The Corner

Why Is Our Society Manufacturing Rage-Filled, Self-Hating Young Men?

From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Why Is Our Society Manufacturing Rage-Filled, Self-Hating Young Men?

One line from that BusinessWeek article jumps out:

As was the case in Roseburg, these deranged individuals, typically self-hating young men, plan their suicidal attacks carefully and obtain their arsenals legally.

Why do we seem to have an explosion of self-hating young men?

As the publication date for Heavy Lifting approaches, Cam and I are getting asked, “why did you write this book?”

I wanted to dispel the biggest lie young men are told in our society: that growing up, getting married, having kids, getting a real job and career, and taking on responsibility is a burden or something to be avoided. It’s exactly the opposite: those are the things that make life worth living, that make a man want to get out of bed in the morning, and, I suspect, help ward off feelings of depression, isolation, resentment, alienation and worse.

I wouldn’t oversimplify it to say that men who don’t want to grow up are the root cause of these mass shooters. But I will say that you don’t hear about these shooters having strong support networks; happy, loving relationships; connections to their community and neighbors. Very rarely do these shooters have their fathers around and providing them with a present male role model. If you feel like you’re part of something greater, that your life has a purpose and meaning, and that other people rely on you and count on you… you very rarely wake up one morning and decide to start killing strangers.

After the Oregon shooting, I took a quick tour of those ugly, angry communities on 4chan and Reddit. Is it that our society makes it so easy to hide away from the world in a dark room, illuminated by only the computer screen, clicking from angry chat rooms to Internet porn to first-person shooter games to Facebook pages of people who seem happier than us, marinating in bitter envy?

Is it that for too many young people, when they say something insanely irresponsible and self-pitying – “the problems in my life are the world’s fault, not mine!” – there isn’t someone around to say, “no, that’s not true. Your problems are at least partially, and probably largely your fault and a consequence of choices you have made. The good news is this means you have the power to do something about them”?

Remember the Virginia shooter who was a classic “grievance collector”? Is it that we as a society become too accepting of people who practice this philosophy, and that we sort of acquiesce to it, or aren’t willing to stand up to it and rebuke it enough? Does something about our society cultivate grievance and resentment, instead of gratitude for our blessings?

The gun-control advocates among us seem pretty comfortable with a world where everybody’s disarmed, but every bit as filled with estrangement, hostility and fury as they are now. (Great, we found the one set of circumstances where the Left doesn’t want to look too hard at “root causes.”)

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