Never in even his most misanthropic reflections on the degenerate character of the modern world did Nietzsche imagine a man as contemptible as Johanson, whose self-abasing type is now so common. You’d think that the fellow would have mercy on himself, or at least on us, and commit suicide. But that is unlikely to happen, because, however unhealthy, there is some vitality in a perspective that beholds enemies virtually everywhere. A person who has a boring and unsatisfying job, as Johanson may, gets a kind of forward drive from his “mantle.” He allies himself to fellow vulgarians, who feel much solidarity as together they stew in tepid baths of resentment. “Scratch my back, nonbinary.” “Why, thank you, blue-haired queer! It is very pleasant, our resistance.”
There are now a great many Americans like Johanson, people whose perceptions are perverted by the paucity of value that marks our time. (…)
But the increasing prevalence of views like Johanson’s suggests that there is more going on here than sheer moral failure. In the absence of good ways of living, our animal energy does not just vanish, it goes in another direction; in some cases, one as extreme as that taken by Nikolas Cruz.