Sunday, September 9, 2012

Football Is a Leftist Plot

George Will (whose Wikipedia page photo shows him "attending a Nationals-Cardinals baseball game) writes about "progressivism, a doctrine whose many blemishes on American life include universities as football factories, which progressivism helped to create" — Pigskin progressivism. An exceprt:
    Harvard philosopher William James then spoke of society finding new sources of discipline and inspiration in “the moral equivalent of war.” Society found football, which like war required the subordination of the individual, and which would relieve the supposed monotony of workers enmeshed in mass production.

    College football became a national phenomenon because it supposedly served the values of progressivism, in two ways. It exemplified specialization, expertise and scientific management. And it would reconcile the public to the transformation of universities, especially public universities, into something progressivism desired but the public found alien. Replicating industrialism’s division of labor, universities introduced the fragmentation of the old curriculum of moral instruction into increasingly specialized and arcane disciplines. These included the recently founded social sciences — economics, sociology, political science — that were supposed to supply progressive governments with the expertise to manage the complexities of the modern economy and the simplicities of the uninstructed masses.

    Football taught the progressive virtue of subordinating the individual to the collectivity. Inevitably, this led to the cult of one individual, the coach. Today, in almost every state, at least one public university football coach is paid more than the governor.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Great post -- football doesn't hold a candle to either baseball or hockey when it comes to inculcating values as part of play. Both baseball and hockey combine team effort with individual excellence in a way that football can't match.

Football's dominance on college campuses is a major embarrassment for higher education.

September 10, 2012 at 3:30 PM  
Blogger Pints in NYC said...

Ever see the movie Leatherheads with George Clooney?

It's something of a Sgt. York meets start of pro football. Nice period piece, if not necessarily historically accurate. Trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azyQCCGGxMc

Now, I heard that the ol' timers, like guys who fought in WWII and older, always considered football to be a college game. I'll admit, the best football game I've ever been to was an Ivy League one - Yale at Princeton. I found it to be more of a cultural experience than anything else.

September 10, 2012 at 8:45 PM  

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