Russell Brand Blames Capitalism for German Crash

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As news surfaces that Lufthansa Airlines knew six years ago that mass murderer Andreas Lubitz had serious issues with depression, comedian and self-styled culture critic Russell Brand thinks he knows what might have been at the root of that depression. In a new video, Brand muses that there are very good reasons why “we are living in the times of a mental illness plague.”

Those reasons? Fox News and capitalism.

“The reason Fox News can’t be honest about what causes mental illness,” Brand says, “is that Fox News is what causes mental illness. Fox News are the propaganda machine of capitalism – a system that separates us from one another and tells us the way to solve our individual problems is through purchasing, through buying things, through identifying primarily through our roles as consumers, not as active citizens or participants in society, members in communities that should care about others, but people who shouldn’t be condemning those who are weaker, vilifying people that act in any way that’s unusual.”

Brand goes on to suggest that if we want to see fewer psychos like Adolf Hitler, Lubitz, and ISIS, we need to take on the system of economic freedom known as capitalism. “We can never have that conversation properly,” he laments, “because Fox News and big corporations benefit from things being the way they are.”

Wow, did you know about this? Did you know that Hitler – a proponent of National Socialism, ISIS – born of the highly-regulated Syrian economy, and Lubitz – who grew up within Germany’s social market economy, were all driven to insanity by capitalism? The things you learn when you tune in to the demented ramblings of a comedian-turned-philosopher!

Maybe instead of jumping to wild conclusions about what might have caused the co-pilot’s mental illness, we would be better off questioning the entire theory behind that illness. Maybe we’re a little too quick to dismiss the evil that led 150 people to their deaths in the French Alps, just as we’re constantly searching for the “reasons” ISIS is beheading Christians and Westerners and anyone who doesn’t go along with their sick ideology. We’re so hesitant to condemn a person or persons for their twisted deeds these days, we hunt relentlessly for an explanation.

News flash: sometimes the best explanation is the simplest one. And in this case, like so many others, the explanation is that some people simply choose to do evil.

This is not to diminish the medical reality of insanity, depression, schizophrenia, or any of the dozens of mental illnesses that psychiatrists have documented in the last hundred years. On the contrary, it merely recognizes that there are millions of people diagnosed with these illnesses, very few of whom take the lives of countless victims.

Yet every time something heinous happens, scores of armchair psychologists hit the airwaves to talk about what we can do to screen out these murderers before they commit their foul deeds. There are always signs, they say. And there usually are. The problem is that many of those signs are also present in people who never go on to hurt a fly. It’s understandable to ask questions when faced with this kind of evil, but it’s an answer we’ve had for thousands of years.

Blame capitalism, blame Fox News, blame airline mental health screening tests, blame whoever you like. But murderers were walking the Earth before any of these things existed, and they will walk the Earth long after they have passed into history. It is in our nature to do evil. Only through faith, discipline, and empathy do we deny the most damning of our impulses. The rest is nothing but an excuse.

The sooner we come back to a point where we can identify evil when we see it, the easier it will be to actually confront that evil in a meaningful way.