Reducing the Odor of Social Justice War

Good news, everyone! The U.S. women’s soccer team, which is currently enjoying its fifteen minutes of stench as celebrity social justice agitators du jour, is about to gain a much needed influx of deodorant. Literally.

A few days back, I wrote about the soccer persons’ lack of basic economic understanding — or rather, the fact that their greed is bigger than their worth — in their demands for “equal pay,” relative to their American and international men’s soccer counterparts. After all, they whined, they won the championship and the men didn’t.

True, they won “the championship.” Luckily, the competition they had to beat to win this title was slightly less stiff than what these ladies faced when they got trounced by a team of junior high school boys two years ago in an exhibition match. Oh, of course “they were just trying out some things and learning to gel as a team” at that time. Right. And I suppose that under-15 schoolboys team was a well-oiled machine that had been competing internationally together for years.

As I wrote the other day (key phrase in bold):

Given that most of the biggest money in spectator sports is found in those events which emphasize the kind of skills and physical abilities which tend to marginalize female athletes as distinctly lesser, combined with the fact that most of the fans of those sports are men, it is likely that, government intervention or social justice corporate tax write-off investments aside, male athletes will naturally continue to draw more money, with occasional exceptions, than the women.

And so, as if answering the call of anti-nature, Secret Deodorant, along with another company, has leapt in to save the women’s soccer world from common sense, in the name of social justice corporate tax write-off investments (and cheap politically correct publicity):

To a big corporate entity like Secret Deodorant, half a million dollars is lunch money. So they get advertising bang for their buck that no ordinary thirty-second television commercial could earn them, and the runners-up in the Dallas under-15 boys soccer invitational get to pretend they are as good as the U.S. national men’s team, which of course didn’t even qualify for their World Cup — because they had to compete against all the best players on the planet, whereas the women only had to beat a bunch of people who play at a significantly lower level than a mediocre junior high school boys team.

Of course, I am not suggesting that the women aren’t worth as much as the men on free market principles. On the free market, one’s skills are worth exactly what others are willing to pay for them. Thus, if people get themselves all riled up about the value of women’s soccer, and the thrill of winning a piddling international event, and therefore decide they want to pay those women a zillion dollars, they are welcome to do so — as long as they are not stealing money from taxpayers in order to fund this nonsense. (The free market kind of depends on that little proviso, don’t you know.)

Is Megan Rapinoe worth as much, on the free market, as Lionel Messi? (I revert to him as my example again mainly because I know little, and care even less, about famous soccer players.) Well, right now she isn’t, because there are still more soccer fans who prefer to watch the sport played at its highest level, rather than to watch a match between a team that lost to fourteen-year-olds and an even worse team. On the other hand, if losing to fourteen-year-old schoolboys (from a nation that doesn’t even have any good men’s soccer players) suddenly becomes more popular than winning against top international competition, then perhaps soccer fans around the world will shift their ticket-buying dollars to Rapinoe and away from Messi. And there is nothing wrong with that, on purely free market principles. 

As to whether that possibility speaks well of the libertarian premise that the free market is the solution to all the world’s ills, on the other hand — well, I’ll let you be the judge, since we have plenty of examples at least as ridiculous as my Rapinoe-Messi hypothesis around us every day in the real world.

In the free market (to the extent we can still fantasize about having such a thing), hundreds of illiterate rap “artists” are millionaires, while major North American cities cannot keep a semi-professional chamber orchestra above water. In the free market, paint-by-numbers, incoherent movies based on comic book characters can demand nine-figure budgets and earn ten-figure box office receipts, while Shakespeare — the most popular artist, in the fullest sense of the term, in the history of the English-speaking world — is now regarded as a hothouse flower, and only performed professionally in a smattering of seasonal festivals. The academic world, from kindergarten through university, is dominated, financially, by a standardized factory system with careerist climbers and unionized loafers standing around in place of real teachers, while anyone who actually shows a talent and will to teach beyond the impersonal assembly line, or to think beyond the prefabricated categories that delimit the memory hole known as “academic journals,” is marginalized, subdued, or rejected outright by the machine of Modern Education.

Frankly, compared to the real life examples I have just cited, and hundreds more you could provide for yourself, the U.S. women’s soccer team getting a massive corporate equal-pay donation from Secret Deodorant seems almost reasonable.

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