Following the horrific mass murders May 23 in Santa Barbara, California—a crime perpetrated by a man who had posted racist rants, tried to push fellow students off a ledge, claimed that women rejecting him provoked his violence, and claimed that the world is “bleak and cruel . . . due [to] the evilness of women”—one popular leftist blogger claimed on Facebook that the crime was among the “consequences” of “a society that values every man for himself over the greater good.”
Yes, the modern left is so ideologically bankrupt that its representatives will blame a mass murder—even one perpetrated by an explicit and thoroughgoing collectivist—on individualism, and call for more collectivism as the “solution” to the problem. (And nevermind that niggling detail that, in the past hundred years, various governments slaughtered scores of millions of individuals in the name of the “greater good.”)
The murderer in question was an anti-individualist in every essential way:
- Rather than rationally pursue his own selfish, life-promoting values and judge himself independently by how consistently he did so, the murderer lived by and for the opinions of others, especially the opinions of women who (unsurprisingly) took no romantic interest in him. The murderer—an archetype of what Ayn Rand called a “second-hander”—was so preoccupied with trying to manipulate the opinions of others that he failed to pursue an independent, value-rich life for which he might have justly respected himself and for which others might have justly respected him. In no sense was the murderer an individualist who lived for himself and for his own life-promoting values; he was a second-hander who “lived” entirely for the reactions he could affect in others. . . .
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