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[RC] Boycotting Sporting Events (was: UAE Culture) - k s swigart

Heidi said about the 1936 Olympics:

What WOULD we have learned or accomplished by NOT going?

As I said in my original post on the subject, since it didn't happen
that way (i.e. we DID go...although it wasn't ME, Kemosabi :), so "we"
is a bit of a misnomer), nobody will ever know what may have been
learned or accomplished by not going.

However, as I also said in my original post on the subject, it is
difficult to imagine how it could have turned out WORSE (although, more
on that below).

Certainly, the Germans showed no indication of having "learned" that
their Master Race philosophy was flawed because a black man won the
sprints at the Olympics, or if they did learn it, they didn't take it to
heart and let it modify their behaviour--at least not in any noticeable

And as I said in my original post on the subject, Heidi's choice of
Jesse Owens as an example of how "going and showing a better way" is
more likely to modify behaviour than not going wasn't really a very good
choice of examples.

Whether not going would have been more behaviour modifying will never be
known. No way to go back and do it over again to see if/how it might
have turned out differently :).

What MIGHT have been learned, or more accurately, what might not have
been errouneously learned, is that there was nothing to be feared about
from the racist policies of Germany at the time because, after all, they
put on a nice party, were gracious hosts, and besides, we showed them
how flawed their philosophy was anyway; so obviously they aren't going
to actually ACT on it.

Since one of the things that almost everybody agrees about one of the
mistakes made that led to WWII was that those countries (and other
people) who ended up opposing them thinking that the Germans weren't
really as bad as some of their policies might suggest and being
disinclined to think that they would persist with them.

And, depending on who you ask (especially in Austria), Hitler's first
"invasion" was of Austria, not Czechoslovakia.  The Austrians didn't put
up much of a resistance (since plenty of them were actually quite
willing for Germany to invade them), but even that wasn't the first
expansionary move.  The first expansionary move was on March 7, 1936 (5
months BEFORE the Olypmic Games in question, mind you) when German
troops occupied the Rhineland which was in direct contravention of the
Treaty of Versaille and France was obligated to "do something about" but
didn't (although, to their credit, they may have been distracted by what
was going on on their border to the south:)).

Alternatively, one could also make the arguement that it COULD have been
much worse, since a goodly portion of the 60+ million people who lost
their lives during the conflict were Soviets...and the Soviet Union
never really (and still hasn't) recovered from that loss of human
capital and floundered in relative penury and ineffectiveness for
decades to come.  Had the Germans not exacted such a huge toll on Soviet
Russia, it is not beyond the realm of possiblity that the Soviet
expansionism of the latter half of the 20th Century might have been much

Additionally, had the Nazi regime not had such an abusive policy towards
Jews consequently running off a substantial portion of their best
scientists (some to the Soviet Union but most the the US and UK), the US
might not have enjoyed such a huge technological advantage over the past
60 years (in fact, had Germany been nicer to its Jews and other racial
minorities, they may very well have won WWII, since it can hardly be
described as a good policy in war to be killing of your own countrymen
who might otherwise be willing to fight on your side:)).

All of this, of course, is PURE speculation.  "What might have been" is
an entertaining game but none of the arguments are sufficiently
compelling to make it obvious what would be the "right thing to do" in
order to affect the behaviour of people engaged in what one considers to
be reprehesible.

The question for me, therefore, in deciding whether to provide financial
support to US team members who want to go to the UAE to compete in the
WEC has absolutely NOTHING to do with what I consider might be the best
way to affect the behaviour of suspected slave traders.  All it has to
do with is not wanting to have my money go towards helping people attend
a party being hosted by said slave traders, and I consider there to
sufficient evidence to suggest that it is a practice that IS being
engaged in by the hosts of the party.

If _I_ were on the team, I would want to delve further into the evidence
to assure myself that it was, indeed, accurate.  But were I then to
discover that the evidence is compelling, I would, indeed, decline the
invitation (at least, I'd like to think so...and have been in similar
situations).  And I would decline not, as I said, because I think that
by doing so it would put a stop to the practice (it might, but who
knows), but rather because I would have no desire to attend a party
hosted by a slave trader.  And I wouldn't consider "I worked long and
hard to get the invitation" to be sufficient reason to accept.  It
would, in fact, require a huge amount of self-deception on my part to be
able to enjoy the party even if I were to go, such that not going
wouldn't be that big of a sacrifice. Why would I want to go to a party
that I have to fool myself into having a good time? :)

Orange County, Calif.


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