Monday, August 13, 2012

Celebrating Individualism

The Olympic Games is all but behind us.

It would seem that all commentators are hailing the games a success as London's one-trick wave of visitors rapidly exit en-masse.

The Left would have enjoyed the centralist planning aspect of the games that brought usual commerce to a standstill. They would have enjoyed seeing £9 billion of other people’s money gambled away on nationalistic ceremonial pride with the flimsy promise that the country will reap benefits for years to come.

The left would have particularly enjoyed the celebration of Britain's National Health Service during the open ceremony and the legacy of nice-to-have sporting facilities that the productive will need to some how pay for in years to come. 

While I started off being indifferent about the games, I soon became drawn-in to watching obscure sporting events that I would normally avoid. 

Who could not be impressed by the stunning bodies and skill on display that had taken years and personal commitment to hone.

One aspect that the Left would not have comprehended was the display and celebration of individual achievement. For New Zealand this was captivated for me by the final gold medal winning performance of Lisa Carrington. All 5'6", 53 kg of muscled individual focus and determination. 

For me, Blogger Liberty Scott succinctly sums up the most positive aspects of the games:
"People who to a man and woman, tried their hardest, spent months or years training and practicing and giving it their commitment to pursue their own goals.

They are not altruists. The medals were not won so that Britain could feel great. They were not won to boost the economy or to encourage others to take up the sport.

They were won by people who wanted to win as their individual achievement - including those in teams. It was a desire to be the best.

This in a world where the word "elite" is taken as a sneer that success comes only from privilege, this in a world where individual success in so many fields is taken as a chance to demand a pound of flesh for everyone else. A world where those who make things happens by applying their mind and energy to ideas are simply seen as obliged to carry everyone else along with themselves. A world where so many see those as succeed as hosts to suck the blood from.

Further to this has been the unashamed joy of those winning, with justified personal pride that their own effort and skill have paid off. However, also delightful has been the joy of many of those who did not get gold. Why? Because they gave it their all, they blamed nobody else for not getting gold, if they did blame someone it was themselves. Total responsibility for their actions and result. This one year after London was beset by riots from those expressing the antithesis of this. Nihilistic parasites destroying, invading, stealing, blaming it on the Police, blaming it on society, blaming it on the government, when their motivation was a combination of euphoria from destruction and personal gain directly at the expense of others.

Yet those celebrating and enjoying the Olympics have not just been those competing and their team mates, families and coaches, but the spectators both in person and on television. Much of that has been a patriotic joy at seeing British men and women succeed, particularly as the story of so many of them is one of coming from an average background, deciding to pick a sport, finding they do well and wanting to do better. However, it isn't just some blind nationalism. Usain Bolt's success has captured the imagination of millions, many of whom have no connection to Jamaica. Michael Phelps likewise. Indeed one of the great points noticed by many athletes have been the spectators, predominantly British, cheering on the winners, regardless of nationality.

This celebration of success, achievement, personal, is overwhelmingly positive."

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