I support the Black Lives Matter movement and, coming from a family of many veterans who served to defend the American value of free expression, I support the right of Colin Kaepernick to publicly protest what he perceives as injustice.
But I must express my concern about the new Nike ad campaign and its slogan: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” We sometimes use the word “fanatic” to describe such people.
It is unfortunate and perhaps ironic that Nike released this ad around the time we were commemorating 9/11 and the horrendous attack committed by religious fanatics. The plane hijackers were certainly people willing to sacrifice everything for their beliefs, and the world does not need more such people.
Nietzsche wrote something to the effect that true courage does not consist in acting on your beliefs, but instead in closely questioning your most cherished beliefs. It is too easy to unthinkingly adopt the beliefs, political or religious or otherwise, of your family and friends.
The people I most admire critically examine their own beliefs. They ask themselves if they would believe the same had they been born and raised in another time and place. They ask themselves how they know their beliefs are true. They seek out alternative viewpoints and contrary evidence and arguments. Then they are prepared to give rational arguments to support their beliefs.
I would have preferred a Nike ad with the following slogan: “Be skeptical. Think for yourself. Have the courage to question your own beliefs before you act on them.”