Yes, it is that very special time of the year, and this morning many of you began your office bracket pool contests. Last evening, we learned who the 68 teams that will enter the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, which will begin this week. There is nothing more America than what we have affectionately come to call “March Madness.” It’s the men’s and women’s college basketball tournament season. Two games that are uniquely American are baseball, and the game started by Dr. James Naismith – basketball. They are two games now played all over the world, but nothing can compare with the World Series, aka “October Classic,” and this hallowed time we love, follow, and cherish, “March Madness.”
This year, as a Tennessee Volunteer alumnus, we have historically been preparing for a run by our once venerable Lady Vols, led by the legendary, now deceased, Coach Pat Head Summit. However, thank you University of Texas for firing Coach Rick Barnes. We are thrilled to have a number two-seeded men’s basketball team going into the NCAA tournament. Not too long ago, our Vols men’s basketball team struggled to make the tournament.
But, “What does March Madness have to do with socialism?” you may ask. Well, everything.
First, basketball, as previously stated, is about as American as you can get. Socialism is not. It is the product of two fellas named Karl Marx and Friederich Engels. Second, March Madness ends up with a champion, whereas, socialism is about the equal sharing of misery under government dictate and control. Again, that is about as un-American as you can get. March Madness is about being rewarded for your hard work. Socialism is about redistributing other people’s hard work.
In March Madness, there is equality of opportunity. What do I mean? Let’s start with the college basketball conference tournaments, which just concluded. Many of the top-five teams in the nation did not even win their own conference tournaments. The number one team in men’s college basketball, Gonzaga, lost to little St. Mary’s, a team that Gonzaga had beaten by 48 points earlier in the season. In the Atlantic Coast Conference, Virginia was beaten by Florida State. And do not forget that last year in the NCAA tournament, it was overall #1 seed Virginia that was upset by #16 seed University of Maryland Baltimore County – a first for the tournament! In the SEC, LSU and Kentucky were the #1 and #2 seed teams going into the conference tournament, and neither made it to the championship game. But my Tennessee Volunteers did. They were #3 seed.
And so, it goes, there is always a “cinderella” in the NCAA tournament, a team that is not widely known, comes out of nowhere, and captures our hearts. In the past, there have been many such teams. Last year, it was Loyola-Chicago. I will not forget that team because it knocked out both of my alma maters, Tennessee and Kansas State, but you couldn’t hate Sister Jean over there in her wheelchair with her Rosary. Yeah, talk about unfair. Let’s never forget Butler, VCU, Davidson, FGCU (Florida Gulf Coast University), and George Mason – and all the other little guy schools who took on the big fellas and made us proud.
And this year, there will be those teams who “bust our brackets,” shattering them to pieces. We may feign sadness, but we love it. Why? Because that is equality of opportunity. Who knows, maybe it will be a Murray State University that comes out of nowhere, or even a Houston that boasts a 30-2 record from the American Athletic Conference. Regardless, the great thing is that all 68 teams earned a right to be in the “big dance” where it is win or go home.
Socialism is not the same. Socialism embraces the equality of outcomes and relies of some far away elitists to determine who should win. Socialism looks at March Madness and would relegate some “politburo”-like group to sit high above and fix the game for the perceived oppressed. It does not believe that any one team, or person, can attain the title of champion, unless bestowed upon them by the elites. Socialism would rather give everyone a “participation trophy” and ensure that a fair share of points was redistributed based upon their absurd sense of misconceived philanthropy, and greed.
If socialists oversaw March Madness, I am certain we would not watch it, as it would not be the spectacle of excitement that it is. It probably would more so resemble “The Hunger Games,” where the youth of the oppressed districts came to entertain the elites of the Capitol.
And what is also quite perplexing is this: how many of these schools in the NCAA tournament do you think would allow someone like me, a Christian, constitutional conservative and classical liberal, to speak on their campus with a message such as this? Ya know, all those schools whose students and alumni will be screaming and seeking a victory. These are the so-called Millennial generation that we are told embraces socialism. Then why do they cheer to win and be the champions? That would appear to be rather oxymoronic – emphasis on moron, of course.
Perhaps we should put it into these terms. See, once upon a time, America was a #16 seed going into the tournament. Our nation was not even a recognized institution, just a gathering of 13 little entities. However, something united us, burned hot within our souls and became our rallying cry … ya know, like “Rocky Top!” That rally cry was “liberty,” and it was centered around the rights and freedoms of the individual, not the subjugation of the individual to a monarchy or any government. And so, it was, that we took to the court on April 19, 1775 at a place called Lexington Green in Massachusetts. We stood and fought and eventually took down the #1 seed team, the British, and won a championship trophy called, these United States of America. Over the years, we have continually faced challenges other than monarchialism. There has been an internal fight over the expansion of individual liberty, the Civil War. We have stood against European nationalism, German Naziism, Italian fascism, Japanese imperialism, communism, Islamism, and now, within our gates, we confront progressive socialism.
If you want to know what losing looks like in this March Madness of governing philosophies, then just look south to Venezuela. What was once a championship country is losing horribly because of the failures of equality of outcomes, when equality of opportunity had made them successful.
When you are filling out your brackets and watching this iteration of our time honored tradition of the NCAA basketball tournament, ask yourself, where is America seeded … but more importantly, will America continue to win championships? This, of course, meaning, you America are a champion.
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Mr. West is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias. Mr. West also writes daily commentary on his personal website theoldschoolpatriot.com.