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Adam Silver Cut No Constitutional Corners

Summary:
Unfortunately, however, O’Rourke, Warren and Silver demonstrate the tendency of too many progressives to cut constitutional corners, to despise and bully adversaries, and to practice theatrical but selective indignation about attacks on fundamental American principles, some of which they themselves traduce. Just what we did not need in our dispiriting civic life: additional evidence that there really is no such thing as rock bottom. So writes George Will in “Progressives are all too willing to cut constitutional corners,” Washington Post, October 16, 2019. On all those charges, Will makes a solid case that Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren are doing what he says they’re doing. On the charge that the NBA’s Adam Silver is cutting constitutional corners, Will

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Unfortunately, however, O’Rourke, Warren and Silver demonstrate the tendency of too many progressives to cut constitutional corners, to despise and bully adversaries, and to practice theatrical but selective indignation about attacks on fundamental American principles, some of which they themselves traduce. Just what we did not need in our dispiriting civic life: additional evidence that there really is no such thing as rock bottom.

So writes George Will in “Progressives are all too willing to cut constitutional corners,” Washington Post, October 16, 2019.

On all those charges, Will makes a solid case that Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren are doing what he says they’re doing.

On the charge that the NBA’s Adam Silver is cutting constitutional corners, Will completely fails. He gives not a sliver (pun not intended)  of evidence that Silver is doing anything to violate the constitution; Silver doesn’t even advocate violating the freedom of speech clause in the Constitution, although he may not be good on other aspects of the Constitution.

Private organizations like the National Basketball Association can have any rules they want about the behavior of players and executives. That means they can require that players and executives grovel before totalitarian governments.

Interestingly, though, Silver even went above and beyond, defending Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s right to speak out on China. Here’s a snippet from the Matt Bonisteel, “NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says league supports free speech, must live with consequences,” Washington Post, October 8.

“I want this to be clear, and I think there’s been some confusion around this: We are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression,” the commissioner said.

Silver added that while the protests in Hong Kong are a “a third-rail issue in China,” there are values “that are deeply rooted in the DNA of the NBA, and that includes freedom of expression for our employees.”

It’s possible that Silver squeezed Morey behind closed doors, but we don’t know that. What we can be reasonably sure of is that Silver did not fine Morey as that wonderful critic of oppressive governments LeBron James seemed to have urged. Moreover, according to this article, here’s how Silver responded to LeBron’s suggestion:

But Silver pushed back against James, saying he’d never disciplined any of the myriad players or coaches who’ve routinely criticized President Trump, his administration or his policies. He said Morey deserved similar latitude, and reportedly told James the same freedoms enjoyed by anti-Trump players applied to Morey challenging China’s government.

Sounds pretty good to me.

There is one more way Silver could show that he doesn’t grovel: tell the Congressmen who gave him unsolicited advice to take a flying leap.

HT2 Don Boudreaux

David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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