The art of the insult

Spanish politics has made a bad reading of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
28 November 2023 Tuesday 03:24
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The art of the insult

Spanish politics has made a bad reading of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. At least from one of his books, titled The Art of Insulting. It is a work that is a treatise on practical wisdom and it would not be bad if the country's political class gave it a review. Especially when a new legislature begins and the PP has chosen a tough guy like Miguel Tellado as spokesperson in Congress, with the conviction that they have to be relentless to make the PSOE and its partners shipwreck.

The first thing that Schopenhauer establishes is that insult is the last resort when all the other arts of argument do not prosper. The philosopher was a bad-tempered guy, who lived in a fight with the world because it did not recognize his virtues and gave nature to insults. But what the philosopher really cannot stand is vulgarity. In his opinion, the insult must be sharp, lucid, accurate, precise. Even cult. The thinker hates slum ordinariness and vulgar ridicule. Instead, he accepts the merciless causticity that the category of art can achieve.

The suggestion that the political class read this Schopenhauer treatise is the result of a lack of faith that our leaders can behave like academics. Or simply as responsible leaders, beyond the harshness of the phrases or the forcefulness of the debates. They have made insults their weapon to refute ideas and have become stuck in mediocrity. Before his appointment, Tellado made merit by accusing Minister Óscar Puente of being responsible for an incident on the AVE, when he was harassed by an unbalanced person, or inviting Sánchez to leave the country in a trunk like Puigdemont.

From Schopenhauer it is an insulting phrase about a patriotism that the right wing is full of: “He who is possessed of national pride reveals that he lacks individual characteristics of which he could feel proud, otherwise he would not take advantage of something that he shares with millions of people". The expletive, sometimes, can be an art.