"The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!" ~ Ludwig von Mises
Column by Paul Hein.
Exclusive to STR
The Germans have a knack, if that’s the word for it, of making new words by putting old ones together. So “weltschmerz” is a conjunction of two words meaning, literally “world pain.” The term refers to the frustration, depression, etc., that one experiences on appreciating the difference between the way things are, and the way they should be. I’ve got it bad. A chronic case.
Looking at the state of the world today, in my ninth decade, compared to the halcyon days of my youth, I wonder that weltschmerz isn’t epidemic.
There’s talk of legislation making the use of cash, at least for certain purchases, illegal. Or they might place a “tax” upon its use. Has it occurred to the rulers that by so doing they would make what is legal to tender illegal? Or, if it’s occurred to them, do they care? For a long time I’ve thought that the basic human right most under attack by our rulers is the right to privacy--a right which is secured, at least regarding buying and selling, by the use of cash. Now even that is under attack. And if “privacy” is a justification for a woman’s abortion, as the court suggested, wouldn’t it be a justification for keeping her financial affairs to herself, when questioned about them by the taxing authorities? Or is the expectation of consistency foolish? Are basic rights allowable only at the discretion of the rulers? So it seems. Weltschmerz!
We would like to drive to Louisiana to visit my wife’s brother. Doing so would put us within 100 miles of the coast, and thus subject to being stopped and interrogated by the “border” police. Why must I be subjected to such a thing, in a “free” country? If I stay home to avoid the confrontation, the rulers have, I guess, won, since they obviously regard our moving about freely with some concern, and subject to their control and regulation. On the other hand, I could make the trip and, when stopped, assert my rights, as many others have done successfully. Many others, but not all! If the border SS troops regard my attitude as suggesting of, or hinting of, or remotely approaching what might be interpreted as possibly redolent of terrorism, I could be dragged from the car, and tasered and beaten. And this by people who exist, officially, to protect my rights! Oh, what sort of world do we live in?! How can I be weltschmerz-free in such a country!
During most of the years of my long life, America has been at war. The benefits of this bellicose foreign policy are not readily apparent to me, although I am, admittedly, not in the armaments business. Every time I turn on the television, I learn that our rulers are bombing this country, or that one, and never for any good reason, so far as I can tell. Killing people in the cause of fighting “terrorism” seems to justify any sort of aggression against any group having even the slightest connection with the possibility of “terrorism.” Our rulers seem totally oblivious to the destruction they are wreaking upon people who couldn’t harm us if they tried. Even worse, if that’s possible, is the acceptance by so many Americans of this homicidal behavior. If our rulers are as evil as they appear to be, are our fellow Americans as stupid as they seem? Will they ever realize that they’re being regularly and routinely lied to about the “need” for aggression by the rulers? Oh, weltschmerz!
Boys who “feel like there’s a girl inside,” or girls, feeling, somehow, the presence of a boy inside, are willing to have their bodies mutilated to achieve a physical appearance suggested of the desired gender. Only a few decades ago, such behavior would have been considered madness, if, indeed, it was ever considered at all. Sex and marriage were considered to have profound moral significance, but our churchmen have surrendered the teaching of morals to the rulers, while they concern themselves with being hale fellows, well-met, and making us feel really, really good about ourselves. Weltschmerz in spades!!