As the title of this post says, I don’t mean this to explain what happened in Las Vegas Sunday. It’s just an idea I’ve had for a long time.
Right Wingers are not by definition crazy. Right Wing politics do not make people crazy. Right Wing politics do make people irrational because it privileges emotions over thought and compels people to ignore and deny facts challenging those emotions. But that’s far from the same thing as crazy. It just looks crazy to rational people when they see it acted out.
But there is a form of craziness at the core of Right Wing politics that attracts a certain type of crazy. Right Wing politics is the politics of paranoia and it feeds the paranoia in its adherents and encourages them to see the world as full of people out to get them or take something from them---their tax money, their jobs, their Medicare, their guns, their liberty, their country.
If you suffer from acute paranoia, as opposed the everyday variety we all live with, and seriously feel somebody or something is out to get you to the point of its consuming your every thought, then Right Wing politics offers something like comfort. It assures you that you’re not crazy, someone is out get you, many someones even, and it tells you who they are and how they are going about trying to get you. It explains so much!
And it tells you what you can do about it.
Buy a gun.
But again, I don’t mean this to apply to these particular killers who happened to have been extreme Right Wingers. They also liked cats, Elvis, and marijuana, and she was into needlepoint. Their politics might have been coincidental, might have been contingent, might have been causal. I have no idea which and I certainly don’t know if they were crazy. I’m just doing something I probably shouldn’t do, taking advantage of something in the news to ride one of my own hobby-horses: Being Right Wing doesn’t make you violent and crazy, but being violent and crazy makes you Right Wing.