What has Changed in America?


I was thinking a lot about violence this week after the depressing incident at the school in Florida. 

No matter what you think of guns, gun control, and that particular issue, there is obviously something else going on besides guns.  Perhaps guns should be more tightly regulated, but there is so much more to this story, because this kind of thing never used to happen.  

One of the more insightful takes on mass shootings comes from a book called “Tribe: On Homecoming & Belonging” by Ernst Junger.  His thesis is that the breakdown in community and purposeful living in America, particularly for males, is what is driving the increase.  I think there is a lot to that, as well as other factors.   I did not know until I read his book that the Northern European myths about werewolves, were the same type of story, where a lone male removes himself from the group and its values and then proceeds to kill members of the community.  Normally these males have a productive role in society and are valued for something but when things go haywire and these males are not channeled properly, things get evil.  He also shows some stats in the book about how violence as a whole, as well as depression and mental illness as a whole, often actually decreases during time of war because war brings people together and gives men something to do.    

I did some brainstorming just to see what had changed in the last 50 or so years to drive the mass shootings.  I do find it strange and anti-intellectual that no one is talking about these things:

  • Multi-cultural societies experience a decrease in social cohesion and an increase in social isolation and the US has become much more multi-cultural.
  • We live in a contradicting time, relativistic on one hand and ideological on the other, which creates a type of mass psychosis and mass irrationality:
    • Relativism– one value or belief is as good as another, emotions make things “right”, there is no such thing as good or evil, every individual can determine what is right or wrong.
    • Ideology– One group says if you don’t believe what I believe, you are wrong, evil, or a bad person who needs to be jailed, fired, or socially ostracized, therefore contradicting the relativistic stance.  In other words, “our” values and “our” ideology are right, and yours are wrong.
  • Another way this mass psychosis and mass irrationality will play out will be total war and mass narcissism, which is what is happening and what the philosopher Nietzsche predicted.  Nietzche describes it this way:
  • “If you don’t believe in truth, you must believe in power”
  • We now have legal insta-porn at the tip of a finger where every form of debauched violent and dehumanizing act with people, animals, and implements is available for small children and anyone else to watch.  How is this legal?
  • 50 years ago, abortion, which somewhere around half of America including myself view as murder, was illegal.  Considering unborn babies can recognize their mothers voices and feel pain, this is really amazing and sad.
  • You could only “identify” as what you actually were.  
  • Masculinity itself was not treated as an evil pathology and chivalry as a disease to be cured and re-educated.
  • ​Men had roles to play, had purpose, and were valued members of society, even men on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale.  The same could be said for women.  
  • People, whether religious or not, generally respected their elders, their parents, and the common sense of our inherited 10 commandments of cultural morality.  This “natural law” as John Locke would call it, was ingrained into the psyche of the average person.
  • People went outside to play and knew their neighbors.
  • Marriage actually meant something, and was an unbreakable religious covenant difficult to get out of.  Divorce was much more rare.  
  • People didn’t stare at screens in an addictive rush of narcissistic rages, indignation, and autistic spasm all day.
  • TV movies and games did not show the graphic details of mass bloodshed and violence. It’s actually kind of funny now if you watch a show like “The A-Team” which was popular in the 1980s how little violence was shown.  
  • The bestselling book in the history of the country was not a tacky nonstory about sexual violence and a man who humiliates and controls his “lover.”
  • People didn’t sit on their butt watching mindless soul crushing technology from various screens all day.
  • If someone hurt your feelings or school was hard it wasn’t cause for immediately taking psychotropic drugs, but rather an opportunity to grow up.

The truth is never easy to hear.  Perhaps the philosophers are right. Maybe the government will have to continue to get bigger and bigger to deal with growing social dysfunction until it finally collapses.  I hope not.

There are dark spiritual energies and forces, which unless confronted and dealt with, and converted into something good and positive will plunge our world further into chaos.  Perhaps we need to change our laws, but I know for certain that we need to get real.  If you want to talk, then everything is on the table.  

Does America even have a conscience?  I think so but I’m not sure. 

We need to cut out the cant.

And have a real conversation.  


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