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Ed Driscoll

A Clockwork Killer

May 29th, 2014 - 2:26 pm

Two interesting theories about Elliot Rodger’s heinous last act are making the rounds on the starboard side of the Blogophere this week. First up, at Reason, Brendan O’Neill asks, “Could Therapy Culture Help Explain Elliot Rodger’s Rampage?”

Watch Rodger’s video. The most alarming thing is how cool and well-spoken he is. This is a man used to talking about himself, following years of practice in therapy sessions. Clearly having decided to have a love affair with himself, Rodger terrifyingly declares: “I am the closest thing there is to a living god… Magnificent, glorious, supreme, eminent, divine!”

This isn’t a religious thing. There’s no evidence that Rodger thought he was a messiah, as other nutjobs have. Rather, it’s a therapeutic thing. Therapy culture has created a new army of little gods made fearsomely angry by any perceived insult against their self-esteem. It has generated groups of people who, like something out of the Old Testament, think nothing of squishing things that offend them or hurt their sense of self-worth. It has made a whole new anti-social generation whose desire to protect themselves from emotional harm overrides the older human instinct to engage with other people and be tolerant of their differences. When Rodger says “I am a living god,” he is speaking, not from any kind of wacky religious script, but from the mainstream bible of therapy. The cult of therapy convinces individuals they are gods and that their self-esteem is a gospel that must not be blasphemed against. As the New York Times columnist David Brooks once said of a therapeutic self-help guide to life, death, and life after death, “In this heaven, God and his glory are not the center of attention. It’s all about you.” The self has elbowed aside God; the self is God, as Rodger seems to have realised.

“Perhaps we should see Rodger as a kind of therapeutic terrorist, using murder to gain recognition; his rampage can be seen as a very violent therapy session, a real primal scream in defense of his sacred self-esteem,” O’Neill writes.

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Top Rated Comments   
40 people were shot and 9 killed in Chicago over Easter weekend and we are not agonizing over this grim news. Did none of the suspects say anything that was politically incorrect? Were there no victims that were college students? Where are the deep philosophical ramblings on our culture over this? I don’t like high gas prices. Can I write an article that shows this was the cause of the mayhem? Do the #YesAllWomen crowd really see themselves and sex goddesses that are often shot at by lustful men? This guy was schizophrenic. He had no real way to interact with other people. He was completely isolated and alone and believed things based on delusions. He saw other people as completely phony and intentionally cruel and disconnected from him. There is no connection in the UCSB killings to a culture gone haywire. There is in the Chicago killings but it’s messy.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
He was insane. Most crazy people aren't violent, but they are high functioning. Only problem being, they are insane. There's nothing more to the story.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (29)
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I read his screed. This part told me a lot: "I was never enthusiastic about Morocco. The country is very backwards… They didn't have the latest video games. And to be forced to go there for eight weeks?… I wouldn't be able to play (World of Warcraft) at all for two months. The prospect devastated me…"
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
His parents were likely part of the "free love," "God is dead," and "if it feels good, do it," no excuses generation.

Is he the net result of no-accountability parenting?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
In college I was the only student in my particular class take the free will side of debate when it came to writing papers. Maybe some of the other students believe in free will but decided the writing a paper defending determinism was the easiest route to an A.

That said one line of thought is that some actions are predetermined and others are free.

You want to say Eliot Rodger was a monster or evil? Sure I'll go there.

You want to say that society gets of scot free and did not make him? I am not buying it. If you really believe that then do away with the anti- bullying campaigns and when someone bullies your kid tell them to suck it up or man up.

We could go around whether it was nature versus nurture and look at the percentages and say it was 1/3rd environment or 2/3 rds environment. Point is the environment was not inconsequential.

If Eliot were alive I'd say round him up. But I would also round up a lot of people that helped make him what he became, a monster.

P.S. That would include grade school or high school classmates.

Free will and Determinism
http://www.galilean-library.org/site/index.php/page/index.html/_/essays/introducingphilosophy/13-free-will-and-determinism-r29
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder if his family were afraid of him, too. It strikes me as weird, somehow, that the mother especially knew about his threatening videotape and did nothing but call the therapist(s). I guess someone had called the sheriff's office in the weeks before, but the kid didn't look *that* big and mean for his parental units not to descend on him and drag him back home kicking and screaming. I wonder why they didn't.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
But hey, let's not demonize the insane ... let's demonize all men instead.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
40 people were shot and 9 killed in Chicago over Easter weekend and we are not agonizing over this grim news. Did none of the suspects say anything that was politically incorrect? Were there no victims that were college students? Where are the deep philosophical ramblings on our culture over this? I don’t like high gas prices. Can I write an article that shows this was the cause of the mayhem? Do the #YesAllWomen crowd really see themselves and sex goddesses that are often shot at by lustful men? This guy was schizophrenic. He had no real way to interact with other people. He was completely isolated and alone and believed things based on delusions. He saw other people as completely phony and intentionally cruel and disconnected from him. There is no connection in the UCSB killings to a culture gone haywire. There is in the Chicago killings but it’s messy.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I (regrettably) took the time to watch some of this pathetic little boy's online rant, and was struck by the following... He was consumed by
1) Pride: He truly believed he was better than everyone else around him, that he deserved constant adulation just for existing, and was genuinely perplexed that no one else saw this.
2) Envy: He saw rich and beautiful people around him, and wanted what they had. He quite literally wanted everything they had, including their lives.
3) Lust: He was constantly consumed by a thirst for sex, to the point that his thirst (ironically) blocked him from being able to interact with women.
4) Sloth: He wanted everything (relationships with beautiful women, millions of dollars, great body, etc.) without having to work for it, as exemplified in his obsession with the lottery.
5) Wrath: When his pride was hurt, his lust unabated, his envy exposed and his sloth unrewarded he chose not introspection and repentance, but rather vengeance against his imagined enemies. Indeed, "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." He wallowed in his deadly sins, and perished in them. Let the wise take note.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
…So he was a Democrat.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I forgot which doctor on the radio who said this.

Take it for what it is worth or call B.S.

The point was about teenagers first sexual experience. For those who were 18, they were generally the most well adjusted. For those who had sex 3 standard deviations (measured in years or months?) before or after 18 those were the people, who cause society and themselves the most harm on average.

This guy was definitely 3 standard deviations beyond age 18 and still a virgin(?). I think any homely or decent looking girl but not necessarily a fox could have cured him of some of neuroisis. Specifically the one about blond or nothing. Getting whipped is a powerful thing and that point color does not matter. I admit that I could be wrong.

You have to wonder how much his father talked to him.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you are a Call of Duty player, the company sends you happy emails once a month, "Hi! Congratulations! You've killed 347 enemies this month, 44 of them with head shots! Way to go! Your kill/death ratio is 0.5, that's better than 73% of our players! Keep up the good work, champ!"

Let's say your brain isn't firing on all cylinders, as truly happens in the world, and some emails like that are one of your most positive regular inputs. Then just who is crazy?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's say your brain isn't firing on all cylinders, as truly happens in the world, and some emails like that are one of your most positive regular inputs. Then just who is crazy?

I'd say it was the people who wrote the game, especially those that thought it was a good thing to glory in killing. A moral person shoots to live and doesn't kill for the fun of it. They certainly don't glory in the killing they've done.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually a lot of them do throughout history. If you are in the thick of things it will be natural. Ace fighter pilots will talk about and exult in their skill. There are pictures showing exactly this. So do plenty of of other people in different fighting arms. It doesn't mean there isn't a flip side.

If a soldier/warrior never wants to see or consider the flip side on their own at some point in time, that is when I would have a problem.

25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps I expressed myself poorly. I wouldn't fault a man for celebrating his own survival in difficult circumstances, particularly in self-defense, but I would be very disappointed to hear someone gloating about how many innocent people they killed wantonly and without provocation. I think anyone who kills should see the people he killed as human beings and should regret having been in a position where he felt he had no reasonable alternative but to kill them. Such a person seems like a decent human being to me. Someone who, for example, mows down a bunch of innocent human beings who did him no harm and then boasts about all the mayhem he committed seems far less decent to me.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
What I'd like to know is why is this pattern of embarking on these killings done almost exclusively by men. I do believe that most graffiti "artists" who adorn railroad cars & other places with their work are men. These killers are graffiti artists of a sort, etching their work on the minds of others with the blood of their victims.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you look at history, I don't think you can separate out killings by men as if everything else is a gender-shared historical event.

One may as well ask why canals, dams, inventions, war, arts, sciences, and pretty much everything is "done almost exclusively by men."

I could extend that logic out and ask why women have been such civilizational bystanders. Why don't we have women who have created the entire fabric of the justice system, the Magna Carta and the Constitution? Why don't women protect us?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Those are all good questions. Could it be as simple as the notion that women are the stay-at-home nurturers, centered on caring for their men & children while the men are the go-getters with their focus centered on all that which is outside the home? Some would call that "sexist."
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sounds right to me. Remember, men are just testosterone-poisoned women. That's actually what happens -- we're all the same at the start, except for that gene that switches on testosterone production during gestation for those who will build the dams, and write constitutions.

Or, as I tell my wonderful wife "Where would civilization be without rape and pillage?" Her considered opinion: "You really ARE all alike."

I don't know how to explain Congress. 535 transgender jobs that went horribly wrong?

Your comment isn't sexist, it's RIGHT. Sexism is believing that one sex SHOULD or CAN ONLY do X ... not observing that we're designed for different roles.

Schizophrenia is a whole 'nuther story. It's a serious brain wiring problem and while the culture does have some effect, it's the illness calling the game.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Because women do all their killing at the abortion clinic.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's another factor here that I haven't seen anyone else raise: the qualifications to be a therapist. In most jurisdictions, there are none. ANYONE can call themselves a therapist and not be sued or prosecuted for it. If you call yourself a psychiatrist, you have to actually be an M.D. If you call yourself a psychologist, I believe you have to be have a Ph.D in psychologist. But ANYONE can declare themselves to be a therapist: your plumber, your dog walker, your 90 year old great grandmother who never even attended high school, and you and me too.

That's not to say that ALL therapists are completely unqualified; there are apparently advanced skills that a therapist CAN have but, apparently, it is not necessary to have any of them in order to call yourself a therapist legally.

I wonder if anyone has even examined the qualifications of Rodger's therapists? Or did they just see the word "therapist" on their business cards and assume they were highly-trained experts in a regulated profession?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
You bring up an excellent point.

Problem is that we will get a lot of churn, regurgitation and speculation in news articles in the media. We almost have to wait for a book to go deeper.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even them, I'm not expecting any books on Rodger's actions to question the qualifications of his therapist. I don't think it will occur to the writer(s) to even raise the question.

Frankly, I was deeply shocked to find that there were no specific requirements or regulations regarding who can call themselves a therapist; I just assumed it was a regulated profession. Just about all other professions require some level of regulation. Any time I've mentioned to others that therapists have no minimum qualifications, the people I told were equally shocked; they all assumed it was a regulated profession. I don't think it's common knowledge. Certainly, I can't picture the therapists of the world wanted to highlight that aspect of their profession. But I am surprised that their "competitors", psychologists, psychiatrists, and the like, haven't made a point of mentioning it; it would certainly be in their financial interest in making that common knowledge.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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