Lance Armstrong and the Fiefdom Epidemic
posted at 9:34 am on August 26, 2012 by Laura Brod
To read the news headlines about Lance Armstrong this week, you’d think his decision to stop fighting doping charges was a transparent admission of guilt.
Armstrong’s public statement tells another story. It appears, rather than finally admitting something he knew to be untrue, what happened is that he bowed to the pressure of an unelected and untouchable organization.
Read the statement for yourself. The key excerpt is here:
“At every turn, USADA has played the role of a bully, threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone who questions its motives or its methods, all at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. For the last two months, USADA has endlessly repeated the mantra that there should be a single set of rules, applicable to all, but they have arrogantly refused to practice what they preach. On top of all that, USADA has allegedly made deals with other riders that circumvent their own rules as long as they said I cheated. Many of those riders continue to race today.”
Sour grapes? Maybe, but I have often felt that people went after Lance Armstrong and other exceptional individuals because they simply could not believe that anyone could actually be THAT good and do it fairly.
He didn’t build that, right?
Setting aside the question of his guilt or innocence, Lance Armstrong’s statement touches on the epidemic of quasi-governmental entities and big agencies increasing their reach and impact with significant enforcement power in this country. This isn’t about USADA and cycling, but about essential freedom.
This should concern us, not just because of what happened to an elite athlete, but because it is emblematic of the behavior of the many untouchable boards and agencies in this country. Because they operate as nearly autonomous fiefdoms, the traditional checks and balances do not apply.
All over this country, people and businesses, are fighting their own battles with these entities. They are battling for their livelihoods and for their futures. Often they are battling entities which exert the power relative to their mission in the form of activism. The EPA raiding a guitar factory to check for contraband wood… The FDA conducting dawn raids on raw milk providers… The USDA not allowing kids to work on their family farm…
Bureaucrats in powerful agencies can — and often do — change history. If its not worth it to Lance Armstrong, a guy who has plenty of means and celebrity to fight back, imagine how difficult it must be for the small custom guitar manufacturer, raw milk supplier or farmer.
How can a group strip the titles of a seven-time Tour de France winner who was tested before, during, and after every race? How can the EPA create a rule that doesn’t allow a property owner to build on his property? How can the USDA decide not allow a kid to work with machinery on a family farm?
Its simple. Power is power.
This is our government. Elected or not, these folks work for us. The people of our country should be the ones to make and change history not the unelected and non-transparent agencies or quasi-governmental fiefdoms that have become drunk on their own power.
Remember, if it can happen to Lance Armstrong, it can certainly happen to you.