Debate:Relationship between Socialism and athletic performance

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As suggested, I created a debate page about this subject. The debate can be continued here. This is what has been said so far. --Maquissar 19:36, 24 February 2010 (EST)

Canada embarrasses itself at Olympics

Hello. First off I'm new to Conservapedia and mainly I joined so I could fix small errors in articles, such as spelling mistakes etc. That being said, I am interested in further explanation of how having socialist policies and legalizing gay marriages is linked to Canada performing below (some) expectations at the Olympics. Also, what is the law liberals should pass to stop something? The Liberal party itself cannot pass any laws as the Conservative party is in power.Hhollis 10:43, 24 February 2010 (EST)

Liberals hate the free market and loathe the competitive spirit. The sine qua non of socialism is control, control, control. It's no surprise that such a system produces less than excellence. As to promoting the homosexual agenda with gay marriage, and then in schools, it sends many people down a road of failure rather than into traditional marriage that is so successful in producing excellence, including excellent athletes.
The reference to liberals passing a law to fix this defect was satirical.--Andy Schlafly 10:55, 24 February 2010 (EST)

I am not sure I understood the argument, it may be because of my limited knowledge of the English language. To clarify: is your hypothesis only limited to the upbringing of an athlete (i.e. , very few exceptional athletes have had a non-liberal upbringing), do they extend to the politics and morals (i.e. , very few exceptional athletes have liberal values in the political and moral sphere) or, finally, are you talking about countries and not individuals (i.e. , very few exceptional athletes come from countries and cultures which promote liberal or socialistic values)? --Maquissar 11:31, 24 February 2010 (EST)

Maquissar, it's not that complicated. The percentage of excellent athletes who are in traditional relationships or marriages is very high. The percentage of those misled by the homosexual agenda who then break athletic records is very low. Impose the latter on a country and expect to produce athletes who are not as competitive with other nations that don't impose the misguided value system.--Andy Schlafly 11:51, 24 February 2010 (EST)
I would be very interested to see where you are getting these percentages Mr. Schlafly. Do you have a source for that information? As for your original argument that somehow socialism and gay marriage impacts an athletes performance, well that's just silly. It seems to me that you try to link two completely unrelated things to somehow push your beliefs about gay marriage and socialism. Yes, Canada has many social programs. Yes, many Canadian support gay marriage. How that affects Canadian athletes is beyond me. It sounds like you're grasping at straws.--Cjohnston 12:13, 24 February 2010 (EST)

Oh, ok, thanks for the answer. I do not have any comments on the subject of exceptional homosexual athletes, as I haven't done any extensive research on the subject. But about liberal values, socialism, and sports, I don't agree. It seems to me that there are and there have been many exceptional athletes who did not have conservative values in either morals or politics, and also many exceptional athletes who came from socialistic or even communist countries. Some examples:

Non-conservative moral values:

Exceptional athletes who were libertines, or who divorced more than twice: ---Diego Armando MARADONA (soccer) ---Tiger WOODS (golf) ---Cassius CLAY (boxing) ---George BEST (soccer) ---Joe LOUIS (boxing)

Exceptional athletes who committed very serious crimes like rape, kidnapping, robbery, or murder: ---O.J. SIMPSON (football) ---Mike TYSON (boxing)

Exceptional athletes who were drug users: ---Diego Armando MARADONA (soccer) ---Marco PANTANI (cyclism) ---Ray Sugar LEONARD (boxing) ---Joe LOUIS (boxing)

Exceptional athletes who are agnostic or atheist: ---Lance ARMSTRONG (cycling)

Socialist or communist countries successful in sports:

---The SOVIET UNION won the 1956, 1960, 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1988 Summer Olympics, and came second almost every other time it partecipated. It produced several outstanding athletes in all different disciplines.

---CUBA always fared very successfully at Olympic games in spite of its small size.

---EAST GERMANY, when it existed, fared very successfully at Olympic games.

---ROMANIA produced many fine athletes in the time it was still part of the Eastern bloc, and came second in the 1984 Olympics, the only Communist country that took part to those games.

---BRAZIL is a socialist country, yet it still produces many of the world's greatest soccer players.

This is just a list which didn't take too much time to research, and I am sure that other names could be added to it. Also, I am not very familiar with American sports, so my list takes into account only American athletes whose fame is large enough to have spread to Italy. My point is, there doesn't seem to me that there is a clear correlation between liberal moral values, liberal political values, socialism, and failure in sports. --Maquissar 13:10, 24 February 2010 (EST)

Okay, now this argument that socialism breeds a lack of competitive spirit and sub-par athletes is really just silly. Let's look at the data ... Since we started off talking about the Winter Olympics, the all-time medals leader is Norway with 290 medals (103 of which were gold) and Norway has a pretty vibrant national welfare system. Second place is the United States with 237 medals (84 Gold) and third all-time is the Soviet Union with 217 medals (87 of which were gold). So, the Soviet Union won just twenty fewer medals and three more gold medals despite the fact that they competed in only 9 Winter Olympic Games and the United States competed in 21 Winter Games.[1].
If one looks at the Summer Games, in the eight games in which the United States and Soviet Union both competed, the United States trailed in the medal count six times to the Soviets.[2] The U.S. also trailed the post-Soviet "Unified Team" in 1992 in both the Summer and Winter Games.[3][4] Furthermore, if one weights the all-time medal counts for the Soviet Union and the United States[5] to account for the fact that the Soviets only participated in 9 Summer Games to the United States's 25, the Soviets have a clear margin of victory in both the total medal count and the gold medal count. Finally, in 2008, the U.S. trailed in the gold medals category (though, admittedly, not in the total medal count) to China -- again a country with some socialist tendencies.[6]
So maybe it's time to put this one to bed. Just because you're a "socialist" doesn't mean you can't run fast or jump high.--Rubashov 13:30, 24 February 2010 (EST)
Folks, you take liberal denial to, shall we say, Olympic heights. Your misuse of statistics fails to match the time period of effect to the time period of the cause. First open your mind and admit that the cause-and-effect is quite possible. I doubt you can get to the starting gate.--Andy Schlafly 13:41, 24 February 2010 (EST)
How have they misused statistics? And also, if we look at medals per capita here, we see that the leading nations are all fairly socialist countries. CharlieT 13:45, 24 February 2010 (EST)
I admit that cause-and-effect is quite possible. Actually, I BELIEVE in cause-and-effect. However, looking at the effects (e.g., the results in sport competitions of socialists and liberals) I don't find your hypothesis ("Liberalism and socialism fail - or are vastly inferior than conservativism - to create exceptional athletes") to be true. I am willing to admit that the mistake could be in my use of logic. Could you please explain how these statistics were misused? And what do you mean by "match the time period of effect to the time period of the cause"? --Maquissar 13:48, 24 February 2010 (EST)
Andy, you're right; I'm having trouble getting to the starting gate since, on its face, your assertion that a country that embraces socialism breeds poor-quality athletes seems rather obtuse. I disagree that I misused the statistics, but if you would like to point out specifically how I did so or offer a better analysis of them, I welcome your interpretation of the data. That's why I provided links to all of the raw data I used -- so have at it. Furthermore, your response was vague and I'm not sure what you mean by matching the time period of the cause with its effects in this particular instance. But, as I wait for you to clear up what you mean, I'll take a crack at what I THINK you mean.
Though there have certainly been outliers, I think we can all agree that most Olympians are rather young, especially in sports requiring more vigorous activity. These sports, moreover, would seem to be more prone to the dilution of competitive spirit you have described. Since the first Olympics in which the Soviet Union competed was in 1952 and the Bolshevik Revolution was in 1917, any athlete under the age of 35 would have been born and raised under Soviet Socialism. They would have been indoctrinated with Soviet ideals in their schools (which you claim above is a key cause of the less-competitive effect). And the Soviet Union had, relatively early on, one of the most liberal divorce systems in the world. So one could infer that Soviet athletes were raised in a system that was less tied to notions of "traditional marriage" (another of your key causes above). Can we all agree that the Soviet Union was the MOST socialist society that we have yet seen? If so, and given the above points, one would expect to see the Soviet Union do markedly poorer in Olympic competition than the freer-market, traditional-marriage United States. Yet, the Soviets performed better in six of the eight Olympics in which both countries competed and performed better on the whole over the course of the 36 years in which the Soviet Union took part in the Olympic Games. Similarly, as time went on, one would expect the Soviet Union to decline in relation to the United States in competition as a greater percentage of the athletes were born under socialism. And, yet, Soviet performance was remarkably consistent over time. And, considering that the United States outperformed the Soviets in their first meeting in 1952 but then trailed the Soviets in 1956, the Soviet athletes actually IMPROVED as their ranks were filled with socialist-born athletes.
So, the question remains, what exactly is the "time frame" for this particular cause and effect? Given the number of articles on the news page that compare Obama to Stalin and the current liberal government to Soviet Socialism after only one year in power, one could argue that the effects of socialist indoctrination occur quickly indeed. Or, take the Canadian case: The Canadian government legalized homosexual marriage in 2005. And, I'll be generous and spot you an additional 20 years in which the homosexual citizens and interest groups gained enough ground to sway the government. That gives us a total of 25 years, which is still less than the 40 years between the Bolshevik Revolution and the first time the Soviet Union outperformed the United States in the Summer Games. Given that the Soviet Union is surely more socialist and has more indoctrination power at its disposal than Canada, the Soviet athletes in 1956 should have been much more steeped in the socialist agenda than Canada in 2010.
Well Mr. Schlafly, I have attempted to answer your criticism (as far as I understand it) and I have compared the United States's Olympic performance to that of the Soviet Union, both when they competed against each other and over the entire course of their participation in the Olympic Games. I don't know what other time frame of cause and effect is available. Again, I encourage you to show statistical evidence to refute my own and have provided the data necessary to do so. But, until you provide some evidence to the contrary, I remain skeptical that the Canadian loss to the U.S. in hockey can be explained by socialism or homosexuality. You seem to be acting just as the liberal government in Australia did in enacting gun control. To quote yourself, above: "The liberal newspapers jumped on a statistically insignificant tragedy to demand sweeping gun control for law-abiding citizens." Are you sure that you are not jumping on a statistically insignificant event (Canada's loss to the United States in ONE hockey game or their general failure to live up to medal predictions in ONE Olympic Games) to demonize a particular country's governmental system or a particular ideology. Sounds a bit like Liberal Deceit to me. Yours, with an open mind, --Rubashov 15:00, 24 February 2010 (EST)
Rubashov, if you won't open your mind and accept that a cause-and-effect is possible, then it is obviously a fool's errand for anyone to debate the issue with you. Indeed, all of your analysis is suspect based on your refusal from the get-go to allow the possibility of what you then claim to analyze. The Soviet Union, by the way, was a COMMUNIST country that forcibly handpicked and developed athletes specifically to excel in the Olympics. Any sports fan knows that and I find it disingenuous for you to omit it. Your analogy has no application to a free society like Canada's.
I will respond to others willing to engage in open-minded discussion of this.--Andy Schlafly 15:28, 24 February 2010 (EST)
While all were born in Canada, only two are living in Canada right now, everybody else plays for a US team. The coach is the coach of the Red Wings. While an effect might be claimed, I think if might be better to wait and see for the medal round. Rcgallup 16:15, 24 February 2010 (EST)
Wow, a dismissal and a deflection all in one. You’re right, Andy, that I remain unconvinced that Socialism and non-traditional marriage in a society leads to sub-par athletes. The reason? I have brought to bear thirty-six years of evidence of Soviet excellence in the Olympic Games (the Olympics were your field of choice, by the way) and you have a single hockey game that Canadians lost to the United States. I have no problem with cause and effect; I’m a historian so cause and effect is kind of what I do. I do have a problem with unsubstantiated cause and effect; it is intellectually lazy. It is not my job to prove YOUR hypothesis. Since you are a lawyer by training, let’s put it this way: the burden of proof is yours. I have brought a wealth of evidence to court and you have brought nothing, who do you think the judge or the jury will believe? So, until you show me how my analysis of the data was flawed and offer counter evidence to my interpretation, I remain unconvinced.
It is possible that you could prove your point better than I could prove mine, but I think it is unlikely. Arguing that the Canadians losing to the United States in a hockey game is proof that somehow the zeitgeist of Canada is lacking to the United States is a bit like saying that when the Suns beat the Thunder in NBA basketball last night it was proof that Phoenix is a better city than Oklahoma City. The only problem is: What if Oklahoma City wins the next time?
But, since you have deflected our discussion, let’s get back to the points you just made and then maybe later you’ll answer my original analysis:
1) “The Soviet Union, by the way, was a COMMUNIST country.... Your analogy has no application to a free society like Canada's.”
So, the point here is that the Soviet Union was not socialist BECAUSE it was communist? Or too socialist to be socialist? I really don’t think you believe that. I don’t think you believe that because your encyclopedia tells me that the Soviet Union was socialist and that communism is a form of socialism: “[The Soviet Union] was the most powerful established socialist states in history;” “In Communism (the primary variant of socialism) the central goal is to establish a "worker's paradise"-an ideal state with perfect equality;” “First there is Marxian Socialism or Leninism as revised by Lenin and practiced in the Soviet Union by Stalin (and his successors);” and “Economically, communism advocates a socialist economy in which the government owns the means of production.”
Communism is a form of socialism, though certainly not all socialists are communists. If you don’t understand that communism is a form of socialism (and I think you do), you need to go back to Princeton and ask for your money back. Nonetheless, your argument is that socialism causes a lack of competitive spirit in athletes and causes them to fail in international competition. Thus if a socialist country (even an EXTREME socialist one) bests or does as well as a free market country (especially over an extended period of time) in international competition, then your argument has been proven false. Just as if you said “all pies are yummy” and then discovered that you did not like rhubarb pie, you would have to revise or discard your original assertion.
p.s. If the Soviet Union really wasn’t socialist, then we really should should stop comparing Obama’s “socialism” to Stalinism.

2) “... [The Soviet Union] forcibly handpicked and developed athletes specifically to excel in the Olympics.”
Are you saying that the success of Soviet athletes in international competition is attributable to being chosen and trained by the state? That government intervention in the lives of its citizens, deciding who will be trained to excel to the detriment of other potential athletes produced better athletic results that a free market system based on the competition of all athletes to decide who was the most able competitor? You’re saying that socialism works better than a free market system? If you really believe that (and I don’t think you do), I await your vocal support of the public healthcare option.

3) “...a free society like Canada's.”
Wait, you just said above that Canada was not a free society but a socialist one. As you put it: “The sine qua non of socialism is control, control, control. It's no surprise that such a system produces less than excellence.” The crux of your argument was that the U.S. outperformed Canada because Canada is socialist and because it “loathe[s] the free market.” So is Canada socialist or isn’t it?
Well, Andy, this has been an interesting and dare I say fun discussion. You always ask for logic and I think I have given it to you in spades. I await with excitement your response and hope, at some point, that you will provide evidence of your original assertion rather than deflection. Yours, still with an open mind,--Rubashov 17:38, 24 February 2010 (EST)
Rubashov, as I said, it's a fool's errand to argue with someone who lacks an open mind. When you admit that it is possible that socialism and the homosexual agenda have a negative affect on a free nation's success at the Olympics, then let's discuss. Otherwise, I'm not going to waste time replying to a closed mind.
Maquissar, you seem willing to discuss the hypothesis with an open mind, and the flaw in your analysis is that you are comparing different countries having different climates and interests in sports to each other. That's not nearly as valuable as comparing the same country to itself under different policies of that same country. Indeed, some have already blamed Canada's policy of "own the podium" for its failures. No one seems closed-minded about that, although certainly some may disagree. Why the closed-mindedness by others about negative effects from socialism and the homosexual agenda?--Andy Schlafly 17:54, 24 February 2010 (EST)
  • This is 2010! I can hardly believe my eyes that there are actually people arguing in favor of Communism, or excusing it. Obviously the users doing so are way too young to have actually lived under their regimes, and very ignorant about "Reeducation Camps" where family members were in many cases held to force athletes to comply, or punish those who the authorities felt didn't try hard enough. The Chinese still are doing it. Check Amnesty International, hardly a conservative organization. Trolls be gone! --ṬK/Admin/Talk 18:15, 24 February 2010 (EST)
With all respect, Rubashov was not arguing in favour of Communism, but pointing out the lack of a link between socialism/gay marriage and poor athletic performance which Mr. Schlafly failed to properly cite. I believe the bending of information to suit your own ideals is something of a liberal trait. You'll likely ban me now too, but the truth is more important.
Andy, first of all, I begin by saying that I am not discussing the correlation between endorsement of gay marriage and sports, because I don't have any data to work on, and anything I say would be pure speculation. For the sake of this argument, I will restrain my reasoning to socialism. You say that a country should be compared to itself under different policies, and not to other countries; I agree, as tradition, geography, and racial characteristics also play a heavy role in sports performance. No matter their political or social values, for instance, I doubt Tahitians will ever win a medal in winter sports. Also, I understand that this is not mathematics, and that a certain degree of randomness may induce fluctuations. England, regardless of political or social changes, may gloriously win the soccer World cup one year, and lose it ignominiously four years later.

Yet, if socialism DOES play a significant negative role in athletic performance, it should be expected that countries will, ON AVERAGE, normally fare worse during socialism. Of course, changes will not be immediately apparent; a country which has a socialist revolution in 2011 will not have a decreased athletic performance overnight, and a socialist country which changes to another type of government will not suddenly become better. If my reasoning is wrong, please do correct me.

Now, let's analyze the available data, and let's see if this is indeed the case. Please know that I do not already know the answer: I am looking at data as we speak, and posting it "raw". To each of us the duty of drawing his own conclusions.

Please also keep in mind that the 1980 Olympic games were in Moscow, and the 1984 Olympic games were in Los Angeles. The US and 64 other countries boycotted the Moscow games, and the Eastern bloc (except Romania) boycotted the Los Angeles games.

I'll not consider the 1948 Olympic Games, as some countries did not partecipate, and most countries were still recovering from the damages of a World War. If this exclusion is wrong, please point it out.


  Communist period (1945-1989)
      1952: 4 medals (1 gold)
      1956: 13 medals (4 gold)
      1960: 10 medals (3 gold)
      1964: 12 medals (2 gold)
      1968: 15 medals (4 gold)
      1972: 16 medals (3 gold)
      1976: 27 medals (4 gold)
      1980: 25 medals (6 gold)
      1984: 53 medals (20 gold)
      1988: 24 medals (7 gold)
  Free-market period (1989-present)
      1992: 18 medals (4 gold)
      1996: 20 medals (4 gold)
      2000: 26 medals (11 gold)
      2004: 19 medals (8 gold) 
      2008: 8 medals (4 gold)


  Communist period (1945-1989)
      1952: 4 medals (1 gold)
      1956: 9 medals (1 gold)
      1960: 21 medals (4 gold)
      1964: 23 medals (7 gold)
      1968: 18 medals (5 gold)
      1972: 21 medals (7 gold)
      1976: 26 medals (7 gold)
      1980: 32 medals (3 gold)
      1984: absent
      1988: 16 medals (2 gold)
  Free-market period (1989-present)    
      1992: 19 medals (3 gold)
      1996: 17 medals (7 gold)
      2000: 14 medals (6 gold)
      2004: 10 medals (3 gold)
      2008: 10 medals (3 gold)

I will not do this for every nation, as this would take too much space. Those of you who are interested in the debate, find some records and analyze the available data, and then draw your own conclusions. For the sake of statistics, however, let's take a democracy and not a communist dictatorship.


  Conservatives in Power (1951-1964)  
     1952: 11 medals (1 gold)
     1956: 24 medals (6 gold)
     1960: 12 medals (2 gold)
  Labour in Power (1964-1970)
     1964: 18 medals (4 gold)
     1968: 13 medals (5 gold)
  Conservatives in Power (1970-1974)
     1972: 18 medals (4 gold)
  Labour in Power (1974-1979)
     1976: 13 medals (3 gold)
  Conservatives in Power (1979-1997)
     1980: 21 medals (5 gold)
     1984: 37 medals (5 gold)
     1988: 24 medals (5 gold)
     1992: 20 medals (5 gold)
     1996: 15 medals (1 gold)
  Labour in Power (1997-present)
     2000: 28 medals (11 gold)
     2004: 30 medals (9 gold)
     2008: 47 medals (19 gold)

Take a look as many countries as you like, keep into consideration the fact that changes shouldn't be evident immediately, but the preeminence of a political and social ideology should take some time to show its fruits, and decide for yourselves: does socialism have an effect on athletic performance? --Maquissar 19:03, 24 February 2010 (EST)

Judging by that data, not at all (or even to the contrary). In fact, when I think of certain sports (like nordic sports), socialist countries do tremendously well (even better per capita). I would, however, be disinclined to agree with some of your individual athletic examples (steroid usage can increase athletic performance, so it should not be considered). Additionally, I think it unfair to say that somebody who has provided data has not accepted certain results as a possibility. If this were the case, why provide the data anyway (unless you merely wish to tout the other hypothesis, which seems to be Andy's argument)?
Rather than quibble about these things, we should attempt a more thorough investigation of the claim. A lot of things on CP get labeled as socialism, but this is a generalization (Surely the Scandinavian socialists would be loathe to call America under Obama socialist). If we look at public (govt.) holdings as a measure of socialism, we can call a lot of countries socialist (most of Europe and in fact much of the free world has public health care). Rather, we should look at countries individually and compare their performance under leftist governments to their performance under conservative governments. I think we should also distinguish between Winter and Summer Olympic games. Spain currently has a socialist government; how have they been doing recently as opposed to previously? China? Italy? I'm sure there are statistically significant political factors that affect athletic performance (e.g. a progressive governmental philosophy would seem more likely to encourage women to perform well in traditionally male sports than would an anti-feminist governing philosophy), but perhaps not the factors we've been analyzing. DanieleGiusto 20:51, 24 February 2010 (EST)
The above medal total is meaningless because the overall medal totals have also greatly increased. The percentage of medals is what matters. I would expect that Britain's socialism hurt its percentage medal take over the 20th century. Of course the medal take is not going to ebb and flow with every election, but long-run damage to the economy from socialism will likewise be reflected in long-run damage to Olympic competitiveness in a free society. All bets are off in totalitarian, communist nations where the training of athletes is compulsory and a high percentage of the GNP is put into it for national pride.--Andy Schlafly 23:29, 24 February 2010 (EST)
I agree that the percentage of medals is what matters. So what should be done for this particular debate is to verify whether DEMOCRATIC countries - as we have excluded communist dictatorships - have done better or worse, in terms of PERCENTAGE of overall medals, during socialistic periods. This democratic socialistic period should be rather lengthy; for instance, in certain countries there is basically an alternation between the left-wing and the right-wing, which shows, more or less, that the population is more or less equally divided between "socialistic" and "free-market" policies. What we need is a democratic country which moved from, say, 30 years of conservativism to 30 years of liberalism, or vice-versa. What could be valid examples of such countries, if there are any?
Also, I must point out something that in my opinion is a logical flaw. In the main page news, you attribute Spain's 0 medals in Winter Olympics to socialism and the endorsement of same-sex marriage. However, you had before remarked that a country must not be compared to other countries, in order for statistics to be meaningful, but to ITSELF. Looking at Spain's history in the Winter Olympics, it has partecipated to every edition since 1936, and yet it has only won ONE gold medal (1972) and ONE bronze medal (1992). Two medals in over 70 years. This leads me to the conclusion that Spain is performing very poorly in the 2010 Winter Olympics not because it has endorsed socialism or same-sex marriage, but because it never was any good at Winter Olympics to begin with.
If your hypothesis that the endorsement of socialism and of same-sex marriage hurts the agonistic level of Spain is correct, then we should note a marked decrease of Spain's performance at the SUMMER Olympics over the next years, and a lower ratio of talented spanish athletes in all disciplines. But, as you told me before, it must be compared to Spain's past performances, not to other countries. --Maquissar 07:38, 25 February 2010 (EST)
Another thing to note is that, while the Winter Olympics are currently in the news, you needn't confine your study to them if you wish to measure the athletic prowess of any nation. The Summer Games are a rich source of data too, and don't forget other international competitions like the FIFA World Cup. Eoinc 08:34, 25 February 2010 (EST)
I welcome more analysis. But it doesn't take more analysis to recognize how closed-minded many liberals are on this issue. A cause-and-effect is certainly possible, and anyone who refuses to admit the possibility is being irrational. Surely, for example, all should admit that there may be a cause-and-effect between Spain's socialism and its 20% unemployment rate. But I bet liberals won't admit that either.--Andy Schlafly 09:52, 25 February 2010 (EST)

I am open to debate and willing to accept all possibilities; but keep in mind being "willing to admit the possibility" of a theory does not necessarily mean "accepting" said theory. One should always listen to the theories other people put forward, compare them with the factual data he has available, and form his own opinion. The fact that I don't agree with the correlation of same-sex marriage and Spain's poor performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics does not mean I am "a closed minded liberal", but simply that, having examined this matter with an open mind, I do not find myself agreeing with you on this particular point. --Maquissar 10:07, 25 February 2010 (EST)
Maquissar, I did not suggest that you are a closed-minded liberal, but you seem to be in denial that others are. It doesn't take any analysis to conclude that someone is closed-minded. All that is needed is for him to irrationally reject and refuse even to consider a hypothesis. We even have a simple test for Essay:Quantifying Open-Mindedness.--Andy Schlafly 10:12, 25 February 2010 (EST)
I don't think anyone has said that there cannot be a cause-and-effect relationship between politics and sporting achievement. The dispute is over whether or not there actually is one. It is logically plausible to suppose that the socialist mindset, which disdains the competition of the free market, could adversely influence the mindset of young athletes (or perhaps that lack of ambition / discipline among athletes and socialist thinking among a population both share a common root cause). The issue now is: does the data support the hypothesis? After all, mere plausibility is not sufficient to establish truth. Judging from the analyses provided above by Rubashov and Maquissar, there does not appear to be a correlation between the hypothesis and the facts. Eoinc 15:25, 25 February 2010 (EST)
No, despite my repeated attempts, I don't think Rubashov admitted that a cause-and-effect is even possible above. Another editor above, Cjohnston, called the hypothesis "just silly" without any discussion of the evidence or possible correlations. There may have been another above who was in denial as well. Such denial is itself worthy of studying. Why the refusal? Socialism surely affects the economy, which surely affects the luxury of athletic competition, particularly in events that require costly equipment or facilities, so socialism plainly could affect athletic achievement in a free society. Indeed, it would be far-fetched to think there was no effect at all, as though the two variables are completely independent of each other. Ditto for same-sex marriage, as traditional marriage plainly affects productivity. Moreover, athletic achievement in many sports such as football and baseball does seem to be correlated to heterosexual orientation.--Andy Schlafly 16:45, 25 February 2010 (EST)
You said that traditional marriage plainly affects productivity, could you please provide any sources if any significant studies have been made? I'm interested in sociology among other things and I'd like to browse them.
As regards the correlation between heterosexuality and athletic achievement, wondering "how many homosexual exceptional athletes are there?" and expecting a 50/50 distribution would be instinctive, but I believe it would also be flawed logic. The comparison to make is between the percentage of homosexual athletes and the percentage of homosexual population. Said more clearly... if 5% of the population is homosexual, there should be 5% of exceptional athletes who are homosexual. Lower than that, and you could claim that homosexuality is harmful to athletic achievement; higher than that, and you could claim that homosexuality advantages athletic achievement, though things are never this simple and many other factors matter.
Also keep in mind that the number of homosexual athletes may be underestimated, as not everyone would be comfortable with revealing it to the public. This would be particularly true in team sports: imagine a football player revealing to his team that he is homosexual, it would probably make many squad members - with whom he shares changing rooms and showers - uncomfortable, so he is more likely to keep it private instead of making it public.
On the other hand, statistic surveys on the percentage of homosexual population should not suffer from the same problem, as they are usually done anonymously, and homosexual people would probably be more willing to answer truthfully.
So, keeping in mind these issues, the question is - is there a percentage of homosexual exceptional athletes which is comparable to the average percentage of homosexual people in the world? Personally, the only high-level openly homosexual athlete I can think of is Martina Navratilova, but I don't know much about sports. Any others? --Maquissar 17:06, 25 February 2010 (EST)
The percentage of homosexual athletes in professional football, baseball and basketball is virtually zero (0). And, no, that cannot be explained by alleged "underestimating".
I addressed your point, now how about addressing mine: it's absurd to expect that the two variables, Olympic achievement and economic policy, are completely independent of each other. Prosperity and the luxury of athletic training are plainly related.--Andy Schlafly 17:40, 25 February 2010 (EST)

Thanks for the reply. I'll start writing a bit more on the left of, if we go on indenting, we will soon only write three or four characters per line :P

My reply to you is, yes, it is absurd to expect that the two variables are completely independent. Economic prosperity, social and moral values... everything has an effect on something else. But the point is, the factors in play are just so many that some are bound to be almost ininfluential. To speak more clearly: about the poor performance of Spain at the Winter Olympics, the sociopolitical and moral values of spain have probably influenced the results 0,5%, and other factors (the fact that Spain does not have a significant tradition in winter sports, and the geography of Spain, chiefly) have contributed the remaining 99,5%. So Spain is not doing poorly because it is socialistic, or because it approves of homosexual marriage: Spain is doing poorly because it has always done poorly at Winter Sports.

On the other hand, Germany and Norway, respectively first and third in these Olympic games so far, are blessed by both geography and tradition; that's why they are doing well, in spite of the fact that Germany accepts "civil unions", and socialist Norway accepts homosexual marriage.

To sum it up, my personal point of view is that, while it is absurd to believe that social and economic policies have no effect whatsoever on the agonistic performance of countries at Olympic Games, their effect is subordinated to others; and as for the moral and religious values, I believe their effect on the athletic performance of a country to be marginal. --Maquissar 18:04, 25 February 2010 (EST)

Maquissar, are you Italian? 0,5% is hard to perceive in the US, where we use a decimal point instead, like so: 0.5%
Of course prosperity and altheticism are related, but so are many other factors. To say that something is statistically significant does not always reveal a clear causal pattern (e.g. it has been shown, for example, that the historical length of womens' skirts and the performance of the stock market is statistically correlated, but this does not mean that every woman wearing a skirt of a given length will guarantee a certain stock market performance). We need better weighting criteria, as it were. For example, the Spaniards may not do so well at the Winter Olympics simply due to their Mediterranean climate.
How has Spain done historically at the Summer Olympics? Has it gotten worse since 2000 (Zapatero's rise to power began around then)? There are two data points to compare with previous performance.
I have one slight qualm with this analysis, however. The popularity of a sport within a given country is very dynamic. It is reasonable to assume that popularity spreads more than it dies off, so around the world we should see a general increase in performance (to human limits) in a given sport as time goes on (barring lulls in performance, which certainly do occur). Thus, if we note that a particular country like Spain has fared worse under Socialist politics, it is possible that this is due to the increased competition in the sport as popularity increases and more countries train better teams as the years go by, rather than to Socialist politics. In order to really show the effect of political tendencies on athleticism, such a characteristic must hold very broadly, which has yet to be demonstrated here. DanieleGiusto 18:20, 25 February 2010 (EST)
I welcome more analysis. At least we have successfully moved past the liberal denial that there is no causal effect. There likely is some causal effect, as Maquissar apparently admits above. The issue now is merely how great the causal effect is, and let's continue to review the evidence. For Canada, the clearest data point, the causal effect seems strong indeed.
The liberal denial remains of interest to me. Why are liberals so quick, and so irrational, in denying a causal effect? It's ingrained in the ideology. Liberals push socialism, abortion, homosexual behavior, limits on energy production, etc., etc., and they are so trained to deny that their ideology has harmful effects that they will jump into denial mode like Pavlov's dog.--Andy Schlafly 19:01, 25 February 2010 (EST)

More research: I looked at how Scandinavian ("Northern Europe") has fared with its medal take under its increased socialism, and the answer is as expected: it has lost medal share.[1]--Andy Schlafly 19:14, 25 February 2010 (EST)

This whole debate is a classic case of the Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy. Your own graph shows an increase in medals to the US in the last 50 years despite the US's increasing socialistic policies. In addition, these percentages fail to consider that there is an increase in the number of countries taking part in Olympic games, thus taking a percentage of the medals won. AndrewJay 19:37, 25 February 2010 (EST)
(Please note that I disagree about any prevalence of irrationality, bias, denial and so on in liberals. I point this out merely as a note, lest by partecipating in this discussion I may seem to endorse it. In fact I personally reject it, but as it is not in the scope of this debate to discuss it I will not comment on it and I will stick to the "factors influencing athletic performance" debate.)
About Canada - is it really performing THAT badly at the Olympics? I am not really following them, but it is in the third place, which seems to be consistent with past results. Actually, it is significantly HIGHER than past rankings, but that does not really matter, as the Olympic Games are held in Canada this year and host countries are always a little advantaged.
Anyway, let's, for the sake of argument, accept as true that Canada is performing very poorly. As I said before, tradition and geography plays the largest role in my opinion, but there are other factors influencing the performance of Olympic teams, from negligible to significant ones.
Here, in my opinion, are some of those factors.
* Random fluctuations in the number and quality of naturally gifted individuals - an item which is more relevant for countries with less population (A country with 1 million people will have a harder time picking 22 talented athletes for a soccer team than a country with 90 million people.)
* Availability of economic resources for developing the talent of said gifted individuals.
* Political initiative to promote sports and healthy lifestyles in young people.
* A mentality which promotes competition, mostly for individual sports but also for team-based sports.
* A mentality which promotes cooperation, for team-based sports.
* Enthusiasm and willingness to win - which may decline if players are already very successful and overpayed.
* Luck. It doesn't exist in statistics, but it exists in real life, and provides an edge which may change an average performance to a brilliant one - or which may completely ruin a performance of an otherwise talented athlete.
* Morale. This may depend on a billion different factors, which may be random and external. Just to give an example, an athlete whose wife died two week before of the Olympic Games will not play at his 100%, if he plays at all.
* Physical condition of players. A team with its key athletes injured, or recovering from injuries, will be disadvantaged.
* Level of competition. Many exceptionally talented athletes or teams would, under normal conditions, deserve to win, but unfortunately for them they meet someone who is even MORE exceptionally talented.
* Venue of competition. Bolivia plays very well at home, because of the high altitudes and the lower percentage of oxygen to which others may be not accustomed. Likewise, nations with a cold climate will fare a bit worse with very high temperatures, and vice versa.
This is just a partial list. As you can see, the variables are so many that it's very hard to claim that something is the "decisive factor". Personally, I believe that economics play a moderate to significant role in the athletic performances of a nation; that social and political issues play a minor role; and that religious or moral issues play a negligible role. --Maquissar 19:48, 25 February 2010 (EST)
Maquissar, there's no logic to your argument. Listing many potential factors says nothing about the significance of the factors. The existence of "many" variables does not negate the ability to identify a cause-and-effect. There are "many" variables connected with lung cancer too. And one of those variables is clearly the major cause of it.--Andy Schlafly 20:10, 25 February 2010 (EST)
So, let me get this clear, without any room for doubt. Are you saying that cigarette smoking is to lung cancer what socialism and endorsement of homosexual marriage are to decline of athletic performance of nations? If so, we will just have to agree to disagree, I suppose. --Maquissar 20:13, 25 February 2010 (EST)
Please don't forget to mention the recent Men's Olympic Hockey and Female's Olympic Hockey win on the main page as the American game win against the Canadians got a mention right before this silly cheap shot was posted. Then after you post that, be sure to post how a country that elected a Marxist-identifying, socialist focused president has embarrassed itself when going up against one of the most entrepreneurial nations on Earth. And American conservatives wonder WHY they get put down in the media as they attack their biggest trading partner and war ally which has a much more conservative party in charge then their own country has been able to get in the past twenty years. --Composer 18:13, 28 February 2010 (EST)
Well, Canada DID defeat the US in the hockey final, and it did well at the Olympics after all. I don't think it's fair to say that Canada "embarassed itself" at the Olympics. --Maquissar 18:18, 28 February 2010 (EST)
I have an open mind about this, and I'm very happy for the Canadians. I know why the liberal media put down American conservatives, and I don't think Composer describes it accurately. But, hey, it's time for Canada to celebrate and I'm fine with taking some criticism as part of that.--Andy Schlafly 19:03, 28 February 2010 (EST)
The whole issue isn't a political issue, it's a sports issue. The current government's ideology is a factor but it is minor compared to other factors such as how much money is being put into the athletes and also what kinds of sports are popular in the culture they hail from. If anyone should be getting praise first it should be the athletes THEN the country in that order. I don't know why Canada gets shoe horned into the description of being 'socialist' alongside some very distasteful regimes. Canadians don't hate America as well. We're different and we don't always see eye to eye but we have helped each other in the past and will continue to do so.--Composer 19:45, 28 February 2010 (EST)
User:Composer, I don't agree with any denial about the impact of politics. When liberal or socialistic political systems are imposed on a people, it does have harmful effects. Atheism increases and charity decreases, just to name two obvious effects. Ideas do matter, and leftists push their policies for that reason.--Andy Schlafly 20:24, 28 February 2010 (EST)
I always thought the issue with politics was that the communist countries forced their athletes to take preformance enhancing drugs, so they could beat America and the other Western countries. The lack of freedom allowed them to force the athletes to cheat. --BenDylan 01:40, 5 March 2011 (EST)
Canada was the host nation, as was China in 2008. Host nations always have a boost. (Well, except maybe Canada when they hosted the previous two times). Let's see how the Canadians handle Sochi 2014 and how the Chinese handle London 2012 next month and revisit this. Additionally, I should point out that "communism" vs. "capitalism" is not black and white. China is significantly less communist than they were twenty years ago, and America under President Obama is certainly more socialist than it was 25 years ago as Reagan's second term was winding down. Perhaps that should be considered? Gregkochuconn 21:21, 26 June 2012 (EDT)

Conservapedia Leads....Others Follow!

“The lesson here may be that a centrally-planned economy is not good for very many things -- but the Olympics may be an exception.” [2]

This is yet another case of Conservapedia being ahead of the curve. Andy, you were spot-on, as usual. --ṬK/Admin/Talk 23:24, 28 February 2010 (EST)

TK - you realize that link proves exactly the opposite of what you want it to, right? It says that since certain countries have moved to the free market, they have won proportionally fewer medals than they did under communism. RobertE 23:48, 28 February 2010 (EST)
What I know is you think that, but should perhaps re-read the parts about how America and non-socialist nations are on the ascendancy! Try the "pie" charts....they might be less challenging. Try as hard as you want, you simply cannot disprove Andy's original premise...because the truth will indeed set you free! BTW, RobertE...I did notice your edit remark that you reversed. It shows your real intentions and purpose here. --ṬK/Admin/Talk 05:08, 1 March 2010 (EST)

Not Necessarily a Valid Comparison

It is a well-known fact that the Eastern Bloc nations were cheating by using performance enhancing drugs. This was back when drug testing was primitive and couldn't catch everything. The Communists didn't deserve to do as well as they did, but they did. To some extent this is still going on - North Korea was stripped of two medals in 2008 in Beijing, and five women's soccer players flunked drug tests at the Women's World Cup in 2011, leading to the team being banned for the 2015 competition. At the time, the North Korean women's team was one of the best in the world, along with the Americans. In this respect, the two are fairly equal. But the Americans did it the right way, not by cheating, but by playing fair.

However, comparing Soviet results to Russian results is not particularly accurate, since non-Russian Soviet nations win medals too. Let's look at 2008.

United States 110 Russia 73

At first glance, the Russians/Soviets performance has dropped since 1988, the last games for the Soviets, where it was Soviet Union 132 USA 94

However, the following former SSRs also won medals in 2008:

Ukraine 27 Belarus 19 Georgia 6 Kazakhstan 13 Azerbaijan 7 Uzbekistan 6 Latvia 3 Estonia 2 Lithuania 5 Kyrgystan 2 Tajikistan 2 Armenia 6 Moldova 1

Added together, these are 99 medals, not even including the Russians. Throw in the Russians and you get 172, far more than the USSR total from 1988. Of course, there are a couple dozen more events now then there were then, which may have helped somewhat, but not significantly. All other things being equal, due to the extra events, the USA should have won more medals than it did, though. Those people who point that out to deny the negative correlation are correct in their assertion but wrong in their conclusion. The US, which was already capitalist, gained nothing Olympics-wise from the fall of communism. It went from being capitalist to still being capitalist, which meant there should have been no change, all other things being equal. As we all know, that was not the case. Many nations changed from communist to capitalist, thus improving their athletic performance. The end result was that the US finished lower than they had in previous years, because their capitalist/communist status did not change, while other nations had improved by becoming capitalist.

Also to those who point out China's 2008 performance, every host nation has an unusually good performance. Greece won 16 medals in 2004, when they hosted. In 2008, four years later, they won 4. Also, the only Olympics ever where Greece won more than 16 medals was 1896, which they also hosted. Let's see where China finishes next month and it will be interesting to revisit that. Although China is still communist, they're far less communist than they were twenty years ago. Perhaps becoming "less communist" can help somewhat too? Gregkochuconn 21:13, 26 June 2012 (EDT)