Fear of Freedom

A white man spewing Trump inspired hate sends pipe bombs to Trump critics. Another white man with a history of hatred towards blacks shoots two blacks in a Krogers in Kentucky. And a third white man who had long harbored anti-Semitic views shoots 11 people in a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

What do these men have in common? They fear freedom.

Fromm: Escape From Freedom.
True freedom poses a real and existential threat to many in a “free” society. This is because “freedom” is hard.

Freedom requires a level of intellectual and spiritual maturity to interact with the world around you.

Freedom assumes you don’t need a figure of authority to tell you what to believe and how to act.

Freedom requires that you think and function as an adult.

Freedom can be particularly challenging for people suffering from one of a number of different psychoses that hampers their ability to engage in the world around them in a healthy manner.

For many people it is much easier to seek out the warm blanket of authoritarian rule.

Or, as Fromm puts it in Escape From Freedom (1941) – “Freedom can be frightening. Totalitarianism can be tempting”.

For those for whom “freedom” is too hard, hate is an easy alternative. Hate allows you to embrace a simple ideology that eliminates the need to function as a responsible adult. It gives you a perspective, a sense of purpose, and an identity. It brings you like minded friends and makes it easy to identify enemies.

Consider the 3 suspects in the recent acts of violence:

Cesar Sayoc – Bombing suspect.
Cesar Sayoc, Mail Bombing Suspect, Found an Identity in Political Rage and Resentment.”

“He was looking for some type of parental figure and being a loner, being an outcast, being the kind of person Trump speaks to, I think he was attracted to Trump as a father figure,”

Gregory Bush – Kroger shooting suspect.
Gregory Bush – Kroger shooting suspect.

“Bush’s Facebook page indicates he has a history of posting racially charged opinions.

Bush also acknowledges on the same Facebook account that he has schizophrenia.”

Robert Bowers – Synagogue shooting suspect.
Robert Bowers – Synagogue shooting suspect.

“For months, Robert D. Bowers had been spewing his anger in post after post on the web, calling immigrants “invaders,” distributing racist memes and asserting that Jews were the “enemy of white people.”

So next time you are around someone preaching hate, remember it may not be that they love hate, but they fear freedom. #ownyourabsurdity