Government, Figure Skating and the Internet (Any Bets?)

Nathan ChenIn the United States, the sport of figure skating is governed by elected politicians much like the Federal government, except that they are unpaid volunteers. Well, they receive trips to the world’s resorts at no cost to themselves, but no salaries. With no one effectively overlooking their decisions, their word has been law for figure skaters. Until now, if a report from the current U.S. National Championships proves correct.

Nathan Chen, a 16 year old American figure skating wunderkind, tossed quadruple jumps like confetti in both his short and long programs at the U.S. Nationals. The judges placed him 3rd; the winner managed only one quad, and that ended in a fall. In the secret conclave afterward to select the American world team, we heard that Chen was ignored for an injured Jason Brown, a favorite without any quad jumps who had sat out the competition with an injury. The elected politicians who run the sport have their own agendas, naturally.

But per the report, after the decision was announced, a massive reaction generated on the internet resulted in hasty adjustments to the decision, a change that that put Chen and Nathan Chen1his quads on the U.S. World Team. We have not been able to verify the details at this point, but it raises an interesting issue whether or not it turns out to be correct.

Governments are using the internet to snoop into every citizens’s previously private transactions and communications, worldwide. So far, the Constitution is proving of little help in restraining that. And today’s citizens seem not to care very much. In China, the world wide web is inaccessible; a Chinese government substitute is used instead. Heavily censored, naturally. And in the U.S, the FCC, the FTC and the FEC have all asserted jurisdiction ovr the internet. It is too soon to know how those assertions will stand.

But what we can know is this: No earthly government will ever be pleased to be overruled by internet exposure of its work. Government and transparency only appear in the same sentence during campaign speeches. The politicians will go to any length to prevent voters looking over their shoulders as they practice politics. Precisely because they fear what appears to have just occurred at U.S. Figure Skating.

And that, for those a bit short on history, has much to do with why the American Founders provided a Constitution intended to guarantee a small government with limited powers.

Will Americans allow their government to grab control of the internet?

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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