I was in a good mood yesterday afternoon.
I was enjoying the nice spring weather outside at work when I got a phone call from my wife. She told me that one of my best friends from back home had committed suicide.
I was blindsided, but at the same time I wasn’t shocked. I’m still trying to process it. Just a few weeks before, his third wife had died of a drug overdose. They were both on drugs and his life had long been in a tailspin. After I got married, started a family and became middle aged, we had drifted apart. We were old drinking buddies, but I was never interested in drugs and gave up alcohol. He continued to go down that path. He was in multiple car accidents. He overdosed multiple times only to narrowly survive.
Without sharing any further details, my old friend’s short life (he was several years younger than me) was a textbook example of the plague of family breakdown, drug abuse, precarity and the evaporation of religion that is devastating the White working class. Those old Baptist social norms existed for a reason. He became a statistic yesterday. All the warning signs were there and had been there for years. I’ve read about the trend for years and now I have observed it happen. This is the closest it has ever struck to home.
My friend died from despair due to the absence of order in his life. The moral of the story: liberty without order is nothing to romanticize, celebrate or to encourage in society.
Note: This happened around the same time that I endorsed J.D. Vance yesterday. Say what you will about Vance, but at least he grasps that this is the real problem in Ohio, not Ukraine. Vance is also correct to note the self destructive tendency in our culture. This incident put an exclamation point on it for me.