A video recently emerged in which an apparently mentally disturbed man rattles off some eminently reasonable concerns about America’s ongoing political problems, while discrediting those views by holding up the decapitated head of his father and claiming he was the leader of a militia network with millions of dollars at its disposal. Justin Mohn, 32, is being held without bond, charged with murder, abuse of a corpse and other charges, Pennsylvania court documents show.
There are too many angles from which to approach this story. I won’t be able to get to them all tonight and this deserves more thorough analysis which I’ll likely continue on the Friday show.
Perhaps most pertinently to SurrealPolitiks members, Mohn’s story is a predictable one in some sense, and a scenario the likes of which I’ve had some apprehension I’d find myself at the center of. Our circumstances are indeed dire. To explain the full gravity of our political problems sounds to most comfortable people like the rantings of a madman, because our reality has taken on this surreal character due to the sick machinations of those we hold in enmity.
To explain these things to people who are uncomfortable, for whatever reason, has the potential to explain, psychologically, their discomfort. Whether or not the problems described are actually at the core of their discomfort, they can assign blame in this way. Circumstances within that individual, whether they be mental illness or drug addiction or character flaws or bad relationships, cease to be a problem with that individual, so far as that individual is concerned. The disturbed person is given license to blame an omnipresent “them”. Be it the “deep state” or “the Jews” or “the New World Order” or simply “the government” or “society”, or the ever conspiring bogeymen of “capitalism” or the “patriarchy” or “white supremacy”, the result is a plausible excuse not to look within and address one’s internal problems.
This constitutes much of our politics, even if most of the participants are not so unhinged as to decapitate a relative and declare war on the powers that be. Deeply disturbed individuals devote their whole lives to “fixing” society in an effort to make it conform to their warped vision of proper order. This may emerge as trans activists demanding the State force honest people to lie with designer pronouns, or efforts to have the military invade and destroy a foreign land to eradicate real or imagined evils emanating therefrom, or mere demand of subsidy for valueless or destructive behavior some person or group mistakenly believes is too important to go unrewarded.
The possibilities are quite literally endless, especially when the pursuit of power becomes the only purpose of political speech. Clever strategists spend unthinkable amounts of money hiring psychologists and the like, concerned only with convincing the populace to elect their party or candidate. Political statements are crafted without concern for their veracity or the merits of the programs described. The only purpose is a goal oriented manipulation of perceptions. Inflaming the passions, promising the undeliverable, for these folks it is all in a day’s work.
There are no shortage of warning signs that our society is spiraling out of control, but the story of Justin Mohn is among the starkest. When the man with a decapitated head correctly assesses our problems and his mental illness only becomes evident when he starts in with the violence and delusions of grandeur, the murderous fantasies of the psychologically broken and the realities of the world have evidently converged.
It became evident to me toward the end of 2018 that I needed to exercise more caution in how I add to these problems. When one discovers the full gravity of our social and political crises, there emerges a sense that one must raise the alarm, to tell as many people as possible about the direness of the situation. But when a man takes that information as a cause to walk into a house of worship and begin gunning down those not directly responsible for those crises, it is not entirely unreasonable for society to blame the messenger.
To draw a parallel example, reasonable people understand that “pop culture” has been a dangerous influence on our society. Pornography too, warps the minds of those who view it. The consequences are rarely so directly evident as the example of the political extremist gunning down his perceived enemies, but they are all the more pervasive precisely because of that less evidently causal link.
There are those who can view disturbing material, categorize it as fantasy, and live normal lives. There are those who cannot. Then there are the far greater number for whom the line is not so clear. It influences their thinking in more subtle ways, and shifts in less noticeable increments their perceptions.
To tell an educated, well adjusted, successful person about the true scope of our political crises may trouble him deeply, but he understands that he cannot begin to solve those problems from prison or the grave. He is all the more motivated to maintain his productive participation in society and make an impact toward a brighter future.
To tell a mentally disturbed individual who can see only suffering before him the exact same details, leads him to believe that prison or an early grave are his most likely destinations, regardless of how he participates in society. Met with this vision of his future, he may seek to make his journey thereto most impactful by taking others down with him.
I came to realize at some point that when I speak in public, I speak to both classes of person. Without some control over who listens, I cannot help but be responsible for the ideas I put in the minds of the unhinged to some extent.
That knowledge presents no small challenge to a man in my position. To communicate honestly risks tragedy, and no less to decline. Armed with some knowledge and a talent to convey the message inspiringly, it is arguably to participate in a coverup to keep silent or downplay the severity of the crises. Yet to put in the minds of those incapable handling them the ideas that lead them to tragedy, is neither without consequence or culpability for the speaker.
Words are our most powerful weapons. A gun can kill a man, with some assistance. Nuclear bombs can destroy continents, and in sufficient quantity, planets.
But only ideas can cause men to use them for those purposes, and without men so motivated, these objects are entirely inert.
The words are what convey the ideas. Absent them, we’d be as harmless as other mammals. Capable of doing only so much damage as our naked bodies could cause, and at that, only in pursuit of food and sex.
I’ll have much more to say about this when we meet tonight as we do every Wednesday at 9:30pm US Eastern for our SurrealPolitiks Members Only Video Chat.
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