Sunday, November 14, 2010

What to remember on the 14th of November

Remembrance Sunday.

Every year on both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday my thoughts turn to my grandparents and great grandparents and the generations they represented.

I am as sad for them as I am for what we have become in their absence. In the last few years of his life I started to have the odd conversation with my surviving grandfather about this. He seemed to be of a similar opinion - that most of what had been fought for back then had not just been lost, but actively given away by both a venal political class and an apathetic population. The baby-boomers had everything relative to the generations before them and they happily sold off the farm.

I get a sick feeling that goes to the root of my stomach trying to imagine myself in the shoes of these solid people, of whom many of our generations are paltry shadows in comparison. Whether it was war in the trenches, the possibility of everything being destroyed in an instant by a German bomb or never knowing if you were going to see so many loved ones and friends again; in the face of this their courage must have been inestimable; especially as the odds would have seemed so overwhelming at the time.

In the 1930s, a single man would sign up to fight and his entire family - and street! - would sign up to go with him. Could any of us imagine that happening now?

It is in this spirit that I feel so aggravated by others seemingly giving up so easily. There has been a mass exodus from the libertarian-leaning blogosphere recently. Something some commentators have taken unjustified delight in, claiming 'I told you so! They were just Tories in denial' or some other similar nonsense.

I think blogging fatigue is a big part of it, and I'm certainly sympathetic, even though I'm an irregular blogger myself. I also think the departure of ZaNuLabour is a small factor, however it is a long way off of the whole story. There is a much much deeper weariness seeping in and I think the Devil has identified it in his (hopefully temporary) signing off post: it is the fact that the new LibConfused overlords represent almost zero change from what went before. The state is increasing in size, in power, the climate hysteria continues in spite of the counter evidence and the EU is still receiving massive handovers of power (not to mention handouts). Many people, including the Devil, are asking - what is the point?

Well here's the damn point: Until our sacrifices and suffering match or exceed those of our grand parents and great-grand parents' generations, I don't want to hear any such defeatist talk. And to make the point that talk is cheap, it is very easy to utter platitudes about what "they" were making sacrifices for back in that pit of despair that must have been their lives.It is quite another to grit our teeth and dig in for the long haul. They did it and we owe nothing less than to do the same.

No one said it would be easy, that the going would not be long and arduous. What will you tell your children or grandchildren, or those children of others (if, like me, you plan not to have any yourself). What will you tell them, especially when you relate the tales of your own grandparents' heroic struggles?

Is a comfortable life worth a fucking damn when it is purchased so cheaply - at the expense of other people's liberty, even their lives?

For me it isn't. And it is crucial for the coming generations - sold already into penury and quite possibly a third world status by the most recent generations - that they know that while there were many who collaborated, there were some who fought back.

Hope may be a distant thing right now. Our opponents are many, and mighty. I fully understand the despair, even the surrealism it seems to engender as our political establishment and its enabling classes (the media, the apathetic) appear to exist in a parallel universe to anything that could be remotely regarded as "reality" (explaining the multi-trillion debt to someone who believes in "free" everything will give you this mind-bending trip of an experience).

It is why we must nurture the tiny, flickering flame of hope in our hearts, breathe on it regularly with our irreplaceable life energy, just like those who gave of their irreplacable lives with honour before us. On this day, we should not only remember the fallen but not forget the future - a future which we have a direct hand in forging.

As regular readers will know, I'm quite a fan of science-fiction and am fond of using poignant scenes from it to make my point. Below is a video that I think is entirely fitting for Remembrance Sunday. It utilises a fictional alien character in a fictional future scenario where humans fought a war against impossible odds. The ode he gives to the humans is fully deserved of our immediate ancestors. Is it, or will it ever be deserved of us? That's for you and me to decide, starting today:


Witterings from Witney said...

Nice post K and extremely well written!

Dick Puddlecote said...

Top article, as always, Mr K. :)

Woman on a Raft said...

Exactly what I needed to read at the moment. Thank you.

Katabasis said...

Thanks very much everyone :)

subrosa said...

Great post as usual K. One point I'd argue to a degree (a small degree mind you).

I'm a baby boomer and I agree we had the fortunes left to us by previous generations - twas it not ever thus - yet I would disagree we happily sold the family silver. Most of us wanted our own children to have even more opportunity than we did. That's a natural desire. Many of us saved for our old age yet were fleeced by successive governments.

Not only were we financially fleeced but were continually lied to by politicians. Now, I'm of the generation who trusted others until I found evidence to the contrary. Twenty years ago or so I suddenly realised my trust was misplaced and became a cynic.

There are millions like me in this country and a large amount of them still don't want to believe they were led down any garden path and our 'innocence' is the partial cause of the mess of the country today. We tried to do our best with a situation which didn't exist as portrayed by our leaders.

Katabasis said...

Thanks for your comment SR.

The "baby boomers" I primarily had in mind were those in our political class, though the population at large certainly bears responsibility for having tolerated them.

I'm not unsympathetic. I still fondly go back to watch 80s era hollywood movies and marvel at their simplicity and innocence. Those films definitely reflect the world views of my parents at the time, in certain ways. Its only now in their older years that they have started to really become cynical.

Its easy to despair though because looking at "generation Jones" onward, it doesn't seem like we have learned anything. If anything our/my generation will have less excuses than any before us. We simply cannot claim that we didn't know. In that respect, the baby boomers may come out of this looking pretty good yet!

Jiks said...

Excellent post. God knows how we get out of this mess but doing nothing and shutting up sure are not going to help.

"Continue firing"