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The Olympics: My Libertarian Blasphemy


I’ll admit it right up front: I love the Olympics. I love the spectacle, I love the raw competition, I love the good spirits, and I love the memories, which include those I made while watching as a young child and those I’m currently making with my young children. In this household, we are pumped.

And due to what I can only identify as an unhealthy adherence to ideology, in some Libertarian circles, that could put me in an odd detention area.  An affinity for the olympic games isn’t quite within the realm of accepted thought for a freedom lover.  It’s as if I’m the guy who showed up to the party without being invited.  “Oh… hey, no. No there’s no party here… HIDE THE BEER, TODD!”

There’s an important point here as it relates to the shortcomings of the big L Libertarian Party, and it’s one of the reasons I will proudly identify with libertarian philosophy, but don’t hang out in Libertarian Party circles.  It’s this: ironically, the party that pouts about being “left out of the debate” and attributes that to the fact that they’re stigmatized as “outside the norm” has problems accepting their own brethren because they’re — wait for it — outside the norm.   Maddening, right?

And don’t misunderstand me.  I grasp all of the problems with the Olympics.  I know how the games tend to embolden the Statists and encourage blind allegiance to a Nation State.  And I know that on the macro level, those things are incompatible with libertarianism, and bad for us.  I get it, my brothers.  I know why you hate the olympics.  And I don’t blame you — not one bit.  But you wanna know who else I don’t blame?  Emergency Department personnel who dislike the show ER.  And lawyers and cops who hate Law and Order.  And Dog Trainers who don’t like The Dog Whisperer.  In all of these cases — including Libertarians who dislike the Olympics — I sympathize with the feeling of disappointment you must feel when you see a universally-adored production that is so far from the reality that you know.

But here’s where true libertarianism comes into play.  I choose to watch the Olympics.  I choose to cheer for outstanding athletes and allow myself to be entertained.  And that doesn’t hurt you.  So why do you care?  Do I cheer for Team USA?  Yup.  I sure do.  But I also cheer for anyone else who appears to be a supreme athlete — even more so when he/she appears to be chasing a personal best or a world record. As I was writing this post, I watched swimmer Katinka Hosszu of Hungary absolutely decimate the world record in the women’s 400-meter individual medley.  That’s great entertainment.  And I don’t think about the political ramifications of it.  Doing so would ruin the enjoyment.  And all libertarians should understand that periodically, regardless of our politics and philosophy, we should suspend our disbelief, and take in some enjoyment every now and again.  It’s the same way you’re able to enjoy a James Bond flick, or the latest episode of The Walking Dead.  Is it realistic? No way.  But it’s fun as hell.

Oh by the way, you know that new Jason Bourne movie?  LOVED IT.  Deal with it.


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