Sunday, June 01, 2014
Many newspapers publish Rodger's "mainfesto" in Scribd; racism and fascism appear on top of mental illness
A few newspapers have provided links to Elliot Rodger’s manifesto, “My Twisted Life”, with a Scribd embed. The New York Daily News offers such a link, with an article linking Rodger’s screed to racism, link (story by Michael Kimmel and Cliff Link) here. I wouldn’t say that I agree with this overview, although, yes, there are some crude racial comments in the manifesto (which is a bit of a pain to load).
I strikes me as a peculiar coincidence that, at the time the rampage was occurring in California, I was driving through empty streets in a rental car in downtown Birmingham, AL, getting pictures of the First Baptist Church on 16th St where four small girls died in a 1963 bombing by white supremacists.
A few things at the end do strike me. Rodger says “I have invented an ideology…” Yes, it’s always dangerous when someone wants to make up a perfect world, where that person controls the puppet strings, but where, in a sense, “justice” makes sense to him. The “ideology” isn’t so far from Nazism, if you make a few substitutions. The “moral theories” of religious fundamentalism have always seemed predicated on the idea of making other people follow “my” rules so that “my” sacrifice makes sense, or leads to a world that makes some kind of sense (to “me”). It’s true, a lot of moralizing centers around the idea that some people have access to “good life” (money, sex, fame, possessions, whatever) at the expense of others who make the sacrifices, and that moral ideologies try to deal with this (call it “karma”) – by making everyone share the sacrifices – but then you have the leaders at the top who don’t’ share the “pawn sacks” (as in chess) and who become corrupt. It’s also true that any terrorist (or common street criminal) is, for the moment of his act, in complete charge of his victim, and imposing his own reality on the victim. That reality may be permanent for the victim, leaving us with only justice to pursue, and then forgiveness – without which we will wind up paying for the sins of others, regardless of how responsible we think we are.