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ANDERSON: This hero is a triumph of the human spirit

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May 16, 2017 - 1:39 PM

 


OPINION


I was at the Southern Interior Local Government Association convention a while ago and had the very great honour of watching Chris Koch speak.

For those who don't know who I'm talking about, he's the guy who was born with no legs and no arms and makes his living as an inspirational speaker.

Our society has become something of a victim oriented project, or at least is being led there by our elites, with CBC et al. on a perpetual hunt for victims of this "injustice" or that, with victimhood of this or that commonly being used as an excuse for failure, either personal or societal. We have victims of bullying, victims of patriarchy, victims of residential schools, victims of every shape, size, colour and description, all vying for redress of one sort or another, or at the very least demanding to describe their pain in great detail to anyone who will listen. It is not a good ideology.

Shelby Steel, Ofer Zur, Wendy Kaminer and others have argued from a psychological point of view how the ideology of victimhood hurts both individuals and society in general, but most people reading this already intuitively understand the potential for harm that wallowing in self-pity can create for an individual, or worse yet, the deep and lasting harm created when we encourage subgroups within society to see themselves as helpless victims of historical oppression. At best it engenders hopelessness; at worst social breakdown.

There is a better way.

Chris is living proof of the triumph of the human spirit. His entire talk took place with him on a skateboard on the stage, where he began by telling us that before he got going he wanted to talk about the "elephant in the room."  Naturally, everyone knew what he was going to talk about, so there was a burst of laughter when he announced that one of his ears sat about a quarter inch lower than the other on his head. The rest of his talk was in the same spirit...poking fun at himself, his situation, and the ridiculous reactions he gets from others. 

But there is of course far more to his talk than comedy. The theme of his speaking tour is simple and profound: "If I can..." If he can do it, what does that make of everyone else's excuse for not doing what they need to do?

If I were to say, as I often do, "get over it and move on," I would immediately be branded a privileged white male and all the other tiresome slogans we've all heard far too much of, and be served the inane argument that I can't possibly understand the pain of others unless I am them. When Chris says it, it carries weight. Very, very few people can argue that their lot in life, from a standing baseline, is "worse" than his. He can say it and people HAVE to listen.

But what impacted me the most was this: "I'm more afraid of regret than failure. When I look back at the end of my life, I never want to have to say, I wish I had tried that or done this." That really resonated with me, because I can't count the times I haven't done something because it was outside my comfort zone, or I was afraid of failing. And I'm conscious enough of my own mortality to know that it's those things that will bother me the most when I'm old and frail...not the things I've tried and failed at.

What a hero the guy is. If there's anyone who has an excuse to give up it's him, and yet he's done more with his life than most of us will ever dream of doing.

— Scott Anderson is an educated redneck from Vernon. His academic background is in International Relations, Strategic Studies, Counterterrorism, and poking progressives with rhetorical sticks until they explode. Not surprisingly, he is also an unashamed knuckle-dragging conservative, or so he's told all the time.


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