Worse Than Nothing


Earthlings are fast turning into Martians, but in at least one respect I myself have felt like a Martian forever: I've always been puzzled by the fact that some professional sportsmen earn millions of dollars. But it's mostly a market result, even if those millions of market decisions by sports customers are crucially conditioned by an artificially distorted and degraded popular culture. And, after all, the fact that Michael Jackson and countless other such twistees of the "entertainment" industry earn untold millions is much more offensive.

Now a fellow named Pat Tillman has been killed in action with the imperial Rangers in Afghanistan. Tillman, it turns out, is a former professional footballer for a team called the Arizona Cardinals, which is part of the National Football League. According to The New York Times, Tillman "walked away from a successful career in the National Football League in 2002 to join the Army . . . .

". . . As an unrestricted free agent in 2002, he turned down a three-year, $3.6 million contract offer from the Cardinals" in order to go to work for Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the other criminals. ("Former N.F.L. Player Killed in Afghanistan" by Kirk Semple, April 23, 2004)

Tillman is being celebrated as a hero by all the courtiers and regime-dupes. Nowadays the System has to confect its heroes out of unlikely material; really all you have to do is get killed, banged up, or captured, so long as you are serving the Empire when it happens. But in fact Tillman was no hero; he was a sucker.

A man who defends his country is not a sucker. He may well be a hero -- a real hero of the old-fashioned sort. But Tillman was not defending his country. He was promoting imperialism and criminal war. He had turned his fate over to evil men embarked on an evil enterprise. He threw his life away, but not for nothing. He threw it away for worse than nothing. He threw it away in the cause of imperialism and criminal war.

It would have been far better, far wiser, and far more honorable for footballer Tillman to stay home and play games all his life. Far better to let people heedlessly shower millions of dollars upon him for playing those games than to heedlessly sacrifice himself to Moloch.

Hard words. Hard truth. But until we recognize such hard truths, the human wolves who rule us will be able to sucker hundreds and thousands of other young Americans into throwing their lives away for worse than nothing.

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Nicholas Strakon's picture
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