Showing posts with label nihilism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nihilism. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Nihilistic old white guys who commit murder: We will see more Stephen Paddocks

Old and in the way, that's what I heard them say
They used to heed the words he said, but that was yesterday
Gold will turn to gray and youth will fade away
They'll never care about you, call you old and in the way.

Old and In the Way
lyrics by David Grisman
Sung by the Grateful Dead

Americans are accustomed to serial killers. According to the New York Times, mass shootings have occurred in the United States at the rate of more than one a day over the last 477 days.

We can sort these killers into discrete categories. Some are religious extremists--the Boston Marathon bombers, the Orlando shooter, the San Bernardino murderers. Some are disaffected young men: the killers at Columbine, Sandy Hook, and the Charleston, SC church.

And there is at least one more category: disaffected, older white men. Stephen Paddock,an affluent  64-year-old man, who killed or wounded more than 500 people in Las Vegas a few days ago, is the latest old white guy to commit (or at least attempt to commit) mass murder. Before Paddock, there was James Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old geezer from Illinois who shot a group of Republican congressmen while they were practicing for a charity baseball game. And don't forget John Russell Houser.  Houser, a 59-year-old loner, opened fire in a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, killing two people and injuring nine others before shooting himself.

What did these men have in common? All were older white men, all attacked complete strangers, and all committed suicide (or allowed themselves to be killed by the police). And I think it is fair to say that these three men had lost all sense of purpose as they entered old age.

Let's face it. Growing old is no fun.  As we grow older, we realize we did not achieve all our dreams and that our time on earth is drawing to a close. We feel our strength and vigor ebb away as we hunker down for the last stage of life.  Our regrets and mistakes loom larger and larger in our minds while our meager triumphs and happy times grow dim in our memories.

And as death approaches, we find we are not afraid. At times we almost long for death. This movie lasted too long; we want to see "The End" appear on our movie screens. And we don't give a damn who shows up at our funerals.

In a healthy culture, old people derive meaning and purpose from their families--especially their grandchildren. If they are fortunate, they are respected for their wisdom and are sought out for wise counsel.  Some of us belong to civic organizations or take comfort from religious faith.

But in postmodern America, a lot of old white guys don't have any of that. They lost the families they started when they were young. Their jobs, which were obsessions when they were in their twenties and thirties, now seem tedious. They've lost all interest in religion and find religious people excruciatinglyboring.

And some of these old guys become nihilists; and some of them have guns.

I wish I believed the Stephen Paddocks of this world are the rarest of aberrations, that we will not see the likes of him again in our lifetime.

But I know differently. Our culture does not honor the old; it offers no solace to the elderly. The indignity of our approaching death reveals itself, the meaninglessness of existence becomes apparent; and some old men express their disappointment through murder.

Stephen Paddock, mass murderer


477 Days. 521 Mass Shootings. Zero Action From CongressNew York Times, October 3, 2017.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

In Massachusetts, Land of Kookie Ideas, the Humanists Want to Abolish the Pledge of Allegiance in Schools

Years ago, I walked into Good's Barbecue Restaurant in Houston and noticed a message scrolled  in large letters above the door. "Texas, our Texas! All Hail the Mighty State," the sign proclaimed.
The official flag of Postmodern Nihilism
I remember thinking I would never see a sign like that in Massachusetts.  Indeed, no two states could be more different in terms of cultural and regional pride than Massachusetts and Texas.  Texas even has a pledge to its state flag, which willing Texas children are required by law to recite on each and every school day. The people of Massachusetts would never think of doing such a thing. 

Or maybe they're just ashamed of the Massachusetts flag. After all, the flag portrays an American Indian, a reminder that the good people of Massachusetts killed all  the Native Americans in their state (except Elizabeth Warren, whom they elected to the Senate.)

And now the American Humanist Association has filed suit in Massachusetts, seeking to invalidate the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag on the grounds that it violates the equal rights provision of the Massachusetts Constitution.

An AHA spokesperson argued that recitation of the flag is indoctrinating and alienating to atheists. “It validates believers as good patriots and it invalidates atheists as non-believers at best and unpatriotic at worst,” he said.

The Massachusetts Supreme  Judicial Court (too snooty just to call itself the supreme court) is taking the matter seriously and has asked for amicus briefs from interested parties.  Who knows? This goofy body might  root around in the state constitution and find a way to invalidate the Pledge of Allegiance in the state's public schools.  After all, they wouldn't want to offend the sensibilities of Bay State atheists

In fact, Massahusetts' highest court might strike down the pledge in state schools just for fun. I'm sure the judges would get a kick out of the fulminations of Bill O'Reilly on Fox News if the court ruled  the Pledge could not be said in Massachusetts schools. 

This petty lawsuit, brought by New England elitists, is an exercise in postmodern nihilism, which is the philosophy of the day among Massachusetts jurists, academics and politicians.  In their self-centered world, there are no ultimate values, no truths which can claim our allegiance, no  transcendent ideas.  And so they descend into whining trivialities.

And that would be fine if those folks would confine their nihilism to their own neighborhood. Unfortunately, our nation's leaders are mostly trained up there; and these people are running the country.

And we can see where it has gotten us.  Even now, we see the President of Russia smoothly outmaneuvering and humiliating our president.  And what should we expect? While Barack Obama was polishing footnotes on the Harvard Law Review, Vladimir Putin was running the KGB.


Atheist Acton couple takes Pledge of Allegiance challenge to Supreme Judicial Court. Acccesible at:

Doe v. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District. Trial court decision accessible at: