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Observers of the Olympic Games in London have frequently been asked to view them as a triumph of liberal cosmopolitanism: all the peoples of the world united in peace and harmony. Even John Lennon said so. And despite the Games’ military flavor, despite the violent associations—or plain violence—of so many of the events, despite the raging patriotism of uniforms, anthems and national teams, it may really be the closest thing we have. So what will the United World be like? The economic prosperity of you and of your region will overwhelmingly determine your chances of success; meanwhile successful individuals will thank their families and tell simpering onlookers that it all came down to hard work. Public expression of political views will be prohibited in the name of tolerance. Formerly or allegedly counter-cultural figures who have won the victory over themselves will be publically humiliated in ceremonial rituals. And, yes, it might be fun to watch.

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