Why Are There So Many Suicides in America?

Last November, the Wall Street Journal reported that suicides in the United States reached a record high in 2022. Almost 50,000 people in the U.S. committed suicide. The suicide rate was the highest since 1941.

According to the article, healthcare professionals blame Covid, illicit drugs, and an oversupply of firearms.

I’ve got a different answer. I’m certainly no expert in psychology but I say that the enormously high rate of suicide involves a denial of reality and the psychosis that comes with a denial of reality.

From the first day that children enter the government’s public (i.e., government) school system to which their parents are forced to send them, their minds are molded to believe that they live in a free society. Every day, for 12 long years, that’s what they are taught to believe. By the time they graduate high school, there is no doubt in the minds of 18-year-olds that they live in a genuinely free society.

As adults at public events, most all of them eagerly stand to recite the Pledge of Allegiance (“with liberty and justice for all”), which, of course, they know by heart given that they were required to recite it every morning before the start of classes. They love singing to themselves, “I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.”

Moreover, the government molds their minds to conform to whatever the government says about freedom. When the Pentagon invades countries like Vietnam, Syria, Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so many others in the name of “freedom,” most everyone immediately embraces the freedom concept. That’s why so many people were eager to thank the troops for their “service” in “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” When the CIA assassinates someone in the name of protecting our “freedom,” hardly anyone gives it a second thought. When U.S. officials use the freedom concept to justify unleashing death and suffering on foreign citizens with sanctions and embargoes, hardly anyone questions it.

But reality is that Americans do not live in a free society. They live under a welfare-warfare state and a tightly controlled and regulated society. Examples: Social Security, Medicare, income taxation, welfare, a national-security state, immigration controls, drug laws, minimum-wage laws, economic regulations, occupational licensure, a central bank and paper money, gun control, healthcare mandates, compulsory school-attendance laws, wars of aggression, invasions, occupations, state-sponsored assassinations, secret mass surveillance, trade restrictions, trade wars, sanctions, embargoes, and much more. And, of course, there is the massive death, suffering, and destruction that comes with all this mayhem, which doesn’t affect the consciences of Americans.

Americans, of course, have been taught that all this socialism, interventionism, regulation, control, and militarism are “freedom.” That’s where the psychosis comes into play. Any psychiatrist or psychologist will tell you that denial of reality is not a mentally healthy thing.

This is why libertarians generally are much healthier mentally and psychologically than non-libertarians. We recognize that we don’t live in a free society. We have a grip on reality. Non-libertarians are convinced, falsely, that they live in a free society. They are operating under severe delusion.

Think about the high rate of drug use in the United States. It’s so high that U.S. officials feel the need to continue waging their war on drugs with tremendous ferocity, notwithstanding the manifest failure of this decades-old program to stop people from ingesting drugs.

But the real question is: Why are so many people using mind-altering substances? The reason, I would submit, is the same as the reason for all those suicides — to alleviate the painful mental suffering that comes with a life that is denying reality.

Every time I read about a young person committing suicide, I think to myself: I wonder if that person would have committed suicide if he or she had learned about libertarianism. Since young people are taught that this life in America is “freedom” — that is, that this is the best there is — I can easily understand a young person thinking, “If this sucky society is the best there is, then I’m checking out of life early.” But if that young person who has broken through to reality would say, “That’s a lie. I’m a libertarian. I know better. I know that this sucky life is not freedom and that it isn’t the best there is. I’m going to stick around and help bring freedom to America.”

Recall the high rate of alcoholism in the Soviet Union. That’s what living under socialism does to people. But at least the average Soviet citizen knew that he lived in an unfree society. The average American is convinced that his life, unlike life in the Soviet Union, is one of freedom. To paraphrase the great German thinker Johann Goethe: “Few are more psychologically disordered than those who falsely believe they are free.”

Reprinted with permission from The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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