Recent public opinion surveys, as well as a wealth of anecdotal evidence, suggests that anti-Dukism is prevalent and rising around the world. What explains this irrational, pathological hatred of Duke basketball? Is it something which Duke brought upon itself due to its policies, or is it an irrational hatred born of jealousy and envy?
One Duke player, freshman Luon Deng, argues the conventional realist position: anti-Dukism is simply a reflection of the balance of power in the world. As Deng puts, it "You always try to go for the underdog, and Duke has been winning so much in the past that a regular fan or regular person watching TV is going to go for the underdog.'' In other words, it is Duke's unipolar position in the world which inspires natural resentment and fear. Changing policies, better public diplomacy - none of these can hope to succeed in reversing rising anti-Dukism as long as this imbalance of power persists.
Others focus more upon cultural differences: "I think we arouse passion,'' [Coach Mike] Krzyzewski said. "We're in a different world. I'm not sure we're in a world many people have been on, we just have to learn how to manage it.'' In Coach K's "clash of civilizations" thesis, it is fundamental differences in values and culture which explain the animosity felt towards Duke.
After consulting with noted basketball scholars such as Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami, however, I can offer a fuller and better explanation of anti-Dukism. It isn't really about Duke at all. Instead, it is a dangerous intersection of three forces. First, anti-Dukism reflects the natural envy felt by the unsuccessful towards the successful. The rest of the basketball world needs to find some way to reconcile their own manifest backwardness and inferiority - particularly galling given that many of them have glorious pasts which make it hard to accept their current plight. Second, there are cynical and opportunistic leaders who deflect attention from their own failures by blaming Duke. Rather than address their own failings or reform their own programs, they direct the anger and rage of their fans and alumni towards a convenient stalking horse. And finally, there is a dangerous and unprincipled media environment, which sees nothing wrong with bashing Duke at every opportunity, making it socially acceptable and encouraging others to express such sentiments. This toxic brew - and certainly not anything intrinsic to Duke or its foreign policies - explains anti-Dukism. There is no reason for Duke to change, therefore; it should ignore the craven and cynical opportunists and their culture of hate, and do what it can to help them improve themselves rather than begin to doubt itself.
Happy March Madness!!!
P.S. The above analysis is largely hogwash when applied to explaining anti-Americanism. But since so many people seem to believe the hogwash, then they darned well better accept the analysis of anti-Dukism! Go Blue Devils!