Doug Casey on the Recent NFL Protests

by Doug Casey, Casey Research:

Justin's note: It’s one of today’s most controversial topics. Everyone’s talking about it. Even Donald Trump’s getting up in arms over it…

I’m talking about the recent NFL protests.

I still can’t help but wonder if people should even care about this. So to make sense of this, I called up Doug Casey…who I knew would have an interesting take on this matter…

Justin: Doug, I can’t wait to get your take on the recent NFL protests. But first tell me what you think of the National Anthem. Is it a worthy tradition?

Doug: I don’t see what sporting events have to do with nationalism. I don’t think they should go together.

The idea of playing a national anthem at sporting events or other gatherings is foolish and dangerous. It elevates the notion of the state, it keeps the presence of the government in front of people. It’s almost as bad an idea as having kids pledge allegiance to the flag at the start of the school day—another fairly recent innovation.

I looked into the history of this, and the anthem apparently first started being played sporadically at baseball games, during World War 1. It only turned into a tradition during WW2. Needless to say, during the ’30s, the Germans, the Italians, and the Russians always used their anthems to get the crowd thinking in the mode of “nationalistic citizens” watching the home team battle the enemy team, as opposed to sports fans just out to watch a game and have a good time.

Playing the National Anthem before a game is a bad idea. But every country in the world does it now. I think the crowds generally dislike it as a distraction and a waste of time, but nobody will say anything for fear of being lambasted for being “unpatriotic.” It’s groupthink in action.

Apart from the fact that anthems all sound discordant, and grate against the ear drum. They’re all basically military music—which is itself a contradictory term. I’ll only except the Marseillaise—which really is a noble tune, but inappropriate for US audiences.

Ultimately, it’s up to the team and stadium owners. If they want to do it, that’s their business. But it’s become such a tradition that—especially in view of the US being constantly involved in a war somewhere—it’s likely going to be impossible to eradicate. It no longer matters that it’s a bad tradition—it’s now a tradition.

And let me go further. I think that it’s in very bad taste and negative influence for the US government and the US military to use football games for military display. Flying fighter planes around and having military bands marching, is much more what I’d expect of the Germans in the ’30s than an ostensibly peaceful country in today’s world.

That said, I think that it makes sense to show respect for things like the National Anthem. They’re part of the national ethos. Disrespecting them upsets a community at a very gut level; it’s unwise, like telling someone his mother is ugly and has low morals.

Justin: Are you saying NFL players shouldn’t protest by taking a knee?

Doug: Well, anybody has a right to do anything, as long as it doesn’t aggress against other persons or their property. But just because something is legal and moral doesn’t mean it can’t also be stupid.

I’m not even sure what point these players are trying to make. In some cases, these athletes are making tens of millions of dollars a year. These guys are young, rich, famous, good-looking and generally on top of the world. They’re not subjects of “discrimination.”

So, why are they doing this? Do they feel that they’re actually in some danger of being shot? The answer is no, unless they’re hanging out in the ghetto, or acting out as thugs somewhere—some of them do. There’s certainly no reason to think these guys are moral paradigms. The rates of spousal abuse and off-field violence in the NFL—which is about 70% black—are way above the norm. The guy who started this nonsense, Colin Kaepernick, is actually just a scam artist. A crybaby looking for attention.

Frankly, I don’t care what they do or feel. It’s foolish and in bad taste for them to use their athletic platform to say whatever they’re saying. It’s unclear to me exactly what they’re trying to say.

Justin: You’re right, Doug. Colin Kaepernick was the first player to make this protest. He did so last year before a preseason game. And he kneeled to take a stand against police brutality and racial injustice.

Now you have entire teams doing it. Could these “showings of unity” repair race relations in this country?

Doug: No. Instead, they will damage race relations further.

The problem is that people are genetically programmed to be suspicious of those of a different race or even a different community.

A couple hundred thousand years ago, you’re out hunting a deer. If you met somebody else out there hunting that deer, and he wasn’t part of your immediate clan, he was probably an enemy. There’s a good chance that he was going to kill you after the deer goes down. The more different he was, the greater the odds violence would ensue.

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