L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 272, May 23, 2004
The Most Pathetically Incompetent Empire in History
The Kaptain's Log
Exclusive to TLE
...and baseball and basketball and soccer and hockey and cricket and rugby. As a matter of fact, to hell with all "team sports" played with ball or puck. They promote fascism, communism and imperialism.
Spare me the outraged emails about how you or someone you know was saved from a life of crime by the noble virtues instilled in youth by one or another of those statist activities; I'd rather you were out stealing cars or dealing dope. What does one truly learn from participating in and/or watching the ball game sports? Lots, alrighty, but all of it is bad.
Football is as good an example as any. It starts (in the USA) in junior high school, but becomes formalised as a team that one can "go out for" in senior high. All these asinine ball sports are just war games, and poorly disguised ones at that, but high school football especially is known for its pretty cheerleaders jumping high so that their short skirts fly up while chanting such things as "Fight, Fight, Fight!" That's not too ambiguous; at once, both the desired martial activity is heard and the potential reward for the victors is seen.
In every school, members of the Varsity football team are an elite gang; the administration caters to them, and the entire "student body" is encouraged to worship them as heros. The guys on the cross-country team know that they are not important, and their meets are often not even announced. Why would anyone be interested in seeing individuals competing against other individuals? A foot race is all guts and no "glory".
In contrast, all the important lessons of imperial life (and death) are taught in football: there's no "I" in "team, you have to go along to get along, we all have to pull together, let's win one for the Emperor/Gipper; it's all there. Team spirit means that everyone has a job to do for the greater good of the team. If done well, the spoils of victory are shared, albeit not on the most egalitarian of bases. After all, some comrades are more equal than others. (Besides, there are a lot more football players than cheerleaders.)
I remember going to a high school "pep rally" back in the mid-60s. These were school-organised mass hysteria sessions designed to instil "school spirit" (blind mob obedience to the hi skool mini-state) in the proletarian masses. Afterward, one of my classmates commented, with some disgust, that, "That was just like one of those Communist pep rallies you see in Peking." (At that time, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was in full swarm.) Mind you, he was not properly indoctrinated, as he was a swimmer, and his sport was based on the dreaded individual competitions, just like the other no-glory sports of track, cross-country and gymnastics. Those sports were, and are, holdovers from the myth of Americans' "rugged individualism", a myth which, in my opinion, is well worth promoting. Who knows, one day it might even come to have a grain of truth to it.
However, in the mainstream of the state's indoctrination system, no opportunity for brainwashing the captive audiences is wasted; at half-time there is more inspirational school spirit idiocy. And just to show how we all benefit from the noble gridiron grappling, the unpopular, geeky kids get to (peripherally) participate in the farce, too. You all remember, I am sure, the ubiquitous high school marching band.
True to its Prussian roots, The Band is decked out in early 19th century military uniforms. The pale, pasty, pimpled complexions of the fat and skinny kids squint out from under the tin soldier hats in an effort to read the sheet music clamped to the tops of their trombones. And the "music" they play! Dear God, but it's the most awful, cacophonous collection of martial musical mayhem ever to offend the ear! To this day, I get sick when I hear that crap.
This chauvinism, of course, transfers from Be True To Your School to My Country Right Or Wrong, and that is the reason for the whole mindless exercise. If you think that it's easy to indoctrinate decent American kids sufficiently that they can be turned into torturers and murderers, you haven't been paying attention. It takes a dozen years of concerted, team effort from the government school bureaucracies. It's not cheap, either, but price is no object when the State has unlimited access to your money.
The ball game sports are vital to the creation of an obedient, bleating flock of sheep-like "citizens", and that is why every government school promotes them. Recently there was much shedding of crocodile tears over an "athuleet" who had sacrificed his pro ballplayer career in order to give his last full measure of docile devotion to the State in Iraq or Afghanistan, I forget which. Anyway, some of the more astute mourners pointed out that getting killed for the Gipper is exactly what all the ball playing was about, and they were all for it. Of course, they didn't have to do any of the killing or dying themselves, which is typical of warmongers.
The Romans had their Circus, but it was nothing compared to "pro sports". With television, every schmoe with a remote in one hand and a can of beer in the other can identify with "my team". Every few years, his "team" becomes the State and its military. Then the in-bedded media cheerleaders start the chants: Stop Al-Qaeda, Win the War On Terrorism, Shock 'n' Awe, Stay the Course, et cetera. It works quite well. Antiwar columnists (who mostly were not on the ball game teams) agonise over how and why otherwise sane people could be so thoroughly conned by the State. The answer is simply that they were "softened up" by School Spirit for twelve years.
In my opinion, it's time to stop allowing this insanity. It's time to home-school, it's time to burn the pennants, and it's time to trade Rah Rah Rah for shouts of...
Is America becoming a police state? Friends of liberty need to know.
Some say the U.S. is already a police state. Others watch the news for signs that their country is about to cross an indefinable line. Since September 11, 2001, the question has become more urgent. When do roving wiretaps, random checkpoints, mysterious "detentions," and military tribunals cross over from being emergency measures to being the tools of a government permanently and irrevocably out of control?
The State vs. the People examines these crucial issues. But first, it answers this fundamental question: "What is a police state?"
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