Weltschmerz

Last night, for the first time ever, I actually felt physically ill on reading the news. Not some bombing, some mass murder, the gang rape of a child or something. But the news that I am ‘represented’ in Europe by the BNP.

Well, this goose-stepping psychopath does not represent me. I care little enough about Euro-politics, not because I don’t think that they are important, but because in the grand scheme of things I think it has little overall effect on my life. Some might say that is naive; rather, I live my life in a way that so far as possible I let many things wash over me with a quiet acceptance that the alternatives are probably not that much different.

He also does not represent me because I simply reject his representation for who he is. For what good that will do me. Sadly, he does represent a large portion of my country, and certainly the 120 000 and odd bigotted and ultimately ignorant fools who voted him in.

Weltschmerz is a German word, translating literally as ‘World-Sorrow’. It can mean a simple dismay at the state of the world, or a feeling that one’s own weaknesses are a result of this. It is also associated with the Romantic Poets, and a feeling that the state of the world is counter to ones own freedom of thought and mind.

Which sums up how I feel today.

The familiar argument has of course arose, about freedom of speech, and how comments of violence makes one as bad as the object of one’s violent expression.

This state of affairs shows that we are not mature enough for freedom of speech. Of course this is a paradox, as to disallow freedom of speech places one in a situation where someone tells someone else what they can express. But does the state of the world mean this must be so? There is probably no answer to this, save the anarchist-influenced informal regulation that might only be a pipe-dream.

What this also shows, is that once again ‘democracy’ has failed. I have joked that the thing that has pissed me off most about this whole fiasco is that I have been forced to break the habit of a lifetime and vote. I have never voted in a general election. My main reason for this is that I will not vote for someone who does not represent my views. Which no political party ever has. I nearly voted in 1997, after growing up under Tory rule. I would be ashamed to have voted in such a disfunctional government. I considered voting for Greg Mulholland in the last general election, based on his good record as a councillor in Headingley. Again, I would have been ashamed, after his vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, reputedly because of his own Catholic beliefs.

But this failure of ‘democracy’ is the worst. Pop Will Eat Itself sang: ‘but if the answer isn’t violence, neither is your silence’. I have not been violent, and I have not kept silent. And I am now saddened.

I am sometimes an idealist. I have largely held reservations about violent responses to fascism. Partly because I think dangerous egos can take hold, and even people who will stand up and fight are often not mature enough to justify their means. Also, because although ideologically I am not anti violence, I refuse to succumb to allowing violence to be the answer, as I am, by nature, a gentle person. But where are we now? 120 000 people in Yorkshire and The Humber is too many to ignore. And this poison will grow and grow.

This is not some call to arms, or statement of intent to join Antifa. But the time is coming when many of us will need to make the choice whether we sit back and allow this to continue, by our posturing and faith in good nature and The System. Or whether we will be forced back to a time when human evil cannot be controlled in any other way: the ultimate recidivism. World Sorrow, indeed.