Mass Shootings as a Revolt Against Liberalism

Troy Camplin
Aug 5, 2019 · 4 min read
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On August 3, Patrick Crusius killed 20 people and injured 26 more in an El Paso Wal-Mart. It seems, according to a work many believe to be his manifesto, that he did this in order to kill as many Hispanics as possible. Why? Because he believes Hispanics are destroying the American national culture (an absurd position to have, since the U.S. is not a nation, and has never been one) and are taking jobs from whites. He said that he is a nationalist who opposes immigration and capitalism, and is an environmentalist.

This may seem like a strange combination, but it’s the same combination that motivated the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand on March 15 of this year that killed 51 people and injured 49. It seems Crusius was inspired by the shooter, Brenton Tarrant. The two shared the same ideology, and Crusius obviously concluded that they should share the same fate.

On July 28 of this year, Santino William Legan killed 3 people and wounded 13 others. He complained in an Instagram post that day about “hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats.” That is, racially mixed people and capitalists. Investigators don’t want to call him a “white supremacist” or “white nationalist” because they found he had a bunch of literature “from left to right,” but given the fact that both Crusius and Tarrant had ideologies that included elements from left to right, we shouldn’t be loathe to reach the conclusion that his world view was similar to theirs.

Racism, nationalism, anti-capitalism, and environmentalism — if you know your ideologies, you should be able to recognize this ideology as Nazism, National Socialism. If we replace Racism with extreme Sexism, we have the fundamental ideology of Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale. This is an ideology that is deeply, fundamentally anti-liberal — it is this, more than anything else. It is fed by resentment, as are all illiberal ideologies, left and right.

Environmentalism doesn’t have to be illiberal, though the way it’s promoted today, it’s among the most illiberal ideologies around, used to justify innumerable other illiberal policies. It is this kind of environmentalism which is promoted in the present day, and which is believed by these white nationalists.

As I have written about before, in the late 1960s and the 1970s illiberal forces were on the rise, though then from the left, with the weapon of choice being bombs. Peter Turchin argues that political violence peaks every 50 years, demonstrating it peaked in 1970, 1920, and 1870, and predicting it would peak again in 2020. If these kinds of mass killings are any indication, we’re on track, only this time it’s from the illiberal right.

One of the things that happened in the 1970s and 80s was that the leftist radicals stopped bombing after they were given what they really wanted: power in the form of professorial positions. Why would they want that? They decided they could best undermine capitalism by teaching college students their Marxist ideology through such things as critical theory.

The result is the rise of social justice warriors and their various political tactics, which has in turn resulted in a backlash against that world view. The more polarizing one side becomes, the more polarizing the other side becomes, in a mutually-reinforcing positive feedback loop. The right, though, has most certainly drawn first blood in this case, and we shouldn’t be surprised if the militant arm of the social justice warriors, “antifa,” should soon retaliate.

The funny thing is, though, that the ideology of people like Crusius is equally informed by the illiberal elements of the left — anti-capitalism and environmentalism — as by the illiberal elements of the right, including nationalism, racism, and (especially with the incels) sexism. They have a fully illiberal ideology, and they would be the first to dispose of their insistence on supporting freedom of speech if they, like the social justice left, felt they held any kind of power. Of course, the right are lashing out in no small part because they feel like they have no power. We can logically point out that the GOP has considerable political power, whites have power in this country, males have power in this country, and so on, but the fact is that you can’t reason with people who hold irrational positions.

The problem we are facing has everything to do with a rise in illiberalism in this country. We have a culture that promotes illiberalism, a media that promotes a considerable amount of illiberalism, and two partly illiberal political parties. Most of our cultural, economic, and political problems arise due to illiberal policies, while liberalism is blamed for every single one of those problems. A great example of this is the student loan crisis, created almost entirely by government, but which is blamed on capitalism. Everyone preaches resentment, resentment, then are surprised that everyone is anxious and people lash out.

The solution isn’t more illiberalism — it’s more liberalism. We need more freedom of movement of people, we need more cultural diversity, we need freer free markets, we need fewer government “solutions” that do nothing more than make our problems worse and create even more problems for government to “solve” in exactly the same way. We need more love, more understanding, more beauty, and more gratitude. You don’t fight hatred with hatred, or illiberalism with illiberalsim — no, you fight hatred with love, and illiberalism with greater liberty for all. Change yourself, and you change the world.

Complexity Liberalism

Essays on Economics and Politics

Troy Camplin

Written by

I am the author of “Diaphysics” and “Hear the Screams of the Butterfly,” and a consultant, poet, playwright, and interdisciplinary scholar.

Complexity Liberalism

I take a complexity approach to understanding and interpreting economics and politics. I consider our civil society to be made up of subsets of self-organizing network processes that interact to create our civil society. This is a new liberalism (neither left nor right).

Troy Camplin

Written by

I am the author of “Diaphysics” and “Hear the Screams of the Butterfly,” and a consultant, poet, playwright, and interdisciplinary scholar.

Complexity Liberalism

I take a complexity approach to understanding and interpreting economics and politics. I consider our civil society to be made up of subsets of self-organizing network processes that interact to create our civil society. This is a new liberalism (neither left nor right).

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