The Scope of Steroid Abuse

Shaun Assael: I mean I think steroids are in every sport, even if you look at cycling which you would not associate with strength or muscularity, in fact these guys have the lightest professional athletes, you will find before the Atlantis case there was an allegation that he spiked the test for testosterone, one allegation is that you want to recover quickly that helps you recovery and from day to day and this is true that thing about steroids is not that they instantly put on muscle, now they don’t instantly give you cartoon muscles although they do build lean body mess, they allow you to get to back to the gym more quickly so the apology for the, the steroid apologist who often say look I work harder than any body else and it is true that cheating is that the drugs allow you to work harder than the next, may want to work as hard as you are working but cant because his body gives out or 45 I know exactly what I can lift in a gym, if the guy next to me is using, he will be able to work harder so that is the cheating.

 

Question: Are steroids an obsession or an addiction?

 

Shaun Assael: I think the fear that I don’t do it and the next person will, I lose my job is a manifest fear something that I think is the reason why drug testing is so useful because if the guy down the bench feels that he has to use because you are using, whether it is in the pro leagues or I think quite legitimately scarily in high schools, they will use, and that is were it becomes the addiction, the reason to split on whether steroids are actually physiologically addictive, based on what I have read, it doesn’t appear that they are physiologically addictive, it appears that they are psychological addicted in that when you go off it you suddenly you are looking yourself married don’t see your self the same way you go through mood swings, so in that respective they are addicted, but you know they are I think in sports now I do think that in high school football, all the way up to college football every level, once you are on and you kind of it is harder to get of with them.

 

Question: Are steroids in high school?

 

Shaun Assael: Yes, I have a fourteen year old for some reason I mean look at me, his coach put him on the center run this team and do I worry when kids are supposed to be fourteen and you know look like barns are coming at him, yeah it only gets worse as you get up, do I think up in the ranks, do I think that there was pervasive as some of the articles in the media suggest not, I actually don’t, I think that they are in schools . The research I have seen suggests that kids experiment with them in non sports capacities and until a good to be the man in their high school as one, as one kid I spoke to said on TV so that outside of the high school sports, they are like any other recreational Drug that kids experiment with, inside sports, I think that the once who use have a real monetary incentive, they see that, that could be the difference between them in the scholarship, I think the ones who are in the sport just to play who don’t have scholarship aspirations don’t take it that seriously.

I think a lot of media characterizations are also convincing kids look steroids are bad, so is it wide spread, no as a , but it is there yes, as a result we are having this debate as to how much we want to do high school steroid testing, New Jersey has a program, sort as Florida, but Texas has dwarfed both of them, with the program starting this spring, that crossed 6 million dollars over two years, all 760,000 high school athletes eligible for testing 26,000 kids were actually be tested, now that is a real commitment to biologically monitor our kids. Texas is the home of Friday night lights and lot of other states Illinois, New York are having fierce debates and deciding not to do it because how do you justify the 180 dollars steroids test on a kid, when that could be spent on a text book that entire chemistry class can use, so it is difficult debate, do I think that going getting into a biological war with the students is the way to go, no but I do believe in some form of testing.

 

Recorded on: March 18, 2008.

 

Steroids are in almost every sport, and while not physiologically addictive, are difficult to stop using.

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Politics & Current Affairs

Political division is nothing new. Throughout American history there have been numerous flare ups in which the political arena was more than just tense but incideniary. In a letter addressed to William Hamilton in 1800, Thomas Jefferson once lamented about how an emotional fervor had swept over the populace in regards to a certain political issue at the time. It disturbed him greatly to see how these political issues seemed to seep into every area of life and even affect people's interpersonal relationships. At one point in the letter he states:

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."

Today, we Americans find ourselves in a similar situation, with our political environment even more splintered due to a number of factors. The advent of mass digital media, siloed identity-driven political groups, and a societal lack of understanding of basic discursive fundamentals all contribute to the problem.

Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.

The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?


Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression

In a 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey by Cato, it was found that 71% of Americans believe that political correctness had silenced important discussions necessary to our society. Many have pointed to draconian university policies regarding political correctness as a contributing factor to this phenomenon.

It's a great irony that, colleges, once true bastions of free-speech, counterculture and progressiveness, have now devolved into reactionary tribal politics.

Many years ago, one could count on the fact that universities would be the first places where you could espouse and debate any controversial idea without consequence. The decline of staple subjects that deal with the wisdom of the ancients, historical reference points, and civic discourse could be to blame for this exaggerated partisanship boiling on campuses.

Young people seeking an education are given a disservice when fed biased ideology, even if such ideology is presented with the best of intentions. Politics are but one small sliver for society and the human condition at large. Universities would do well to instead teach the principles of healthy discourse and engagement across the ideological spectrum.

The fundamentals of logic, debate and the rich artistic heritage of western civilization need to be the central focus of an education. They help to create a well-rounded citizen that can deal with controversial political issues.

It has been found that in the abstract, college students generally support and endorse the first amendment, but there's a catch when it comes to actually practicing it. This was explored in a Gallup survey titled: Free Expression on Campus: What college students think about First amendment issues.

In their findings the authors state:

"The vast majority say free speech is important to democracy and favor an open learning environment that promotes the airing of a wide variety of ideas. However, the actions of some students in recent years — from milder actions such as claiming to be threatened by messages written in chalk promoting Trump's candidacy to the most extreme acts of engaging in violence to stop attempted speeches — raise issues of just how committed college students are to
upholding First Amendment ideals.

Most college students do not condone more aggressive actions to squelch speech, like violence and shouting down speakers, although there are some who do. However, students do support many policies or actions that place limits on speech, including free speech zones, speech codes and campus prohibitions on hate speech, suggesting that their commitment to free speech has limits. As one example, barely a majority think handing out literature on controversial issues is "always acceptable."

With this in mind, the problems seen on college campuses are also being seen on a whole through other pockets of society and regular everyday civic discourse. Look no further than the dreaded and cliche prospect of political discussion at Thanksgiving dinner.

Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner

As a result of this increased tribalization of views, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to engage in polite conversation with people possessing opposing viewpoints. The authors of a recent Hidden Tribes study broke down the political "tribes" in which many find themselves in:

  • Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
  • Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
  • Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
  • Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
  • Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
  • Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
  • Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
    Patriotic.

Understanding these different viewpoints and the hidden tribes we may belong to will be essential in having conversations with those we disagree with. This might just come to a head when it's Thanksgiving and you have a mix of many different personalities, ages, and viewpoints.

It's interesting to note the authors found that:

"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."

You'll find that depending on what group you identify with, that nearly 100 percent of the time you'll believe in the same way the rest of your group constituents do.

Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:

  • 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
  • 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
  • 51% of Democrats support a law that requires Americans use transgender people's preferred gender pronouns.
  • 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
  • 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
  • 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.

Understanding the fact that tribal membership indicates what you believe, can help you return to the fundamentals for proper political engagement

Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:

  • Avoid logical fallacies. Essentially at the core, a logical fallacy is anything that detracts from the debate and seeks to attack the person rather than the idea and stray from the topic at hand.
  • Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
  • Have the idea that there is nothing out of bounds for inquiry or conversation once you get down to an even stronger or new perspective of whatever you were discussing.
  • Keep in mind the maxim of : Do not listen with the intent to reply. But with the intent to understand.
  • We're not trying to proselytize nor shout others down with our rhetoric, but come to understand one another again.
  • If we're tied too closely to some in-group we no longer become an individual but a clone of someone else's ideology.

Civic discourse in the divisive age

Debate and civic discourse is inherently messy. Add into the mix an ignorance of history, rabid politicization and debased political discourse, you can see that it will be very difficult in mending this discursive staple of a functional civilization.

There is still hope that this great divide can be mended, because it has to be. The Hidden Tribes authors at one point state:

"In the era of social media and partisan news outlets, America's differences have become
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.


Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."

We need to start teaching people how to approach subjects from less of an emotional or baseless educational bias or identity, especially in the event that the subject matter could be construed to be controversial or uncomfortable.

This will be the beginning of a new era of understanding, inclusion and the defeat of regressive philosophies that threaten the core of our nation and civilization.