Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Punishing Performence Enhancement
Any competitive sport has athletes using illegal performance enhancement substances to gain some form of competitive advantage. Many have considered some of these substances to have adverse harmful effects on the health of the individual. Additionally, the use of these substances changes what some see as a level playing field of competition.
Recently, just following news that Barry Bonds has tested positive for these illegal substances, Alex Rodriguez or A-Rod, another baseball player, has admitted and been tested positive for using these substances as well. While many are not shocked (most people thought they were using all along), there does seem to be an interesting parallel to other aspects of capitalism and libertarian philosophy that I would like to apply here.
In a business situation, many republicans and libertarians have desired to have more of a laissez-faire approach where the government stays out of their business allowing the market to solve its own problems. Recently many in this blog have expressed opinions with respect to Federal Bailouts, executive pay caps and so on, and the general consensus is that part of the capitalist economy in which we live allows for people to succeed or fail due to the effects of competition. Competition isn't always fair. And, one of the benefits to competition is that is drives the performance and production levels up.
However when it comes to sports, many are quick to see the federal government pounce on and crush the careers of competitive professional athletes for what some could view as a product of capitalistic competition. Is it the place of the federal government to step in and test for performance enhancement drugs with the players, and are the use of these drugs even wrong? Of course, LDS people generally take to the creed of the word of wisdom that we are not to take such potentially harmful things into our bodies. However, if all those Arnold Freeberg paintings of Nephi and Moroni being so ripped and cut that they would beat down anyone that came in their way are a true likeness, then all these athlete's are doing are trying to be like the prophets of old.
In the spirit of competition that so many in this blog strive to uphold, is there a place for performance enhancing drugs in professional athletic competitions? If not, then who is supposed to enforce the "breaking of the rules"?