OLYMPICS Shaming Could Be the Best Fix for Olympic Doping … At the Olympics, we’re witnessing some serious cases of public shaming. Victorious competitors are publicly ostracizing those who once used performance-enhancing drugs. To take just one example, Australian Mack Horton, gold medalist in the 400-meter freestyle, pointedly refused even to acknowledge China’s silver medalist Sun Yang, who had been suspended for doping. “I don’t have time or respect for drug cheats,” Horton said later. – Bloomberg
We’d much rather see the Olympics abolished than drug taking. It could be done easily enough by putting pressure on countries not to fund them.
We’re not aware of intellectual pursuits being funded in the same way. Poets don’t gather every few years to perform at the public’s expense, but ice-skaters do.
It’s bad enough that the Olympics exist but now the wretched spectacle could be expanded to “public shaming” of “drug cheats.”
We don’t agree that people who take drugs ought to be prosecuted by the state. And we don’t agree, either, that these massive and unnecessary sports spectacles ought to take place with great frequency at taxpayer expense.
This article (featured above) is written by Cass R. Sunstein. We last commented on an article of his when he endorsed a Supreme Court Decision on expansive, federal regulatory power; HERE.
Susntein is a kind of philosophical authoritarian who is famous for his “nudge” system of social change, wherein government can gradually create chosen behaviors via various ongoing incentives.
Here’s some more from him on the Olympic issue:
… In international competitions, athletes get to know each other, and they often become friendly. If an athlete knows that doping will mean contempt or ostracization from her peers, deterrence will increase.
In other words, nobody wants to be on the receiving end of the opprobrium directed at Yulia Efimova, a Russian suspended for doping in 2014. Booed by the audience and ignored by the triumphant gold medalist swimmer Lilly King, silver medalist Efimova was nearly reduced to tears during a post-race news conference. King was unmoved, saying, “I’m not a fan.”
What Sunstein wants somehow – he’s not clear on how – is to encourage top athletes to shame those who have “cheated” by using drugs to enhance their performance.
Now the only way knows for sure who to shame is by previous exposure. Thus, Sunstein is suggesting that those who have been punished and worked their way back into competition ought to be subject to more punishment via public humiliation.
Government bureaucrats presumably love the Olympics because they aggrandize the nation state. States don’t really exist except as an aggregation of lines on a map. But during Olympics, nationalities are promoted incessantly.
Additionally, Olympic officials emphasize that the intention of the Olympics is to promote “peace.” Yet in actuality, the Olympics pit athletes and nations against one another. If anything, the Olympics exacerbate international tensions.
They can also prove quite costly to their individual sponsors. It is often emphasized that Olympic facilities can be re-used, but in practice, whole infrastructures are often abandoned after the games are done.
Perhaps what the Olympics process does most effectively is to encourage international corruption via the bribes and other underhanded financial conduct that politicians engage in to gain Olympic venues.
This corruption is occasionally commented on, but athletes who cheat may receive enormous public exposure. This is simply part of the larger authoritarian mania afflicting the news coverage in the 21st century.
Years ago, athletics might have been seen as a place of respite from the law enforcement’s ever expanding assaults on every aspect of people’s behavior. But not anymore. Today, many sports events features various kinds of speculation regarding drug taking drug testing almost as much as they do speculation about who will win or lose.
Sports have become, more than ever, a metaphor for state control. We are encouraged to perceive the sports spectacle as a metaphor for the way society in general operates most effectively – with “players” performing as best they can and “referees” and “officials” monitoring their every move to make sure no one is cheating.
In fact, real life is a good deal more complicated than a game and motivations are not so simple and results are not so clear cut.
The Rio Olympics are a good example of the negatives we increasingly associate with the Olympics. Now add to this Sunstein’s suggestion regarding public shaming. Even the winner’s circle is not going to be exempt from travails of drug abuse. Those who have previously been caught using drugs are to be exhibited weeping in shame while the medals are awarded.
Get rid of state-funded Olympics. Why should taxpayers – who pay for all sorts of useless and offensive items – have to shoulder the burden for this increasingly politicized spectacle?
And while we’re at it, let’s legalize performance enhancing drugs. By making them illegal, we’re forcing the usage underground, which makes their consumption dangerous and the drugs themselves unreliable.
The Olympics and those who back the banning of such drugs literally have blood on their hands. The physical suffering and injury of athletes who take such drugs is largely a result of their determined banning and lack of formal safety controls that would be available were such drugs decriminalized.
Public shaming of drug users is just one more offensive element in a tapestry of such elements. The cost of the Olympics, the corruption, the aggrandizement of the state and the general waste of the public’s money are all reasons to remove or reduce Olympic presentations.
Conclusion: If people want to play sports, why can’t they do it on their own without such costly public displays? Ironically, if one de-emphasized Olympics, one would also remove the temptation to take performance enhancing drugs. One of the best ways, therefore, to shrink drug-use is to shrink the Olympics.
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