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NASCAR and Congressional Blackmail

by Stephen Cox
Sunday, April 14, 2013

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Auto racing has once more been turned into a political circus by a politician who apparently has so little actual work to do that he must fill his time by advocating media censorship.

As you've no doubt heard by now, a U. S. congressman tried to convince the Fox network to censor last weekend's NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway because the facility is conducting business with an organization that openly supports federal law.

Oh, my. Where to begin.

Let's start with the congressman in question. At age 23 he began a political career as a campaign manager. At age 25 he was elected as a Connecticut state government worker. At age 34 he was hired as a federal government worker. This year he joined the US Senate.

In other words, he is 39 years old and has never worked a job in his life. That fact alone is appalling. Worse yet is the irony of a man who has never engaged in actual, voluntary trade attempting to interfere in the affairs of those who have.

Is it any wonder auto racing is starving for sponsorship dollars? Every time somebody comes up with a new sponsor, there is an unemployed nag trying to outlaw it.

Cigarette sponsorship was pulled from Formula One some years back. Then from IndyCar. Then from everyone. Additional restrictions forced other tobacco products out of the market as well.

I don't smoke. Yet I never felt compelled to join the mindless mob demanding the banning of tobacco advertising in auto racing. This is because I am an adult, and trying to tell other people what to do is a behavior generally exhibited only by small children and government workers.

Further, I am convinced that good ideas can be successfully promoted by peaceful persuasion; it is bad ideas only that require brute force and censorship to compel their acceptance.

Likewise, I do not drink, yet I have no desire to prevent a beer company from sponsoring a race. If I do not like the sponsor at a particular event, I am free to get off my non-alcoholic butt and go watch a race somewhere else with a sponsor that I like. This is how adults act when they grow up.

Today, scores of outstanding race drivers can't find sponsorship. Teams are closing up shop for lack of funds. Race series struggle to survive. Racetracks are closing their doors.

Meanwhile, sponsor after sponsor has been run out of the sport by otherwise unemployable busybodies who somehow manage to get themselves elected to the only institution whose standards are low enough to sustain their employment… the United States Congress.

This is the road we've been traveling down for some time now. A frightening number of Americans now find it perfectly acceptable to use censorship or the violence of law to forcibly prevent people from advertising legal goods and services, and auto racing is feeling the effects of their interference.

Worse yet, NASCAR now seems to be reconsidering its decision to have a backbone. In the wake of last weekend's sponsorship flap, NASCAR's David Higdon said, "We need to take a closer look at our approval process moving forward, as current circumstances need to be factored in when making decisions."

English translation: "We were going to freely and openly do business with whoever we wanted, but censorship threats from congressman who don't like the constitution they swore to uphold may change our minds."

Sigh. When push comes to shove, there are really no liberals or conservatives or Republicans or Democrats at all. There are only two kinds of people. The first is willing to live and let live. The second seeks to use force to compel everyone else to live as they are told.

One day in the not-too-distant future, when there are no sponsors left and auto racing is struggling for its very existence, we'll wish we had sided with the former.

Stephen Cox

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