The Brians (Linse and Micklethwait) are going to argue right past each other on this soccer thing until they realize what the real problem is: Americans do not get, and have never gotten, The Real Deal when it comes to soccer. We are used to seeing baseball, basketball and hockey played at the highest level in the world; but Americans never get to see the very best soccer players as they toil away for the likes of AC Milan, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, etc. The soccer [MLS and indoor mutations] that most Americans do get to see, frankly, DOES suck and IS rather boring, but I do enjoy tuning into the English Premiership, where 0-0 and 1-0 matches are the exception rather than the rule.
I think that American sports would do well to emulate some of the things they do in Europe! (And ask yourself, Mr. Linse, whether you really want to see scantily clad cheerleaders at a match between Paris St. Germain and Auxerre, for example.) I love the idea of “relegation” — every year, the top few teams in one league and the bottom few teams in the next highest league have to switch places! Imagine Major League Baseball played under these terms — instead of an American and National league that are equals, fashion an upper and a lower division. No more making excuses about small markets and such — small market teams would mostly play each other in the lower division, occasionally getting bumped up to play the big boys.
I have been away from the Blogosphere for a while, because I recently moved from my native Detroit to Washington DC, but I did enjoy ringside seats for the weekend’s, uh, festivities downtown. It is easy to dismiss the protestors as uninformed stooges duped by Chomskyite / Naderite garbage, and too many bloggers have already dwelled on their behavioral and rhetorical excesses for me to bother piling on. But I did come away with a few impressions of my own …
– there is an excellent book by Brink Lindsey (of The Cato Institute) called Against the Dead Hand: The Uncertain Struggle for Global Capitalism. Lindsey points out that, while both proponents and critics of “globalization” talk as though globalization is happening at breakneck speed, nothing of the sort is actually occurring. The world is becoming more liberalized, but it is happening at a snail’s pace. So what are all these people protesting against, exactly?
– it seems fashionable at these protests to compare the plight of the Palestinians to that of the civil rights struggle in the US. More than one advocate described the Palestinians as “the [big N's] of the middle east.” This is an idiotic and meritless comparison. The Civil Rights movement here was about creating individual liberties for African-Americans … whereas the Palestinian question is about the conflicting claims of groups to govern a certain land mass. And regardless of whether the Palestinians get their own country, they are not much into individual liberty!
– It’s too bad none of the anti-IMF protesters knew what they were talking about (e.g. what the IMF is, what it does, who pays for it, etc.) because the IMF does deserve to be roundly roasted for creating a culture of global financial moral hazard. But hoisting a sign that reads: “IMF = International MoFo” doesn’t cut it.
– shouldn’t a committed “anti-globalist” also oppose things like global government, the United Nations, etc.? Just a thought.