With his loyal following rapidly losing faith in the 10,000 hour rule Malcolm Gladwell has apparently decided to lead a new crusade against the unfairness of human existence. If 10,000 hours of practice won’t level the playing field then more extreme measures are called for, this time in the form of performance enhancing drugs.
No, this isn’t yet another condemnation of PED use in sports, but rather an argument for their legal use!
In what might initially appear as an about face to his somewhat dismissive position regarding genetic influence in Outliers, Gladwell is no longer bent on trying to make us believe that10,000 hours of practice is the great equalizer. Instead, he has conceded what most already consider obvious; that our genetic make-up is at least equally responsible for human performance, perhaps even for “will power” itself.
Whether it be 10,000 hours or PED’s, Gladwell’s raison d’être has not changed. Project Fairness continues. Motivated by an all too obvious resentment against those whose exceptional abilities are due mostly to “dumb genetic luck”, if not more by the unfairness of life itself.
Gladwell recommends PED’s come out of the closet and be used in a more transparent way.
Gladwell audio Interview
All of this may sound shocking if not ridiculous, and no doubt Gladwell is an excellent provocateur… hence this response. Certainly he makes several valid points while exposing some of the hypocrisy existing within the sports community today. Where we draw the line when it comes to enhancing athletic performance is not always easy to define and will likely become increasingly difficult as medical science advances.
Little doubt we all want a level playing field when it comes to the rules of the game. However, neither equal rules, nor rights, assume we are all equal in kind.
The ancient Greeks did not invent the games of Olympia for the purpose of proving we were all equal, rather quite the opposite. Yet these lovers of competition were also the founders of democracy. They understood as Thomas Jefferson did, that a “natural” aristocracy should be identified for the benefit of all, in the stadium, amphitheatre or forum.
Herein lay the contradiction in the Gladwellian position.
The greater the equality among competitors due to PED enhancement, the less reason for even competing, as a perfect result would always end in a tie. However there is a reason we don’t like ties, preferring things like “sudden death” overtimes to avoid them. Athletic games are a brutally straight forward way of demonstrating superiority in limited form.
With PED’s legal some kind of agency would undoubtedly be needed to regulate their use. Depending on the event, one can imagine the “Agency For Sports Equality and PED’s” giving growth hormone or oxygenated blood to some athletes in order to “get them up to speed” while others would be limited or denied altogether. One might even expect an athlete like Bo Jackson, or Michael Phelps to be deliberately handicapped in some way.
It’s not hard to see that competition would be reduced to an absurd farce in the Gladwellian new world of fairness. Whether drug enhanced or not, one can’t help but speculate on where his fairness crusade might lead.
A short film that gets right to the point…and it even has a Bo Jackson bat breaking moment!
While the majority of dystopias portray the exceptional as being hammered down in an effort to maintain uniformity would not the same occur if highly controlled use of PED’s worldwide raised up everyone’s performance to an identical height?
The means would be different but the result the same.
Universal Fairness! :twisted: :twisted:
Of course there will be some doubts as to whether PED’s alone could bring about similarity of performance. But fear not, the creative masterminds of Project Fairness are relentless. Where the bar ends up matters not, provided we find the means to create greater fairness for all!
How about adding a few weights or straps for instance?