Baseball and Socialism

© by Dennis York 2016

An acquaintance of mine is a socialist, a Bernie Sanders supporter, and a passionate Cleveland Indian fan. I suppose there is nothing wrong with a socialist loving the favorite American pastime but it made me a bit uneasy. At first I could not identify the cause of my angst.

Baseball is one of many significant cultural contributions of the United States and her capitalistic economy. For this discussion, a cultural contribution is a phenomenon with significant economic impact and with significant recognition and familiarity worldwide.

A few cultural contributions of the United States include: Elvis Presley, Charles Lindberg, Mark Twain, the National Football League, NASCAR, Cats, Cheetos, Mickey Mouse, OJ, The Simpsons, Stephen King, CNN, Ed Sullivan, Poe, Cassius Clay and Mohamed Ali, Jane Fonda, Apple, Barak Obama, Wal-Mart, Pet Rocks, Hula Hoops, George Washington Carver, Britney Spears, NBA, Ichiro, jogging, the Internet, Tiny Tim, The Monster that Devoured Cleveland, California Wine, Star Wars, Snoop Dogg, Browning fire arms, Liberace, both Books of Mormon, Coca Cola, Lena Dunham, talk radio, Silent Spring, Lassie, barbeque, most medicine and medical technology, The Empire State Building, Oprah, Coca-Cola, Dirty Harry, Disneyland, NHL, Bruce and Caitlyn Jenner, feminism, Capote, Harley Davidson, global warming, Pan Am, Ronald Reagan, Sex in The City, Hewlett-Packard, Ché T-shirts, Robert Frost, David Letterman, John Wayne, Balto, Nike, NCAA, The Beach Boys, Winchester, The Hunt for Red October, apple pie, Al Sharpton, Ford, the light bulb . . .

Contributions of the collected, worldwide command (socialist) economies include: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the AK-47, the Lada, Mao's Little Red Book, Pol Pot, Tetris, and Ché.

Why do command economies fail to create vibrant culture? Certainly they can copy culture. The Moscow Ballet recreated and bettered the ballet of 18th century France. The East German women's swim teams were masterful exercises in better performance through chemistry. Symphonies in Red China play impeccable Beethoven. Cubans and Venezuelans play great baseball.

Maybe hungry people can't afford to worry about inventing culture. Command economies are consistently good at creating starvation.

Maybe when people are told what they must do for the state, they assume nothing else can be done. Their souls atrophy and decay until there is nothing but another day in the life. If you are forced to love the state, there is little room left for love of the game.

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