June 11, 2018
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Instead of the “mental health” route, others will attempt to explain the rise in suicides through a materialist framework—people are killing themselves because the American Dream is dead, packed up and shipped off somewhere overseas while dark hordes arrive on our shores daily, eager to underbid us for whatever scrap of a job remains. Several analysts have described the rise in suicide and lowered life expectancy among working-class whites as “deaths of despair” for those who acutely sense the New Global Economy no longer wants or needs them. And there’s some credence to an economic explanation—during the Great Depression, the country’s suicide rate was about 50% higher than it is now.
I had an initial impulse to blame the spike in suicides on the fact that certain groups—such as, cough, white males—sense they’re being prepared for extinction, which is why I find it fascinating that the Injuns, who used to be prominent in American popular culture but have effectively been erased out of that, too, are the only group whose suicide rates increased more than it did among whites.
Like many others, I was also quick to apply a “cultural degradation” thesis, arguing that there’s no tribal “center” to the country anymore and people don’t know who they are or where they belong and so many are denied any cultural identity at all, they blot out themselves like the mainstream culture has blotted out their meaning. Multiculturalism and a global economy have left us alienated and atomized and suicidal…right? Surely there weren’t this many suicides back in 1950 when the USA was 90% white and overwhelmingly Christian?
Well, not quite as many. In 1950, the USA’s per-capita suicide rate was 13.2 per 100,000 residents. By 2015, it had skyrocketed to 13.3, an astronomical gain of one-tenth of one percent. So the suicide rates have remained essentially static since more culturally wholesome days; it’s just that they took a brief dip a couple decades ago and shot up again.
What has changed is that a significantly higher quotient of Americans today compared to 20 years ago feel that life is so hopeless, they are willing to kill themselves.
I won’t pretend to know the answer, but I do have a hunch. I sense that bad times are coming. REALLY BAD times are coming. So does everyone I know.
I suspect the reason that more people are committing suicide is because they’re trying to beat the rush.