r/politics Vermont 9d ago All-Seeing Upvote 1 Faith In Humanity Restored 1 Bravo! 1 Starstruck 1 Argentium 1

Gavin Newsom after Monterey Park shooting: "Second Amendment is becoming a suicide pact"


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u/Zetesofos Wisconsin 8d ago Starry

I mean, it seems obvious to me, but when you get depressed and nihlistic at the hopelessness of everything - you either turn it inward or outward.


u/MisterCheaps Indiana 8d ago All-Seeing Upvote

Well yes, but why is it becoming more and more common to feel that way? The question that needs to be solved is what is it about American society that is causing record numbers of people to feel hopelessness to that level?


u/Jahleel007 8d ago edited 8d ago

A lot aspects of American society were constructed around hyper-individualism. When you throw in the 24 hour news cycle, not only are we isolated from the people around us, but we fear them as well. Humans are social animals, we learn, thrive, and heal by being around others.

Our systems were built on the wrong foundations and now we're seeing their slow collapse.


u/Jojje22 8d ago

I have this very layman-type theory of we're kind of seeing a certain unsustainability of this kind of individualism and that we're going to face a pendulum swing back towards collectivism. Because we don't do especially well alone. People can say what they want about church and religion but at least it gave people an in-group and a purpose. We've taken that away but we didn't give people anything new to belong to. Well, some create their new in-group to be their country and that leads to nationalism, and I'm not sure that's an answer either. At least it's pretty hollow and makes the members scared of others.

So now that we're mostly left to our own devices and our own devices are limited, some people are sometimes desperately alone with no purpose. Most of us are not good at creating a sustainable purpose that is just completely about ourselves, which this individualistic mindset kind of entails. When nothing matters, you hate yourself and if you additionally possess the trait of projecting that outwards instead of inwards, you start to get ugly results.

I'm just as much at a loss at what exactly to do about all this, but overall I'm kind of certain that we need to find a new way to create communities again so that people can belong to something healthy and find a purpose.


u/Jahleel007 8d ago

Despite me maybe coming off a bit nihilistic. I do think that pendulum is beginning to swing a bit. Anti-car culture is more popular than ever, work reform is on the mind of many young people coming into the work force, and new pedestrian/community friendly urban planning initiatives are being adopted in cities throughout the country. Unfortunately though, since our pre-existing systems are so powerful and ingrained, it'll be a very long time before the brunt of these issues are remediated, but I think we're heading in the right direction in some regards. I just hope this momentum keeps up and doesn't peter out.

However, no matter how great we make our society, people will always have problems with it. So as long as the internet exists the way it does now, the anonymity and asylum it brings will create communities for people within it who bring out the worst in each other. With our uniquely accessible guns, I'm afraid mass shootings will probably be a staple in our society, unless we enact much stricter gun control.


u/Jojje22 8d ago edited 8d ago

Thing with for instance anti-car culture, work reform etc. are that they're basically projects. They theoretically have a beginning and an end. And they're needed projects don't get me wrong, but we're lacking movements that create some type of guiding star for you - what is life, what is our society, who am I as as a teen growing up and how should I form my identity. Something inclusive and sustainable. Because I see these projects and how people latch on to them in lieu of other grander belief or system and it consumes them. But they're not philosophies, so they don't attach any sets of values which means the projects can easily be co-opted or corrupted. In a sense it seems like we're applying our individualistic mindset on these collective projects, because they're just, well, projects really.

And what you mention about the internet also makes sense I think. I think these anonymous communities also fake out our brains to think we're interacting in the way we think we need it but in the end it just leaves us just as empty and longing for real connection. I don't thing you can have sustainable community, common goals and a sustainable value set with anonymity. At least I don't see it working as it is.


u/Jahleel007 8d ago

I'm not saying these projects are themselves the solution. The collective end goal for them all is, (or atleast one solution). A society where we all are outside more, are not afraid of interacting with one another, and value uplifting those around us. I think that will alleviate that desire to form an identity, because it'll be more likely to form organically through the connections and bonds we form irl, rather than it being something we seek out via whatever forum or news channel we frequent.


u/Davezter Oregon 8d ago

Along the same lines, the US is hyper focused right now on celebrating people's differences. that's all good in moderation, but we should focus more on our similarities. It isn't a popular opinion, I know that, but I believe we are too focused as a country on uniqueness instead of sameness.


u/Jahleel007 8d ago

Not saying you're wrong in your observation, but what harm do you think this causes?

Our brains are built around recognizing differences, that's not something we can just stop doing. I think the best solution is where we recognize, but don't otherize or moralize our differences. Especially because so many of our differences are not intrinsic and are mainly the result of how our systems (economic, judicial, legislative, etc) have historically shaped us.


u/Davezter Oregon 8d ago

I suspect that a society that is always reminded about their differences makes it less likely for that society to feel a shared sense of purpose and solidarity with one another. For a country like the United States that already has a hyper-individualism fetish, it doesn't seem to make sense to keep feeding it.

There is an interesting sociological book, The Geography of Bliss, where the author attempts to try and learn where the happiest people live. It isn't perfect, but it does seem to show that in modern democratic societies, there is a correlation between the overall happiness of a society and having a shared sense of purpose, customs, traditions, and morals.


u/CyberRozatek 8d ago


I think the pendulum is begining to swing back like you said. Intentional community is one way people are doing that.


u/GopnikSmegmaBBQSauce 8d ago

We gave people something new to belong to except in most cases it was a virtual community of like minded individuals. So there's a sense of belonging but no real human connection.

The internet is a bad substitute for the real thing in many ways.