Mass Shootings: Is This Ghost Shirt Time?

Here we go again. Two mass shootings in 13 hours. Who is to blame? How many gun bans should we enact? How much is President Trump to blame for it all?

Here’s another thought. When the young men in a culture feel hopeless they expend themselves in a suicide cult.

Example One: the Ghost Dance movement among native American tribes in the Great Plains in 1890 after the white man had overrun their homelands. La Wik:

[P]roper practice of the dance would reunite the living with spirits of the dead, bring the spirits to fight on their behalf, make the white colonists leave, and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to Native American peoples throughout the region.

The idea was that wearing a Ghost Shirt would make you invulnerable to the bullets of the white man.

That wasn’t the only desperate response to the Century of the White Man. In China, they had the Boxer Rebellion in 1899. La Wik:

After several months of growing violence in Shandong and the North China plain against the foreign and Christian presence in June 1900, Boxer fighters, convinced they were invulnerable to foreign weapons, converged on Beijing with the slogan Support the Qing government and exterminate the foreigners.

You could make a good argument that the Islamic terrorism of the Middle East is the consequence of the demoralization of Muslim men in an age of western cultural and economic hegemony.

The common denominator is the experience of imminent cultural annihilation: for the Plains Indians the utter demolition of their way of life; for the Chinese the collapse of the Qin dynasty. And for the Muslims of the Middle East? Well, I’d say that they have had a whole century of nightmare, ever since the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. I suspect there is something in the genes of young men that provokes them into a cornered rat syndrome when all hope is lost.

Now here in the United States we have had about fifty years of a ruling class culture that turned on a dime, around 1970, from a policy of praising working class whites to the skies to a policy of blaming whites, and especially white men, for all the ills of the world. Since the Dawn of Time.

Hey geniuses! What did you think would happen? That all those toxic racist sexist homophobes would just take their cultural obliteration lying down? Ain’t you libs ever read a book?

And then there are the young white males of Antifa, the young white males of the alt-right. The folks killing themselves in the opioid crisis. The young black gangbangers of the Chicagos and Baltimores of the land killing each other every weekend. The homeless encampments waiting for the end in all the best liberal cities.

What is going on here? It’s not just the white mass shooters experiencing cultural desperation.

I have an idea. Men are expendable, and so society should always be thinking about the best way to expend them, otherwise they will start expending themselves, or worse, expending the ruling class. A victorious war is one age-old way of expending the expendables. You send a whole generation off to war and then you spend the next 50 years telling the survivors what heroes they are. In the Brit world it worked a treat in the Napoleonic Wars, with bloody naval battles and Forlorn Hopes filling up breaches with their English dead. What about World War I? For the U.S. it was a great way to bring all the diverse immigrants together and make them all into a double feature of Yankee Doodle Dandy and On Moonlight Bay. And World War II? There must be 27,000 World War II movies celebrating the heroes of 1941-45.

Let’s look at the bigger picture. Human history is a neverending tale of wars, famines, epidemics, migrations, massacres, invasions, rapes and plunders, magnificent empires and bottomless Dark Ages. What would happen if we tried to produce a society where all that death and destruction were put on hold? Would it work? Or would the young men instinctively insist on being expendable and go right back to expending themselves? Or maybe the ruling class in its infinite wisdom would blandly ignore young black men expending each other in the inner cities, and young white men expending themselves in the opioid epidemic. But the kid-in-a-basement incels heading out to the nearest gun-free zone to expend themselves? Not to be endured! Let’s have a total gun ban to disarm the populace and keep us safe.

Look. Since the educated ruling class is the ruling class, it means that everything that goes wrong in this country is their fault.

And yet they have the nerve -- the noive -- to blame Trump and white supremacy for everything.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

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