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The Simone Biles controversy is proof that crop wars are going to rot your brain


Simone Bilès. Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock

Culture wars are bad for many reasons, but perhaps the most decisive one is that it turns its most passionate soldiers into cheerful idiots.

Just look at the response on the populist right to the news that gymnast Simone Biles would be retiring from women’s team competition at the Olympics, citing mental health issues, after a bad start. Do what culture warriors do – regard a woman’s decision as positive proof that THEY destroy all that is noble and good in America the exceptional – the right leapt, describing her as “leaving” and “selfish sociopath” who had “shamed the country”.

No matter so long before the opening ceremonies in Tokyo, Biles had proven herself to be arguably the greatest female gymnast of all time, with a combined total of 30 Olympic and world championship medals to her name. Had she retired long before this week, she would still be considered one of the greatest athletes to ever live – and one who gained more respect and honor, and brought more fame to her country. , that 10,000 publishers The Federalist.

So why would so many vociferous ideologues cruelly spit venom in the face of a national hero at a time of rare public vulnerability? Because that’s what the culture war does: it promises to turn every person – as long as they can plausibly be equated with the ranks of the Cultural Enemy – into potential fodder for political gain. A young woman of immense talent who has taken our breath away and made tens of millions of Americans proud on numerous occasions over the past 10 years? No matter. Now she’s just emblematic of all the bad things our ideological opponents hope to do in the country.

It is quite powerful. But also immensely stupid.

So please step out of the crop war, show some generosity and gratitude to Simone Biles in her time of struggle, and refuse to sacrifice your mind for the fleeting promise of momentary political advantage.

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