When Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey fired off his tweet heard around the world, he ignited a firestorm of controversy that transformed the US-China trade dispute into a culture war involving more than just governments and politicians. Morey successfully placed a spotlight on two facts: The US is superior to Beijing and the paragons of virtue do not possess a modicum of integrity. O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!
USA! USA! USA!
For now, in the United States, you are not penalized by the government for what you say. You can shriek to the heavens that President Donald Trump is Literally Hitler™, the US is a white supremacist state, and the earth is flat. Nothing happens in the end. Sure, the market may react favorably or unfavorably to your comments, but that is also the freedom to associate and partake in a voluntary exchange, the threads that hold the fabric of civil society.
It is comparable to celebrities who speak out against the Trump administration during award ceremonies. The media call them brave and heroic. But why? Entertainers are just regurgitating the same old leftist nonsense that 99% of the room agrees with, comfortably knowing there will be zero repercussions, either by the state or by the industry.
For all the many, many faults of the US government and the increasing encroachment into the personal lives of the citizenry by politicians and bureaucrats, it is still superior to most other systems around. Many developed nations, for example, do not have a First Amendment, which could explain why a growing number of people are being fined or imprisoned for speech in developed countries.
It can be easy to take on the Leviathan when you know that the monster will not retaliate.
Indeed, their feigned indignation when they are on American soil is convincing. It is why they earn the big bucks. A considerable segment of the population really thinks these people are informed, authentic, and courageous. Of course, once they step foot out of the US, then we see their real constitution – they are flaming hypocrites.
Shut Up and Dribble
During the NBA’s recent trip to China, players were inundated with questions surrounding Morey, the Chinese government, and Hong Kong. Athletes, coaches, and management refused to comment any further than what they were told by leadership. Or, if they did try to formulate independent coherent thoughts, they somehow tried to complain about the United States, like what Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr did during his presser.
But why would these individuals suddenly close their mouths? These are the same people who rail against every policy put forward by President Donald Trump and his administration. Every day, they are quick to lament on the White House’s supposed racism and pontificate on the electorate’s decision in 2016 and lecture to the world that “they wasn’t educated.” Why stay mum now? They were not exactly mirroring the sage commentaries of William F. Buckley or Christopher Hitchens back home anyway.
Disney CEO Bob Iger, the executive who took a dying brand and made it into a juggernaut, may have accidentally revealed why the corporate world, from sports to entertainment, is terrified of speaking out against the communist regime in China. Speaking at the WSJ Tech Live conference, Iger told the crowd:
“What we learned in the last week — we’ve learned how complicated this is. The biggest learning from that is that caution is imperative. To take a position that could harm our company in some form would be a big mistake. I just don’t believe it’s something we should engage in in a public manner.”
Iger is right: It is all about the mighty dollar, or yuan. He and his company were quick to denounce Georgia’s heartbeat bill, threatening to no longer film projects in the state. But the Peach State is not a cash cow for Disney like China is as the corporation is involved in multi-billion-dollar agreements and projects over there. The Chinese middle-class is a huge revenue-generator for American companies, from box office receipts to US technology.
At least Iger somewhat admits his hypocrisy.
What would be heroic is if these same people spoke out against the Chinese regime on its soil. That would be epic, proving that they really are concerned about justice. But they choose not to walk the talk, afraid of losing lucrative contracts or being shut out of an important market like China.
Their silence would not be as bad if they chose to heed Laura Ingraham’s advice of “shut up and dribble” or “shut up and sing” when they are back home. If they are uninterested in getting involved in political discourse, then that is fine. That is their right. Good for them. However, a day does not go by without a head coach tweeting his disgust over a White House statement or a thespian griping about how deplorable half of the United States is for supporting the president.
As Beijing begins to open its country to global markets, allowing foreign companies to take advantage of the world’s second-largest economy, we are learning what is happening to the billion or so residents. Social credit scores, internment camps, denial of basic human rights, total disregard for free speech – this is life in China today. And it is not pretty.
Where are our moral superiors? Don’t they care about their fellow man? Liberty Nation’s Joe Schaeffer aptly wrote:
“Ripping the ‘fake’ patriotism and dangerous nationalism of the rubes in the stands is a topic on which Kerr feels expert enough to comment. Annoying a regime that does hundreds of millions of dollars in business with the corporate entity that allows him to earn a very fine living is beyond his scope, however.”
The United States has the greatest culture in the world. The nation was born in the Age of Enlightenment during the century of philosophy. This intellectual movement emphasized the sovereign individual, highlighted reason, and encouraged skepticism. A historic European idea traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and became the foundation of the Land of the Free. But not only have Americans enjoyed liberty, but they have also been fortunate enough to live in the wealthiest nation in the world, too. Freedom and prosperity – what an incredible and enviable combination for anyone not bleeding red, white, and blue. No matter what progressives say, the American experiment turned out okay. It is so good that people can earn millions of dollars a year to bounce a ball or pretend to be somebody else for 90 minutes while simultaneously claiming to be a victim of oppression. US culture is that good.