The concept of using gambling as a vehicle to cure poverty and attendant social problems like alcoholism is sufficiently bizarre. However, like all social engineering, the results wind up doing little for those who the programs are supposed to help and do a lot to enrich those with skills to milk the programs.
Estimates have been made that something on the order of 75 percent of the jobs that the casinos have created go to non-Indians. And, of course, once government programs start, new interest groups are created to keep them going and lobbyists like Abramoff get into the picture to skim the fat.
Particularly instructive is the insulting and condescending sense that Abramoff had of his Indian clients. His e-mails showed him referring to them as "monkeys," "morons" and "idiots."
I might be accused of overstating my case, but in fact attitudes such as these characterize the attitudes that create and drive government programs aimed at communities that are thought too pathetic to get on their feet and take care of themselves like everyone else. Abramoff simply stated this implicit attitude in a particularly bold, straightforward and obnoxious way.
There's a lot of talk in our country today about the role of religion. It's frightening to think that the banishment of the Ten Commandments from the public square is really a symptom, not a cause. The fundamental problem is that these commandments have disappeared from so many of our hearts, and particularly those of the nation's elites.
Jack Abramoff came from a background of privilege and is a product of America's best schools. We should recall, before we start trying again to fix corruption with new laws, the famous words of George Washington:
"Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."