Monday, December 17, 2007

Steroids and Conservatives

Within the past day I've heard "conservatives" present two diametrically opposed opinions regarding the"steroids in baseball" scandal. The first was presented about 10:30 last night on our local "Clear Channel" 50,000 watt conservative mouthpiece, and the second was on NPR radio this morning. Can you guess which one was on which station?

Conservative "A" said that Bud Selig and Doug Fehr and just about everyone involved with baseball (including President Bush) has dodged the steroid problem since the mid-1990's. This speaker referenced Tony Guynn's and one other future hall-of-famer's concerns, voiced at that time, that performance-enhancing drugs were changing how baseball was played, cheapening records, and depreciating the value of players who didn't "juice". Conservative "A" opined that Selig, the owners, and the players union loved the fan interest and profits that resulted from the steroid-induced home run derby and oddities like the ancient Roger Clemens throwing 95 mph fastballs, so they all just looked the other way. "A" concluded with a statement that illegal immigration is wrong because it is lawbreaking, and steroid use by athletes is equally wrong because it gives unfair advantage in a competitive environment.

Conservative "B" said that the entire hubbub about steroids was much ado about nothing. "Who cares?", he said - not the owners, not the players, not the broadcasters, not the fans. They all loved the achievements of the "juiced" athletes, and that is all that matters. Those who are making a big deal of it are just goody-two-shoes types who don't understand the real world.

You've probably guessed correctly that Conservative "B" was on the Clear Channel station. That's the station that airs all the guys who believe that those with wealth and power should do whatever they have to do to keep their competitive advantage, fair or not. They hate the estate tax, they love Bush's raping of the constitution and his war of choice, and they will even switch their allegiance from a hard core Southern Baptist to a Mormon to a multiple divorcer if the candidate will buy into their "me first" agenda. "Law and order" is something that applies to other people.

This little "compare and constrast" exercise points out that there really are two entirely different types of people who call themselves conservatives. One type believes in a level playing field, one does not. One type believes that government should step in when egregious violations of public trust occur, one does not. Given all the illegalities that the "Conservative B's" have committed or tolerated in the past 13 years, I have a feeling that a lot of "Conservative A's" will be holding their nose and voting for a democrat next fall.


Ron Davison said...

I've seen an interesting matrix a couple of times. On one axis is the authoritarian vs. libertarian - rights of the state vs. individual. On the other axis is the big government vs. make it alone. Some conservatives and liberals are fairly sanguine about drug use (including steroids) and some liberals and conservatives are very big on dictating life style choices. We all want to regulate other people's behavior - the only question is what kind of behavior and at what point?

Dave said...

Exactly the point LF and Ron. LF, the problem with conservatism is that it is currently wrongly labelled. The "B's" you reference aren't conservative in the traditional sense. Liberals of the ilk that Ron talks about wanting to control others lives aren't classical liberals. Both groups want to control others' behavior to their own actual or perceived benefit.

I'm not optimistic that either will change, or more practically, we will come to our senses to throw them out.

Life Hiker said...

You know that I call myself a "liberal libertarian". I don't like government messing around with the small stuff - it's there for the big stuff.

But I don't like performance enhancing drugs simply because of the "level playing field" concept. Look at the advantage those drugs gave professional cyclists - the druggies were so dominant that they almost killed the sport. And how will historians rank the Yankees teams that Clemens anchored?

In my view, baseball and all sports should have a zero-tolerance policy for drugs that affect play; Advil, OK - Steroids, go away.