An amazing venue. An amazing tournament.
This year, in particular, offered up a host of amazing matches; e.g., Federer vs. Nadal; Federer vs. Djokovic; Serena Williams vs. Simon Halep; all the matches of Coco Gauff. And many more. The quality of tennis keeps improving. And not by accident. It’s due to fair competition.
In match after match, not only in the finals, players threw themselves into the fray to run, perceive, plan, hit, decide, and use their emotional energy in positive ways. What makes this, and every sports event, wonderful is that it is a fair contest. And because it is a fair contest, people train hard, push hard, try their damnedest to win.
The opponents make each other better. And, then, after they have trained as hard as they can train, they play as hard as they can play and we watch the drama that reveals the limits of human performance.
Imagine instead that the outcome were to be predetermined by those in power. Because someone bribes the dictator, or is otherwise connected by favors or blood, the winner is chosen by the dictator. Then, everything is “show” to make it fall into place the way the the dictator wants. Maybe some of the competitors would be drugged. Maybe some of them would meet with accidents. Maybe the line calls could consistently shade one way.
Would fans even get any joy in watching? I suppose some might. After all, I do enjoy watching 007 movies, Star Trek, etc. even though I already know which side will win. But then, why bother with a tournament? Why not just make a fictional movie about tennis and the dictator’s favorite tennis player?
Who would want to enter such tournaments if they knew that the outcome depended on your connections to the dictator rather than on their skill and strategy? Who would bother to train hard for the event? Who would even be attracted to the sport in the first place?
If you were a top quality athlete, if some sports were “open and fair” and other sports were predetermined by the dictator, which one would you want to play in?
Of course, in a dictatorship, it isn’t just sports that are corrupted. Every aspect of life is corrupted. You can poison the food and water and get away with it — if the dictator likes you. You can run your company into the ground and be bailed out if you are aligned with the wishes of the dictator. Government officials will be advanced according to how corrupt they are rather than how well they do their jobs. You can be a brilliant academic, but if your views do not align with what the dictator thinks will protect and expand his own power, you’ll be passed over for promotion. That’s the best case scenario. You could find yourself in a prison camp.
And under these circumstances, why should people try hard to discover and disseminate the truth? Why should anyone make the best possible product if the dictator might jail you because you are competing with the dictator’s son-in-law?
Under dictatorship, everything in life decays into a moldy shadow of what it should be. Creativity is stifled. Your brilliant discovery won’t be approved by the dictator because the dictator didn’t know about it ahead of time (by definition). On the other hand, the dictator might “prescribe” findings and discoveries such as the existence of phlogiston. Experimental results will be manipulated and the population will begin to believe in a reality that is less and less aligned with the actual facts.
Do you think this is an exaggeration? It isn’t. But don’t take my word for it. Read about writers, film makers, singers, movie stars, athletes that were not in “favor” with Stalin or Mao.
Do you, like most workers, take pride in doing a good job? Why bother if the dictator can brush away your team’s product in order to promote the competitive product made by the dictator’s daughter, say? Absolute power is an addictive drug and a dictator will never voluntarily give up power. They insist on more. Of course, no-one can know everything and the worst kind of dictator is the impulsive/cover-up kind. They don’t bother to understand a situation but make snap judgements. Then, everyone is required to scramble to pretend the snap judgment was actually a good — no, a great decision.
The lies and mediocrity will proliferate. In many cases, cruelty will be extracted from “enemies of the people” intentionally. Beyond that, there will be almost no incentive for government to be effective under a dictatorship. Do you think the Bureau of Motor Vehicles is inefficient now? You haven’t seen anything like the inefficiency of a dictatorial state! But if things stay on the current trajectory, you will.
Once honesty becomes replaced with loyal lying, everything crumbles. Everything.
Your body only stays healthy and alive because it sends all sorts of communication signals. If your body “lies” to itself and sends false signals, you will soon find yourself in terrible health or worse.
It is the same with a nation. If public officials lie, it destroys government in and of itself — and it also encourages the rest of the population to lie, cheat, and steal.
Game. Set. Match.