Ms Wendy McCarthy, the Chair of the National Better Health Program, suggests that a ban on boxing 'should be introduced without delay' (Letters, The Weekend Australian, 25-26 May 1991, p.16). In so doing, she has deftly, though perhaps inadvertently, highlighted a major problem in modern society.
That problem is not the obvious health consequences of boxing, nor is it the $1 billion a year in sports injuries. The problem is determining who is responsible for any individual's behaviour -- good or ill.
The National Better Health Program's view would appear to be that an individual cannot be trusted to make his or her own decisions; that it's better to prohibit dangerous sports than to allow that a person may accept the possibility of injury in return for the rewards derived from participation.
If two competent adults wish to engage in fisticuffs in the formal setting of a boxing match (so that there is no threat of escalation to riot) then that, surely, is their business alone.
© 1991 - Stephen Dawson