I hate the Olympics. I hate everything about them… their show-casing of murderous authoritarian regimes, their graft and corruption, their promotion of obscure sports that generate little genuine interest, their hypocritical claim of being non-commercial and non-political, their subordination of athletic excellence to soap-opera story-telling… everything.
But soon it will be nearly impossible to escape the media-hype of the Olympics. NBC has an enormous investment in broadcast rights they need to recoup. Putin needs to advertise the greatness of re-hashed fascism. And every hyper-nationalist has to obscure his regime’s abuses and claim superiority based on the defeat of a proximate foe. Dictators, oppressors, exploiters, and scumbags of every stripe love the Olympics. I don’t see why we should.
Unfortunately, even in the education policy world we will see folks attempt to channel some of the attention the Olympics generate toward their policy talking-points. I say ignore them. Even better — rather than worship at the altar of the Olympics, every time someone in the education policy world tries to harness this authoritarian and corrupt institution as part of an attention-seeking gambit, I propose that we should take a moment to sing the praises of those who advance the cause of liberty.
Sports and competition are great things. But they are only great when they are organized, engaged-in, and voluntarily paid for by free people. Otherwise they are just the bread and circuses of the new-age Caesars.