I am, or at least try to be, a foil in our cycling club. We have a few board members who, while well intentioned, have a penchant for coming up with rules for others to follow that, if enacted, would suck the fun right out of the groups they were intended to help.
It is my job in the club to block all of that $#!+ intended for the fast groups.
For example, the B Group has a 5 to 60 second regroup about 20-miles into our Club sanctioned Tuesday night ride. We take an accounting of the riders dropped in the last three hills and wait for them to catch back on to the group. I’ve been the beneficiary of this regroup a time or two. Once we’ve collected those who fell off, we roll out. Simple enough.
Well, one of the board members in the E Group got wind that we didn’t wait a full minute and proposed a rule that, from then on, we wait a full minute (God only knows who was supposed to carry the stopwatch) for anyone to catch up. I swooped down on that like a bald eagle to a trout. First, being a member of the club and of the board, I would be responsible for enforcing an unenforceable rule. There are dozens of instances where stopping at all, let alone for a full minute, makes no sense.
In hindsight, I could have been a little nicer about it but I wanted to leave an impression. I made the point that nobody outside of our A and B Groups would be making rules for those groups and, in the off chance the club actually passed something, it would not be followed. In fact, I said, likely the opposite would be done. In terms of that one-minute regroup, we’d simply stop regrouping – if you got dropped in the hills, have a nice solo 10-mile time trial back to the parking lot. I said I would not sit back and allow others to dictate what we did with our group, simply because they “thought” something that would have preposterous unintended consequences “seemed like a good idea”. I put it another way. I said if the board tried to continue down this path, I was going to pass rules for their groups. Minimum paces that would be difficult to attain, rules that required they train their riders to jump into faster groups… in other words, I’d find a way to suck the fun out of their rides as well.
Folks, politics in the wrong hands is where freedom goes to die. Here’s the trick; they’re always in the wrong hands, no matter how well-intentioned.
If you pay attention to politics and politicians, and look at the rules they pass and laws they make in the context above, it should be quite obvious why those rules and laws have such disastrous results in terms of freedom. You’ve got ignoramuses making rules for people they wouldn’t stop to piss on their gums if their teeth were on fire. The context of the instance above explains all politics. It also explains why politicians work so hard to keep people fighting; people tend to be stupid when they’re angry. It takes a rare person to rise above the anger to see the angles and the shape of the politics. I am not one of those rare people. I get sucked into it, too.
And so I’ve taken the role of foil in our group with the hope it helps me to remember that which is most important in life; f*** politics, be good to people and fight against those who would steal our freedom to make stupid rules for the rest of us “because they care”. Politicians have forgotten that their main job and goal in life should be to protect our freedom. Everything else is secondary.
One final note from Steve Hayward at Power Line (and one of the best concepts I’ve read in a while): If you get a bright idea that you think everyone else should follow, repeat that bright idea using a German accent and see how it sounds then. It should open your eyes, if nothing else.