If Only the Super Bowl Could Replace Politics

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February 4, 2008

On Super Bowl Sundays, my TV remains resolutely turned off.

It's not just that football isn't my cup of tea. It's not just that I care little for fancy-shmancy-yet-insipid commercials hawking new drugs and beer and cars and life insurance. And it's not just because of the sad irony that the New York Giants are based in New Jersey.

No...it's because people are dying needlessly in the Middle East , the economy is falling into a massive recession, the American government wants to fence us within a 21st Century version of the Berlin Wall, and election disputes in Kenya have caused great violence and over 200 deaths. I could go on and on.

Meanwhile, the majority of people I know are obsessing over a football game. Well you know what? I wish the only things we had to worry about were national league sports. If our so-called "leaders" would resolve all their conflicts by throwing pigskin around instead of bombs and coercive legislation, we'd avoid a lot of suffering in the world -- not to mention be more entertained than by those fiery bouts on C-SPAN.

I'll go even further. I wish Hollywood gossip and insipid talent shows on prime-time TV weren't such a guilty pleasure or a distraction from more relevant things. I wish the news could center around traffic and weather, little league games, where to buy a house, scientific breakthroughs and financial news, and yes, even "Hollywood". These are the things that make people happy. These are the things that matter to most people. Such folks are largely indifferent to politics. They're not stupid. I'd even venture to say that they're the wise ones because they actively choose to not give a damn about the State and the wicked things it does -- psychological secession.

Unfortunately the messed-up, topsy-turvy statist world we live in now thrives off this kind of apathy. We can't just ignore oppression out of existence.

The reason so much news is "bad news" is because there's always some mention of seemingly random, senseless crimes -- and what measures and programs the Almighty Government is putting in place to "combat" them. Either that, or there's always some mention of what politicians and clueless intellectuals on the public payroll are concocting up in their ivory towers to "stimulate" the economy (i.e., control it to their benefit). Or, there's always some mention of violence and unrest here or abroad -- featuring otherwise normal people getting embroiled or hurt in what is essentially a quarrel between Politician X and Politician Y over power and unearned wealth. War, corruption, ban this, legalize that, TERRORISM, blah blah blah.

Whether it's the "grave problem" or the "political solution," surely you see how much the State is involved or invoked with all this? Our ideal anarchist society would undoubtedly experience problems, but probably not on the scale we see now, not with the massive repercussions and unintended consequences that come packaged with government initiatives.

In a freer world -- a stateless world -- communities could band together to redress their own unique issues. Markets would have their ups and downs (but probably more of the former due to the lack of statist tomfoolery and disruption). Drug abuse would be seen as a health issue and not a crime against humanity. Same sex marriage would be a boring non-issue. Restitution, not wasteful prisons that churn out hardened criminals, would be the way to deal with many crimes against life, limb and property. Technology would advance and enrich our lives. Consumer watchdog groups and similar privately-operated organizations would likely arise to promote safe products, food, and drugs instead of corrupt government agencies more interested in doing favors than actually protecting the public. And of course, there'd be zero politicians to start wars for oil.

In a freer world -- a stateless world -- I'd hedge my bets that football would actually merit the (in my opinion) overblown importance it gets now. Something would have to substitute the divisive, coercive politics that currently affects our lives. Why not football? Tailgate parties would replace political parties. Debates on "Giants versus Patriots" are more entertaining (and hurt less people) than power struggles in the Third World. Even the strictest rules set by individual team owners and coaches against steroid abuse don't compare to the ongoing tyrannical and wasteful "crackdown" on steroids by Congress. And star athletes generate more economic value in one season than Mao's infernal Five Year Plans ever could.

Alas, we don't live in our ideal world. I can't say for sure whether we'll ever approach something like it. Hell, even a limited (and perhaps less dangerous) state of the type libertarians and Ron Paul dream about, is unlikely and questionable on many levels.

But given the choice between a free world with the occasional soccer brawl like they have in the UK, and the present world full of bumbling, belligerent, spendthrift, even oppressive States, I think you can guess what I'll pick.

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Marcel Votlucka's picture
Columns on STR: 29

 Marcel Votlucka writes from Brooklyn NY.  His work focuses on the connections between psychology, culture, and anti-politics.  Visit his new website at http://marcelvotlucka.wordpress.com/