It ain’t really about anthems or flags. It ain’t even about wealthy, pampered morons whining about how tough they supposedly have it in a country in which they ought to be on their knees thanking God to live, instead of the benighted, hellish shithole they’re pleased in their buffoonish ignorance to refer to as their “motherland.” It’s actually about destroying the very concept of “nationhood” itself.
Almost any point on that continuum covers the minimal civic act of standing for a national anthem. If you love your country, your “consciousness of duty” commands you to respect its flag and anthem: you need no statute to direct you to do so. On the other hand, if you feel, as many do, ambivalent about your flag or anthem, “good form appropriate in a given situation” suggests that, out of comity with your neighbors, rising to your feet for a minute or two is the appropriate thing to do. Many republicans and/or atheists (into both of which camps falls Jeremy Corbyn) are not entirely happy about a song enjoining the Almighty to confer long life on the monarch; the current Australian prime minister was a prominent member of the unsuccessful campaign to replace the national flag; I’ve attended events in the presence of Quebec’s Lieutenant-Governor, who enters accompanied by the Vice-Regal Salute, which is the first half of “God Save The Queen” and the last half of “O Canada”, neither of which secessionist Quebeckers care for. But whatever our views we all suffer it “through a sense of what is required by public spirit”.
That presumably is why on Sunday two dozen kneeling Americans decided to rise to their feet for Britain’s national anthem. Because they understood that were they to remain kneeling they would be regarded by their London hosts as boorish graceless ignorant clods – which, in fact, they are, with respect to their own anthem. We stand for the anthems of foreigners not out of allegiance but out of Moulton’s “good form”. Standing for other people’s anthems is the minimal respect required to transact international relations: At, say, US/Soviet summits, Reagan could have taken a knee to protest Moscow’s human rights record, and Chernenko could have taken a knee to protest that Reagan was a running dog of capitalism and imperialism. But both men remained standing – because that’s the minimal requirement for any mutually beneficial relations.
So, when a bunch of pampered poseurs decide to drive a stake through a primal civic ritual, that’s not a small thing. Lord Moulton called it “the domain of manners” because it is literally a land, the public space, a realm. And like any realm it requires a shared anthem and flag. To reduce such things to objects of partisan controversy – whether over racist policing in Democrat cities or transgender bathrooms or anything else – is to shrink the land of manners. Which ought to be disturbing – because, as Lord Moulton put it, “The real greatness of a nation, its true civilization, is measured by the extent of this land.”
By that measure, our greatness is shriveling fast. The land of “good form appropriate in a given situation” has been encroached upon remorselessly, to the point where everything can merely be legal or illegal, and therefore to render any judgment of our own upon the merits of this or that would be presumptuous. Hence all these ridiculous discussions on the “constitutional” right of bazillionaire narcissists and their unlovely employers to shatter one of the small but critical social norms hitherto observed by all: The domain of absolute freedom (they have the right to take a knee!) nibbles away at the domain of manners from one end, and the domain of law answers (the NFL should fire them!) with a response correct in legal terms but which in itself nibbles away at the domain of manners from the other end.
For anyone who wishes to live in a civilized society where the observance of social norms can be safely assumed, this wretched business is a loss – for what remains of social cohesion, for “true civilization” and for “the real greatness of a nation”. A national anthem can be a national anthem or an opportunity for self-expression, but not both. And, if this is yet one more thing that Americans can no longer agree on, if a people lack the minimal social glue to rise reflexively when the band strikes up the first bars of “O-oh, say, can you…”, you have to wonder whether anything remains to bind us together at all.
No need to wonder much about that, actually; it’s becoming clearer by the day that this is a “nation” bound only by geography, and even that rather tenuously. In no other sense—shared values, shared goals, common interests, common dreams—does the word any longer apply at all.
Update! Remember when I said the other day that if the goons of the National Felons League weren’t out on the field making millions playing a kid’s game, they’d be out in the parking lot breaking into cars? Such an inflammatory, unfair statement, you might have thought to yourself; why, in its ugly generalization it smacks of a horrid racism that…that…ummm…
Did you know, that as of this writing, it’s been 24 days since an NFL player was arrested? The odds that we would go that long in between player arrests are 25 to 1! In case you were wondering, there’s an entire website dedicated to tracking all the NFL players who have been arrested.
Oops. I just checked again. It’s now been zero days since an NFL player was arrested. Thanks, Los Angeles Ram Ethan Westbrooks! Westbrooks was arrested this weekend for speeding and being in possession of an unlicensed firearm. This is the second time in bracelets this year for Westbrooks, who was arrested in March on suspicion of domestic violence (the charges were later dropped).
According to NFLArrest.com, the record span between arrests is 65 days. The average span between player arrests is seven days. The site has been tracking player arrests since 2000 and has an interactive breakdown of all the data. You can track arrests by team, date, day of the week (unsurprisingly, Saturday is most popular), player position, or type of crime.
It is important to note, as NFLArrest.com states, that NFL players are arrested at a slightly lower rate than Americans in general. One would hope, however, that the arrest rate would be significantly lower than for the general public. Given the high-profile nature of the job, the greatly heightened socioeconomic class of NFL employees, and league expectations that go along with the privilege of playing a game for a living, it is only natural to think that crime rates would drop precipitously.
All in all, I’d say America needs the NFL and its blockheaded brats almost as much as it needs more unvetted and unassimilable Muslim immigrants. Almost, but not quite.
Updated update! David Codrea dispenses with the idea that NFL thugs have some sort of unalienable “right” to insult the people who ultimately pay their grossly-inflated salaries:
Putting on a team uniform and appearing at an event paid for by others means you’re no longer representing yourself, you’re representing those employing you.
When you accept the responsibility of representing a group, your obligation is to represent the goals and the mission of that group. As I noted in “Who Speaks for Oath Keepers?” I have a right to write about any topic I please – just not wherever I want. This is the Oath Keepers site. If I write anything not in the best interests of this organization, Stewart Rhodes and the board have the right to remove it and to boot me out.
Players would not be doing this if the enablers behind them did not find national divisiveness, increased racial agitation and cultural transformation advantageous to their interests. That team owners and the NFL have not shut down players hijacking media attention to promote their own political sentiments – sentiments that are irreconcilable with and deeply offensive to the beliefs of many Americans – speaks to the gutlessness, the lack of principle and/or the insidious motives of those supposedly running the show. If owners and the league had refused to accept such disruption the first time it happened, they would have issued a clear and unequivocal rule that if athletes want to play and keep earning millions of dollars, they’re not going to use the branding they appear under for unauthorized purposes.
All of which serves to reduce this nonexistent “right” to something more akin to an indulgence—a particularly apt term when talking about the childish, self-important antics of spoiled brats.
Via WRSA, who sums it all up nicely: “Irreconcilable differences.” That’s what it all boils down to in the end.
Update to the updated update! Codrea makes a statement above about the “enablers” seeing “national divisiveness, increased racial agitation and cultural transformation” as being “advantageous to their interests.” I submit that, if that’s the case, they’ve badly misidentified their interests, which of right ought to be nothing more than getting as many people as they can to pay attention to their sportsball games. Zman plays around with that a bit:
Of course, the zeal of NFL owners to include the girls is due to the understanding that their sport is never going to be popular with girls or sissies. Like boxing, it takes guts to play football. Anyone who played the game knows the risks, as they saw teammates carted off with broken bones or on backboards. Girls don’t like seeing that and they really don’t want their children doing it. The pinking of sports like football is an effort to distract the girls from the reality of the game so they don’t shut it down.
In a feminine society like ours, it is just a matter of time before masculine things like sports are either made girlish or relegated to the fringe. Boxing, for example, still exists, but only as a fringe sport done by foreigners. UFC has managed to gain an audience, but again, it is as a renegade activity, done underground and on pay-per-view. White mothers will never be taking their sons to UFC camp. They can tolerate martial arts, just as long as it is white boys in bathrobes, safely pretending to be Jackie Chan.
This is why football is so much trouble. Peak professional football was probably a dozen years ago. It was around then that white mothers, especially divorced middle-class mothers, started turning against youth football. They did not want their little baby being run over by black kids. That’s why the concussion hysteria gained traction. It’s a ready made excuse for pulling the white kids out of football, that lets white women pretend it is not racism driving their decision. After all, they loved Will Smith in the concussion movie!
It’s why the NFL’s decision to let their blacks kneel during the anthem is going to be a disaster for them. The owners signed off on it thinking it added drama and would therefore draw in girls, because girls and girly-men like drama. Instead, those kneeling black players are a stark reminder to white women that the sport of football is for violent black men, not nice suburban white boys. Youth participation in football is collapsing and this will only serve to accelerate it. The NFL has now made football anti-white and un-American.
The root cause is not the inherent danger of playing sports like football. The root is the same as it is for everything in the current crisis. The feminization of the West is turning politics into a never ending soap opera for no purpose than the perpetuation of petty gripes among the participants. Nothing gets done, because girls don’t care about deeds. They care about attention.
Hoo boy, the gals ain’t gonna like THAT one little bit.