Polarization or Compromise

On February 2, Robert Whitaker published an article on Mad in America.  The title is Disability and Mood Disorders in the Age of Prozac.  The article echoes and updates one of the themes of his 2010 book “Anatomy of an Epidemic”:  that the steady increase in the numbers of people receiving disability benefits for depression and mania is driven largely by the corresponding increase in the use of antidepressant drugs.

Robert provides some up-to-date statistics from the US Department of Social Security, and his paper is cogent and compelling.  He ends on a sad but realistic note:

“And so the disability numbers march on.”

This general issue has received a good deal of attention in the literature, but for those not familiar with the matter, there are two essential factors.  Firstly, there is the well-established fact that some people who take antidepressants become floridly manic, which in many cases leads to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and a subsequent disability award.  Secondly, a great many people who take antidepressants for an extended period develop a kind of drug-induced anhedonia, and a correspondingly increased rate of being adjudged disabled.

Robert’s post generated about 120 comments, the majority of which were positive, but a few days later (February 14), Timothy Kelly put up a post, also on Mad in America, challenging the validity and/or appropriateness of Robert’s article.  Tim’s paper is titled Robert Whitaker Missed the Mark on Drugs and Disability: A Call for a Focus on Structural Violence.

Here are some quotes from Tim’s article, intermingled with my thoughts and comments:

“There’s no doubt that his writing has opened up important discussions about psychiatric medications. At the same time, my own lived experience — and reading of the literature — have led me to different conclusions on core aspects of these issues, including the putatively causal role of medication in increasing disability.
In what follows, I chart an alternative perspective on psychosocial disability that calls for the decentering of psychiatric drugs in both public discourse and advocacy. Concretely, I suggest refocusing reform efforts along two axes:
1.  The identification of areas where interests and perspectives align among advocacy groups that may otherwise strongly disagree about the role of psychiatric treatment in recovery.
2.  The intersections of psychosocial disability and poverty, the criminal justice system, and broader socioeconomic and health disparities, particularly among marginalized racial/ethnic/indigenous and/or sociopolitical minority communities.”

So essentially, what Tim is saying is that we should spend less time and energy on contentious issues like the “role of psychiatric treatment in recovery”, and focus instead on areas where we can find agreement, and on the role of poverty and injustice in the genesis of counterproductive thoughts, feelings, and/or behavior.

On the face of it, this seems a reasonable stance – put aside our differences, and pool our resources – but as is often the case, there are problems in the details.  Tim encourages us to refocus our “reform efforts” through collaboration, but what will these reform efforts look like, if the parties concerned are fundamentally divided on the validity/usefulness of psychiatric care.

The kind of compromise and accommodation that Tim advocates can only succeed if in fact there is more agreement than disagreement between the various parties, or if the areas of contention are a relatively minor part of the whole.  Neither of these conditions is true in the present context.  Psychiatry, with its spurious diseases and toxic treatments, is the proverbial elephant in the living room of the present debate.  Those who support psychiatry and those who oppose it might be able to agree on what to order for lunch, but not, I suggest, on much else.  The pretense that we can find common ground and “work with” psychiatrists has been the great error of the past fifty years, during which psychiatry, with the help of its pharma allies, has consolidated its turf, and successfully marginalized and ridiculed all opposing viewpoints.

Psychiatry’s fundamental tenet, embodied unambiguously in all editions of the DSM since DSM-III, is that every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving is an illness, that can only be addressed successfully through medical intervention – specifically drugs and electric shocks to the brain.

Psychiatry has expended, and continues to expend, enormous sums of, mostly pharma, money in their attempts to establish the validity of this spurious tenet.  So far, all of these efforts have been in vain, and it is extremely unlikely that the core tenet will ever be validated.  Nevertheless, psychiatrists, at both leadership and rank and file levels, continue to promote this self-serving and deceptive notion with undiminished ardor and enthusiasm.

Nor is the matter academic.  Psychiatry’s application of its core tenet is damaging and destructive.  Firstly, and perhaps most profoundly, persuading people that they have a disabling illness, when in fact they don’t, is inherently disempowering, and encourages people to think of themselves as incapable of living a normal life.  Secondly, all psychiatric treatment disrupts normal brain functioning, and in many cases this disruption, especially when used for extended periods, causes permanent impairment.

The fact that psychiatric drugs produce a transient desired effect is irrelevant to the medicalization issue.  Crack cocaine produces a transient desired effect, but nobody is suggesting that street corner dealers are performing a medical function.  In fact, apart from the legality of their respective activities, there is no essential distinction between psychiatrists and street corner drug dealers.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“In this discussion of disability I intentionally leave aside questions of whether the experiences classified in the DSM5 are most usefully characterized as medical problems, even if they have a biological basis. In my view, the ‘body’ and the ‘mind’ are mutually entangled, and so of course there are physiological processes involved in all human experiences, as well as considerable variability among bodies. The extent to which a biomedical approach is useful or resonant for any given person is contingent on the particularity of that person within their sociocultural surround.  How persons negotiate the meaning(s) of their (our) own experience in relation to different explanatory models is highly contextually specific.  For instance, using medication does not necessarily imply agreement with a biomedical model, just as the efficacy of yoga or mindfulness may be characterized in more biological, rather than spiritual terms depending on context. I’d like to see us shift our attention from debates about medications, loosening up polarizations that hamper our ability to work effectively on these issues, towards careful thinking and contextual grounding in fields such as mad studies, survivor research, medical anthropology, the medical humanities, and social and cultural psychiatry.”

This passage is not entirely clear, but in general what Tim seems to be saying is a variation of the old 60’s phrase:  “different strokes for different folks”.  Some people find it “useful or resonant” to conceptualize their problems as “illnesses” that call for “medication”; others don’t.  Either way it’s not that important, so let’s move on to other issues on which we can agree.

This kind of conceptual relativism is fine as far as it goes.  We have freedom of speech, so we certainly have freedom of thought.  But it is still the case that some conceptual frameworks are more valid and more accurate than others.  In the long run, comfort, or “resonance” bought at the expense of truth usually proves a bad bargain.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“That psychiatric diagnoses do not index discreet disease processes with clearly identified etiologies has also been acknowledged by leading proponents of otherwise mainstream psychiatric treatment like Thomas Insel (Director of the National Institute of Mental Health). This is also clearly inscribed in the DSM5 which acknowledges that current psychiatric categories do not map onto discrete disease processes with homogenous ‘biomarkers,’ that knowledge is therefore provisional, and the state of the science still limited.  In this post, I have therefore opted to sidestep issues that are already relatively well-accepted across academic and activist contexts (such as the scientific and philosophical limitations of psychiatry).”

Thomas Insel, MD, has indeed stated unambiguously that the various DSM entities (which, incidentally, Dr. Insel calls “labels“) do not correspond in any systematic fashion with specific neural pathologies.  With regards to DSM-5, Tim does not provide a page number, but I’m not aware of an acknowledgement in that text that “current psychiatric categories do not map onto discrete disease processes with homogenous ‘biomarkers’.”  But in any event, the matter is moot, because the contrary notion is still very much alive and well in psychiatric circles.  Most psychiatrists are still telling their clients that they have “chemical imbalances”, though some are moving with the times and substituting the equally nebulous and equally unproven “neural circuitry anomalies”, and are promoting the impression that the various DSM labels are indeed discrete disease entities with scientifically proven etiologies.  A great many psychiatric clients actually believe, erroneously, that a brain scan would show this pathology clearly and unambiguously.

So, Tim’s statement that he decided to sidestep these controversial topics because they’re “already relatively well-accepted” is, I suggest, premature.  He is, of course, free to sidestep them if he wishes, but, in so doing, he is working with a very limited canvas.  He is focusing on some, admittedly interesting, and important, trees at the edge of the woods, but has turned his back on the dark and forbidding forest.  And in particular, he has missed the fact that the forest is literally shading and starving those trees on which he pins so much hope.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Then Tim takes us into really deep waters:

“On the other hand, I am deeply concerned about the degree to which the dogmatic anti-psychiatry positions of some are being leveraged at the federal level in favor of The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. So, even while advocating an emphasis on structurally and socioculturaly informed perspectives and psychosocial approaches, I also feel a duty to make the following statement explicit:
My decades of experience living with ‘severe mental illness’ and disability myself, alongside a family member with even more intense disability, my years of formal academic study and research, critically reading the literature and engaging with a wide range of other persons with lived experiences all tell me there is no question that these experiences are both real and heterogeneous, and that medication is helpful for many people. The question is: for whom, for how long, and how best to weigh the benefits against the risks. My larger point in this post, however, is that there would be a lot more space to develop psychosocial approaches and address broader systemic issues if we decentered medication in these discussions, while also challenging those who would presume to speak for ‘us’ by characterizing our experiences as not real.”

My Merriam-Webster dictionary (2000) gives the following definition of the word “dogma”:

1  a.   something held as an established opinion; esp: a definite authoritative tenet
b.  a code of such tenets
c.  a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds
2. a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church

Now I am very proud to describe myself as antipsychiatry.  I am unambiguously opposed to psychiatry because it is based on false and spurious premises, and is destructive, disempowering, and stigmatizing in its practices.  But I am emphatically not dogmatic.  In fact, one of my arguments against psychiatry is that its core principles are ultimately statements of belief, vigorously and authoritatively promoted, without any kind of supportive evidence.  And I have written on many occasions that all psychiatry has to do to silence me is produce evidence in support of their tenets, at which point I will fold my tent and enjoy my retirement.

In addition, I can’t think of a single antipsychiatry advocate whose pronouncements could even remotely be described as dogma, in any ordinary sense of the term.

But Tim is taking this rhetoric even further.  He tells us that the expression of these “dogmatic anti-psychiatry positions” is actually being used “at the federal level” to promote the infamous Tim Murphy (Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis) Bill.  I’m certainly not aware of any such dynamic.  In fact, my reading of recent events is that the Tim Murphy bill has been derailed largely because of the protests from the antipsychiatry faction.

With regards to his manifesto, obviously I respect Tim’s personal convictions, but there are some matters that, in my view, warrant clarification.  Firstly, I have never encountered or read any critic of psychiatry who adopted the position that clients’ experiences or distress weren’t real.  The issue for most of us is that the various labels catalogued in the DSM are not illnesses.  In this regard, those of us on this side of the debate recognize the reality of these problems far more clearly than psychiatrists who bundle them neatly into spurious “diagnostic categories” without ever taking the time to understand or appreciate their very real human significance.

The notion that we in the anti-psychiatry camp dismiss clients’ problems as “not real” is a common ploy that adherents of psychiatry often use to discredit us, and for this reason it is particularly disappointing that Tim would come at us with this particularly facile and groundless attack.

Secondly, Tim asserts that “…medication is helpful for many people.  The question is: for whom, for how long, and how best to weigh the benefits against the risks.”  This is also a fairly standard psychiatric formula, though in practice, the pills are dished out a good deal more liberally than the formula would suggest.  But the question that comes to my mind is:  how does Tim know that “medication” is helpful for many people?  What standards are being used to assess helpfulness, and where are the randomized controlled studies that provide the evidence?  The point of Robert’s original article was that the drugs are actually doing a great deal of harm in the long run, a contention that is receiving a good deal of support from research studies in recent years.

Tim tells us that he reached the conclusion quoted above from:

  • his own personal experience;
  • the experience of others;
  • years of formal academic research

Lived experience, obviously, is the bedrock of all our knowledge and skills, and our personal assessments and reactions are generally excellent guides with regards to the costs and benefits of various activities and substances.  But there are certain substances which, through their action on brain chemistry, routinely deceive us in this regard.  Alcohol, nicotine, heroin, cocaine, etc., all have in common that, through direct action on the brain, they induce a false sense of well-being, which often blinds the ingestor to their long-term toxic effects.  It is this accident of biology that underlies and drives the phenomenon that we call chemical addiction.

Most users of nicotine find the experience pleasant and rewarding.  Many also report that this substance improves their ability to study and concentrate.  Alcohol induces a sense of well-being and relaxation.  And so on.

Pharmaceutical antidepressants are specifically designed through their action on brain chemistry, to induce a transient and false sense of well-being.  And this sense of well-being also has the effect of blinding the user to their long-term toxicity and adverse effects.

The point here is that lived experience, valuable as it is in most matters, is generally a poor guide when it comes to evaluating the efficacy or helpfulness of brain-altering chemicals.

There are also problems with regards to “formal academic study and research.”  Most of this has been conducted by pharma-psychiatry, focuses on short-term outcomes, suppresses negative results, and is an unreliable guide to long-term effects.

Tim mentions the need “to weigh the benefits against the risks”, and this advice is attached to virtually every psychiatric drug in the PDR.  But in reality, it’s a hollow formula.  How can one weigh the benefits of a transient and false sense of well-being against the longer term risk of chronic, and more or less permanent, damage?  There is not, and never can be, any kind of calculus for making such comparisons.  And the issue is compounded by the fact that the risks vs. benefits question is usually presented as if the drug were the only option.  In fact, there are a great many ways to resolve feelings of depression that entail no particular risks at all – principally:  by dealing with the problems that precipitated the depression in the first place.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Tim tells us that “…there would be a lot more space to develop psychosocial approaches and address broader systemic issues if we decentered medication in these discussions…”.  To which I can only disagree.  Prior to about the year 2000, the antipsychiatry movement was virtually non-existent.  Those few of us who did speak out were ridiculed, marginalized, and at times vilified.  There was virtually no discussion on the downside of what Tim euphemistically calls “medication”.  By Tim’s argument, there should therefore have been lots of “space” to develop psychosocial approaches, and address broader systemic issues.  But in fact these things didn’t happen.  The spurious illness philosophy, and the ubiquitous drugs, held the field.  Other concepts and practices were effectively suppressed, and truly millions of lives were destroyed.

Today, when the antipsychiatry movement is growing in leaps and bounds, we are actually seeing a great deal more discussion of psychosocial approaches and broader issues than at any time in the past fifty years.

Today, the antipsychiatry issues are being heard, and progress is evident on all fronts.  But psychiatry, unconvinced and unrepentant, continues to resist.  There is some receptiveness, on the part of a very few psychiatrists, to alternative perspectives.  But for the most part, the leadership and the rank and file are redoubling their efforts to promote their medicalization agenda.  The APA has even engaged the services of a PR firm to improve their image and sell their philosophy.

But the facts have not changed.  Depression is not an illness.  Outbursts of temper are not an illness.  Academic inattentiveness is not an illness.  Painful memories are not an illness.  Bereavement is not an illness. 

But in the looking-glass world of psychiatry, these age-old human problems – and hundred more besides – are all illnesses that need to be “treated” with psychiatry’s so-called medication.

So for all of these reasons, I, for one, will continue to critique psychiatry and its destructive “treatments” with all the vigor at my disposal.  And I will do this because psychiatry is not something good that just needs to be expanded to embrace psychosocial and other broader issues.  Rather it is something fundamentally spurious and destructive; a wrong turning in human history.  It not only destroys individuals, but saps our cultural resilience with its self-serving insistence that virtually every significant human problem is an illness which needs a pill.  Psychiatry is not a healing force in the world.  Rather, it is a disabling force, and the pills are the most visible facet of its destructiveness.

  • Luther Blissett

    Well said Phil.

    I notice that part of his evidence relies on an ‘This American Life’ piece called ‘ Unfit for Work: The Startling Rise of Disability in America.’

    This made me start, because I remember reading critiques of this ‘documentary’ at the time. This may not seem that important at first, but I don’t live in the US, I live in England, and do not keep up to date with disability/poverty rights work in the US. This piece was considered so nonfactual and bigoted that it was discussed on the other side of the world by disability rights groups!

    So, in a stroke of the keyboard, according to 5 seconds googling, Timothy Kelly has removed from his grand coalition:

    Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago
    Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    American Academy of Pediatrics
    American Association on Health and Disability
    American Counseling Association
    The Arc of the United States
    Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP)
    Autism National Committee (AutCom)
    Autistic Self-Advocacy Network
    Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
    Brain Injury Association of America
    Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
    Community Legal Services, Inc. – Philadelphia
    Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
    Disability Rights Legal Center
    Easter Seals
    Family Voices
    Health & Disability Advocates
    Learning Disabilities Association of America
    Mental Health America
    National Alliance on Mental Illness
    National Association for Children’s Behavioral Health
    National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
    National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities Directors (NACBHDD)
    National Association of Disability Representatives
    National Association of School Psychologists
    National Association of State Directors of Special Education
    National Association of State Head Injury Administrators
    National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
    National Disability Rights Network
    National Down Syndrome Congress
    National Down Syndrome Society
    National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
    National Multiple Sclerosis Society
    National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives
    National Respite Coalition
    School Social Work Association of America
    Paralyzed Veterans of America
    United Spinal Association

    The Advocacy Institute
    Advocacy for Peace and Justice Committee of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
    AIDS Foundation of Chicago
    AIDS Legal Council of Chicago
    The Alliance for Children’s Rights
    American Council for School Social Work
    American Federation of Government Employees Local 3937
    Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325
    California Council of Churches/California Church IMPACT
    Capital Area Center for Independent Living
    Cares of Washington
    Center for Civil Justice
    Center for Law and Social Policy
    Center for Women Policy Studies
    Children’s Alliance (Washington State)
    The Children’s Disability Project at Greater Boston Legal Services, On Behalf of Eligible Clients
    The Children’s Leadership Council, a coalition of more than 50 child advocacy organizations
    Claire Heureuse Community Center
    Coalition on Human Needs
    Community Justice Project
    Connecticut Legal Services
    Covering Kentucky Kids and Families
    Creative Alternatives, Inc.
    Disabled In Action of Metropolitan NY
    Disability Law Center – Massachusetts
    Disability Rights Wisconsin
    Disciples Justice Action Network
    The Elder, Health & Disability Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services, on behalf of its clients
    Empire Justice Center
    Equal Access Advocates
    Family Voices
    Foundation for Senior Living
    Frances Perkins Center
    Greater Hartford Legal Aid
    Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger
    Hill Foundation for Families Facing Disabilities
    Inner City Law Center – Los Angeles
    Homeless Action Center
    Homeless Advocacy Project
    Kentucky Equal Justice Center
    LAF (formerly Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago)
    Lakeshore Legal Aid / Counsel & Advocacy Law Line (CALL)
    Law Foundation of Silicon Valley
    Legal Aid Justice Center
    Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut
    Legal Services of Central New York6
    Legal Services of Eastern Michigan
    Little People of America
    The Lurie Institute on Disability Policy, Brandeis University
    Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
    Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee, Inc.
    National Association of the Deaf
    National Center for Law and Economic Justice
    National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
    National Council of La Raza
    National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals, AFGE
    National Fair Housing Alliance
    National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
    National Latino Behavioral Health Association
    National Senior Citizens Law Center
    New Haven Legal Assistance
    New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty
    New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
    New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC)
    Our Lady of Angels Convent
    People Organized for Our Rights, Inc. (P.O.O.R.)
    Parents Organizing For Welfare and Economic Rights (POWER)
    Positive Resource Center
    Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP)
    Public Law Center (Santa Ana, CA)
    San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program
    The Shriver Center
    SSI Coalition for Children and Families
    Social Security Works
    Statewide Poverty Action Network – Washington
    Strengthen Social Security Campaign
    Success Against All Odds
    Syracuse University Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies
    Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project
    Virginia Poverty Law Center
    Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
    The Welfare Law Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services
    WestCoast Children’s Clinic
    Western Center on Law and Poverty
    YWCA – Lancaster

    I have no personal info on how important or useful these groups would be as potential allies, but it seems quite impressive to alienate so many from one piece of evidence, and this was the first statement from disability/poverty groups that I found, and from memory, every similar organisation I read from at the time had exact or similar complaints about the program.

    Source: http://www.c-c-d.org/fichiers/Unfit_for_NPR_CCD_Statement_with_sign-ons3-27-13.pdf

    On his main point, I think that it will be far easier to confront psychiatric abuses than societal and structural causes and problems.

    From my limited knowledge of US politics, I have come across criticism of psychiatry from all the spectrum of political opinion, but they will never agree on a common solution to societal and structural causes and problems, which in my opinion come down at the root level to the ability of the powerful to force things on the unpowerful, decisions and situations in which they do not consent, and I don’t see any uniformity in political opinion in the US as to how to deal with power. Indeed, I see a lot of mainstream opinion in which power differences are never discussed, mostly because I think a lot of mainstream opinion doesn’t even recognise that power exists, and that if someone thinks it does they are ridiculed and mocked.

  • S Randolph Kretchmar

    Phil, this is a brilliant statement of many fundamentals of the abolitionist cause. Thank you! I will forward this article and print it out for distribution in Illinois forensic psychiatric institutions. (They’ll love it there!)

  • Nancy Rubenstein

    Dear Phil, Thank you for rescuing me from the temptation to abandon the term antipsychiatry. This article meant so much to me, because I have not been able to write without severe arm pain since September (withdrawal, the gift that keeps on giving….six years now) and I feel enormous vicarious satisfaction in this response to Timothy Kelly. We really have come far since 2010. In those days I was considered a pariah for the mere suggestion that psychiatric drugs were either toxic, or treated no real disease. Today, there is virtually no social situation where at least one person has not suffered in withdrawal from an antidepressant, and come to question the pharmaceutical dogma. America is waking up, but unfortunately not fast enough. This is not the time to back away from the term antipsychiatry, it is the time to double down and prevent future tragedies. It is time to rescue our children. Thank you Phil.

  • Erbdeen

    Cracking article Phil. I’ve just become a newly qualified clinical psychologist and consider this website very formative to my thinking and approach at work. On a side note, I would love you to address the notion of free will and it’s counter: determinism, and your feelings around this at some point. Its a topic that is rarely spoken about in the context of mental health and as an ever increasing hard determinist one that I feel has potentially profound implications not just in mental health but for the global community!

  • all too easy

    I see Whitaker and Dr. Phil (Hickey) are not statisticians. You boys have much to learn. Take your stats and pay to have a pro analyze in detail what those numbers reveal. Hurry. Don’t leave your fannies hangin in the wind too long.

  • all too easy

    “In this regard, those of us on this side of the debate recognize the reality of these problems far more clearly than psychiatrists who bundle them neatly into spurious “diagnostic categories” without ever taking the time to understand or appreciate their very real human significance”
    Is that so? ADHD is misbehavior. Good, old-fashioned misbehavior and Phil gets my pain. How dare you

  • waltinseattle

    lets try this for a possible agreement. not every case of sad is major depression in need of drugs. but a few are. not every “worried well” with a psychological issue needs a psychiatrist, or to be taking precious scarce resources from those who do. nor , if docs were impeccible, would these non seriously ill be allowed drugs. but just as every virus is treated with antibiotics (anti-bacterials) to placate patient or patients parent…….

    could you ppssibly separate the men from the specialty?

    could you possibly get off the idea that “worried well” does not denigrate your distress, but merely puts it in perspective?

    and could you address smi symptoms smong the completely un-drugged? or is the larger context, the trauma adpect….. a fight you flee from?

  • all too easy

    “And so the disability numbers march on.” antipsychiatry/antipharma

    In 2006 there were 793 billionaires
    In 2007 that # had risen to 946
    In 2014 we had 1,645 Billionaires
    And so the power of Prozac continues to forge ahead

  • cledwyn goodpuddings

    In fairness to Tim, I think he is right in saying that some on this side of the divide say things that would conduce to the impression that they deny the existence of any problem.

    The worst are those who accuse mental patients of generally faking it for cash and who, partly in order to luxuriate in their hatred all the more, paint a picture of mental patients living the life of Riley, when in truth the average mental patient on benefits lives a life few would envy if they were truly conversant with the misery such a life entails.

    Often, what we don’t have we, eo ipso, desire, and likewise, what we do have seems to us eminently undesirable. Few people who work would swap their existence for that of a mental patient on benefits, but so used to working are men, and consequently so dissatisfied with it, they come to see not working as being the key to happiness, and nothing makes us resent others more than the thought that they are having a better time than we are.

    On the subject of conceptual relativism, I have no problem with people having their own idiosyncratic definitions, insofar as they tolerate those of others and do not expect their own to occupy a privileged position, conferring upon the person who makes use of them powers and privileges whose exercise encroaches upon the existence of others.

    Therein lies the rub.

    The mental health faithful’s many acts of semanticide are often committed with an eye to justifying some evil.

    Tim may believe some people find it useful to believe that their problems are illnesses, but ultimately the validity of a concept must be measured according to the degree of its correspondence with the reality it is meant to clarify our understanding of. The concept of mental illness, I would say, is like a concave mirror held up to the referent thereof; it distorts it.

    Problem is, believers in the secular faith of psychiatry are so lacking in the scepticism which is a key component of the science they have laid claimed to and which they claim to be the standard-bearers of, they accuse anyone who advances alternatives of “whitewashing the reality of mental illness”, of being “denialists”, as if psychiatric categories mapped onto the reality of extreme human suffering with such exactitude that to deny one is to deny the other.

    Maybe such people understand not that mental illness and such concepts are the mere intermediaries between ourselves and the real world, and not intrinsically a part of the world out there, and that some of us reject these concepts as only serving to obfuscate what they purport to illumine. True such a view could be used also by someone denying the existence of cancer, after all, cancer is only a concept, but it is a concept that maps onto a observable process, and certainly could not be construed as obscuring the truth.

    Nevertheless, such advice to people who believe that they are attached to reality, as if they see it unmediated by their own values, concepts, prejudices, desires, and interests, without the distorting influence of emotion, and as if the people they label, like those people in Plato’s allegory of the Cave, labour in darkness, seeing only the shadows of reality projected on the wall, whilst they see the reality itself; such adivce, to such people, is pointless.

    Though maybe I’m wrong to attribute this attitude whereof I speak to a simple lack of scepticism. As the scope of organized psychiatry’s sphere of influence and power expands, to a corresponding degree its capacity to tolerate a plurality of perspectives increases, an acceptance of which would necessitate the refraining from the imposition of their own beliefs onto others, something that they aren’t willing to countenance, so they attack others as denying “the reality of mental illness”.

    At least Tim concedes that these categories don’t map onto a discrete disease process. This is not what many supporters of psychiatry would say. Instead, they continue to chase their illusions, mining the brains of patients, finding only their own prejudices, yet passing them off as evidence of disease.

  • all too easy

    O, now I see.

  • all too easy

    “i seen the kingdoms of the world and its making me feel afraid” dylan
    i see a bunch of “specialists” who don’t know nothing and it is nuts

    The “mental-illness-that-morphed-into- a-vaguely-defined-neurological-illness” explanation has in fact no explanatory value. Consider the following hypothetical conversation:

    Parent: “Why is my child so restless and inattentive?”

    Psychiatrist: “Because he has an illness called ADHD.”

    Parent: “How do you know he has this illness?”

    Psychiatrist: “Because he is so restless and inattentive.”
    consider this;
    parent, why is my child bleeding profusely from his right arm; it is gushing, all over, non-stop
    common sense stop the bleeding now or he will be dead in seconds
    parent how do you know he is bleeding profusely and is going to die if i don’t stop the bleeding?
    common sense you just told me he is bleeding profusely and generally speaking, people die when they bleed to death
    The definition of ADHD by the good doctor is a child who is so restless and inattentive. Intentionally, he omits 99% of the diagnostic framework, just as i expect.
    Why is he so…?
    How long has he been so…?
    What do you mean exactly, he is so…?
    When is he so…?
    How does he do in school?
    Making friends?
    How is he sleeping? Eating? Feeling? Any major changes in his life? On and on. You should be ashamed Phil

  • all too easy

    “Dogma and vituperative condemnation are the true enemies of genuine understanding. We are fortunate to have a newspaper that prints opposing positions. DSM, with its medicalization of all human problems, has become a destructive Juggernaut in our society and owes its success in large part to the blind obedience of its adherents and their willingness to stifle voices that refuse to sing along.”

    Here, Phil is guilty of the very thing he says is so destructive.

    “How can one weigh the benefits of a transient and false sense of well-being against the longer term risk of chronic, and more or less permanent, damage? There is not, and never can be, any kind of calculus for making such comparisons.”
    Then why do you keep doing it?
    How much do your pals make when they consult with lawyers and others? What do they make as expert witnesses? Pretty good money. No dirty fingernails. No exhaustion from backbreaking work.
    BTW, don’t discount the impact of SSRIs by comparing them to narcotics. One can have a sense of well-being and remain perfectly objective. Transient, Phil? What isn’t?
    Phil, ban me by all means. I understand. If you don’t want to know what ADHD is and what it is like to have it, don’t think twice. No one who hates psychiatry and big pharma cares to find out.

  • cledwyn slip slap n slide

    “In fact, there are a great many ways to resolves feelings of depression…”

    Short of suicide, I’m not sure about that, that is, of truly resolving them. I don’t think there’s any such thing as happiness, only different shades of misery and dissatisfaction. The best we can hope for is a little bit of contentment, which as with everything good in life, comes at an extortionate price in suffering and boredom, and anyway contentment is little more than “the capacity to postpone suicide for another day.” (Mencken)

    If it wasn’t for our a priori will to live, our irrational terror of death, and our pursuit of the many ignes fatui that deceive us into going on living, life would be little more than a suicidal orgy. Babies freshly disgorged from their mothers’ wombs would be trying to hang themselves with their own umbilical cords if it wasn’t for this.

    The older I have gotten, the more I have come to believe that a belief in the desirability of suicide is the beginning of true wisdom.

    “What could be more logical than suicide? What could be more preposterous than keeping alive?…it is difficult, if not impossible, to discover any evidential or logical reason, not instantly observed to be full of fallacy, for keeping alive. The universal wisdom of the world long ago concluded that life is mainly a curse. Turn to the proverbial philosophy of any race, and you will find it full of a sense of the futility of the mundane struggle. Anticipation is better than realization. Disappointment is the lot of man. We are born in pain and die in sorrow….men work simply in order to escape the depressing agony of contemplating life.”

    H.L. Mencken

    The notion that life is worth living is little more than a religious, governmental and parental conspiracy. In childhood, our heads are filled with all sorts of nonsense about life, not because anybody really believes it is anything other than a hell, save the swines who are content to wallow in life’s existential pigshit, but so people can use us for their own ends. Life is like a field that, viewed from afar, looks beautiful indeed, but the more one begins to approach it, the more one becomes struck by the grotesque details that distance mercifully obscured, which is why there can be no greater affliction for a man than that of curiosity, and virtue of course.

    “Life is a tale told by an idiot,
    Signifying nothing.”

    Macbeth, Shakespeare.

    The landscape through which man’s soul journeys is a vast inferno, the path out of which to the paradise of nothingness he is lured away from by many a sinister jack-o-lantern, such as hope, happiness, and love, which lead him only further and further into the infernal nether regions of human existence until one day fate mercifully intervenes, delivering him from the existential inferno these feux follets of which I speak have drawn him so deeply into, and over to that state of blissful repose from which he was so cruelly awoken when life bestowed its breath upon him.

  • all too easy

    “I have noticed that most people in this world are about as happy as they have made up their minds to be.” Abe Lincoln, supposedly

  • Phil_Hickey


    Thanks for an interesting and thought-provoking comment. I agree that power-imbalance, and consequent widespread sense of powerlessness, is a huge factor in the genesis of so-called mental health problems. And in general, I accept Tim Kelly’s call to work on these kinds of issues, but not at the expense of giving psychiatry a pass on its spurious concepts and destructive treatments.

    Again, thanks for coming in, and best wishes.

  • Phil_Hickey


    Thanks you for such complimentary feedback. Though in fact, once one has seen through psychiatry, the arguments pretty much make themselves.

    Best wishes.

  • Phil_Hickey


    Sorry to hear that you’re having such pain.

    Thanks for your support and encouragement. Yes, I think we need to get comfortable with the term “anti-psychiatry”, because psychiatry is so fundamentally
    wrong, that being “anti” is the only truly appropriate response.

    Best wishes.

  • Phil_Hickey


    Thanks for the encouraging words, and for the interesting suggestion.

    Best wishes.

  • Phil_Hickey

    p>Waltinseattle,Thanks for coming in. You ask if “… the larger context, the trauma aspect…” is a fight that I flee from. To which I can only reply that there is no topic in this field that I flee from, as even a cursory review of the site will attest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “…not every case of sad is major depression in need of drugs. but a few are.”There are two implications here that, in my view, are not valid. Firstly, there is the implication that “major depression” is a coherent entity that exists in nature, and that can be discussed and compared with other entities. Secondly, there is the implication that this entity called “major depression” can be reliably identified – i.e. that it is possible to reliably distinguish those people who “have” this entity from those that don’t.Here you will find the DSM-IV criteria for the condition known as major depressive disorder. (The DSM-5 criteria are basically the same.) Two important points seem obvious to me. Firstly, the criteria are arbitrary. One could remove some of these criteria and substitute others, and there is absolutely no standard by which the validity of these substitutions could be disputed or confirmed. “Major depressive disorder” is what the APA says it is. And there is no reality beyond this consensus statement against which its contents can be checked. Secondly, the criteria are inherently vague, and incapable of being applied reliably. How often is “nearly every day”? How many hours is “most of the day”? How diminished is “markedly diminished”? How much guilt is “excessive” guilt? How could such a concept even be measured? And so on.So, again in my view, the statement that “not every case of sad is major depression” is inherently non-verifiable. Certainly depression admits of degrees, but there is no more evidence that severe depression is an illness than that mild depression is an illness. And that’s the crux of the issue. By using the term “major depression”, you are by default endorsing psychiatry’s dogma that severe depression is an illness, but this contention has never been proven.”…in need of drugs.” Here again, you are, I suggest, endorsing psychiatry’s unproven contention: major depression is a medical illness that calls for medical treatment. Again, this is pure dogma with no supporting evidence. Even Thomas Insel, Director of NIMH, has publicly stated that the various DSM diagnoses (including, presumably, major depressive disorder) are nothing more than labels with no specific underlying physical/medical pathology. I don’t quite follow some of the other points that you have made, but please feel free to come back, and I will be happy to discuss.Best wishes.  

  • Phil_Hickey


    ”… ultimately the validity of a concept must be measured according to the degree of its correspondence with the reality it is meant to clarify our understanding of.”

    Beautifully put!

  • waltinseattle

    well, dang if you dont agree that its the diagnostician not the diagnostic tools that are imperfect. and overstating themselves. which the criteria do not do, only the applicators do!

  • waltinseattle

    i was not replying specifically to you but since you picked it up.. here then.

    re major depression. as for drugs I am more solid of the opinion that other, situationally dependent depressions DO NOT require drugs. (being fired having the dog die as the wife leaves in the car after having written the divorce note. those are situations… major depression is by proper deefinition, not situational tho yes you can harp on the subjective nature of words. diagnostics are maps. maps are not the territory. the perfect map is…. a recreation of the terrain in every detail, ergo all maps are shortcuts and imperfect)) That is a ABsolutely don’t statement. just as adrenal collapse and mitochondrial disorders, though they , also, cause many of the “sympstomns” do not benefit from anti depressants. So I am a hard RDoC end of the scale here, unhappy with “differential diagnosis” as it seems to my non-professional understanding to be shorted in reality of practice…thank insurance and cost containment as well as sloppy docs and non mds.

    You, by refering to a “continum, are denying the implied discontinuity between “situational” and other depressions. This discontinuity is the “lived experience of many who seem to be unheard except for the “well, you see, the drugs…” which is as hypothetical as “drug resistant” which btw, is now coming to be understood etiologically at the level of gene expression. On which, most now admit that trauma and experience reset gene expression. That is a biological result of experience. I think both sides need be very cautions about taking a firm stand aboput the nature of best reactions/treatments. and if drugs, for how long before reverting to talk therapy .

    lets return to diagnostic certainty, which is a falacy no doubt. What is said by Major depression” is that the certainty of other diagnosis is negligable, that there are no obvious trauma (though I read of “hypersensitivity” as if that were other than a genetic disposition, miraculously a mental form of “allergic reaction, with no biology involved?) there are no obvious infections, non disease creating the infections and inflamations of brain (do you admit these are noted, as different from saying they come from disorder or drugs? and how do you explain inflamation in the drug naive patients)

    to “verify” that not every case of sad is major depression, we need only show reaasonable situational causes, the would not any one be saddened? of life.

    SEPARATE issue.

    there is much about the map known as DSM, and none about APA 1994 psychiatric disorders PRACTICE GUIDLINES. the tone of which seems as I take a first look, to be greatly at odds with the “anti” criticism and, admittedly, the practice of some (many, too many?) docs

    The American Psychiatric Association’s 1994 Psychiatric Disorders
    Practice Guidelines – See more at:
    The American Psychiatric Association’s 1994 Psychiatric Disorders
    Practice Guidelines – See more at:

  • waltinseattle

    the map is not the terrain, all maps are shortened descriptions, all terrain changes over time! to disagree with a map does not neccessitate to say there is no mountain, no valley, no river, no ocean…

  • waltinseattle

    I would like to hear reply to the positions here: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/schizophrenia/early-antecedents-and-detection-schizophrenia

    because it seems so at ods with the representations in arguments here. then perhaps it will be seen as merely admission of the inexactitude of science. Well, call be a Beyesian, but what of it! (data not philosophy will answer our questions!)

    The American Psychiatric Association’s 1994 Psychiatric Disorders
    Practice Guidelines – See more at:

  • all too easy

    I have ADHD. Was diagnosed and began treatment as an adult. The therapeutic impact of the meds was/is miraculous. Never knew what was wrong. Never knew a med would give me the ability to pay attention. Never knew I wasn’t paying attention. Within minutes of the first dose, the scales fell off and I could follow a conversation, easily. I had never done that before. I could read without drinking 40 cups of coffee.
    We are tired of your disrespect. Your convoluted denial of ADHD is sickening. “Hurtful, harmful, cruel, terrible” are descriptions that categorize your influence on us. Did you know that?
    I missed out on most of my formal education. Ask my teachers what I was like. Even if I loved the material. I was lost–could not hear, could not follow along. Could not.
    Now, there is no way to describe adequately the differences: Night and day. Black and white. These are clichés. What potential I always had is available. I’ve been set free.
    There are many who will never realize their potential if you have your way. And you discourteous, vicious arrogant jerks never asked us for our input, for our experiences.

  • waltinseattle

    help me here. I talk that some diagnosticians go far wrong and use drugs when they should not. I defend the drugs when properly prescribed. And you come saying I have disrespected you and your positive experiences with its good outcome, which involved a good diagnosis and the use of drugs. do you want to argue that the criteria/diagnosis was bogus for you? that the benefits of the prescription had nothing to do with the diagnosis?

    help me because I feel your barking at the wrong guy. I came to defend the things you are happy about, not to rob you of your satisfaction!

  • all too easy

    My indictment is of Phil, his pals Baughman, Breggin, Whitaker and their devout followers. Often, they sneak in their hateful comments after trying to portray themselves as neutral or pro-adhd people. Gotta love it.
    They are so obvious

  • cledwyn goodpuddings

    One way to address the “epidemic” of depression in society (that is, severe depression that makes it difficult for people to function in society) is to obviously create a fairer society.

    It’s hardly surprising that so many people find it difficult to muster the will, motivation and courage to do the things that others take for granted. It’s a logical consequence of the training in self-loathing individuals undergo from a young age.

    The messages conveyed to people when they are young are important to understand depression, because it is in our youth that the foundation for our understanding of ourselves is laid, yet other children and teachers are given license in society to prey like wolves on kids. For such people, a career as a psychiatric patient is a logical progression from their career in school as a victim.

    It’s bloody symbolic cannibalism, and I see it everywhere, but it tends to be more conspicuous amongst children, whose depravity, and figurative desire to fatten their bellies with human flesh, is easier to detect, and does not assume quite the hypocritical guises it does in adult society, where such appetites and proclivities tend to operate through more surreptitious channels, and where the mechanisms by which the flesh, figuratively speaking of course, is delivered over to the belly of another, are concealed by the cultural apparatus, which serves either to legitimize or obscure from view social injustice and prejudice.

    Negative social attitudes are obviously a big problem, yet most people seem to be of the conviction that the distorting mirror society holds up to so many of its citizens, upon which a man relies for an understanding of himself, consistent with his essentially heteronymous nature, plays little role in generating the severe self-loathing in which originates so many of what are known as psychiatric problems.

    Rene Girard is right when he says that the feelings we experience in relation to the self are culturally- and other-mediated. This being accepted, it can be said that the act of allotting individuals to categories of culturally-designated groups of inferiority, which occurs in all societies, where a variety of prejudicial and discriminatory attitudes always obtains, must be scrutinized if this phenomenon is to be demystified.

    David Hume and Thomas Hobbes both seemed to converge upon the conviction that mental feelings, and the painful or pleasant character thereof, always have for their object the self, and that the extent to which we can compare ourselves favorably with others is pivotal as concerns which predominates.

    It is no great distance from these philosophical insights to the further one that depression, especially of the more severe variety, is inevitable for society’s culturally designated inferiors, that is, for people earmarked as “ugly”, as “fat”, as “weird”, or discriminated against on other grounds, such as gender, sexual preference, and race. The over-representation of people who fall within these categories amongst depressed people is to be expected.

    Society treats some people like shit, and in its boundless irrational hatred of such people, robs them of their self-esteem, a certain measure of which life presupposes if people are to find life bearable. On top of all this, such people not only have to learn to somehow function and survive in a world that tutors them to loathe themselves, with all the emotional agony that that entails, but also to deal with the importunacy of desires and needs that admit of no satisfaction, as a result of the discriminatory attitudes and practices whereof I speak in the preceding paragraphs, as well as having avenues of opportunity open for those whose appearance and some such other triviality on the basis of which a man’s worth is decided, closed to them because of their status as inferior beings, and the limitations imposed upon them in consequence of this.

    I think part of the problem also is that modern society and culture shows a cavalier disregard for the suffering of others. Not only must people deal with their sense of inferiority and inadequacy, but everywhere they are being constantly reminded of what they haven’t got. There is no more callous a spectacle than that of people rubbing their fortune in other people’s faces. In modern society men are of the habit of proclaiming a sympathy for society’s “losers” and lepers that curiously takes on the form of tormenting them, as can be seen in cities across the world in the grotesque disregard shown by people for the homeless, a spectacle from which any man of sensibility would recoil.

    It is often said that the touchstone by which a society is judged morally is how it treats its most unfortunate citizens. Not only do we condemn people to suffer the torments of Tantalus by rubbing our happiness, if it can be called that, in other people’s faces; not only do we tutor so many of our citizens in the way of self-loathing, but we also attach stigmatizing psychiatric labels to them, thereby ensuring a slow agonizing death on the margins of society, and on the basis of these labels we “treat” them in such a way as only augments their suffering, with drugs that make them even more miserable.

    Human society? Little more than a cannibal’s orgy. Priests have been telling us for centuries that if we don’t do as they say, we’ll all go to hell. They were, and are, lying; we’re already in hell!

  • cledwyn goodpuds

    I tried reading Tim’s article, but his writing is just not my cup of tea. He seems to identify with a particular mode of expression in academic discourse whose most salient characteristics are;

    -a penchant for jargonistic, sesquipedlian phrasing that would be enough to awaken Orwell from his sempiternal slumber

    -the usage of terms that do nothing to clarify the issue and instead cast a veil of obscurity over the reality they often so tenuously to correspond to.

    -a predilection for arid and prosaic writing that gives it an unbearable staccato rhythm, evincing little appreciation for the poetry of language and the mellifluous, musical cadence a more poetical style of writing creates, which opens up wonderful vistas in the imagination and functions in its emotional effect as a excellent digestive aid for the information being presented for our consideration.

    Now, in the interests of fairness, it must be stated that Tim is not that bad in these regards, and of course this is partly a matter of personal preference, but my patience for such writing nevertheless thins as I get older. Whereas reading a great writer like Proust, Flaubert, or Montaigne is akin to listening to the slow movement by a great Romantic composer for string ensemble or orchestra, reading the kind of writing of which I criticize is much more like listening to some atonal string quartet by Schoenberg in its effect.

    Lamentably this style of writing has gained currency in academic circles and has, unjustly, much to the dismay of men like Schopenhauer and Orwell in their times, acquired a reputation as representing the height of sophistication in writing and as indicating superior intelligence in the writer (which is no doubt why so many people imitate this mode of discourse, prepossessing as it does the reader in favor of the views presented as surely as does the display of one’s credentials after one’s name, which is also why people do this; that is, so they can try and cheat their way to credibility by playing on the wider cultural resonances of such abbreviations).

    I’m reading a book on the sociology of mental health and illness at the moment and it’s literally torture for me. Long term exposure to the iatrogenic effects of psychiatric drugs has rendered me hypersensitive to the staccato rhythms of academic prose, with its predilection for airy abstractions that leave one pulling at one’s hair. Basically, when reading this kind of writing, my muscles start contracting in seeming response to the unbearable sensations it triggers, not totally dissimilar to those which you experience when someone runs their fingernails down a blackboard.

  • cledwyn slip slap n slide

    That should be “sesquipedalian”.

  • Phil_Hickey


    You are drawing a distinction between depression that is
    precipitated by adverse life events, on the one hand, and depression that is precipitated by biological abnormalities, e.g. hypothyroidism, on the other. This is a perfectly valid distinction, one which I have made countless times on this website. I don’t think anyone on this side of the psychiatric debate would quibble with this distinction. Abnormal biology can, in and of itself, precipitate feelings of depression.

    A problem arises, however, in that you are calling this “major
    depression.” You are free, of course, to label things as you choose, but it can lead to confusion, because this is very definitely not what psychiatrists mean by major depression.

    The definition of major depression as set out in every edition of the DSM since DSM-III specifically excludes this kind of depression. The current (DSM-5) wording is:

    “The episode [of depression] is not attributable to the
    physiological effects of a substance or to another medical condition.” [Emphasis added]

    In psychiatry, what you are calling situational depression is major depression provided only that it reaches a certain level of intensity and significance. Even depression due to the loss of a loved one is (since DSM-5) major depression if, in the judgment of a psychiatrist, it is excessive.

    Another consideration here is that depression that arises from hypothyroidism, say, is treated by treating the hypothyroidism – not with psychiatric antidepressants. Contrary to psychiatric claims, antidepressants do not correct any biological abnormality. Rather, they produce abnormal neural states.

    Best wishes.

  • waltinseattle

    I supposed that you might make room for Differential Diagnosis in that set of non-situational depression episodes. I think we both agree that long term depression all by itself is far from grounds for a diagnosis of “major. You because, i presume, you don’t admit the validity of maj dep in ANY instances, I because I don’t admit it in the case of singular evidences.

    as for ” Contrary to psychiatric claims, antidepressants do not correct any biological abnormality. Rather, they produce abnormal neural states.” this is still pretty controversial and I do not intend to get into it with those who are not willing to look at modern evidence of disease, but want to stay with the mixed results of old drugs used too broadly. and in those arguments, with admitted valid points, make a greatly broader conclusion.

  • waltinseattle

    spoken like a true postmoder confusionist philosopher! you do have some almost points about canibalism. To get it a little clearer, you might look into WEKITO VIRUS and the related Wendigo . Here we see that it might be less a therotical frameand more a reality. Here we see that your saying its all about the powerless is, while somewhat true, off the point.in that the “society” is actually not the dominant paradigm by numbers, but by raw power and influence. Anyway, all of that is besides biology, and to me the two are separate entities which only cross paths long after their separate gbeginnings, only when we see the outward “behaviors, because the scientist, like the postmodens,erroniously insist on “behavior” being worth s-t as a diagnostic end all. no one wants to get real, admit how little is yet known and rely on “lab observations, genetic screenings and lab tests (fMRI, tensor diffusion etc… for one- instead of self administered “have you ever…?” lists!

  • waltinseattle

    Fine example of it yourself, sir!

  • all too easy

    “From my limited knowledge of US politics, I have come across criticism of psychiatry from all the spectrum of political opinion…”
    beautiful. perfectly copied from the university of antis archives.
    obviously you need to become educated in many fields including u.s. politics

  • Luther Blissett

    please educate me further then.

  • all too easy

    Reverse discrimination. It is wrong to hate minorities, the weak, the disadvantaged, the poor, etc. Isn’t it? Yet, it is perfectly right and good and acceptable to hate those with means and education and titles and power.
    Though many aspire to be and to have what they are and have, expressing contempt for them is perfectly acceptable. In fact, this dynamic creates a sense of entitlement, a right or at least an unstated permission to attack the powerful ceaselessly, bitterly, without a pause, without regard for accuracy or a need for some introspection.

  • Mean Tweets

    Don’t respond to this mindless troll called ‘all too easy’, he has been coming here spewing his digital graffiti hours a day for in excess of three weeks now. He claims he has successfully been treated for some alleged disease of his “attention paying” abilities. He doesn’t seem to be able to pay attention to the fact that he isn’t wanted here and nobody is interested in his mindless trolling. He also, coming here hours a day for weeks on end, displays a rather suspicious amount of “hyperactivity” for someone who claims to be an “ADHD” success story.

  • all too easy

    I have to agree. For example, I force this person to read my boring posts. How rotten is that? I made him learn all about the amount of time I post here, even my diagnosis, which he seems to confirm! I’m a bad boy, Abbott.
    I will henceforth do my best not to challenge the socks off you.
    (Of course, I don’t really have ADHD, but if you spot some hyperactivity, chalk it up to my iatrogenic reaction to people who think they are brilliant.)

  • all too easy

    That should read, If I actually had what doesn’t exist, I might have the nonexistent inattentive type of that which doesn’t exist, even though I appear to have the hyperactive version, which certainly exists, but is no big deal and is caused by a multitude of junk- all not biological, because discipline is the answer, which we’ve proven 0 times and is published in a great deal of peer reviewed literature no one knows where, which is positively proof that this thing is pure, 100% fraud, does not exist, ever, never did, except a lot of people do have it, we know, o, we know! We are very sympathetic to all you who suffer from it, though it isn’t, really, it is not. (but we care, I swear)

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’stard

    Whitaker may or may not be a menace to society, but he is to the principleS of free-speech and open discussion.

    Having abandoned the pretense altogether that they are only censoring comments on the basis of the delivery and not the content, the moderators at MIA recently removed one on the grounds of its being “sexist” (which no longer retains its non-gender- specific meaning, but now denotes a misogynistic attitude expressed by men towards women, the latter, as occupants of a sacred status in this regards, having been given dispensation from some of the requirements and proprieties of civil discourse, due to misogyny’s occupation of a privileged position in the contemporary hierarchy of prejudices).

    Now in the interests of charity, I can kind of sympathize with the use of force by proponents of political correctness, it being often the ultima ratio, the last resort to which men can turn when all other avenues have been exhausted. Men being fanatics and bigots by nature, and notwithstanding the enlightenment faith in Reason to bring about some sort of revolution in human nature, in order to extinguish the flames of fanaticism and intolerance that burn in the hearts of men, and to stop the holocausts to which they can lead from breaking out (and with which history is replete with the examples of), force has perhaps been resorted to, which, alas, is the only thing that can arrest the flow of the depravity that flows unbidden from the hearts of men.

    Nevertheless, I still believe that censorship is an evil, nay worse, it is like certain cancers that spread in silence, at least in our age.

    One reason is that, no matter how well-meaning it may be at its root, how noble is the spirit that animates its founding, human beings being what they are, that is, deeply intellectually and morally, causes are only too easily co-opted and corrupted by men looking to introduce thereinto foreign and not so admirable motives for their advancement, so that the drive to create a more inclusive language degenerates only too easily into a lust for power and scapegoating which, alas, is what has happened with political correctness, for which reason Mencken said that all policies and laws which have for their objective the suppression of speech, no matter the motives in which they originate, degenerate into tyranny.

    “Vices, abuses, they never change, but disguise themselves behind the mask of the prevailing morality.”

    Schopenhauer once said that, to paraphrase (and in an admittedly misogynist essay), on the matter of the behavior of certain women, that they are like the sacred apes of Benares who, conscious of their own sanctity and inviolability, think themselves at liberty to do as they please.

    This analogy could be extended to many groups in society about whom an aura of sacredness has gathered, on the basis of their real or imagined vulnerability, who, conscious of this sanctity and inviolability, think themselves free to do what they want, to make demands that infringe the personal liberties of others, and expect entitlements.

    Intolerance in some of its contemporary avatars, whilst having for its avowed aim the creation of a fairer society, is actually, in many respects, merely redressing the imbalance of power in favor of the erstwhile victims, who abuse that power in their conflicts with others.


  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’stard

    That is “intellectually and morally flawed..”

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’stard

    That’s Beaumarchais.

  • all too easy

    But the enemy I see where’s a cloak of decency– Dylan

    There is no, not one, identified biological marker demonstrating that anyone taking psychiatric drugs has developed mania. To support the idea that these drugs treat nothing but they do cause mental illness, which doesn’t exist, is exactly why Whitaker isn’t an M.D. That his recruits have bought his line of bull proves some can be fooled easier than others.

  • all too easy

    Whitaker is an idiot. Whether or not deficits in paying attention is an illness, has nothing to do with its profound crippling impact on those who have it. Stimulants help people to concentrate, according to Phil. They correct one’s attentional inconsistencies most of the time. Call it lunch. Call it bratwurst. Anything you like.