The worst part of soccer is the acting. The game is blighted each time a player dives to try to draw a penalty or flops around in fake agony to milk the clock.
The problem is not confined to soccer. Basketball, for instance, also has notorious floppers. Although Americans tend to despise floppers, our political and cultural discourse increasingly consists of people taking dives.
A case in point is the response to a hypothetical posed by Michael Brendan Dougherty of National Review. Dougherty wondered what the reaction might be if, instead of critical race theory, it was “the ‘new natural law’ theory that had escaped its obscurity from law schools and started gaining adherents throughout the high places in corporate America and educational systems.”
In response to this unlikely hypothetical, Yale University’s Jason Stanley dramatically dove to the metaphorical turf, clutching at his intersectionalities and declaring, “The call to replace CRT by ‘natural law’ is a dogwhistle to white Christian nationalism.”
This dog whistle is just his intellectual tinnitus, but he is not alone in believing that arguments can be won by accusing one’s opponent of participating in an expanding litany of oppressions. Many people have learned to find racism, sexism, and so on in anything, and to milk every bit of any identity of oppression they can plausibly claim.
For example, the Washington Post recently ran an article arguing that labeling food “exotic” “reinforces xenophobia and racism.” The column was the literary equivalent of a player rolling on the ground for five minutes after pretending to be fouled. If recipe books and restaurant reviews prompt that much drama, there is no way to avoid it on important topics.
Whatever the issue, from immigration to education to law enforcement, there is a parade of people taking a dive and crying foul, insisting the other side isn’t just wrong, but bigoted. What argument there is tends to be directed toward proving not that the other side is mistaken, but that they are bad people.
Some of those doing this may even believe it, just as there are athletes who seem to
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