Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Book from the 1890s "Might Is Right" seems related to radicalization in the recent Gilroy CA incident
Richard Winton et al write in the Los Angeles Times that the gunman in Gilroy Garlic Festival, CA had followed literature on both the far left and far right and seemed to be fascinated with authoritarianism.
But it is particularly interesting and disturbing that he seemed to follow the philosophy of a book from 1896, “Might Is Right: The Survival of the Fittest”, still available on Amazon, with pseudonymous author Ragnar Redbeard, with republication listed on Amazon as from Underworld Amusements.
The Wikipedia article confirms that the book says what the title would lead you to expect it to say, starting with social darwinsm. It could be related at a personal level to what psychologists call “upward affiliation” and avoidance of relationships with people who fall short of fulfilling fantastic expectations.
It’s odd that an old book, of a vintage for high school classes, and possibly of academic interest, would figure in to radicalization of someone. It was common when I was in high school for authoritarian and controversial ideologies to be presented, even eugenics, as long as they were presented negatively.
This shows that there is real asymmetry in the acceptability of some systems of thought between the Left and Right.
It also shows that you may not need the Internet for radicalization.