|Daily Dose of Reason - Society & Culture|
|Monday, 06 August 2012 00:00|
The Olympics represent the exact opposite of everything polite society requires.
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What I mean by “polite society” in this context are ideas that aren’t necessarily true, or that you necessarily believe—but that you feel compelled to pretend you have adopted.Polite society is actually a large number of people pretending to believe something they know isn’t true, but who fear the judgment of others if they dispute it, never considering that most of these others fear the same thing.
Polite society claims that there are no winners or losers. Yet the Olympics clearly distinguish among winners and losers, as well as different types of winners—gold, silver, bronze and so forth. Gold medals are given only to those who achieve the best, and nobody questions it.
Polite society claims that either race or class is the defining attribute of a person. The Olympics, on the other hand, treat everyone as an individual. The best performance wins, whether that performance is by a white individual, or a person of a different color—from a wealthy country or poor one, wealthy family or poor one.
Polite society claims that special advantages must be provided for groups deemed disadvantaged. For example, racial or gender quotas must be established and are violated at the cost of a lawsuit or fine. In the Olympics, there are no such artificial advantages. You either win or lose, based on your objective performance and objective criteria determined by that performance.
In polite society, you’re not allowed to view matters individually. To consider your own individual needs is considered “selfish” and therefore always wrong; and to view or judge others individually (even rationally) is considered “judgmental” and therefore always wrong. Yet in the Olympics, it’s individuals who are cheered, celebrated and rewarded.
In polite society, there is no such thing as good or bad, right or wrong. It’s not just the standard of “good/bad” or “right/wrong” that’s in dispute; it’s the fact of having a standard at all that is considered wrong. There’s no such doubt at the Olympics.
In polite society, we’re expected to believe the hogwash that nobody is exceptional. We’re supposed to actually believe it when an established leader proclaims, “America is no more exceptional than any other nation, not in its history or achievement.” Yet the Olympics celebrate exceptionalism, based on who actually performs the best.
There are so many attitudes and beliefs allowed—even upheld and celebrated—at the Olympics, ideas and attitudes that are considered shameful if not illegal in polite society.
It’s a wonder we have the Olympics at all. Or maybe that’s why we still have them. They’re the last bastion of rationality, individualism and excellence permitted by the hapless fools who pretend to rule us.