Explaining Derrick Bird

The second thing is, in our desire to explain these events solely as examples of personal pathology, we concentrate on the individual, and do not interrogate the role of society and a socially produced ideology of individualism. For the circumstances in which personal griefs and grudges express themselves in this brutally uninhibited way ought to come as no real surprise. After all, we are supposed to prize the individual above all else; and in our celebration of the individual, we publicly value disproportionately the loves and lives, the passions and capacity for amassing fortunes of the successful and triumphant.

The importance of self-expression, self-indulgence, self-realisation in our society is bound to have its less glamorous form; and for all the exaltations of success, the parade of showy individuals who, by virtue of their beauty or skill, or simply their assertiveness and celebrity, there is bound to be another, suppressed march of misery, frustration, despair and hatred. The insistent singleminded worship of wealth and power is itself a powerful generator of a darker side of human experience; and all the pathologies of crime, disorder, emotional breakdown, psychiatric illness and depression, are simply the shadow of the excessive adulation offered up to fame, youth or talent.

Absolutely spot on. Far better than we banish individualism, that everything is done for the good of society.

For then there will be ample opportunities for those who wish to murder as society rids itself of the individualists in the cellars, firing squads and gulags which such forcible collectivisation always seems to generate.

2 thoughts on “Explaining Derrick Bird”

  1. The gunman had his children, and his new grandchild, to fill the rest of his years with contentment.

    But it appears that he preferred to nurse his grievances against his family and associates, and hone his sense of envy, self pity, and victimhood to perfection.

    ” there is bound to be another, suppressed march of misery, frustration, despair and hatred”
    This is a counsel of despair.
    Indeed there are people who seethe with resentment whenever someone else encounters good fortune, or some modest success. It is an unlovely character trait in toddlers, but a fatal flaw in a grown man.
    The vast majority of western people aren’t crippled by simmering jealousy, they have compassion and sympathy for the unfortunate, and generosity of spirit towards those who lead a charmed life.

    A spiteful, bitter, self obsessed, nasty old man has nothing to teach us about how to order our society.

  2. Indeed, Tim. Note how in those societies in which individualism – which in this case I guess means all that an individual thinks, says, does and aspires to – is destroyed for the “greater good”, there’s always one individual whose individualism isn’t so subsumed. You could call him Adolf, or Joe, or Mao, or Napoleon, or Pol, or whatever.

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