Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Societal Problem?

Why do athletes dope? To be the best of the best which is ultimately what spectators seem to want. To substantiate my italicizing of seem, many will readily complain about athletes' tacky behavior, but this does not seem to deter them from attending sporting events. We can say it seems to be a rather symbiotic relationship.

The only reason I believe doping is wrong is because it is declared such. But this no-doping law is itself merely arbitrary, as are most laws. Might we question why doping is banned? Is it because of safety concerns? But there are so many other legal and unsafe practices that athletes routinely engage in so I hardly think this to be a rational reason to ban steroids. Is it because it is deemed unfair to those that do not cheat? Well, I guess this is true, but alas, life is not fair anyway. It is just as unfair for the 4 foot tall “shrimp” who only ever aspired to play in the NBA, but unfortunately uncooperative genes prevented his dream from being realized.

Perhaps one might argue that there is a qualitative difference between natural and artificial characteristics. Well then, what about an athlete who has corrective eye surgery resulting in 20/10 vision? This is an artificial characteristic just as much as the effects of steroids. Should this be banned as well?

Another typical argument is that we aspire to present our kids “positive” role models. Well, if this is the case, I would steer kids clear of idolizing athletes. Rather, I would steer kids toward those that exude first class character.

So if parents, and people in general, truly prioritized role models according to character and not ability, then ability would be less a focal point and hence the athlete might feel less compelled to “cheat” and more compelled to become a better person.

One of the central points of my philosophy is this: we need to become conscious of how we all individually and collectively contribute to the purported “problems” of society.

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