We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

God I hate these people.

The state funded Great Britain team has (by perception) done extremely well at the London 2012 Olympics. As a consequence (?) there are calls amongst politicians and sports bureaucrats to make competitive sport compulsory for children.

The state funded Australia team has (by perception) done extremely badly at the London 2012 Olympics. As a consequence (?) there are calls amongst politicians and sports bureaucrats to make competitive sport compulsory for children.

I have a standing personal rule that whenever someone proposes compulsory activities for children that are implied to be wholesome – particularly if they involve going outdoors and running around in some way – I should immediately compare them to the Hitler Youth, on the basis that the comparison is always fair. So consider it compared.

22 comments to God I hate these people.

  • It’s the same old routine, regardless of the motivation and even contrary evidence, the only options are to increase the power of the state or use the monopoly of force to dictate what MUST be done – won’t somebody think of the children?

    I am somewhat supportive of the end of “Prizes for All” in schools, but doubt that this will achieve anything. Given the level of Political Correctness in schools and teacher training since the 1970’s at least it will be very hard to turn back the tide.

  • Dave Walker

    While it’s sad to see various politicians coming out with this bunk in the first place, I’m pleased to see the beginnings of a general public lambasting of it (such as on the BBC’s “Have your Say” comments pages; ther’s already some back-pedalling happening, see eg http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19174757 ).

    While the length of the school day and the relative importance of a child being able to read versus being able to hit a ball is naturally being done to death, it would be far more interesting if the outcome of this involves a recognition that children are capable of independent thought (at an age typically much younger than 16), and are capable of understanding messages from their own nervous systems even when such messages conflict with the orders given them by teachers and other authorities. This could also usefully influence the age at which a child is considered to own their own body, rather than for it to be considered the property of their parents / guardians.

  • Just the fact that people are talking about giving children greater *opportunities* by *compelling* them to do stuff. What the fuck?

  • Stonyground

    I believe that there was a lot of compulsory excersising in Orwell’s 1984.

    Regarding the OP. This has been discussed on lots of other blogs with lots of people commenting about how school put them off doing sport for life. I hated school sports but became very fit and active after I left. That was because I could choose activities that I liked and do them because I wanted to.

  • “Do what you love” is normally good advice. Compulsion doesn’t generally help you to love what you do.

  • pete

    The state’s desire to getting people, especially children, up and about doing sports is not to be taken seriously while it ensures the funding of a mass manufacturer of junk TV, including two channels designed specifically to keep youngsters on the couch glued to the telly and not out doing anything active.

  • veryretired

    As I have said in other contexts, the statist mind sees only the need for more state, no matter what the situation it is responding to, whether good news or bad.

    This is a perfect example—athletes performing well leads to compulsory sport; athletes performing poorly, once again, the answer is compulsory athletic programs.

    The statist mind literally cannot conceive of any potentiality that does not revolve around some state action.

    That’s why any attempt at rational discussion with a statist/collectivist is futile. They cannot comprehend the possibility of freedom, of the liberty to choose one’s own path, as even existing, much less as having the potential for a successful outcome.

  • Schrodinger's Dog


    And don’t forget those old propaganda films of the Young Communists doing their exercises.

    Curious, isn’t it, that two of the vilest regimes of the twentieth century both set great store by exercise and fitness.

  • Saxon

    Agree with you on the “state funded” and the “compulsory” parts. Nice juxtaposition of UK and Aussie pols wanting to impose more control over people for diametrically opposite reasons – shows you what s.o.bs pols the world over are.

    p.s. The Brits really exceeded expectations – no one thougth they would be 3rd (or 4th). Congrats!

  • Saxon

    We are both somewhat off topic, but just to say: I am not surprised by the British medal total.

    More to the point, the people who were in charge of the British Olympic team are not surprised. This is about what they were expecting.

    The bikers somewhat exceeded expectations. The swimmers disappointed. Otherwise, this was pretty much as anticipated.

  • The British cycling team won seven out of ten track cycling gold medals, and one out of four road cycling gold medals.

    In 2008, the British cycling team won seven out of ten track cycling gold medals, and one out of four road cycling gold medals.

    So, the performance of the cyclists was actually the same as last time. Undoubtedly everyone is very pleased, but I think the team officials were actually reasonably confident they would do this well again. They may have said that their expectations were a little lower because it is dangerous to predict dominance of this level publicly, but I doubt they were.

    It wasn’t just the British who failed at swimming: Australia and Japan (who both have much more venerable traditions of swimming success than Britain) also did awfully in the pool. Something happened there, but we are still trying to figure out precisely what.

    The really impressive feat of the British team seems to me to be what has happened in track and field. Several of the British gold medal winners were favourites, but in extremely competitive events that are prone to upsets. I really did not think they would do as well as they have done there.

    As for the medal table, I don’t think anyone watching carefully actually thought Britain would finish any lower than fourth. (They were fourth in 2008). That they will likely finish above Russia in third is maybe a small surprise, but only a small one.

  • Alisa

    I was thinking about why this feels more repulsive than the compulsive studying of math, history or any other academic field – that, in conjunction with the totalitarian-regime comparison. I think the answer is that those totalitarian regimes, although having always paid the appropriate platitudes to academic and other mental work (and made it work for their own purposes as much as they could), really preferred sports to academics on a visceral level, precisely because sports require much less actual thinking – both on the part of the puppet-masters themselves, and from their puppets to be.

  • CaptDMO

    Which brings me to Goodwins Law.
    It has always been my experince that those disingenuously citing the “law” as in “You said NAZI first, debate over, I win!”
    when they otherwise have NOTHING (after “it’s for the children/poor/women/minorities/”gays”/equality/
    “access”/environment/economy-script is roundly thrashed) to defend “the script”, are usually “defending” Nationalism, Socialism, Politically duped Labor, or “condensed” political party platform, as undeniable logic to otherwise justify the “mandates” similarly put forth by well….NAZIs.

    They even have a symbol in the US. (SEE:Barak Obama election material/ “new” government department logos), but generally, a simple (D) serves as the “codespeak” version.

    “Mandatory”, PRE-school, K-12, and demands for “free” College.
    All with (ie) “Obama” money.
    Yet “The Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America” is FORBIDDEN, as is trading a demonstrably superior private (US version) education for gold.

    (ie.)Imagine my raising an eyebrow at unemployed “OWS” folk, refusing to get out of the street sweepers way, as they are DEMANDING (countersigned)”education loan” forgiveness from actual tax payers and eeeeeevil banks, that they can resume their cloistered “studies” in…..socio-economic psyco-gender poli-sciences.

    I ask them about “Failure to launch”(at ANY “chronological IQ” age), or their best remedy for calloused hands, when I simply want peace and quiet to return to my crossword puzzle.

  • I’m not a boxer, but if I were put in a boxing match with one of these miserable little fuckers they’d not need an ambulance on standby, they’d need an undertaker.

    “Gone in 60 seconds” is the phrase that leaps to mind.

  • Stonyground

    Oooh can I have a go Mike? I have a black belt in karate. Admittedly it has twenty years worth of rust on it but I’m sure I can remember some of it.

    Actually, as I commented on another blog, All those in favour of compulsory sport should be rounded up, dressed in tee shirts and little nylon shorts, and made to run around a muddy field, in January, by an army PT instructor.

    Oh yes, and slippering, there should be lots of slippering.

  • “Oooh can I have a go Mike?”

    Go ahead – knock yourself out…

  • If Olympic sports inspire kids, why do they need more of my money? Surely, they’ll be able to sell lots of tickets to their events, replica kids, the rights to Sky or collect money from rich endorsements?

  • Paul Marks

    Agreed – with the post and the comments.

    Whatever the evidence it will be used as an excuse for more statism – and the EXACT OPPOSITE evidence will be used to justify more statism.

    It is a basic (a fundamental) collectivist bias in the metacontext.

  • AKM

    A bit OT (sorry), but possibly the funniest (read: clueless) sport commentary ever from an Irish commentator covering Olympics sailing:


  • BigFatFlyingBloke

    I’ve never enjoyed running as a form of exercise from a very young age. That dislike did not calcify irretrievably into hate until I was forced to do cross-country running at school at which point I actively tried to find ways of skiving out of it. Just like I actively hate both Rugby and Cricket because I was forced to play them “competitively” at school and would much rather have used that wasted time for cycling, squash or swimming.

  • Derek Buxton

    I also avoided all school sports, because it was football in winter and cricket in summer. You cannot compare sport with the subjects taken in order to improve you education, totally different. However, as soon as I left school I joined a very good sports club and played a little rugby and then learned to play squash properly. It was great and I went on to golf and played for many happy years. So, it should not be compulsory in schools, but sports clubs should be encouraged to flourish, it gives choice and better coaching.

  • Paul Marks

    Swimming and being able to ride a bycycle – two things I wish I had learned to do as a child.