Nothing is more annoying about our times than the antics of social justice warriors: athletes, entertainment stars, and other media personalities who wear their “moral” outrage or activism on their proverbial “sleeve” for the edification of the general public with the understanding that we “uncivilized, uneducated, unenlightened lower masses” should be inspired - indeed deem it our life cause - to be like said-individual in their “nirvana”. But the artificial nature of these “activists”, not to mention the slap-in-the-face nature of their activism is nothing but pure, unadulterated hypocrisy; and, what is more pathetic is the fact that not one of them can see the irony of their own position! Of course the most recent actions of the National Basketball Association is the biggest example of this hypocrisy. Before I get into that, I must make our position clear.
It is always dangerous to mix politics with anything in any other field. Mind you, I said Politics, not Moral Truth. There is a difference. One of the most obvious and famous examples of it happened in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin Germany - the Germany of Adolf Hitler. Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and the Nazi party had decided to use the Olympics as a propaganda moment to display the wonder, power and efficiency of their power in and over Germany. And by large, they succeeded (one can see the display of their ideology and power through the Leni Riefenstahl films' Triumph of the Will and Olympiad). And yet at that very same Olympic Games, there was a display of Moral Truth when the German track star Lutz Long ran to embrace and congratulate the American track legend Jesse Owens after his long jump that gave the American star the gold medal in that event. Long, the ideal “Aryan” (according to the Nazis) - under the very watch of Adolf Hitler and the rest of the world represented there in the Olympics as well as over the media - ran to embrace Owens and then rallied the rest of the crowd to cheer for the American. One of the most iconic moments caught in pictures of that event was the gold medal ceremony where Jesse Owens stood high on the gold medal platform as the Star Spangled Banner played; as Owen stood at attention saluting the flag, Lutz Long - the silver medalist - stood behind him (also at attention) with his right hand extended in the Nazi salute. I would say that it was one of the most powerful displays of Moral Truth. The two athletes did something that would raise them far above the gathering storm of World War 2 - the hatred and carnage of the times - to something that was divine. Long would go on to serve in the German Army and would die when the Allies invaded Sicily in 1943. And still their friendship stood above the world of their time:
Long and Owens corresponded after 1936. In his last letter, Long wrote to Owens and asked him to contact his son after the war and tell him about his father and "what times were like when we were not separated by war. I am saying—tell him how things can be between men on this earth".
To say that the modern day is different is an understatement. Politics, Political Correctness, “being WOKE” - this is passed off as Moral Truth, when in reality it is no more than opportunism with an agenda. It is browbeating on steroids! All the affectations are for public display! In reality, it does nothing to raise the basic humanity of anyone because it has no moral focus on God, but rather on the particular interest of some group of people: in our time, moral and political leftists. Some notable athletes and coaches of our time (and by no means restricted to them; this very much includes many in the entertainment industry as well), in particular those who are in the NBA and NFL (though it is starting to change as teams find WOKE unproductive) wear their “moral” indignation on their sleeve. Instead of truly being a person who is concerned with the plight of human kind, they are trying to play a character - an act, if you will. The “theater stage” is in front of all the cameras.
For some time now, the NBA has been nothing more than a platform for the “woke” element. Several NBA personalities went out of their way to attack President Trump by calling him a racist, a xenophobe, and whatever else came into their minds (or whatever their publicists or handlers may have put there). Players on championship-winning teams such as the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors (though being a Canada-based team - I’ll give them a pass!) went out of their way to shout loudly that they would not accept an invitation to come to the White House to celebrate their wins. Coaches such as Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors routinely turned their press conferences into sermons of moral indignation with an air of moral superiority against the President and anyone else who did not agree with their social justice ideas. In essence, they weren’t going to give the President the pleasure of standing with these “holier-than-thou” stars! I would say now, the President and anyone else should spare themselves embarrassment! These people are the foremost demonstration of what the late Nobel Prize winning author Elie Wiesel called “the perils of indifference”.
In the beginning of October, Houston Rockets' general manager, Daryl Morey, set off a firestorm when he tweeted his support for pro-democracy protestors in Honk Kong - something that he has since apologized for (God only knows why!). The communist government of the People’s Republic of China reacted just short of violently threatening to shut down all the NBA games, programs, or whatever else they are doing in China. The NBA for their turn reacted…against Daryl Morey, trying to pacify the communist government. In fact they reacted to such an extent that the alleged upper-management of the NBA contacted the Houston Rockets to fire Morey - something that has not happened…yet. The NBA has been caught flat-footed to such an extent as to be pathetic. The response seemed to be “don’t do anything to offend China.” Why not? This league, which goes out of its way to offend the President of the United States and just about anybody who doesn’t buy “wokeness”, is now worried about offending China? China stands as the antithesis of virtually everything the woke NBA purportedly stands for, from the LGBTQ rights to environmentalism. About the only thing they agree on is abortion.
I’ve written it before: America is a nation where it’s easy to protest and talk about how bad this nation is, and people seem to take this for granted. I’ve often wondered why social justice warriors or people who push for socialism or any other leftist policies don’t immigrate to nations which practice those policies already: places like Cuba and China. The answer is quite obvious. I don’t think they would like it. They would prefer to just be angry all the time. President Abraham Lincoln said it best when he said if you want to change a person’s mind, “make him hug his idea.”
Of course, China is a different story. Since the time President Richard Nixon went to China in 1972 until the advent of President Donald Trump, this country was very much focused on “doing business” in Communist China. It seemed to the proverbial dream of the business world, namely reopening the world largest marketplace. China for its part, since the time of Deng Xiaoping (the late paramount leader of the Communist Party after Chairman Mao), was moving toward open market policies that differed from the dogma of communism. Mind you this was only in economics. In regards to its government and human rights, the viciousness of Mao Tse Tung was and is still very much in play. Virtually every presidential administration since the 1990s have signed trade deals with China. China played the proverbial victim and signed one economic treaty after another with the West, receiving massive amounts of aid and incentives in the name of developing a “modernized” country, and yet did not “play by the rules”. Technologies were stolen, copyrights were never respected, but it was rationalized as being for the development of a “third world country with the largest population” and the “world’s biggest market”. And the rationalizations kept coming and were increasingly more expensive and exploitative.
In 1989, the Tiananmen Square massacres took place in which the People’s Liberation Army, under the orders of the communist leadership, viciously cleared out pro-democracy demonstrators (most of whom were college students) who had begun camping out in the square on April 15 of that year. China was on the path of economic change and with those changes came ideas from the West as well as from Honk Kong and Taiwan-Chinese peoples on two small islands, whose standard of living and liberties was beyond anything that the mainlanders could imagine. Youth began to ask questions and challenge the antiquated rules and regulations of the Communist Party, with the desire for such things as Freedom of Speech and Ideas, Freedom of the Press, Constitutional Due Process of Law, and other Human Rights. At the height of the protest, the numbers in the Square swelled to near a million people. The protestors had even made their own version of the Statue of Liberty - in their case, a Chinese woman carrying a torch; it was called the Goddess of Democracy. The statue was made of paper-mache, and provided a stark contrast as it was placed almost in the center of the square facing a gigantic portrait of Mao Tse Tung which hangs off an edifice called the Tiananmen Gate. If anyone thought that the communist government of China had become a kinder, gentler nation since the end of Mao and with the more “enlightened” leadership of the little Deng Xiaoping, they were going to have a dreadful shock.
On June 4, Premier Li Peng on behalf of the government declared martial law, and with Deng Xiaoping’s approval, ordered the military to clear the streets. Army tank and troop units along with police units began to enter into the square, fully armed. A media blackout began and as the cameras began to lose their feed, the carnage began. To this day, it is a closely guarded secret as to how many people died. But the guesses have been in the thousands. One of the most telling images from that massacre was a picture of called “Tank Man” - a young man who stood before a column of army tanks on June 5, 1989 - the day after the horrible crackdown. He would not let the tanks pass. The lead tank attempted to go around him but he moved in front of it. Finally the tank driver lost his patience, but before he could plow forward, a couple of escaping protestors rushed and pulled “tank man” out of the way. The image caught by Jeff Widener of the Associated Press won the Pulitzer Prize and is considered by Time Magazine as one of the “Most Influential Images of all time”.
Maybe so to the protestors in Honk Kong who are willing to sacrifice anything to keep whatever freedoms they have as an autonomous island state which since 1997 has been part of the People’s Republic of China (Previously, it was part of the British Empire), but definitely not to the players and personalities of the National Basketball Association, and for that matter a whole host of people, companies, and conglomerates, and even governments who are heavily invested in China’s economy and banking system.
China figured out that if the money was flowing, the western nations, the United Nations, or any other country would simply look the other way. In this thought, they were not wrong. It was always easy to look the other way. China made its “great leap” forward (not the Mao version), and with the additional use of propaganda, began to present itself to the world with a new veneer of financial success. NBA players such as Yao Ming and Wang Zhizhi played in the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, respectively. They landed the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing - an enormous event in which heads of state such as President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin were in attendance for the opening ceremony. Yao Ming was the athlete who led the Chinese team into the stadium.
And if that wasn’t enough, with cunning they “opened up the bank” during the times of economic turmoil that took place in 2008 and onward, with the housing market crash in the United States and the European Union’s economic bailouts and upheavals that saw the Euro devalue sharply. China was the country from whom everyone, including the United States, borrowed. In recent times, China has taken a decidedly more international approach to its diplomacy as well as its economy by entering into treaties and incursion in South America in addition to Asia. Had President Donald Trump not come to power, it is doubtful that any U.S. economic policy would change. Virtually every pundit at first laughed at the idea that there was a problem, and then they begrudgingly agreed there was a problem but that it was impossible to fix now. Trump proved otherwise. But that said, let us make this point clear.
I don’t believe anyone disputes the right to do business with or make money in China. That comes with its consequences. What most people lack is the awareness of the irony of the consequences! Or in simpler terms, the lack of awareness of their own hypocrisy!
A few years ago, NBA teams began adding the Spanish article “los” on their jerseys (los Suns, los Mavericks, etc.) to announce their solidarity to illegal immigrants crossing the southern border, after President Trump announced his intention to build a wall on the southern border. One should ask the NBA, what was the impetus for that demonstration? Was it about human rights or the profits of cheap/slave labor? I seriously doubt that anyone of the personalities involved are even aware of the various facets of the problems involved in the topic, but that doesn’t stop them from demonstrating moral outrage against the President and anyone else they would label as “deplorable”, without even trying to find out what the other side's points are and why they may be valid. But no; the arena has become a venue for artificial demonstrations of moral outrage that has only lowered humanity into a sewer and not elevated it into something divine.
The social justice warriors in the NBA (or for that matter in the NFL) should think twice before releasing their moral indignation on everyone. But they don’t. Perhaps there is a bit of madness involved. NBA superstars such as LeBron James are surrounded by public relations people and acolytes all geared on public perception. But not on private substance of an intellectual level, and certainly not with any objectivity. Whether its LeBron James or George Popovich or Steve Kerr, their public pontification carry a less-than-subtle condemnation or denunciation of all who do not share their activism. One has to wonder if they have ever even once taken a look at another viewpoint not their own. They certainly did not when it came to the plight of protestors in Honk Kong!
Years and years of diplomatic and economic ventures and deceptions have brought us to this point where China now as the upper hand on virtually any subject matter they are challenged on, from human rights to the environment. God only knows how many investors and enterprises are caught up in their web of deceit. And after the events of the recent weeks in government, it should be no secret that it is thoroughly possible that high members in the United States government have multi-million dollar investments in China and that they would do anything in their power to cover up their actions. Or in the case of the NBA, act totally oblivious to the definition and defense of human rights.
I do not want to be cynical, but especially in the case of athletes, present stupidities aside, if they can start winning again, the cries of victims suffering from repressions or abolished rights on the other side of the world will fade away in the cacophony of cheers. Perhaps if the NBA personalities (and the other athletes who feign social justice) can do us a favor and spare us their theatrics, we would oblige them counting their hundreds of millions. A closing word from Dr. Elie Wiesel:
“Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”