"People have often been willing to give up personal identity and join into a collective. Historically, that propensity has usually been very bad news. Collectives tend to be mean, to designate official enemies, to be violent, and to discourage creative, rigorous thought. Fascists, communists, religious cults, criminal 'families' — there has been no end to the varieties of human collectives, but it seems to me that these examples have quite a lot in common. I wonder if some aspect of human nature evolved in the context of competing packs. We might be genetically wired to be vulnerable to the lure of the mob." ~ Jaron Lanier
Leave Baseball Alone!
Did you hear the news about the recent hearings about steroid use by baseball players, featuring political attack animals John McCain and Joe Biden interrogating baseball commissioner Bud Selig and players' union head Donald Fehr? It was a perfect example of government arm-twisting, as the senators tried to browbeat Fehr into agreeing that more stringent drug testing needs to be imposed upon the players. "Your failure to commit to addressing this issue straight on and immediately will motivate this committee to search for legislative remedies," sputtered McCain, "I don't know what they [the remedies] are. But I can tell you, and the players you represent, the status quo is not acceptable. And we will have to act in some way unless the major league players union acts in the affirmative and rapid fashion." Down, boy.
Fehr had said that he couldn't commit to any new changes in MLB drug testing policy. The players union still opposes testing players without cause on philosophical grounds. Imagine, someone taking a stand on principle! How dare he! Of course, Biden then had to take a swing at the Fehr, saying, "The union's wrong, here." Selig had all the backbone of a slug, saying in not so many words that he couldn't do more to suck up to McCain because of the union's resistance.
McCain also said that without rigorous drug testing, the sport of baseball would be 'aiding and abetting cheaters.' Give me a break. If anybody knows about cheating, it's McCain, who co-authored the infamous campaign finance legislation bearing his name. That law is cheating at its best (worst?). It's like throwing marbles in front of your competitors at a track meet when you're already in the lead, as incumbents usually are.
Just once, I'd like to hear someone tell these sanctimonious senators where to go, right to their faces. Someone who has the courage to remind them that there is nothing written anywhere that says the government has the authority to make the rules of baseball. If the business of Major League Baseball, and a business it is, does things that the fans don't like, they will vote with their dollars. If the fans, the consumers, feel that strongly about drug testing, they will let MLB know, and back it up on the bottom line. The fans can refuse to spend their money on baseball. If only it was so easy when the government does things you don't like. I'm sure you can think of a thing or two.
The market will decide. But governments have repeatedly shown that they don't like that to happen, because that means people are free to choose. And if people start thinking they are free to choose, then they just might choose to be free of government.