Suicide Rate Shows America Needs to Revive Its Culture


The data charted in this New York Times article about “surging” suicide rates in America contrasts 1999 with 2014, leaving no political argument to be made, and indeed, the more important points must be cultural.  Still, cultural shifts often align with political ones, especially during the reign of a president who operates unilaterally and siphons billions of dollars of taxpayer debt to his political allies, who often have cultural motivation.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study on which the article is based shows that the real upswing began in 2007.  Indeed, among men (who kill themselves four times more often than do women), there was essentially no change in the suicide rate from 1999 to 2006.

One key finding that the Times highlights is the much greater increase among those in the 45 to 64 age range.  Of course, being in the New York Times, the article emphasizes the greater percentage increase for women in this group, but the suicide rate for women 45-64 went up from only around six per 100,000 to around 10, while the rate for men of this age increased from around 21 per 100,000 to 30.

Furthermore, there would seem to be something telling in the fact that 45-64-year-old men crossed over two other age groups.  In 1999, men 25-44, 65-74, and 75+ all committed suicide at greater rates than 45-64 year olds.  Now, the mid-to-late-career group is second only to the oldest group (which actually saw a decrease).

A CDC chart on suicide methods also seems relevant.  For both sexes, incidents involving firearms decreased significantly, as a percentage; use of poison also decreased.  Suffocation absorbed the difference.  This may be a subjective assessment, but suffocation seems much less a dramatic statement and more an indicator of deep, considered despair.

Be that as it may, our fellow Americans are increasingly killing themselves during that period of life when they should be reaping the harvests of their hard work, both professionally and with respect to their families.  The numbers remain small, to be sure; 30 out of every 100,000 is still only 0.03%.  Still, for every suicide, there must be many others who persist quietly in despair (or not so quietly).

We should therefore take the data point as a warning sign to pause and take stock.  What is it that’s driving our neighbors — particularly late-middle-aged men — to this horrible act?  The answer is economic, yes, but it’s mostly cultural, and it’s nigh upon inconceivable that the solution is to be found in barreling forward with progressives’ radical redefinition of our society.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    i haven’t perused the article referenced here, but unless things have changed the leading cause of suicide among men is economics. So, the question ought to be, “What has altered the economies of men in the cited age group”? I am surprised about suffocation, cops will tell you that it is not unusual for there to be no “skid marks” in one car accidents. I understand that Pathologists, knowing of the two year life insurance rule on insurance, will attempt to find a heart attack. I wonder if the true number is known. The only suicide I have known personally was a CPA I sublet office space to. He was undergoing a terrible divorce. On a Friday afternoon he began a conversation with me about life insurance funded trusts, on Monday morning I found him dead in his office (he had been sleeping there). The determination was “heart attack”, I did wonder. I also knew a lawyer who did a header out of an office building, I guess he had been caught helping himself to his client’s funds. That was when I learned “suddenly” in an obituary meant suicide.

  • Justin’s Theory

    Obama=Suicides. Brilliant. Is there any news that you cannot twist into a negative that’s attributed to the president? Even rising employment rates. It’s interesting that you take the government’s suicide rate at face value, but not their unemployment rates. How do you justify that discrepancy?

  • Ron Ruggieri

    For a socialist perspective on this sure sign of growing middle age despair I recommend recently published articles on the World Socialist Web Site ( ) An anti-dote to this despair -at least as a beginning of a New Beginning- is the ” political revolution ” of Bernie Sanders. Class inequality goes far beyond race in explaining the rising ” misery index ” in America,
    For more than a century much has been written about the ” alienation ” of the working class -and the often insecure or desperate middle class – under capitalism. This alienation plants the seeds of mental illness in millions of individuals -branded ” losers ” by a soulless, consumerist capitalist culture of narcissism.
    Today at noon in Roger Williams Park, Providence, Bernie Sanders brings his campaign theme of ending unacceptable economic inequality and having a ” future to believe in “.
    How many Willy Loman types are there in this very depressed state of Rhode Island ? Says Willy’s wife in Arthur Millier’s classic play ” Death of a Salesman ” : ” attention must be paid to this man “.
    No surprise ” progressive ” writer Arthur Miller was vilified in the McCarthy era by the House Un-American Activities Committee..
    Even ” angry white males ” need a Voice.

    • OceanStateCurrent

      That’s a Marxist myth. Making people cogs in an economic machine run by their supposed betters doesn’t give people a sense of empowerment and hope, particularly when the system is built within an atheistic, materialist framework. Look to Soviet Russia, for example.

      In the general terms applicable to large societies, people feel most fulfilled when they feel a connection to God and believe they have a chance to move forward of their own volition. Socialism kills both of those factors, and we wind up in the coalition of misery we see now, with the rich and powerful absorbing all of the opportunity while offloading risk on the general public and socialists from Obama to Clinton to Sanders cash in by making people feel like they have no hope of advancing by their own power.

      Sanders would bring further misery to everybody but the most powerful in this country. It’s about as sure a thing as you get in politics.

      • Ron Ruggieri

        Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Pope Francis – from a devout Catholic perspective – seems to have a high regard for the ” socialist ” Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
        As a ” democratic socialist ” myself – a critical supporter of Bernie Sanders- I find no contradiction between spiritual values- mystical Catholicism, for example- and the semi-socialist social philosophy of the Catholic Church.
        Fighting against unacceptable economic inequality does not imply a fatuous belief in vulgar ” materialism ” as the road to happiness.
        Many democratic socialists are philosophical materialists.. And that in no way conflicts with their humane social views.
        Many conservative Republicans find inspiration in Ayn Rand while also claiming to be born again Christians.

        • 1. The Church teaches there is a natural right to private property.
          2. The Church rejects a rigid idea of “class” as the basis of social relations.
          3. The principle of subsidiarity is incompatible with any form of socialism that’s been implemented in the modern world.

          What that leaves to hang even a semi-socialist label on the Church is non-existent.

        • OceanStateCurrent

          As a system, socialism is implicitly materialist; there’s just no way around that. Consequently, any integration with spiritual beliefs necessarily closes its eyes to the fundamental contradiction.

          Socialism’s entire premise is to take material goods from some people in order to give material goods to other people. The Christian concept of charity is entirely removed. The transaction isn’t the mutually beneficial one — in which the giver willingly gives of his own property as an opportunity to care for another in an act of subordination while the receiver acknowledges that the aid is a gift, reflecting God’s love. Rather, it’s one of a small, controlling minority confiscating property from some people in order to purchase the support of others.

          Christians who don’t see the key distinctions between these two are either poorly catechized, poorly educated in economics and human nature, or both. I don’t mean that to sound harsh, but I see it as a clear statement of reality.

          • Rhett Hardwick

            Giving a bone to a dog is not charity. Sharing a bone with a dog, when you are both hungry, is charity.