Monday, June 25, 2012

Curt Schilling's Financial Woes: I'll Try Not to Laugh

Did you hear the one about how Curt Schilling, Red Sox legend and outspoken conservative, parlayed his baseball fame into a video game company, where he took loans from the government, but then turned out to be a major bust, costing the taxpayers money and wiping out his personal fortune? HAW!

Okay, in one sense, this is a vindication of the free market; 38 Studios does not appear to have done anything really worth paying attention too (And I'd argue that video games are one medium where there's a strong correlation between popularity and quality); it seems like it was just coasting off of Schilling's name, and ultimately, that's not enough, and the market made the company pay. It's nice when it actually works like that.

On the other hand, this is a stunning indictment of the free market; after all, Schilling's the one who took all the risk, and his company is clearly the one that underperformed. His kids had nothing to do with that- and yet, they're going to suffer for their dad losing his fortune. Why am I supposed to be happy about this invisible hand thing again?

Finally, there's the hypocrisy of it all- Schilling was an outspoken conservative, he campaigned for Bush and Scott Brown, he bleats on and on about small government...and then turns around and begs the state of Rhode Island for a loan? For something as frivolous as a VIDEO GAME COMPANY? Don't get me wrong, I love video games, but I'm plenty happy leaving that sector of the economy to the free market wolves (and I say that as a big government liberal).

Hypocrisy, of course, is hardly the most intellectual rigorous criticism; we all contradict ourselves at the outer edges of our philosophies. And honestly, I do have some sympathy for Schilling; transitioning to a post-sports life is hard, and he tried to do it by taking a risk into an unproven- but awesome!- field. It sucks that it didn't work out for him.

But it will suck more if he goes through this without realizing that most people asking for the government's help are just like him- good people who work hard, and just hit some bad luck.

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