vendredi, août 15, 2008


Last night at the gym I watched a CNN panel of athletes and reporters debate whether the Chinese had put at least one underage girl on their gymnastic team-thus potentially undermining their claim to have legitimately earned Olympic gold.

Is a measure of the maturity of a nation the imperfection it is willing to tolerate? Or is that a particularly American perspective?

This commentary from reminds us (me) that collectivism, at least in China, ain't just beanbag. Whoever runs the machinery gets to set the create the standards.

Veer from the party line with a crooked tooth or a chubby face not fit for prime Olympic time, and you suffer the consequences.

We aren't without our would be collectivists here. Fortunately they are in a minority-or I think they are. Perhaps, after 9/11, we remain a state of fight or flight.

Every time we gear up to vote in recent elections we have gotten a drumbeat of ads seeking to quell debate on the basis of fear of the "the other." How stupid, how puerile, how insulting, I think-when I bother to listen at all. Why can't we debate issues on the merits? Surely there are enough real differences.

Why appeal to people's nightmares?

That's my mistake. Because those tactics actually work.

You can never go way wrong being generous with the "fear factor."

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