A Sports Analogy
Posted by jemartynowski on May 28, 2008
In the modern United States, there are many issues that cause great debates: War, economics, modern culture, etc. Interestingly enough, I believe that the greatest arguments stem mostly from sports. Sure, athletics may be less important than other topics, but look at how many fun topics there are to argue about. We could go on all day about college players getting paid, steroids, and don’t even get me started about the DH. Plus, I think the best part about these arguments is that they end with less bitterness (with some exceptions).
This is why I decided to use a sports comparison that Dr. Walter Williams made about a decade ago to help describe what we Capitalists believe when it comes to how a free society should be governed.
Let’s start by taking an argument about how unfair it is in our society that there are some people who earn much more money than others. It sounds awful that there is so much money to go around and yet there are some people living comfortably earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and others who are struggling to make $25,000 in a year. That doesn’t sound fair, does it?
Well, let’s compare that to basketball. Is it fair that the Chicago Bulls won six NBA Championships in the 1990s? In 1998, should the commissioner not have allowed Michael Jordan to earn his sixth ring, simply because he was more talented, and someone else should win a championship?
Of course not. Knowing that every team played by the same rules, with the same clock and the same officiating, means that winning their sixth championship was a fair outcome. If people who disagree with capitalist ideas were able to carry their ideas forward in the sports arena, championships would be decided not by talent or hard work, but by who they think “deserves” it. Honestly, could you imagine if the NBA was run this way? Rather than spend their time and money getting better, teams would spend it on creating committees and petitions to the commissioner to give them the title. Perhaps the Cleveland Cavaliers could argue that they have never won a championship, so they deserve it this year. Now they create a committee to petition to the league. Now, the commissioner needs to create his own committee to determine each aspect of who deserves the championship. Eventually, we wouldn’t even need to play the games because the game would be who could convince the league to give them the most.
Starting to look like a familiar jumbled mess? That’s because that is what our current government is starting to look like. Millions of dollars and many, many hours are spent every year trying to convince government officials and the public to favor one group over others. Suppose, instead, we focused on having fair rules that were evenly applied and in which people voluntarily partake.
In the NBA, since the rules are clear, evenly applied (hopefully), and everyone plays voluntarily, teams spend their resources on improving their team with better coaching, improving the players they currently have, and finding better talent. If this were applied to the real world, of course we would have some people who completely mismanage their resources and end up toward the bottom of the “league,” and we could feel bad for them and offer them assistance. At least, more often than not, we would have to admit that it wasn’t the rules that put them there. Actually, if these ideas were applied, I would bet that we would have more winners than we do now.
Also, the designated hitter is the worst thing to happen in baseball.