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Perspective: The price we pay for alienation

Tayeb Mezahdia

With Jack Teixeira we descend from “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country”, to “I regret that I have but one country to give for my ego”. The “hierarchy” of reasons for betrayal includes ideology, money, and power. But ego?

Substitute alienation for ego. Too many features of life today are literally alienating. The family, conditions of work, religion, technology, no longer bind, but disperse and isolate. We still want to matter. Young people especially want to matter. Teixeira taught them how to matter.

Isolated youth seek, among other things, meaning and belonging. It is a tale long told by social scientists, replete with its own vocabulary --alienation, atomism, anomie.

Associating with others who reject hostile, exclusive organizations promises comfort, meaning, and someone to blame. Teixeira joined a social media group that revered guns and rejected society. Participating in these chat rooms can approximate joining a cult.

His apparent motive was to impress this status group and to show off. He just wanted to matter. I’m Bob Evans and that is my perspective.

Robert Evans is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics, Business and Accounting at Rockford University and Associate Director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. He is actively involved in the Rockford University public policy program, trains managers on law-related topics, is a political consultant and analyst, and also serves on non-profit boards.