Nattering Nancy’s nauseating palaver

What to say about nattering House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nauseating palaver advising Olympic athletes to shut up and play ball lest they offend their totalitarian Communist hosts (video below)? I have wanted to cool down before venturing a thought. Charles Lipson now speaks for me in the Spectator column “Nancy takes a knee for Beijing at the Winter Olympics.” Subhead: “If politicians like Pelosi wish to add their two yuan, it would be nice if they did it on the side of freedom.”

Professor Lipson writes:

Nancy Pelosi, stock-trader extraordinaire, doubles as an adviser to America’s Olympic athletes. And her wise, nuanced advice to them is simple: “Shut up.” It would be a very bad idea, she says, to voice any political criticism at the games of the Chinese Communist Party or its glorious rule.

You may have missed her similar advice to LeBron James, as he kissed the backside of Beijing’s dictators. You may have missed her critique of the NBA, as it protected its highly-profitable franchise in China. They were as compliant as any US multinational operating in Germany in the 1930s, eager to retain their profitable operations. You may have missed Pelosi’s full-throated defense of the NBA’s Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, who tweeted his support of the Hong Kong protesters in 2019? (He quickly backtracked under league pressure.)

Nope. You didn’t miss it. Nancy’s lips were sealed. Of course, LeBron James, Nike and the NBA can say what they please. This is America. We have the free-speech rights, except at universities. Individuals, corporations and non-profits can say what they want, however craven. Still, if politicians like Pelosi wish to add their two yuan, it would be nice if they did it on the side of freedom.

Professor Lipson then assesses the prudential issues in play for China and the athletes before arriving at this conclusion: “It’s a sad spectacle to see American politicians like Nancy Pelosi reinforcing the CCP’s message that athletes should say nothing about the Party’s political control and repression. Her warning may have been prudent, designed to shield the athletes from harm. But by legitimating Beijing’s threats to free speech during an international event, she inflicted that harm herself.” I don’t think any consideration mitigates the disgrace Pelosi has inflicted on the United States and that she herself is the one who needs to be told to shut up.

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