Australian Olympic medalist swimmer, James Magnussen, is making news headlines again. He has publicly announced that he plans to “dope [himself] to the eyeballs” to break a swimming world record, and win $1million. The competition’s officials are giving him their full support.

James is the first high-profile athlete to officially join the proposed ‘Enhanced Games’; an international, multi-sport event with grand plans of competing against the Olympic games for eyeballs, athletes and dollars. The brainchild of another Australian, Aron D’Souza, the Enhanced Games headline point of differentiation is the eschewing of the artificial, arbitrary, performance-limiting, political interference of drug testing.

The Enhanced Games could also be called the Libertarian Games. Athletes are free to do whatever they want to achieve the maximum of their athletic potential, so long as it does not harm anyone else.

Most of the efforts of drug testing agencies is brutal harassment of intermediate level amateur athletes for irrelevant test result technicalities

Predictably, conservatives and liberals alike are screaming bloody murder at the prospects of athletes being free to choose for themselves what they want to do with their bodies to achieve what is important to them. The powerful bureaucracies engaged in sports drug-testing are also enraged.

Their first reflexive argument against the Enhanced Games is that the use of performance enhancing drugs is cheating. Cheating, by definition, means violating the rules. The Enhanced Games have no rules disallowing the use of drugs, so doping cannot be cheating. 

Another argument is that it is not fair. In the Enhanced Games, all competitors will have the same access to every technology to maximise their performance; from special suits made of high tech materials to pharmaceutical products, expert advice and monitoring. The democratisation of enhancement technology means no athlete has an unfair advantage; it simply raises the overall level of competition. For an athlete to win in the Enhanced Games, the only exploitable advantages available will be God-given talent and hard work. 

By contrast, drug tested sport is grossly unfair as a direct result of the drug testing. Drug testing is a political tool used to control who represents sports. Talented athletes deemed to be undesirable representatives of a sport typically face unusually frequent, surprise drug testing, and unusually frustrating accusations of procedural improprieties. Meanwhile, top athletes with the necessary political and/or financial connections are minimally tested, given warning when they will be, have access to technologies to pass tests despite using drugs, and even enjoy mysterious disappearances of positive tests.

The tests themselves are grossly ineffective. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) itself acknowledges that 44% of ostensibly “clean”, WADA-compliant Olympic athletes admit to using banned substances. In other tested sports, such as cycling, the drug use is even more widespread. The Lance Armstrong scandal highlighted how farcical and hopeless the situation is. Armstrong was doping for years, yet never failed a test. But so too were all of his competitors.

Athletes are free to do whatever they want to achieve the maximum of their athletic potential, so long as it does not harm anyone else.

Most of the efforts of drug testing agencies is brutal harassment of intermediate level amateur athletes for irrelevant test result technicalities, such as testing positive for irrelevant baking ingredients (glycerol) or non-performance-enhancing nutritional supplements. 

The infamous 1988 Seoul Olympics continues to be a case study in the true corruption and politicisation of the modern anti-doping movement. Approximately 400 positive drug tests reportedly came out of the testing laboratory for the Seoul Olympics. The positive tests were passed to the Olympic bureaucracy, where they seemingly disappeared. Only 10 athletes were announced to have failed tests.

The inarticulate and undiplomatic Canadian sprinter, Ben Johnson, was the most high-profile of the failed drug tests. He won the premier Olympic event, the 100-meter sprint, and set a new world record. In second place was the handsome, intelligent, articulate, all-American, hero sprinter, Carl Lewis. Johnson failed the drug test under suspicious circumstances, and his gold medal was given to Lewis. The media then proceeded to paint Johnson as the embodiment of a dirty, rotten, drug cheat. Lewis was heralded as the stunning and brave hero of all that is good and moral, despite some questionable irregularities in some of his own tests. Johnson’s career and reputation was ruined, even though his record remained in the record books.

The anti-doping movement has completely failed to stem the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport. If it has achieved anything, it has made sport less fair, less honest and less safe. Like the War on Terror and the Covid sham, the war on drugs in sport was based on lies, and has become a completely corrupt boondoggle for a handful of dishonest technocrats. It now only harms the people it ostensibly exists to protect. 

It is time to throw drug testing into the dustbin of history. An Australian has come up with a solution and another Australian is the first to jump aboard. All libertarians should get behind the Enhanced Games.

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  1. Nice article.

    But which ‘liberals’ are screaming bloody murder?

    If we are not to use the term ‘liberal’ as synonymous with ‘libertarian’, then I’d suggest we not use the term at all.

    The author contrasts ‘liberal’ with ‘conservative’, suggesting he’s adopting an Americanism that does not apply in Australia. The Americanism of calling Democrats liberals is a misuse of language and a discouragement of libertarianism within the Republican party, so should not be reinforced even if we were in America.

    • Apologies, Duncan. You are right. I was referring to ‘liberals’ in the American context, because of its colloquial meaning online. It was lazy and, I agree, technically incorrect. That said, whatever term or group I chose to use, the result would be the same. The vast majority of mainstream discourse that I have seen has followed the predictable gamut of fallacious arguments. Having been on the inside of international sports, worked with doctors and athletes using PEDs, and even formally testified against ASADA, I can state with authority that most people have absolutely no comprehension of the real-world situation and this issue deserves more serious consideration. I wrote over 6000 words in creating this article because there is so much to say about the corruption and immorality of drug testing, the drug testing agencies and the IOC. Reducing it to 800 words required compromises.

      Instead of ‘liberals’ I should have said ‘communist authoritarians’. But, then, like in America, I doubt all the communist authoritarians in Australia view themselves as such, and so would not realise I was referring to them. Accurately and efficiently naming groups has become quite complicated since we stopped knowing what a woman is and Libertarians became known as ‘right wing extremists’.

  2. Damon,

    Great article. I’d never thought about anti-doping laws in the context of libertarianism before. You always extend my thinking.

    Question: the “Athletes are free to do whatever they want to achieve the maximum of their athletic potential, so long as it does not harm anyone else” … what about long-term negative effects on the body from steroids and the like? Does it harm taxpayers if they are forced to cover hospital expenses later for such an athlete? Yes, I’m raising how far The Harm Principle should apply, a thorny issue. I’d love to hear your view on this.

    Apart from this, I’m in.

    • Good questions. But then, there is SO much more to say on this topic, Kenelm. I was barely able to scratch the surface of all the issues within 800 words.

      Just quickly, there are a few basic points I would start with to argue that, no, taxpayers would not be forced to cover ADDITIONAL hospital expenses:
      1. Injuries frequently result from sports at all levels. Netball players wreck their knees. Boxers suffer concussions. The primary risk to long term health problems of athletes, is sport itself.
      2. At the elite level, ‘enhancement’ amounts to single-digit-percentage differences in performance. It can be enough to break a record by a fraction of a second. But it is NOT a transformative performance that imposes catastrophic risk.
      3. The current application of sports medication is to wait until an athlete is injured before using drugs to mask pain and reduce inflammation, at the significant risk of long term damage. The ‘doping’ philosophy is to apply preventative medication that dramatically enhances recovery and tissue repair, reducing the risk of long term damage.
      4. The primary drugs used for performance enhancement are the same medications used in anti-aging medicine. Forget the anti-doping lies and propaganda that these medications cause accelerated disease and death. The reality is that these medications literally PREVENT and reverse age-related diseases. They help aging adults remain lean, strong, active and happy; not least for motivating them to exercise and diet. It even helps older people continue competing in sports and staying healthy, but only in sports where drug testing is not a factor. The anti-doping movement are the primary activists AGAINST this entire branch of medicine, and have been very successful destroying the careers of exceptionally good Doctors who did absolutely nothing wrong.
      5. The greatest strain on Australias limited medical resources comes from people being inactive, alcoholic, and following a diet of processed poisons. The average Australian is more than likely going to die from heart disease or cancer. So the idea that athletes who use PEDs run a greater risk of dying of heart disease or cancer is disingenuous at best, and an outright lie at worst. Living a “normal” Australian life is the most harmful thing a person can do to taxpayers. Steroid use has been increasing among athletes for 70 years and there is ZERO evidence it results in abnormal levels of disease compared to the average person.


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