As an economic conservative, I find myself often interacting with people that demand I defend a point of view that I do not hold — that being that economic conservatives care only about money and not about people.
Evidently there is a caricature of our politics out there that insists that if we *don’t* want to impose punitive taxation on the rich and corporations, and if we *don’t* want to increase social services to Norwegian levels, then we must be OK with people dying in the streets, or some other such nonsense. So, it amuses me when the same people leveling these accusations are caught doing just that. :-)
Latest case? The NBA. Let’s talk.
China loves basketball, and has loved it for over a century. It’s surprising to some, because on the world stage, they are not particularly good at it; their best finish to date in any world tournament has been 8th. But, they love it nonetheless. Good for them.
This love of basketball in China went into overdrive in 2002, when the freakishly tall Yao Ming (7' 6") was selected first in the NBA draft by the Houston Rockets. Yao was a pretty good player, being selected to play in the NBA All-Star game eight times, but the combined pounding of playing full NBA and international seasons took its toll; he suffered from a succession of lower extremity injuries during his NBA career, and retired from the NBA at the age of 31. Yao, however, did not start any sort of trend; there have been only three Chinese players since him to play in the NBA.
However, the trend that Yao *did* establish was the creation of a constant and consistent flow of money out of China into NBA coffers. (Kudos on this part to the NBA — they are one of the few industries with a positive trade balance with the Chinese.)
Now, let’s make it real, although there’s so much to discuss it’s hard to know where to start.
China’s government is, to put it bluntly, a nightmare. To start, let’s pull a passage from Elizabeth Warren’s campaign policy document:
We’ve let China get away with the suppression of pay and labor rights, poor environmental protections, and years of currency manipulation.
To simplify, let’s make a list:
(a) Currency Manipulation. This is a vague term to most Americans, so let’s explain. When a nation’s economy is doing well, it’s currency naturally appreciates against others. However, a strong currency causes the goods and services produced by that country to be more expensive in relation to others; less goods and services get sold, which depreciates the currency. So, when nations allow their currency to float naturally, everything tends to stay in balance.
The Chinese, however, do NOT permit their currency to float; they peg it at unnaturally low levels, which keep their goods and services cheap, which forces manufacturing and employment into China from other nations.
Early in the Trump Administration, certain EO’s and the corporate tax decrease caused a modest but measurable increase in US manufacturing activity; even Trump’s critics admit that the US did add about half a million manufacturing jobs prior to the pandemic, mostly early in his term of office.
Seeing this, China responded by devaluing its currency, slamming the brakes on manufacturing activity leaving China for the United States.
(b) Intellectual Property Theft. Bluntly put, China expects the world to respect their patents and copyrights while they could care less about the rights of anyone else. Although their record on this matter is improving due to consistent international pressure, this theft of rights has been estimated to cost US corporations 200–600 billion dollars a year. So, again, there’s half a trillion dollars that could be put to work in the US economy going to work in the Chinese economy instead.
(c ) The Uyghurs. The Uyghur Muslims in East China have a long and interesting history dating back to the days of the Silk Road. Because they are, obviously, religious, and China’s communism ideology includes the usual doctrine of enforced atheism, this has put the Uyghurs on a collision course with the Chinese Government. Starting in 2014, the Chinese government has engaged in a pattern of cultural genocide and religious extermination that is rivaled only by the Holocaust.
This behavior has been enabled, sorry to say, but developing nations mostly in the Middle East and Africa who have become economically dependent on China, thus acting in an even more reprehensible way than the NBA (we’ll get back to them soon, I promise).
(d) COVID19. It is well known now that COVID19 most likely originated from a food market in Wuhan. Rather than acting as a world partner to suppress this threat, China moved to cover it up instead, starting with the arrest of the doctor who first tried to warn the world. Their internal paranoia led them to delay going public with the information about the virus, where studies have indicated that earlier public warning could have cut fatalities by as much as 95%. And protests from China claiming that they did act responsibly and warn the public died this week, when it was admitted that China NEVER told the World Health Organization about COVID19.
And finally, this long and circuitous path leads us back to the NBA, which went into a cash-fueled tizzy when the Houston Rockets general manager tweeted this entirely (for any true classical liberal) uncontroversial graphic:
This tweet went viral rather quickly, and earned a quick response from “Social Justice Warrior” LeBron James, who showed his true colors by responding thusly:
“I don’t want to get into a [verbal] feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke,”
Somehow…..I doubt that LeBron is more educated on the subject than Morey….and what’s gone on in Hong Kong since the above exchange show clearly that whatever LeBron thought he was knew regarding Hong Kong…..he didn’t. :-)
Which, FINALLY, brings us to this little gem by Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner, in an interview a few days ago with Time Magazine:
“We’ve had a long history in China,” Silver said. “And certainly this is a bump in the road in our relations … We come to China with a certain set of core American values and principles. And I understand also they have a different form of government. And they have a different view of how things have been done, how things should be done. And hopefully, we can find mutual respect for each other.”
I can’t express my feelings on that any better than Clay Travis, writer for Outkick, did:
If ever there was a time for a follow up question, this was it. What “mutual respect” does the NBA have for Chinese values? Does the NBA respect the Chinese internment camps for Muslims? Does the NBA respect the silencing of protesters in Hong Kong? Does the NBA respect the fact that China lied about the coronavirus, thereby allowing the infection of tens of millions of people around the world? Does the NBA respect China’s continued attempts to set up bot accounts and foment artificial dissent in the United States through social media? Does the NBA respect China’s continued attempts to steal American technology and pirate it globally? Does the NBA respect the lack of free speech and basic human rights that exist in China?
All good questions, and especially poignant considering the NBA’s effort to appear “woke” regarding the current discourse on racial equality.
NBA reportedly plans to paint "Black Lives Matter" on courts when season resumes
The NBA is planning on painting "Black Lives Matter" on courts when the season restarts in late July, ESPN reported…
So, I find I must ask the following question:
Hey NBA! Why are you only “woke” when it’s in your financial best interests?
7/13/2020 UPDATE: In the “How Could This Get Any More Damning” to the NBA, this little gem came across the wire today:
AUDIO: NBA Store Says You Can Buy A 'KillCops' Jersey
BREAKING: The @NBA is no longer creating/selling "KillCops" and "FuckPolice" jerseys after I called and asked for one…
You just can’t make this stuff up…….