And he learned from his last failure not to engage in a fiddling competition, so instead he engaged in a bleeding heart competition. This competition was much bigger – for many more than a single soul – and this time he won. Big time.
The devil convinced us that our children would be hurt, our friends would be hurt, our lives would be hurt if we allowed athletes to do what athletes do best: excel and compete and capture our imaginations with physical feats of the impossible-made-real. Athletes, unconstrained by rules prohibiting things like steroids and EPO, the devil warned us, would falsely raise the hopes and expectations of the average man for what he could accomplish in his own life. So we signed a deal with the devil: we’ll make performance enhancing drug illegal; we’ll level the playing field. The devil asked for nothing in return.
What the devil has received are millions of souls. These are the souls of the millions of people that die needlessly because biomedical research is unable to advance as rapidly as it otherwise might. Athletes, people who desperately want to do biomedical experiments upon themselves – experiments that would almost certainly bear fruit for all to reap -, are prohibited from doing so. Society, though it smugly feels that it is going the right thing – we’re protecting our children from the horrors of steroids -, pays the price in shorter, less healthy lives. Apparently, most people are happy to pay.
I am not.
I want to see excellence unbridled. I want to see Barry Bonds hopped up on steroids and anything else that he wants to put into his body so that he can hit the baseball higher and father than anybody else. I want to see Lance Armstrong pounding EPO and pounding the hills and generally destroying the competition. I want to see Roger Clemens magically steering pitches past the bat of a would be baserunner. But, alas, I cannot. At least, not in an honest, open, fashion. We ban these substances and the athletes bow down, shackled.
They have an opportunity to speak out. Lance is under fire from the US Anti-doping Agency. Lance, Barry, Roger, and the others: speak out and turn the tide. Speak out to make doping legal. You are adults and you are professionals. Stop letting yourselves be handicapped by society. Start demanding that you be left to do you job.
If these people want to use their bodies as biomedical testing sites, then let’s let them. Though we lie to ourselves, we certainly want to see it. We’ll all be better off for it in the long run. Life saving drugs will be discovered and produced for the mass market. We will all become super humans. Let’s end this deal with the devil and reclaim the souls that will die needlessly early.