I've been thinking a little bit recently about the ethics of boycotting the Olympics. A Google search reveals some interesting calls for boycotting the upcoming Games in China due to human rights violations in China, the situation with Tibet, and China's failure to use its influence in the Sudan to deal with the genocide in Darfur. There are calls for the U.S.A. to boycott the Games, for President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies, for the European Union to boycott the Games, and reports of celebrities engaging in individual boycotts.
There are several interesting questions specific to this situation, and to the general relationship between politics, ethics, and the Olympic Games. What sort of philosophical justifications have been or can be given for and against boycotting the Games? Are there principled reasons for boycotting? Must a boycott have a good chance at being effective in producing positive political change to be justified? What about considerations of fairness to the athletes who will miss out on the Games if a boycott precludes their participation?
I would be interested to see what readers of this blog have to say about these issues.