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Did Rand have any known views on pure gambling? Did she ever gamble at a casino? Did she ever play slot machines or roulette?

Edit: I'm not asking about her views on the legality of gambling. I think they can be clearly inferred by her views on politics.

asked Dec 21 '11 at 17:55

anthony's gravatar image

anthony
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edited Jan 05 '14 at 14:12

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

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There are a number of references to gambling in Atlas Shrugged, mostly in rebuttal to the claim by rationality's detractors that gambling is what businessmen and industrialists are doing when they invest, build and produce. There is also a psychologically more revealing reference to gambling in For the New Intellectual, p. 10 in the Signet paperback edition:

An Attila never thinks of creating, only of taking over.... His pleasures are closer to the level of sensations than of perceptions: food, drink, palatial shelter, rich clothing, indiscriminate sex, contests of physical prowess, gambling -- all those activities which do not demand or involve the use of the conceptual level of consciousness.

This excerpt doesn't say that all gamblers are Attilas, but it provides insight into how Ayn Rand viewed the nature of gambling.

The question isn't very specific about what sort of "view" is being sought. Politically, Objectivism would say that gambling, though all too often morally bad (self-destructive), should not be illegal; it does not constitute an initiation of physical force against others. Gambling in moderation, if one can afford it and enjoys it, may be a primitive form of pursuing happiness -- as long as it isn't carried beyond merely an enjoyable game which one expects to lose in the long run (barring a game that involves skill of some kind, in which case it isn't pure gambling).

I've also noticed that slot-machine gambling, perhaps more than other forms, invites evasion. The machines routinely give payouts, which can lull an unsuspecting concrete-bound player into hoping for more payouts and perhaps coming away with more in payouts than he put in. The payout-to-pay-in ratio may go as high as 80% or more, and one actually can come out "ahead" for awhile. But if one thinks it can keep going on for a longer period of time, the statistics eventually catch up and the house ultimately wins. I could never be happy throwing my own money into a vain hope of that kind.

answered Dec 22 '11 at 02:38

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦
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"Gambling in moderation, if one can afford it and enjoys it, may be a primitive form of pursuing happiness -- as long as it isn't carried beyond merely an enjoyable game which one expects to lose in the long run"

If Rand ever said anything like that I'd find it very interesting (especially since I assume she'd explain such a statement). It seems to be a common answer, but I think it's overly simplistic, even somewhat hedonistic. To say that something may [objectively] be a form of pursuing happiness, one must show more than just that people enjoy it.

(Dec 23 '11 at 09:13) anthony anthony's gravatar image

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Asked: Dec 21 '11 at 17:55

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Last updated: Jan 05 '14 at 14:12