January 13, 2013

The State, and This Damnable Culture, Claim Another Innocent Victim

You can read the basic facts about the awful, horrifying suicide of Aaron Swartz here and here.

I do not consider it an open question to even the smallest degree that this is true. More than that, and as my title says, it is unquestionably the case that the State, in conjunction with and as an expression of our detestable, loathsome, unspeakably cruel culture, killed this man of extraordinary accomplishment and promise. It is no accident that the State and our culture set out to destroy him. They finally succeeded.

At this particular moment, it is entirely possible that I loathe Cory Doctorow more than any other human being alive. Lawrence Lessig is a very close second. Everything that is so damnably hideous about our culture is contained in those articles, supposedly tributes to their "friend." The horrors of our world are also revealed by the fact that so many people (so many people) find those disgusting pieces "incredibly moving." For the moment, all I will say about that is: God damn every single one of you.

I have a great deal to say about this terrible story and the reaction to it, and I've begun writing some of it. But some of the issues involved hit very close to home for me. Depression accompanied me through most of my life until the last several years, including exceedingly dark, unrelenting episodes that lasted months and even years. At certain times, I thought about suicide over very long periods of time. For almost everyone, suicide is one of the most tragically misunderstood issues imaginable. Virtually everything now being written about depression and suicide is unadulterated horseshit. Because these issues are so deeply personal, it will take me at least several days to present my thoughts in a form I want to offer publicly.

For the moment, I will add this observation for your consideration: under certain circumstances, suicide is an entirely rational response. This horrifying story may very well be one of those instances. Viewed from one perspective, the choice to end one's life can be an act of immense courage, and an act of affirmation of life. Life is not always an unquestionable value. There are times when the continuation of life, but only on terms which an individual finds absolutely unacceptable, is no longer a value at all.

To all those who now seek to blame Swartz himself in even the smallest degree, to all those who suggest he was troubled, or weak, or defective in a way that may have contributed to his suicide, I simply say: fuck you. To all such people, to put the point briefly and bluntly. I add: you want to know what killed Aaron Swartz? People like you. People who think and behave like you. Our culture is run by and overwhelmingly dominated by such people. To imply, however indirectly and "delicately," that Swartz's suicide is his own fault to any extent whatsoever is disgusting in a manner beyond endurance.

I cannot begin to describe the rage I'm feeling right now. But I will explain the sources of my rage in two or three days. In the meantime, I devoutly wish that certain motherfuckers would shut the fuck up.