He’s a minority owner of the team and it’s not his claim to fame. Chamath Palihapitiya is also the chairman of Virgin Galactic, among other things. He’s a mega-rich tech bro.
But the NBA angle here is irresistible given the league’s willful blindness towards Chinese human rights abuses.
This clip barely scratches the surface of Palihapitiya’s apologetics for the CCP in the longer clip:
Owner of the @warriors🏀 says he doesn’t care about the Uyghurs.
The conversation goes downhill from there.@chamath…
– questions whether a genocide is actually happening
– says the CCP isn’t a dictatorship
– says the US is no better than the CCP pic.twitter.com/qAwi7hUPvo
— Michael Sobolik (@michaelsobolik) January 17, 2022
In isolation, you could treat that as an example of brutal — and I do mean brutal — honesty, articulating in an unusually stark way a belief that most people around the world hold. If you “care” about the Uighurs, what does that mean practically, beyond idly murmuring “Yeah, that’s terrible” in polite conversation on the topic? Do you support an international military effort to liberate the camps in Xinjiang? Do you support a national boycott of Chinese goods? Do you personally boycott Chinese goods? Will you at least resolve not to watch the Olympics?
Palihapitiya isn’t any random joe, though. He’s a billionaire, someone with an unusual ability to influence policy. There isn’t much an average person can do to deter mass atrocities in another country. People who command huge amounts of capital can do … more.
He doesn’t care. He won’t even pretend to care.
You’re well advised to watch the full exchange in the clip at the end of this post (at least six minutes from where it picks up) to see him run the gamut of apologetics. There’s willful blindness here too, with Palihapitiya scoffing at the idea that systematic ethnic cleansing of members of a religious minority by interning them in a series of concentration camps might warrant a comparison to the Holocaust. But the most obnoxious part is when he demonstrates that curious blend of callousness and wokery to which old-school lefties would resort when asked about the crimes of the Soviet Union. How can I care about human rights abuses over there, says the conscientious progressive, when there are so many human rights abuses over here?
Only when our own house is in order can a right-thinking American justly complain about another country’s unjust regime, Palihapitiya argues. Beijing couldn’t have put it any better. Imagine the exciting new Chinese market opportunities that might open up for his businesses once this clip is noticed by the people in charge. It’d be some small comfort to know that he holds his opinion purely for mercenary reasons, as most of the billionaire class does, rather than sincere sociopathy.
I had already written “I’m looking forward to the eventual Enes Kanter Freedom rant about this” in this post when I realized that it’s already begun:
When @NBA says we stand for justice, don’t forget there are those who sell their soul for money & business like @chamath the owner of @warriors,
who says “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs”
When genocides happen, it is people
like this that let it happen
— Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) January 17, 2022
Watch six minutes here. Exit question: How many of us care enough about the Uighurs to boycott Warriors games, if not the NBA entirely?