Dr. Pies Responds

On November 5, Kermit Cole, Front Page Editor at Mad in America, forwarded to me the following email which he had received from Ronald Pies, MD.

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From: Ronald Pies MD <contact-page@madinamerica.com>
Date: November 4, 2015 at 2:17:53 PM EST
To: kcole@madinamerica.com
Subject: Misstatements in Philip Hickey\’s blog Echo Misstatements by Lacasse & Leo

Message sent by: Ronald Pies MD

Message:Dear Mr. Cole:

Philip Hickey\’s blog, \”More on the Chemical Imbalance Theory\”—posted on your website—references a recent paper by Lacasse & Leo (\”Antidepressants and the Chemical Imbalance Theory of Depression\”) which contains incorrect and misleading information re: my views, as well as an unsupported claim re: supposed “conflicts of interest”  Lacasse & Leo impute to me. These misstatements by Lacasse & Leo are, unfortunately, repeated in Hickey\’s blog.  This is unacceptable and must be publicly corrected. In brief, Lacasse and Leo’s misrepresentations are as follows:

1. They misattribute the phrase “little white lie” to me, with regard to the so-called “chemical imbalance theory.” In reality, this unfortunate phrase was originally used by Mr. Robert Whitaker in an interview with Bruce Levine. The link is: http://brucelevine.net/psychiatry-admits-its-been-wrong-in-big-ways-but-can-it-change-a-chat-with-robert-whi/

In the article I subsequently wrote, cited by Lacasse & Leo (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/823368), my use of that phrase was in direct reference to Whitaker’s interview and to his own choice of words. I made this clear as far back as April, 2014, in a comment I posted beneath my Medscape article (available online). Careful scholars would surely have observed this and not falsely attributed Whitaker\’s phrase to me. The Medscape article has since been corrected.

2.  Citing information properly disclosed by me over a decade ago, Lacasse & Leo allege that I was “paid to help [pharmaceutical companies] promote their products…” This is categorically false. The allegation by Lacasse & Leo was not based on any direct knowledge of my professional or contractual arrangements dating back to 2003. Never, at any time, have I accepted any monies from pharmaceutical companies (or anyone else) with the intent or purpose of promoting their products. Nor have I ever had any ongoing financial relationships with any pharmaceutical companies.

A detailed rejoinder to Lacasse & Leo will appear in the winter issue of \”The Behavior Therapist,\” where the Lacasse & Leo article originally appeared. However, I respectfully request that you run a correction on your website as soon as possible; e.g., by posting this communication. I consider this a matter that impinges on my professional reputation, and I reserve all rights in pursuit of a just resolution.

Ronald Pies MD
Professor of Psychiatry

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I will post a reply to Dr. Pies’ letter as soon as possible.

  • Pie Man

    Who gives a shit what some human rights abusing quack like Pies has to say?

    And also note, that a man who has made a career out of defaming others by branding them “mentally ill” is so quick to resort to legal threats over things others have said about him.

    What a truly pathetic individual.

  • Cledwyn o the D’Urbervilles

    Kermit Cole was instrumental in the MIA purges, which were in part made in deference to Mr Pies, who in a number of comments painted an expressionist picture of certain commenters on there (perhaps not as polite in words as Pies, but certainly more so in deeds) as nasty bigots, whereupon a certain moderator – his nostrils almost visibly dilating as the smell of authoritarian poo wafted up his hooter – informed the venerable casuist aforesaid of the bowdlerization of the comments section and the codification of rules, laid down for the general but not universal observance – certain members having been granted special dispensation – which prohibit under pain of removal from the community anyone displaying improprieties of thought, feeling and behavior (psychiatrists manque?), and generally anyone who doesn’t conform to their exacting standards of social hypocrisy.

    Of course, the MIA faithful were conspicuously quiet. Rather than boycott on principle such a website, they made their accommodations with power, and behaved accordingly, for the principles men pledge a purely verbal allegiance to usually dissolve in the acid test of experience.

    To lend greater rhetorical weight to their arguments, the members of the Whitaker cult often invoke the principles of justice, equality, free thought and expression, whilst nevertheless acquiescing to a mode of governance and behaving themselves in ways that contravenes each and every one.

    They talk, for example, about creating an equal society, but not one, I might add, in which there are no discriminations made in favor of one group that would confer an unfair advantage, no, for whilst certain women and black men are free to indulge in crass generalizations about “white folk” and “man”, this is denied the objects of their prejudice. This is what some people in our society see as redressing an imbalance of power.

    Some people set themselves up as torchbearers of justice and equality, when in truth they have much less exalted motives, which they dignify through their strategic attachment rhetorically to some supposedly highly-valued cause.

    In the marketplace of ideas and causes, none are so highly valued as those which bear favorably upon our own passions, desires and interests, but as the human brain evolves, so does the capacity for self-deception, and the idea gains currency that those things which we in truth set little store by – such as justice, truth, reason, tolerance, liberty, and equality – nevertheless regulate the lives of men, a delusion that takes effect perhaps by dint of sheer verbal repetition in our daily lives and some sort of auto-suggestive process.

    Mr Whitaker has become the focal figure of a cult of celebrity. The merest mention of his name sends ripples of ecstasy through the community, laying low in rapturous seizures the frothing convulsionaries gathered about him and setting off such violent vibrations in the convulsed frames of the faithful as to leave the earth quaking in their wake. To criticize him within the movement is, to put it in freshly minted terms, lese-divinite, blind as most are to the illusory nimbus playing about his person.

    Yet his is a community that enacts in microcosm the wider social movement towards the hell whither we are all headed, a society in which any sincere expression of thought and feeling borders on impropriety, in which self-censorship will insinuate itself so deeply into the inner-world of men, sincerity and spontaneity will become mere relics, and even the innermost depths of humanity will partake of the universal dissimulation.

  • Nick Stuart

    I was banned (moderated) by MIA (Kermit Cole) for suggesting that Allen Frances experimenting on children with drugs to control their behaviour was similar to Mengele. Voltaire: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise”

  • Nick Stuart

    I like your style mate! Your elocution and, most of all, the substance of your words… Ha! You got a blog Tess?

  • Nick Stuart

    Of course.. I am ‘moderated’ i.e censored until my comments are ‘approved’. Sounds just like psychiatric justice to me…

  • anon

    check ur email.

  • Cledwyn Pus Poetics

    An example of what I am talking is to be found recently on MIA, where a female writer recently wrote an article attacking the abuse of male privilege, whilst indulging in a generalization about “man” (she addresses her article to “man”, based on a dubious notion of collective responsibility that wilts under scrutiny). I would argue that she here is abusing a female privilege, to wit, the privilege to indulge in the kind of chauvinism that isn’t, as things are currently constituted, subjected to the same kind of scrutiny as that displayed by men, in support of which assorted sophistries are advanced.

    A couple of proleptic remarks are in order here. I am no way suggesting that such people shouldn’t be free to express their opinions, nor am I denying the abuse of male privilege, just that in politically correct societies a disproportionately large focus is placed on some prejudicial attitudes vis-a-vis – as if such were the exclusive property of certain groups – and that MIA reflects this.

    Some people in modern society see themselves as “social justice warriors”, “agents of anti-oppression”, and other such high-minded nonsense. Sadly, they seem unaware that a man’s avowed virtues usually stand in inverse proportion to his actual ones. A love of justice and equality, assuming there is such a man who loves such things, announce themselves in actions, not words. It was once said that to be good we must think we are bad. People might do well to remember this.

    Human life is like second-rate theatre, full of bad actors laying claim to feelings they don’t feel and motives that don’t move them. People who claim to be moved by a love of justice and equality are always suspect.

    Your contemporary adherent to political correctness – and I am certainly not opposed to any attempt to create a more inclusive idiom, just not by hook or crook – is a mere jay imitating a peacock, looking down his nose at his own kind, at people no more prejudiced than they.

    In the interests of fairness, certain feminists need to acknowledge the ways in which they abuse the female privilege to indulge in the kind of chauvinism, explicit or implicit, they find abhorrent in their opponents and a cause for condemnation, and which only perpetuates the kind of essentialist and Manichean divisions along the lines of which supremacism in its many guises is justified; but the struggle for power rarely admits of such considerations.

    Such articles, I would surmise, whilst no doubt not entirely founded upon motives of an entirely unsavory character, are largely little more than disguised power plays in the arena of intersexual conflict, for, whilst in no way impugning the legitimacy of grievances appertaining to say, the history of patriarchal and racial oppression, it is hard to escape the impression that certain verbal privileges are being abused in a struggle for power, though not because of any racial or sexual peculiarities or anything.

  • Nick Stuart

    I have… are you one of these girls that want to hook up with me for a bit of free casual sex? If not I may have missed it……

  • Nick Stuart

    I have had 10 comments still under moderation on this topic. I am not sure how many days I have to wait for my views to be unsuppressed…

  • Nick Stuart

    Hear here!

  • Cledwyn Pus Poetics

    The problem with this climate of hysteria regarding words and intolerance of free, open discussion, is that this fear insinuates itself into men’s thoughts, straitjackets them, hedges them about with limits beyond which a man/woman only ventures at his peril, and often at great cost to his development as an individual withal, be it morally or intellectually.

    Anything that checks the free flow of human thought degrades us to the level of psychological slaves, which – given that in the general estimation security trumps liberty – the generality of the species is no doubt quite content with, but those who trade-off essential liberty for a little security, deserve neither, as the classic Benjamin Franklin epigram goes.

    Whatever are the evils of leaving men free to think and express themselves as they choose, they are not so great as the evils of censorship, of the Orwellian policing of thought, or of subjugation to some pseudo-enlightened coterie of sanctimonious bores.

    In a free marketplace of ideas, and a fortiori in one regulated by the polycephalic monster known as the community, bane of the individual and the human spirit, the finer principles, and intellectually most sound beliefs, will always struggle, so cheaply valued are they. Nevertheless they have a better chance of gaining currency in the former than the latter.

    Trying to remove prejudice from society and the injustices they often incubate is ultimately an unremunerative labor, a Sisyphean task, for prejudice is like a Hydra, a many headed monster that sprouts new heads every time one is cut off.

    It also behaves like many cancers – and this can be said of all evil – often spreading in silence, giving the illusion of health whilst by small, surreptitious encroachments it lays siege to the body politic and circulates unawares in the bloodstream of society (think misandry, psychiatric prejudice, prejudice against obese people). Evil discriminates not as to which parts it spreads either, yet in our age, the most common site of metastasis is amongst the most righteous members of society, for it is in the shadow of righteousness that it flourishes best; nothing lulls a man’s conscience to sleep like his own delusions of prelapsarian purity.

    This hysterical fixation on words, this secular superstition, is getting tedious. People will say hurtful things to each other, especially in the arena of conflict, for under the influence of Eris we are as if demonically possessed; it stirs up a witches brew of diabolical emotions and instincts, and summons forth from the shadows of consciousness the demons of human nature, laying bare “the impropriety of our depths” (Cioran).

    We need words to let off steam. In civilized societies they perform the useful function of providing men – and, mirabile dictu, even women and children, and even more wonderful to relate, black men – with valves for the ventilation of vileness, without which the world would be plunged into an orgy of violence – against others or against self – and into a doomsday carnage in which the corpse mounds would pile up to such celestial heights, the clouds would rain blood.

    Not that anyone should reject the attempt to make human societies better in toto, just that of all projects, none have been so beset by such a contradiction between means and ends as those which have for their objective the betterment of humanity.

    As for MIA, according to the letter of the law, the community is opposed to discrimination, disparaging assertions about a person’s character, hate speech, certainty etc., yet in spirit it is guilty of all these things, or at least of publishing articles containing such content. The people at MIA may be no more bigoted than other people, but in the hypocrisy stakes they’ve long since broken from the pack.

  • Nick Stuart

    Just kidding! But wow! Since most of my comments have not appeared… the strident feminazis have descended in droves upon some poor guy called Alex… who I think has now left the building..

  • all too easy

    I am pretty sure nickie the knife and clydehopper are all the rage with the babes.

    Phil gets busted for naming names. About time.

  • Cisgender Straight White Male
  • Nick Stuart

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU0Pp2n6ooE Feminist response. He he he! I feel oppressed….

  • Nick Stuart

    For the record I am a trans – gay. I was born a homosexual. But when I reached puberty.. I felt there was something wrong… So I came out as straight.. it was a difficult time especially when I told my parents who were rampant feminist lesbians… then .. even worse.. I started to wonder what this thing was dangling between my legs. I went to my doctor who told me I was male… What!!!! What the fuck was wrong with me…. I looked into the mirror and turned white with fear…

  • all too easy

    Good to see the inevitable downfall of the I hate psychiatry clan right before our very eyes. Thanks to every one of you morons for expediting the ruination of your pathetic efforts to condemn a worthy branch of medicine. Great job.

  • Cledwyn Pus Poetics

    One of the reasons, I would surmise, for this what we believe is a war on prejudice, is that the truth of man’s being an irrational bigot offends against our notion of men – save those of us scapegoated for the lunacy to which all flesh is heir – as rational, autonomous agents, a belief that would dissolve in the acid test of experience if it were not for man’s Quixotic capacity for detachment from reality and the superimposition thereupon of his own fantasies and delusions (most people laugh superciliously at Don Quixote, with all the fatuity of an idiot who, despite being of simian extraction himself, and in most respects representing a step backwards from the apes from which we have all descended, nevertheless laughs at chimpanzees, mercifully spared no doubt from the joke that is himself by the grace of Koalemos, god of stupidity. Yet Don Quixote is all of us).

    Yet prejudice flows unbidden from the irrational depths of humanity, upon which the lumens naturale sheds little light.

    Nevertheless, we have chosen (or is it a choice?) to take refuge in the notion of man as an autonomous, rational animal, in control of himself and his fate, which is not only false, but in addition to this hardens hearts to those people who fall short of the relevant normative expectations in human society.

    Men are what they are, that is, creatures of prejudice, sentiment, desire, and passion.

    Nevertheless there is a belief abroad in modern society that we are anything but, a belief whose genealogy can be traced right back to what I would surmise was its origins in Stoicism, to which the Enlightenment faith in the sovereign power of Reason is perhaps chiefly owing.

    Also a part of this line of descent is the philosophy of Sartre, which has exercized great authority of subsequent libertarian thought. Sartre rightly pointed out that men are often guilty of mauvaise foi, of living in bad faith, and tend to avoid responsibility, which is true enough, but in my opinion minimizes the extent to which people lives are determined by the cruel contingency of human existence. True, through the concept of facticity he conceded the existence of intractable conditions within which our freedom of choice is circumscribed, but he didn’t go far enough, and comes across as frankly a fanatic of choice.

    Now whilst I am by no means a thoroughgoing determinist, I certainly don’t subscribe to the belief that man is a completely rational autonomous agent, and the attendant notion that he is the master of himself and his fate.

    Whilst in theory many may distance themselves from such a notion, in everyday life there is a disdain for Fate’s casualties and for those who fall short of the ideal of man as a rational, autonomous agent. For example, Pascal Bruckner discusses in his book, “Perpetual Euphoria; on the Duty to be Happy”, negative societal attitudes towards suffering that almost criminalize it and treat it as freely chosen and a hallmark of failure.

    Yet this is just a mere surface ripple on a whole ocean of ignorance about and animosity towards human suffering based on the notion of choice, which co-exists in paradoxical harmony with psychiatric dogmas in modern society that deny it, for as Orwell understood, men have little trouble accommodating diametrically opposed beliefs in their heads, which hardly sits well with our rationalist pretensions.

    People who are depressed and miserable about life, for example, are treated as if they want to be so, as if by some aberration of nature they are not so much governed by the pleasure priniciple, as the pain principle, and that they are choosing their feelings.

    People even say we should be happy for others! As if one can feel happy by choice! That would make life a lot simpler.

    As with suffering, so with many of the other things that are our common lot and currency.

    People are made to feel guilty of envy, as if envy only happened to other people and were freely chosen, and given that everyone starts from the assumption that he is a paragon of self-knowledge, and such being the extremity of self-ignorance to which the worship of self inexorably leads, some truly believe themselves free from envy, as they do from the desires of which envy is itself a corollary.

    Even love is a choice these days. The internet is replete with examples of articles saying the torments of unrequited love and jealousy are freely chosen. One might as well say we choose to perspire, or we choose to emit bodily odors. No doubt we won’t be able to take a dump soon without being judged for it.

    Likewise the fortuitous by-products of fate, of crass contingency, which rules the lives of men.

    Men all have their boulders to push up life’s steep incline, yet the variables of experience, circumstance and constitution that differentiate one man’s burden from another rarely factor into the judgements we pass on each other, for acknowledgement of the extent to which fate and fortune rule our lives spoils the pleasure we take in ourselves.

    The burdens we push up said incline vary from person to person, which – insofar as we are not tested beyond the limits of our capacities and our misfortunes and sufferings amass not out of all proportion to our powers of our endurance – can help us to realize our potential, for up to a certain extent it can be said that in proportion as the resistance is great does a man exert himself, so that resistance can be a blessing; yet, of course, sometimes the burden is immovably great.

    Yet such a sentiment as expressed here is almost alien to most, who prefer to take refuge in the security afforded by the belief in a just world in which men are the authors of their lives, and in which, in the scales of justice, the suffering or adversity the individual must bear balances out his guilt or failure.

  • Cledwyn Pus Poetics

    We are like doctors who blame their patients for not getting better, and just as irrational.

  • Nick Stuart

    You are welcome. Enjoy your mental disease. You have a brain so delapidated that no one can take you seriously… keep taking the pills. Now go upstairs and tidy your room else I will confiscate your x-box.

  • Nick Stuart

    And while you are at it… how about going into the kitchen and making us a few sandwiches…. so we can discuss more intellectual stuff that your shrunken brain will never comprehend. Thanks dear.

  • Nick Stuart

    And while you are still a tit…. I quite fancy a cup of tea. … mmmmmm..nice.

  • Cledwyn’s Pus Poetry

    Coming back to the issue of men and women, the way I see it, is that Nature is a pimp, women are its whores, and men are their customers. Both further the interests of this further of this original pimp, both are entwined in mutual self-abasement. I will no more go along with what Schopenhauer described as the insipid veneration of women (be it by men who think with their penises and not their brains, or by fanatical feminists who take umbrage whenever any woman is portrayed as something other than a saint), than I will adopt the belief in male supremacy. Both are equally contemptible, though as whores and perverts go, some of them aren’t bad.

    Now a man who would rather let his phallus fall into desuetude than part with his diseased seed, and a woman who would sooner let her womb rot than allow a mad ape to take up residence therein and thereby do Nature’s bidding, they are my kind of people.