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  • 社會篇:促賭內閣的「和解共生」

促賭內閣的「和解共生」
 

釋昭慧

  連續數日,新聞大篇幅報導,行政院長謝長廷有意開放金門離島設立賭場,並聲稱已與總統商討此事。澎湖政客馬上表態爭取跟進。一時之間,行政首長與立委諸公互相唱和,藍、綠政客異口同聲,相親相愛,謝院長果真是「和解共生」的高手,ROC也已不須「正名制憲」,「賭博共和國」(Republic of Casino)儼然即將誕生!

   謝長廷明確表示,只要地方意見一致,並遊說立法院完成修法,行政院會協助做好配套措施,中央政府已有「不阻擋」的態度。

   這樣的做法,已然荒謬絕倫!此猶不足,他竟然還希望尚存清流的立委民進黨團,也跟著「向下沉淪」,因此要求他們採取「開放投票」。他的如意算盤顯然是:要讓外界感覺:中央政府只是順應立委的主張,不得不半推半就;如果執政黨團難以扛起「促賭」污名,那就採取變通方式,讓黨團也不必扛起「促賭」責任,讓一切都只是在「無記名投票」下,成為「純屬立委個人意志促成」的一樁意外事件而已。這樣,政客個人又能兼獲開放賭禁的龐大利益,政府與政黨又不必擔負起「促賭」污名,裡子與面子兼具。但是請問:世上有這樣便宜的事嗎?

  我們強烈質疑:這樣重大的爭議性法案,謝內閣有在社會上邀請正反兩造,公開舉行過嚴謹的政策辯論嗎?有認真面對過歷年以來,反對離島開放博弈的堅強理由與鑿鑿數據,而提出負責任、有份量、有說服力的說帖嗎?沒有,統統沒有!面對賭場大亨與促賭政客的巨利遊說,謝院長即使是公然與他們合作演出一場「吃相難看」的政治舞台劇,都已嚴重失格了,此猶不足,謝院長竟還搖身一變,變成了促賭舞台劇的導演、促賭交響樂團的總指揮!

  我們嚴正反對藉諸「地方政府意志」或「立委無記名投票」手法,讓金門與澎湖離島開放賭禁,我們甚至反對「開放區域賭場」一事,僅由當地民眾「公投」決定。我們嚴正要求,若謝內閣不顧清譽而要變成「促賭內閣」,那也必須先讓正反兩造公開於媒體辯論,讓民眾充分瞭解「開放賭禁」所需承擔的後果,然後再舉行「全民公投」。原因如下:

  一、離島開賭,趨前豪賭的,或是因此而染上賭癮,致令身敗名裂、家破人亡的,多半是居住本島的民眾。因此賭博即使只開放在某一特區,其所造成之治安公害,以及政治、經濟、教育、文化等各方面的衝擊,都勢必會強烈影響全國廣大民眾。賭場之所在,即是黑金之所在,更是無辜第三者拋灑血淚的源頭,由於茲事體大,牽涉廣遠,故應訴諸全民公投!

  二、澎湖與金門設若依「博弈公投」而開賭,則馬祖、蘭嶼等離島乃至本島各市縣必將跟進,此後的骨牌效應,將使得合法賭場從離島蔓延到本島,使得台灣成了不折不扣的「賭博共和國」。

  三、伊利諾大學研究發現:開放賭博只要獲得一元稅收,必須付出三元的社福代價。離島開賭,絕非促成離島經濟發展的手段;促賭政客不必畫什麼「七百億稅收」的大餅來欺騙人民,必須老實回答我們,人民憑什麼為了「七百億稅收」,就得付出「二千一百億元」的社會救濟代價?

  藍、綠政客在台灣,幾無一事可談得攏,獨獨在促賭一事上,竟然不分朝野而相互應和,其「共生」也者,豈不是指「共同寄生」在龐大不當利益之上,迫使賭民沉淪心性,家破人亡!讓我們傷心的是,正在藍綠纏鬥稍歇,兵疲民困而猶待休養生息之時,謝式「和解共生」竟然是與黑道和解,與罪惡共生!政治人物墮落沉淪之速度如此驚人,著實令人浩歎!

 

九四、五、二三 于尊悔樓
改題為〈離島開賭也算「和解共生」〉

 ——刊於九十四年五月二十三日《自由時報》「自由廣場」
 

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Beware of the 'Republic of Casino'

`Where there is gambling, there is black-gold politics, and it will be the root cause of suffering among innocent bystanders.'

By Shih Chao-hwei 釋昭慧

Thursday, May 26, 2005,Taipei Times Page 8

 

The media has been full of news about Premier Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) intention to allow casinos on Kinmen, an idea he has apparently discussed with President Chen

Shui-bian (陳水扁). The news has politicians on Penghu champing at the bit to get a slice of the pie. From the chorus of approval rising from both sides of the

political spectrum in the legislature, it does appear that Hsieh has worked wonders at achieving harmony in local politics. In one fell swoop he removed the necessity

of rectifying the name of Taiwan, as a new ROC has just been born: the "Republic of Casino."

Hsieh has made it clear that, if the residents of Kinmen agree to the proposal and the appropriate legislation is passed, the government would lend its help. Clearly

the government does not intend to obstruct the idea.

 

There is very little sense in all of this. To make matters worse, the premier even seems to want to involve the Democratic Progressive Party in this dodgy affair by

calling on the party caucus to hold an open vote on the proposal among its legislators. His reasoning appears to be that he should create the impression that the

central government is merely bowing to the wishes of the legislators, and that it should not prevaricate in carrying out the legislators' orders.

If the caucus doesn't want to risk its reputation by being seen as a supporter of gambling, it can evade responsibility by holding a secret ballot on the issue, so

that legislators can freely express their individual preferences. Politicians can reap huge benefits by lifting the gambling ban, while the government and governing

party avoids the ignominy of being branded as pro-gambling.

 

But have the premier and his Cabinet consulted affected parties on both sides of this contentious issue, or initiated a public debate about it? Have they seriously

addressed the concrete reasons or reams of evidence against the establishment of casinos? Have they made the public aware of the numerous authoritative studies

containing persuasive arguments against the motion they are proposing? No, they have not. Not in any way, shape or form.

We are totally opposed to lifting the ban on gambling on Kinmen and Penghu, either in accordance with the wishes of the local government or through an anonymous vote

in the legislature. We are against the very idea of allowing casinos to open in certain appointed regions, even if the residents of the area favor the proposal.

If the Cabinet doesn't want to be seen as pro-gambling, it should allow people both for and against gambling to make their voices heard and submit the issue to media

debate. The public will then be able to make a decision based on information about the possible consequences of lifting the ban on gambling, and a referendum can be

held. The reasons for this are as follow:

First, the residents of the islands would be more likely to indulge in gambling if they have a casino on their doorstep, and they are likely to gamble themselves out

of house and home and ruin their families and reputations. Therefore, even if casinos are only opened in a specific district, it will still lead to public security

concerns, create a public nuisance and have an impact on politics, the economy, education and culture. This will exert a far-reaching influence on the public at large.

Where there is gambling, there is black-gold politics, and it will be the root cause of suffering among innocent bystanders. Since the decision would have far-reaching

consequences, it should be placed before the general public in a referendum.

 

Second, if gambling in Penghu and Kinmen were to be approved in a referendum, Matsu, Lanyu and other outlying islands will likely follow suit. There will be a domino

effect, eventually bringing legalized gambling from the outlying islands to the main island, making Taiwan a full-fledged "Republic of Casino."

Third, research conducted by the University of Illinois in the US found that for each US$1 the government earns from taxes on gambling, it has to fork out US$3 in

social welfare benefits. Legalizing gambling on outlying islands is not the way to develop the economy. Politicians advocating the legalization of gambling should not

cheat the public with talk of NT$70 billion in tax revenue. Instead, they should honestly explain why the public should pay NT$210 billion for social welfare in

exchange for NT$70 billion in tax revenue.

 

Politicians from the pan-blue and pan-green camps are at odds with each other on almost every issue. But both camps are in favor of the legalization of gambling. If

this is what is meant by "symbiosis," then it is a matter of both camps living in parasitic symbiosis with tremendously inappropriate benefits. It will corrupt the

souls of gamblers and break their families.

 

It is truly disheartening to see that while inter-party strife has eased, Hsieh's philosophy of reconciliation and symbiosis has turned into reconciliation with the

underworld and living in symbiosis with sin. The promptness with which our politicians have sunk into immorality is lamentable indeed.

Shih Chao-hwei is the director of the Applied Ethics Research Center at Hsuan Chuang University and founder of the Anti-Gambling Legalization Alliance.

 

Translated by Paul Cooper and Ya-ti Lin

 

——刊於九十四年五月二十六日《Taipei Times》
 
 
 

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