American hyper-capitalism breeds the lonely, alienated men who become mass killers

Mental health can be likened to a table resting on four legs. One leg is an intimate relationship with a partner, friend or relative to whom one can intimately connect when the need arises. A second leg is a wider circle of people with whom one shares friendly connections. They may be work colleagues or a circle of casual friends or relatives whose company you enjoy. It may even be close Facebook friends, but you see them less frequently than your intimate connection(s). A third leg is a group to which you connect in a limited but shared activity. That may be a team sport, a volunteer effort, a PTA, or political organization whose members develop the solidarity of working together. A fourth leg is connection to one’s nation and the world through political activity, engagement with media covering major current events, and sharing opinions, ideas or petitions online. A table can be sturdy and stable with at least three strong legs, but only two or one does not suffice.

Americans have become frighteningly disconnected and alone. There are fewer Americans active in any group than there were in bowling leagues alone in 1970. The many millions of loners accumulating in the U.S. since the ’70s tend to experience and define their disconnection as personal. Many think it is their fault that they cannot occupy a happy place of connection in the America they imagine is still there. They imagine that other people continue to find ways to connect. They feel adrift. They can come to resent those from whom they are slipping away.

American white men once received two wage supplements in what was a sexist and racist labor market. One wage supplement was for whiteness and the other for maleness. With the resulting “family wage” generally paid to white men, they could support a woman working full time at home, providing full maid service, sexual labor, child care, and the emotional labor of making social connections to engage the whole family with friends and relatives. With white men’s family wage now largely gone, most women are now employed outside the home. They cannot, in addition, do all the housework, childcare, etc., that they did before. They want their men to share emotional and domestic burdens in the home. Yet many men want extra services at home to compensate them for their lower pay and lower status outside the home. Household tensions rise. Women are abandoning those men who cannot support them yet still demand a range of household services that employed women cannot and do not want to perform. American white men have been disempowered. They are hurting.

Much more at Raw Story American hyper-capitalism breeds the lonely, alienated men who become mass killers