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Many decades ago when I was a graduate student in the Stanford English Department, I met and shared an office with another English graduate student, Bill Gairdner. He is five years older than I am and in many ways has been a big brother to me. He was a decathlete, the best in Canada and one of the best in the world and he competed in the 1964 Olympics. Now, he is a political philosopher coming at political issues from a conservative point of view. He was astounded and, I think, appalled by the Oprah-Lance thing the other night and wrote an essay on his own blog about steroids and cheating and lying which I am linking to here. To read Bill on Lance, please click here.

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26 Comments

  1. helga fels

    Well, it could have been a deeper morality play if it was about the evil Lance’s calculated viciousness towards those who told the truth — that was way uglier than lying about the drugs. If it were my show I would have have emphasized that this is one unrepentant scumbag.
    The central moral issue about the lying may be that “we” are all lying — the central moral issue about Armstrong is not.

    January 22nd, 2013 10:49 am

  2. Stan

    Bill Toomey?
    Your friend said what I have posted..steroids goes back farther then the bash brothers in baseball. I clearly remember the shock -eh,noticed- at how Reggie changed..one year trim,the next year a huge chest and shoulders. And he was cranky..another tip off.
    Same with Bonds..He didn’t start with balco…what he started with Balco was the GOOD STUFF..but he was on that path already Lowell. The pictures don’t lie.
    Jack Clark? (if you believe him) Didn’t do steroids because he thought he was good enough and strong enough..He might have also hated needles.
    BUT..IF Jack Clark had known they make the biggest difference on older athletes…he’s taking them, I’m sure.

    January 22nd, 2013 11:22 am

  3. Stan

    Now the lying (I’m always worried your re loader will cut me off-my method to save writings fails on occasion,So here is part 2) part. From Lance and Barry and all of them..they thought “Even if its cheating,EVERYBODY does it- so why am I still the best?-because its god’s will!”…And I don’t think the god part is over embellishing. Its the whole if I don’t cheat,I cant win..because the other guy cheats too. I think you and your friend leave MLB and other Sports orgs, way to much slack.
    THEY have the power- even then- to catch cheaters. To this day,they still use outdated methods that wont detect 3 day old HGH I read someplace. Stop for a few days..and you pass.
    Blame the game owners,not the players.
    And then you can rant at cheaters!

    January 22nd, 2013 11:59 am

  4. Stan

    If the government fined MLB or franchises for hiring cheaters or those caught cheating,say 20 million dollars?. Cheating would end..like that (snap fingers)

    January 22nd, 2013 12:01 pm

  5. chris

    nice article Lowell and great insight from someone who saw the drug cheating culture from the start. He didnt really say anything thats not already known and cant believe he said that drugs arent the problem, only not telling the truth about juicing was. I agree with him the Lance Oprah get together was a major sleeper. I’d say the most interesting spectacle regarding PED’s was the congressional hearings with Canseco McGwire Sosa and Palmeiero. That was a true shocker when Canseco admitted all and the others chose to hear and see no evil…..theres a great ESPN 30 for 30 documentary out right now on the Ben Johnson scandel in 1988.

    January 22nd, 2013 12:03 pm

  6. bigandbold

    “… Lance never had to face the choice of doping to win against a field of innocents. Never. He had to face the choice of doping to level the playing field.”
    -
    So your esteemed friend and colleague will guarantee that EACH AND EVERY cyclist in EACH AND EVERY race in which Lance competed was doping? Sorry, but no… There WERE clean cyclists competing in those events and there ARE clean athletes competing in other sports. Their efforts shouldn’t be dismissed so off-handedly. After all it is THEIR dreams that are being stolen from them by those who choose to “level the playing field,” and it is their efforts that are being trivialized and marginalized each time this “everybody’s doing it, so it’s okay” mentality is trotted out… Your friend’s “philosophy” is shortsighted at best and self-serving at worst.

    January 22nd, 2013 3:36 pm

  7. tkh

    I thought you might find this quote as humorous as I did. It is from Andrew Baggarly’s column on csnbayarea:

    Evans said the Giants are one of several teams interested in signing Lyon, so “I can’t assure you this is something that will get done or not.”

    It would seem to me Mr. Evans COULD assure us that “something will get done or not”. I am not party to the negotiations but even I could assure you that something will get done or not.

    January 22nd, 2013 3:46 pm

  8. Mark M

    excellent piece, thx

    January 22nd, 2013 5:45 pm

  9. Joe H.

    Lying is Power. To speak a great lie, to send young men to die on the battlefield, to ask for money with weeping eyes and trembling lips, whilst each word that leaves their mouth is a fabrication intended only to achieve a nefarious goal. To lie is to achieve power and money and more. To lie is to steal the truth and change the outcome of nature. Lying is a perturbation in the natural harmony of life. It has an immediate effect, and a delayed effect.

    Lance Armstrong lied, he bullied those who would expose his lies, he schemed and profited from his lies. He is on the same level as Barry Bonds, cheater extraordinare.

    He made money from his lies. He lied and people gave him their money. He cheated. Cheaters are liars. They may tell the truth, occasionally, but the essence of cheating is converting words to action. Honest atheletes competed and did not win the honors or acclaim; they were sandbagged by the cheaters.

    No wonder my dog is my best friend.

    January 22nd, 2013 5:49 pm

  10. Loneraider78

    Mr. Gairdner is 100% right. Drugs are not the problem. Greed is the problem.

    If a person couldn’t become a multi-millionaire as a pro athlete, then they wouldnt put that crap in their bodies because they’d have no reason to.

    What’s funny to me is how the masses put on their self righteous hats and get so appalled at drug cheating. Like it hasn’t been going on for 150 years.

    Take a look at ANY athlete you ever admired and chances are that guy/gal was putting something in their body to get an edge.

    Except one….

    This is why Barry Sanders is my favorite athlete of all time. Not only the baddest man to ever play RB, but IMO a totally clean athlete. Played 100% for the joy of juking guys out of their skin, and when he no longer had the love, he quietly left. He could’ve made so much more money, could’ve broken every RB record there is, but nope, when his time came he knew it and he humbly walked away, just like he did after burning eleven guys on one play.

    January 22nd, 2013 5:50 pm

  11. Frank in Minnesota

    Great article…wish more people would it and think about it some…

    January 22nd, 2013 6:13 pm

  12. ollie hoop

    I wouldn’t characterize this man as a philosopher. He’s more a polemicist.

    January 22nd, 2013 6:20 pm

  13. mbabco

    Two thoughts. 1) Lance Armstrong successfully, aggressively and convincingly lied for many years. Now “he’s contrite.” How is it possible to believe him? I don’t think he’s stopped lying yet. Sure he’s sorry. Sorry he finally got caught and had to lie about being sorry. 2) Still nary a mention anywhere about steroids in the NFL. It’s an outrage in baseball; we ignore it in the NFL.

    January 22nd, 2013 7:54 pm

  14. really?

    Dear Lowell,
    As a graduate student in philosophy, I would really rather you not refer to this man as a philosopher. I understand that you respect this man, but from a quick look through his website, he seems to reject everything that is promoted by philosophical training (of which it seems looking through his profile he has none). Just 10 minutes of looking through his past articles I find illogical and offensive articles arguing that birth control is the cause of AIDS, that evolution is false, comparing abortion to slavery, that corporal punishment of children is appropriate, that global warming is not occurring, that political correctness is bad etc.
    It is not that I think you should not be able to promote your friends, and that people cannot say what they want. I would just rather you a.) look into what and who you are promoting (I assume you would not have promoted someone who put forward such blatantly wrong and offensive views) and b.) do not claim that they are what they are not. While his being a philosopher is clearly personal to me, and I would much prefer our field is not sullied by people like William Gairdner, I see this as a general point. If someone is trained and employed as a psychologist and a linguist, it seems that the fact that they write a blog about right-wing philosophy does not suffice for them to be called a “political philosopher.”

    January 22nd, 2013 11:49 pm

  15. Stan

    C’mon Lowell,what about the Tim Brown affair? You were there. What do you think?
    And..something else in the news I was wondering what you thought..it will come to me later..

    January 23rd, 2013 8:34 am

  16. AngusinCanada

    Lowell,
    I actually didn’t mind the essay you linked to, however, and with all due respect…..
    I cannot agree more with the above post by “really”. If he’s a political philosopher, I’m a sports writer.
    Mr. Gairdner appears to be sadly deluded or misinformed on a wide number of important issues, especially the political economy of Canada (of which I happened to study, along with political philosophy at the U of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School), and a number of social and economic issues.
    He might be welcomed on late night U.S. talk radio, but in rational circles, that stuff is considered damaging, out there, unhealthy stuff.

    January 23rd, 2013 4:04 pm

  17. Stan

    OMG..he is a right wing kook. I take back any connection. It looks like “Athletes took steroids long ago too” is all I agree with him.
    You like THAT GUY? gun lover,2/3 of our people don’t pay taxes crap philosopher?

    January 24th, 2013 11:39 am

  18. William Gairdner

    Hello “Really” –
    I did not write that birth control causes AIDS. I wrote that according to a US Navy expert on rubber technology, the AIDS virus is small enough to pass through the natural holes in latex like a bullet through a tennis net.
    I did not express my own opinion that Evolution theory is false; I am not an expert in evolution theory. So I cited experts in the field who sincerely question the theory. Incidentally, Thomas Nagel, a renowned analytical philosopher and an atheist himself has just published Mind and Cosmos, in which he argues that Darwinian naturalism “is almost certainly false.”
    And … I argue that the abortion regimes of the Western democracies are equivalent to slave regimes because they rely on the same technique as have all slave regimes: they create special laws that turn a certain class of human beings (blacks, Jews, Untouchables, the unborn, etc.) into non-persons or non-human beings so that they can own them, work them, or kill them, with impunity.
    As for global warming? I argue that the “science” is still very much up in the (warming or cooling) air, as any honest investigation will soon reveal, because there are simply too many variables to make reliable analysis or prediction.

    January 24th, 2013 11:43 am

  19. Stan

    Evolution is NOT wrong. Its NOT debated by real scientists. Its a fundamental fact of biology. Its only questioned by quacks.
    If one science Professor at UC Berkeley or Stanford doesn’t agree with me,I challenge them to say it. None will. Its called “Theory” not in laymen’s terms,but in a science FACT sense.
    I can’t believe anybody in the 21ft century still pushes questioning the TOE. Ditto for Global Warming.
    The rest..we could argue. Its not democracy that creates slaves…its unfettered capitalism.
    Its proves once again that you can educate people,but you can’t make them smart.

    January 24th, 2013 1:28 pm

  20. Stan

    Btw a good chunk of “2/3″ word for such low wages..THAT’S why they don’t pay income tax. BUT,they DO pay payroll taxes.
    And I can tell you the next level? pay income tax and don’t have enough returned to buy much more then a nice dinner. And I mean nice,not luxurious.

    January 24th, 2013 2:07 pm

  21. really?

    Hello William,
    While I may have spoken too quickly about you explicitly stating that condoms cause HIV/AIDS, in your essay “Condom’s (sic) and HIV” you definitely make a very (deliberately?) misleading analogy between giving today’s youth condoms and giving them alcohol, heroin and tobacco. Given that these substances are known to be the CAUSES of multiple harms, it would definitely be a common inference to assume that the condoms are themselves playing a causal role in the harmful conditions of HIV and AIDS.
    The closing sentence of “Darwin’s monkey-business”: “By now, Darwin’s theory sounds like monkey-business,” is surely an expression of your opinion. While there are of course “experts in the field” that argue that neo-Darwinism is false, given that there are so many people working in this field, the vast majority still see some version of evolution by natural selection as the most plausible explanation of the current state of affairs. I am very much aware of Nagel’s most recent book, and I am also, unlike you it seems, aware of the almost universal panning it received at the hands of scientists and philosophers (in a similar vein to the near-universal panning of the book by Michael Denton you quote).
    The analogy between slavery and abortion is ludicrous. There is no such thing as the “abortion regime.” The debate over abortion is exactly the question whether fetuses should be counted as persons, and to assume that they are so is simply question-begging (as a self-proclaimed philosopher should know). While racist slave owners may have made claims as to the non-personhood of blacks, Jews etc. there was no philosophical basis here, simply racism and bad science. However, the personhood of fetuses is very much an open debate, given that fetuses lack many of the properties we see as essential to persons, such as rationality, the capacity to feel pain (at least early on in the pregnancy) and the ability to have goals and projects they care about.
    As for global warming, the science is very much not up in the air. For a brief stint I worked at the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research at the Met office (the primary meteorological center for the UK), and the climate scientists there were responsible for a report in which they claimed that warming of the climate was “unequivocal” and that this was as a result of human action was “very likely.” The complexity of the system makes accurate quantitative predictions very difficult, but qualitative predictions are much less difficult and are in many cases confirmed by the science.

    January 24th, 2013 2:28 pm

  22. KauaiRobert

    Even if there was two different sports catagories (A and B), there would still be cheaters in catagory A.
    .
    Cheating is reality that will never go away no matter how hard we try to rid ourselves of it.
    .
    Human nature.
    .
    And just for the record, I’m a staunch liberal who doesn’t care one bit about Mr. Gairdner’s somewhat right-leaning views.
    .
    I mean…the subject is steroid use, not global warming and AIDS, right???
    .
    Stick to the topic at hand people.
    .
    .
    .
    ~ALOHA~

    January 24th, 2013 2:37 pm

  23. Stan

    I care. Doesn’t mean he can’t be a good friend..just puts a different light on his opinions.
    If you can’t get Evolution right..

    January 24th, 2013 5:30 pm

  24. William Gairdner

    Hello “Really” (again) –
    Thank you for your reasoned response to my arguments. I have always operated in the conviction that people with opposing views ought to be able to debate each other down to their fundamental differences and then if these are irreconcilable simply agree they have had a good go at it, and agree to disgree. But KauaiRobert is right. This sort of debate does not belong on Lowell’s site because it is not about Lance and drugs. In any event, if you want to engage further, which I welcome, just go to my website from where you can send an email and I will respond (Just so you don’t leave thinking your last points were winners! :)

    January 25th, 2013 9:08 am

  25. Stan

    And he avoids me..who pinned him to the ground. Sorry,but I do dose people with reality. It might not fit your rules of debate. But being right with the facts isn’t something to ignore.

    January 25th, 2013 12:58 pm

  26. Stan

    And what gets me? Your friend is in a level 1 country where white people run everything…and he’s STILL NOT HAPPY?.

    January 27th, 2013 2:04 pm

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