Are the Olympic Games Good for humanity?


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Just before the London 2012 Games began, I gave a talk for South Place Ethical Society, whose Wikipedia entry says it is 'the oldest surviving freethought organisation in the world, and is the only remaining Ethical society in the United Kingdom'. Now the Games are over, people will most likely have a wider perspective on this question. One person in my talk thought I was terribly negative about the Games, which is kind of ironic. Nevertheless, I wanted to champion their capacity to create tensions as a reason for judging them positively. Their worth is born out of their being inherently contested processes and this value goes far beyond the feelings of national pride attached to medal wins.