lose, we have no responsibility to help these people. The poor eat the poor and the rich revel in the carnage. They watch with glee as we foolishly believe that we, their victims, are free and that we are any different from those the casino has fed upon. Freedom is a convenient lie the bourgeoisie introduced to the masses, for against what does a free man rebel? Rest assured, The proletarians are puppets pulled by the invisible hand of a hidden tyranny. The medianewspapers, pamphlets, and televisionare under the control of this hidden power, and with them the minds of the people. Resistance is futile, for were the proletarians to rebel against those that feed, house, and clothe them they would not be free men. They would be just so many corpses lining the altar of their golden church; the working class are just bodies upon which their empire is built. Engels, Marxs contemporary, says Naturally, the workers are perfectly free; the manufacturer does not force his materials and his cards, but he says to themIf you dont like being fizzled in my frying-pan, you can take a walk into the fire The manufacturer owns the factory, pays you enough to keep you alive, and enjoys a life of luxury in the meantime. You are not free to have what you desire because you can only afford to

live, and if you chose to fight the system, you would be easily replaced by someone else in the army of labor and youd fall by the wayside, an uncalculated statistic without a name. So when the casino weaves a tale of escape for those indebted to a system geared against the common man, it is hard to resist. The bourgeoisie have created a system in which the only winners are themselves. They dont take risks; it is a rigged game and the house always wins. The casino is just another means of capitalist exploitation. It is an incredibly alluring poison that keeps the system running while ensuring that those who pay the price to do it are not the capitalist masters, but those who have nothing to give. In this regard, gambling is a retroactive taxation policy that drains the funds of the oppressed masses and uses those funds to uphold the very system that made the proletarian so desperate to begin with. But what of the state lottery? These are not privately owned machinations against us, you say, but you forget that while the state owns the lottery, the bourgeoisie own the politicians and the lottery fulfills the same task as a casino. They extract money from fools praying for capital and private property not knowing that it is capital and private property that holds us back and binds us forever to the iron shackles of the forge, the factory, or famine. The working man loses money to the casino and begins chasing his losses. He doubles his bet to regain all he has lost and loses. And loses, And loses, And loses. The working man leaves with nothing but loss and shame to plague him forevermore and his place in the capitalist machine is guaranteed. The casino, once so full of promise, has become a shimmering tomb. Gambling lotteries, betting, casinoslike college tuition debt, all promote a disciplinarian culture. No man can rebel when he must work and no one needs to work harder than the debtor, shackled to the very power that broke him. Once more to those who would call the proletarian man a free man, these are lies. Ideologies are concocted by those who benefit the most from such deceptions, and when the determine what we think, they determine what we feel, they choose our fate and thrust it further into the darkness than we could have ever expected. They own the proletarians like the commodities the bourgeoisie forced them to become. This question is of significant importance because we can only assign blame to free men, but there are no free working men, and those making the decisions are breaking all the rules. They mean to cause us harm and pinch pennies from our blood.

Understand, look, seek-and-find exploitation wherever it may hide and be aware that it often does so in plain sight. Lined with neon lights and shimmering gold, reeking of the broken dreams of the proletarian, and awash with the deviant excesses of the bourgeoisie and their god, Mammon, the casino beckons you to step idly into its patient snare and be swallowed up in its virulent machinations.

Citation Page

John Staurt Mill, On Liberty

Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right