The Olympics analogy

I have an extremely learned friend, a great Plato scholar, who has a low opinion of populism and egalitarianism.  He once challenged my beliefs with the following question: –

In the Olympic games, does everybody perform the same, or do some people manifest superiority?

In the Olympic games, does everybody win a prize, or are the prizes reserved for the best?

I tried to reply with questions of my own.  What follows is an improved versions of my reply.  The nice thing about having your own web log is that it is never too late to say what I should have said at the time.

In the Olympic games, does everybody in a race start at the same starting line, or can you buy the right to a head start?

In the Olympic games, does everybody get a chance to compete, or do members of certain races, religions and ethnic groups have to compete in separate games for lesser prizes?

In the Olympic games, do you have to compete to win, or are the sons and daughters of gold medalists automatically given medals of their own?

Are the Olympic games a voluntary contest in which those who come in first get medals, or is it an involuntary contest in which those who come in last, or even second, are punished?

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