Take the Pledge

If you have worked for a company of even modest size you will have been subjected to a “team building exercise,” which I’ve found to be about as unnatural for actual team building as setting up a group to “do innovation” is. Yet companies, especially large ones, insist on doing both.

Read Paul’s essay, it’s a good one for a number of reasons but the one thing I kept thinking is that I pledge now that I will never subject anyone to a team building exercise.

A few days ago I was sitting in a cafe in Palo Alto and a group of programmers came in on some kind of scavenger hunt. It was obviously one of those corporate “team-building” exercises.

[From You Weren’t Meant to Have a Boss]

The Chaotic Olympics

“All visitors should be aware that they have no reasonable expectation of privacy in public or private locations,” according to the State Department site.

“All hotel rooms and offices are considered to be subject to on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times. Hotel rooms, residences and offices may be accessed at any time without the occupant’s consent or knowledge,” it said.

It’s amazing that this would be news to people… China is an authoritarian communist state, it’s not like going to Disneyland. The Chinese authorities, who rule not by the moral authority granted to them by the people but through fear, intimidation and force, are using this Olympics much like Hitler did with the Berlin games in 1936.

The 1936 Olympics were used by the Nazi thugs to promote their ideology of Aryan supremacy, but Hitler and Goebbels also saw significant value in showcasing Germany’s stature as a leading nation of the world and in history. More ominously, the Nazis also sought to hide their fascist roots, attempting to show Germany as a tolerant nation by removing “Jews not wanted” signs from Berlin, toning down their rhetoric, and exempting foreigners from enforcement of draconian social laws, such as the anti-homosexuality laws in place for Germans.

The rise of fascism in Germany was no secret by 1936 and, like now, many called for the boycotting of the Olympics. Ultimately, I believe, boycotting ends up accomplishing little so maybe instead of boycotting the Beijing Olympics we should encourage huge swarms of people from all free countries to show up and flash mob. That would really freak out the Beijing monitors and snoopers.

Everyone should use their mobile phones to upload millions of videos of Qik as well.

At the Olympics, the Maoists will be dealing with free people from free nations, and there is only so much they can do to control them. It’s not clear they understand this. They’ve been living for decades in a bubble of unchallenged power, and are not very imaginative. The opportunities for embarrassment are endless, and the prospect of it very delicious to anyone who loves liberty. Personally, I hope their stinking Olympics is a huge fiasco, and I see encouraging signs it may be.

[From The Corner on National Review Online]