I love Listverse. The one beef I would have is that it doesn’t have enough good sports lists. But what it does have is many lists that have equivalencies in the sports world. Today’s installment involves 10 forms of government and gives a representative example from the sports world. Think of it as a civics lesson with a jockstrap.
#10) Totalitarianism: Total Rule
Ruled by an ideology that penetrates every nook and cranny of its society. The regime is often headed by a cult of personality type leader. The government gets its power from a goal or idea, such as the dominance of Nazi Germany, that its people embrace so much they will give up rights to defend it. It builds up control through eliminating and confining anything that acts independently of the state, until it regulates and enforces nearly every aspect of public and private life. Giving themselves power through propaganda, control over media, economy, restricting free discussion, mass surveillance, and use of terror tactics. Totalitarianism is really just a concept, but many countries have advocated and built off of it. The two best known being Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union. The George Orwell book 1984 deals extensively with the subject.
Representative Sports Organization: The Oakland Raiders
Let’s face facts. The Raiders have become the North Korea of the NFL and Al Davis it’s Kim Jong-Il. Davis has sunk into some sort of self-deluded alternate reality that has him believing Tom Cable is an NFL head coach and that JaMarcus Russell was an NFL quarterback. Finally they stopped drinking the Kool-Aid in the Russell case, but there have been so many other bizarre tales emanating from Oakland that all have one thing in common: Al Davis has total control of this organization, as it clearly mirrors his dysfunctional personality. This is why Cable is the head coach; nobody else will take the job. For a good detailing of the lunacy running rampant in Oakland, check out the blog Al Davis Sucks.
# 9) Theocracy: Ruled by God
Ruled by a god or deity, the state is governed by an individual that is divinely guided, or more often an institutional representative (a church). The local laws and rules are set by a dominant religious leader on behalf of God. In pure theocracy, the leader is believed to have a direct connection to God, such as Moses and Muhammad ruled the early Israelites and Muslims. What they say is to be the law of God. Ecclesiocracy on the other hand, the leaders do not claim to be a direct religious link, but instead uphold a pre-received revelation. Other theocracies may hold a secular government to delegate civil law to religious communities. Vatican City (an absolute theocratic monarchy), Saudia Arabia, and Iran are a few notable Theocracies.
Representative Sports Organization: The NCAA
The NCAA bears all the hallmarks of an organization trying to emulate the 16th-century Catholic Church. I’m surprised they aren’t right now trying to get Reggie Bush’s forfeited Heisman for their Sacred Reliquary of Hypocrisy. Even if they don’t get their mitts on the trophy, you know this bunch of “Holier-than-thou” buttloafs almost tore their collective rotator cuffs patting themselves on the back when they finally finished their Inquisition against USC.
See, there is a fundamental problem in play here. First of all, what got USC whacked was not recruiting violations, or illegal payoffs, or fraud, or insert criminal charge here. Rather the Trojans got punished for proving the NCAA model is broken. Don’t think for a minute that USC was the only school violating the NCAA’s commandments; two of the last four BCS championship game participants were on some form of NCAA sanction. Rather, USC’s leadership figured out that punishment doesn’t outweigh the benefit of committing the crime. Pete Carroll skulked out of town in the middle of the night to cash a nice NFL paycheck; athletic director Mike Garrett will also not face any punishment for his actions. Oh, and USC will still make money despite the NCAA probation.
How do you get a punishment that really isn’t a punishment and isn’t meted out in an impartial manner? Simply put, the NCAA is a collection of university presidents seeking to carry on the hypocritical idiocy started by their dear departed idol Myles Brand, specifically through the financial transubstantiation needed to establish the NCAA as a cash-collection machine while “defending” the fraudulent premise of the “student-athlete.”
# 8 ) Exilarchy: Ruled by ethnic or religious diaspora
The exilarchy is set to rule a religious or ethnic group, rather than the place the group originates from. The leader only has power through cultural and honorary means, and only rules the groups followers. They are ultimately governed by their host countries. Two examples of an exilarchy are the Reish Galuta, and Dalai Lama’s rule over the Tibetan diaspora.
Representative Sports Organization: Brigham Young University
Mormons are like the Jews in the sense that they had to do a lot of wandering before they found a placed where they could settle. The difference is the Mormons were smart enough to pick a piece of land nobody else wanted. The problem is that by being isolated in Utah also has made them delusional. Have you ever had occasion where you say somebody about to make a decision so bad that it will cause chaos in so many respects you just cringe thinking about it? A buddy of yours drinks too much and drunk-dials his ex, or doesn’t see the problem with lending money to a new girlfriend, or even worse, thinking that living with the significant other’s parents can work …all of them will end disastrously, and all of them are a better idea than going independent in college football.
BYU needs to take a hard look at what being an “independent” means; look at who is “independent” now…Notre Dame, Army, and Navy. Look at the schedules they put together, look at the revenue those schedules can generate, and understand your schedule won’t generate anything near that. So before it is too late, BYU, review your decision to be independent.
# 7) Minarchism: Minimal Statism
Not far off from anarchism, Minarchists believe government should be limited to protecting the basic right of life, liberty, and property. They endorse a Night Watchman State, which is limited to Court, Police, and Military. Minarchists favor small, local or city level jurisdictions, rather than a large national government. Leaving anyone who doesn’t want to work or live under a certain municipality, be able to move to another jurisdiction easily. Although closely related to Market Anarchists, minarchism understands that government is inevitable, so instead of fight it, limit it.
Representative Sports Organization: Major League Baseball
The whole model of Major League Baseball is like that of the United States under the Articles of Confederation. In other words, the Office of the Commissioner functions as a weak central government with specifically enumerated powers, such as dealing with the player’s union and keeping baseball’s anti-trust exemption. This leaves and landscape dominated by a few powerful owners who really determine the direction the enterprise as a whole will take. Just wait until the winter meetings in December to see the struggle that will emerge as somebody attempts to fill the power vacuum created by the death of George Steinbrenner.
# 6) Ethnocracy: Ruled by race
Ethnocracies are used to make one race, religious group, or language, politically dominant to the rest. With all other issues being subordinate to their cause. The degree of discrimination will vary from system to system. In Uganda there is an ethnic cleansing of the Indian people, along with an extreme political favoring of the indigenous people. However ethnocracy can be a full fledged democracy, with only a lack of representation for a certain group. A few other places experiencing ethnocracy are Pakistan, Israel, and South Africa.
Representative Sports Organization: The National Football League
The NFL is dominated by a particular ethnic group, and that dominance has created a situation in which a permissive attitude toward bad behavior has become the expectation of said group of all other groups. In other words, the NFL has replaced the NBA as America’s pre-eminent “thug” league, and while it does contain bad actors of all stripes, there is simply no denying two facts. First, until the arrival of Roger Goodell, there was a “boys will be boys” attitude towards criminal behavior amongst players. Second, for every Ben Roethlisberger, there are ten Michael Vicks.
I’m fully aware that somebody is going to slap a “racist” label on me for saying this; this is how anybody seeking to defend this sort of disparity discredits anyone who dares point out the emperor is naked. They have no choice but to discredit guys like me; they can’t refute the argument. The underpinning of such a “racist” allegation is the belief that the act itself is not as important as who committed it or who was on the receiving end of it. This is how you get people to buy such monstrously flawed arguments such as “NFL players are slaves.” Face it, slaves did not have the choice to be slaves; find me one guy in the NFL who was driven at gunpoint to play on Sundays, let alone one that didn’t have an agent who negotiated a lucrative, mutual agreement that was entered in complete free will. That’s all just a smokescreen for the fact it is not allowed to criticize or hold black players accountable for their performance or their actions.
#5) Kleptocracy: Ruled by Thieves
Similar to a plutocracy, the kleptocracy is ruled by a few people of wealth. In this system however, the rich get richer by embezzling from its citizens. A kleptocracy degrades the peoples quality of life, taking money that is often supposed to go to schools, hospitals, roads, and other public services. In 2004, an a German-based NGO, Transparency International released a list of what is believed to be the ten most self-enriched leaders, Indonesian and Philippine Presidents ranking on the top 2. The US Senate recently coined the term narcokleptocracy, building off the existing term for kleptocracy to address societies involved in narcotic trades.
Representative Sports Organization: The franchise owners of the National Football League
How else do you describe a group of people who have extorted taxpayers into building stadiums and twisted the television networks into agreements that will pay the owners even if there is no football in 2011 because the owners are going to lockout the player’s union in order to force financial concessions?
#4) Plutocracy: Ruled by the Wealthy
Economic inequality at its finest, the plutocracy gives power to the most wealthy. A few of the places who are known for their plutocracies are Ancient Greece, Carthage, Italian merchant republics of Venice and Florence, and Genoa. In recent times there is no true plutocracy, although many countries are criticized for showing similar signs. Corporations raise and donate significant amounts of revenue for politicians and political parties, and use their financial power to influence favorable legislation; similar to a corporatocracy. The Plutocracy is classically an oligarchy, so a handful of the wealthiest people control everything. If there is no proper form of control, the plutocracy collapses into a kleptocracy.
Representative Sports Organization: The New York Yankees
If there were ever a franchise ruled by the almighty dollar, it is the Yankees. The late George Steinbrenner is amongst the initial wave of owners who saw sports franchises as investments; hence he built the Yankees into a powerful corporate brand. Now that he is gone, it will be interesting to see the future of this organization; does it continue to be a model sports business, or does it digest itself by making that collapse into kleptocracy.
#3) Logocracy: Ruled by Words
A more ironic or parody government, a logocracy is a government ruling through words. Described in Washington Irving’s 1807 work, Salmagundi, a logocracy is a government that uses tricky wording to control its people. The Soviet Union has been accused of being a logocracy, citing that its language was a “stereotyped jargon consisting of formulas and empty slogans, whose purpose was to prevent people from thinking outside the boundaries of collective thought.” George Orwell’s 1984 is a good example of a logocracy, and used the Soviet Union’s “Neo-language” as the basis for its Newspeak.
Representative Sports Organization: ESPN
The World Wide Leader owes its existence to words, even if some of them aren’t really that useful. ESPN would have you believe that anybody cares about women’s basketball. ESPN would have you believe dolts like Skip Bayless and Woody Paige actually have even the remotest knowledge of sport. And it is ESPN that has you beleiving any former jock can be a commentator.
#2) Technocracy: Governed by Technical Decision Making
Technocracy is a government ran by scientists and engineers. Placing the most knowledgeable professionals in charge of their specialized area to ensure administrative functions are carried out efficiently. For example, a group of medical professionals would control the health care system, political scientists would control political policy, Judges would control the law, with all the groups working together to maximize each one’s performance. The officials would be selected through bureaucratic processes to test knowledge and performance, selecting the most qualified. Though never used in a state wide setting yet, there is a technocracy movement pushing to make North America one large technocratic based land mass. The area would use a system of “Energy Accounting” instead of money and use a non-market economy – hypothetically becoming the most energy and production efficient place in the world.
Representative Sports Organization: The “Instant Replay” Crowd
The “Instant Replay” people believe that by introducing technology all officiating mistakes can be eliminated. What happened in the Bears-Lions game last Sunday is the classic example of why they are wrong. The point behind slowing down the games to introduce “Instant Replay” was to eliminate mistakes, so now that is has been proven not to be effective, why not get rid of it? Because we live in an “I-pod, I-pad, I-phone” society which has an entrenched belief that anything involving technology is superior that doesn’t.
#1) Demarchy: Ruled by people
A government ran by randomly selected citizens called a ‘citizen’s jury’. The system is similar to a democracy, without the need for elections. Proposed by Australian philosopher John Burnheim, this style of government has never actually been used. Hypothetically, the random selection will remove the chance of political corruption, as it is unlikely the elected people involved would be part of a ‘political machine’. A Demarchy also avoid the issue of having to please anyone for political gain, and is dependent only on the selected persons beliefs and standings on what is best for the population. Cutting down the time that is spent by today’s elected officials to influencing, and be influenced by others to achieve political goals and popularity.
Representative Sports Organization: The Green Bay Packers
The Packers are the sole non-profit, community-owned franchise in major league professional sports. Based on the original “Articles of Incorporation for the Green Bay Football Corporation” put into place in 1923, if the Packers franchise were to have been sold, after the payment of all expenses, any remaining money would go to the Sullivan Post of the American Legion in order to build “a proper soldier’s memorial.” This stipulation was enacted to ensure the club remained in Green Bay and that there could never be any financial enhancement for the shareholders. At the November 1997 annual meeting, shareholders voted to change the beneficiary from the Sullivan-Wallen Post to the Green Bay Packers Foundation, which makes donations to many charities and institutions throughout Wisconsin.
As of June 8, 2005, 112,015 people (representing 4,750,934 shares) can lay claim to a franchise ownership interest. Shares of stock include voting rights, but the redemption price is minimal, no dividends are ever paid, the stock cannot appreciate in value; though private sales often exceed the face value of the stock, and stock ownership brings no season ticket privileges. No shareholder may own over 200,000 shares, which ensures no individual can assume control of the club.