Is Psychiatry the Tea Party of Medical Science?


When I as a European follow American politics I can’t help being amazed by the  – I believe a polite expression would be – colorful personalities in the Tea Party and how they manage to continue to be a powerful part of American politics despite making claims that as I see them reported are easily debunked.

American politics does not affect me directly but when I compare psychiatry as a part of the medical science to the Tea Party there are some striking similarities.

The Tea Party is largely funded by the Koch Brothers whose interests have quickly become an integral part of the Tea Party’s agenda just like Big Pharma’s interests has become an integral part of psychiatric science.

Like the Tea Party uses Fox News to distribute their theories about the problems in American society and economy, psychiatry uses medical journals to spread their biological explanations and justify the extreme use of psychotropics. For those of you who are interested in reading more about how Big Pharma has corrupted medical science I refer you to Peter Gøtzsche’s blog here on MIA or his brilliant book “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare.

Ever since the father of modern psychiatry Emil Kraeplin claimed that there is a biological cause for mental illness psychiatry as a medical science has focused its efforts and money on discovering this and since they focus on understanding the biological pathology of mental disorders psychiatry has failed to – or not wanted to – look at other explanations as to what causes people to enter states of extreme mental distress.

Psychiatry’s battle to keep mental illnesses part of medical science despite a 130 year track record of failing to describe any pathobiology of any psychiatric disorder can be seen as clear parallel to the Creationists claim that evolution is just a theory. The Creationists offer no scientific justification for this claim other than their belief in Genesis and other parts of the bible. I will encourage readers to listen to a creationist arguing against evolution and then substitute the creationist with a psychiatrist arguing for the medical model of mental disorders. Substitute the bible with DSM and the way of arguing is stunningly alike.

The modern ‘science’ of psychiatry disregards the traumas that people in the psychiatric system have suffered. The traumas that people in psychiatric care have suffered are disregarded just like the Tea Party denies climate change. The contributions from manmade  traumas are insignificant or unimportant compared to the underlying biology of mental disorders much like the Tea Party denies climate change is caused by manmade emission of green house gasses. When these changes can’t be denied they are rendered insignificant by aligning them to solar flares or other external explanations for climate change. Danmarks Radio – the national tv-network in Denmark has broadcasted a range of programs about mental health disorders and people suffering from mental health disorders. In one of the shows the lead psychiatrist at a forensic ward tells  the journalist, that the patients on the ward have all had horrible and traumatic lives but then continues to talk about the genetic and biological basis for schizophrenia. While the Tea Party at least denies obvious facts to hold on to their beliefs it seems that the psychiatric system is well aware of the life traumas of their mentally distressed patients – they just disregard them as plausible causes for the mental illness because they want to keep believing in their biological paradigm.

Psychiatric geneticists regularly appear in the media and receive a lot of coverage for their claim to have found the latest genetic basis of schizophrenia and yet when their colleagues, months later, publish articles reporting that this latest ‘scientific revelation’ can’t be reproduced, it gets bypassed in silence.

Republicans and the Tea Party regularly appear in the media and get lots of coverage for their newest revelation in ‘The Benghazi that when investigated turns out to be half fiction or directly untrue. Again there is a clear parallel between psychiatry as a medical science and the Tea Party as a political movement.

Most of the adoption studies used to justify the genetic basis for schizophrenia have been done in Denmark in the late 60s and early 70s. These papers should never have been published as they are the most flawed and badly conducted research I have seen. For those of you who want to learn more about psychiatric genetics I refer you to Jay Joseph’s blog here on MIA and especially to his books, “The Missing Gene: Psychiatry, Heredity, And the Fruitless Search for Genes” and “The Gene Illusion – Genetic Research in Psychiatry and Psychology Under the Microscope.

Even after President Obama made his birth certificate public there are still Birthers in the Tea Party who are convinced that the president wasn’t born in the US. this is absurdly mirrored in some peoples continued belief in an underlying chemical imbalance theory. Though all the data available shows no sign of a chemical imbalance in people with psychiatric disorders, it is still being used as an explanation for psychiatric disorders. Less than a year ago Anatomy of Epidemic was published in Danish and one of the reviewers, Professor of psychiatry Poul Videbech (specializing in depression, claimed that no serious psychiatrist had (ever) used the chemical imbalance theory as a scientific explanation for mental disorders. Right around the same time, Lundbeck – the Danish pharmaceutical company specializing in disorders of the nervous system and makers of Celexa and Lexapro – marketed a new anti-depressant which they claimed to be better at normalizing the chemical imbalance in depressed patients . . . So, a new drug is marketed rectifying a fictive chemical imbalance but psychiatric science disagrees with this explanation?

As most readers of MIA is perfectly well aware of, psychiatry has supported this myth for a long time and Phillip Hickey has nicely documented this in his blog “Psychiatry DID Promote the Chemical Imbalance Theory.”

I don’t believe in trickle-down economics, but those who push this theory resemble psychiatrists pushing the benefits of the drugs for psychiatric disorders. We have yet to see the positive impact of trickle-down economics on low income and middle class citizens  whereas it is easy to find cases of those who have been hurt by this theory.  I have still to meet those who have had positive effects of psychotropics that outweigh the side effects. I have heard plenty of promises to clients that these drugs will make you ‘so much better that you will again be a normal part of society’ only to see people ending up on disability (which thanks to the theory of trickle-down economics here in Denmark has been severely reduced) and in institutions where they are dependent on staff support.

I have been active in the fight for alternatives to standard psychiatric care in Denmark ever since I recovered enough to leave psychiatric services and in these debates those of us arguing for alternatives are often met with absurdly grotesque claims.

We are often asked: What will you do with the severely ill people who end up in locked wards? Will you just let them suffer? Lock them away for the rest of their lives?

Asking a psychiatric survivor those questions is ridiculous. I know what it feels like to be locked away while those asking these questions only lock people away. I know what it feels like to wake up and the only agenda for the day is to manage not to kill yourself. I also know that recovery is possible and that my focus is always on recovery. Thus, claims that I or other psychiatric survivors want people to suffer or be locked away are as absurd as Tea Party activists claiming that marriage equality for gays and lesbians is a threat to traditional marriage or constitutes  a threat to the rule of law. Gays and lesbians have been able to form civil unions in Denmark since the late 80s and yet we still have traditional marriage, traditional divorce and we haven’t descended into a complete state of lawlessness. Helping people with ‘schizophrenia’ without or with a minimum of drugs does not equate locking them away and leaving them in their altered reality – but it is a very effective scare tactic.

Sarah Palin claimed to know about foreign policy because she was from Alaska and could see Russia from her bedroom window. The medical chief of one of the outreach teams here in Denmark was on the cover of the Journal of the Danish Medical Association claiming that “Psychiatrists were the best to talk to the insane.” I believe those two statements share a lack of logic. If you have an understanding foreign policy because you can see a foreign country, then it makes sense that a doctor who sees psychotic people as insane is the one who is best suited to talk to them.

If you believe the evidence linking traumatic life experiences and psychosis then labeling another person insane blocks any chance of a meaningful interaction with that person, much like if you conduct foreign policy based on your knowledge of your neighbor country gained from looking at it from your bedroom window. Your foreign policy will most likely end up creating international tension.

From the European perspective the Tea Party tends to be seen as right wing extremists lacking credibility – when will medical science adapt the same view on their own Tea Party, Psychiatry?




Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. With all due respect, this is an insult to the Tea Party :).

    I do not blame you for not understanding what the Tea Party represents in American politics, since when I was living in Europe the mainstream press over there presented a very distorted vision of the American reality that I came to know when I came over here, so for the sake of informing others who might be equally confused, here comes a little bit of an explanation.

    The “Tea Party” is not a political party, rather a populous movement made of everyday citizens that became disgusted with the increased government overreach in the aftermath of the election of Barack Obama. It used the “primary system” to successfully infiltrate the Republican Party. Since the elections of 2010 several politicians representing Tea Party ideas form part of the Republican caucus both in the House of Representatives as well as the US Senate. I know of no European country in which the primaries of political parties are open to anyone, not only dues paying members of the respective parties, by law. I haven’t been following European politics much over the last years, so I would love to know if this has changed. In most European countries, it’s either the governing bodies of political parties, or primaries organized by the political parties themselves among its members, rather than public elections, that nominate candidates for political office.

    FreedomWorks is one of the numerous political action groups that promote Tea Party candidates. This is what they have to say about civil liberties . It doesn’t look very “let government lock up anybody it wants via psychiatry” to me.

    PS1: The name “Tea Party” comes from a reference to an actual Tea Party that took place in Boston prior to the American Revolution to protest what it became known as “taxation without representation”.

    PS2: For the most part, I hold Tea Party politicians like -who might as well be the Republican nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election-, or in high regard.

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    • “populous movement made of everyday citizens that became disgusted with the increased government overreach in the aftermath of the election of Barack Obama”
      Which is heavily funded and organised by the Koch Brothers’ front groups much like NAMI is a front group for pharma. Are there people in Tea Party or NAMI who really come from the grass roots and believe in the movements said goals? Sure. But I’d not consider these groups real “populous movements”.

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  2. Also I have to rush to dispel the notion that Fox News promotes coercive psychiatry. In fact, two of its most influential personalities are on record opposing lowering the standard for involuntary commitment – which is much higher than that of Denmark-,

    – Here is Dana Perino -who was GW Bush’s Press Secretary- (starting in minute 8:00) expressing her opposition using a 4th amendment argument:

    – Here is Bill O’Reilly very recently bashing those who suggested the same in the aftermath of one of those shootings .

    Finally, if it hadn’t been because Fox News support, it is very unlikely that Justina Pelletier would have recovered her freedom without her parents making any concessions to America’s most powerful academic psychiatry department: Harvard’s.

    I must say that this article contains so many distortions and misrepresentations on the Tea Party and the positions of American conservatives like yours truly that the fact that it was published “as is” reflects poorly on the editors of Mad In America.

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    • Hi cannotsay2013!
      I have never claimed that Fox News promotes coercive psychiatry . If you can direct me to the part of the post where I state anything like that I apologize and will immediately edit the post.
      Nor have I commented on Fox News’ staffs view on lowering the standard for invountary commitment.
      I have not commented on Rand Paul or Justin Amash in this article. The only politician named in it is Sarah Palin and her odd claim of knowledge of foreign policy due to the fact that she could see Russia.

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      • Several points:

        -Both the title and the content of the article are a caricature of the Tea Party. The title I’d not “Sarah Palin is the Joseph Biederman of psychiatry” but that the Tea Party as a whole is like psychiatry to medicine.

        – To justify your position you echo demonstrably false cliches about Sarah Palin like . Several others are either false or misleading.

        – That this article was published without editing speaks poorly of MIA. It is one thing for a European who has formed his opinions on the Tea Party from the distortions the European press publishes on American politics, quite another for the American editors at MIA to let them be presented as facts, like the Russia/Palin incident above.

        – Finally there are several conservatives who are also part of the MIA community. I think that Bob needs to address the topic of whether MIA is going to adopt a conservative bashing point of view like the one we expect from MSNBC.

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          • As a former European -one who bought the distortions about American politics portrayed by mainstream European sources like the BBC before coming here- I am well aware of the way the American political right is caricatured in Europe. My point is that the MIA editors should know better.

            You might it find disturbing, but close to 60 million Americans, or 45.7% of the voting public, voted in 2008 for the ticket McCain-Palin,_2008 . Furthermore, Palin was in large part responsible that the victory of Obama over McCain wasn’t even bigger (for the first half of September 2008 McCain was ahead of Obama in the polls in large part because of the Palin effect).

            Similarly, you might find it disturbing, but since 2002, Fox News has the highest number of viewers among all cable news networks .

            So a blog entry that begins with the premise that watching Fox News is “bad” or that voting for “Tea Party” politicians is “bad” and that builds on falsehoods like the Palin/”I can see Russia from my house” incident might be perceived as politically neutral in Europe (to be honest even in some places around here) but a site like MIA that prides itself of being objective should not have let it published “as is” or without a disclaimer that it is politically biased and that it doesn’t represent the views of MIA (this is what respected news media like CNN or Fox News do when they publish politically charged op-eds like this one).

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          • Again, watching a movie produced by a notoriously “pro Democratic” production company is not the best way to get an objective portrayal of American politics. From your own Wikipedia link

            “Palin said Game Change was based on a “false narrative” and that she did not intend to see it.[14] The film, and the book it is based upon, has been described by John and Cindy McCain as inaccurate.[15] Like Palin, McCain said he did not intend to see it.[13]”

            The others quoted as saying that the description was OK, Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace, are well known political consultants who work for losing campaigns. Steve Schmidt in particular has spent the last 6 years trying to “save face” for the numerous blunders he committed during the 2008 campaign that cost McCain his election. Blaming Palin became some sort of scapegoating for these political consultants and their inability to run a winning political campaign (scapegoating innocents is something that psychiatric survivors know a thing or two about). Something that happened again in 2012 with different consultants of the same mindset. This is an analysis published by the Associated Press (hardly a conservative outlet)

            “Romney would have erased Obama’s nearly 5 million-vote victory margin and narrowly won the popular vote if voters had turned out as they did in 2004, according to Frey’s analysis. Then, white turnout was slightly higher and black voting lower.”

            These expensive, and incompetent, political consultants not happy with costing the Republicans elections, then go around bashing the party that hired them in the first place. This is how it goes with losing political consultants (Democratic ones are known for doing exactly the same when they lose their campaigns, as an analysis of the aftermath of 2004 and 2010 shows).

            This is too subtle for somebody whose main understanding of American politics comes watching “Game Change” and similarly biased productions.

            Again, I don’t blame you. Sort of coming to the US and living here for a couple of years, reading media outlets of different persuasions, there is now way that you can get an accurate picture of our politics from reading the European media alone. Just as I have lost touch with Europeans politics after my many years living over here (thus I was a bit surprised when xenophobic and other type of extremist parties got a significant share of the vote in the recent elections for the European parliament; I suppose that I would feel similarly pissed off watching unelected European Union bureaucrats becoming wealthy at my expense; “taxation without representation” was the theme of the original Boston Tea Party after all).

            My beef remains with the MIA editors who should have known better. Still waiting that they publish some sort of disclaimer that this blogger’s political opinions are his own and do not reflect MIA’s.

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          • Regarding Michelle Bachmann,



            “In the wake of the Justina Pelletier custody saga, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers have introduced a bill to limit federal funding for medical research involving foster children.

            “Sixteen months ago, Justina was a figure skater. Today, she cannot stand, sit or walk on her own,” Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, said of the bill, dubbed “Justina’s Law.”

            “It is unconscionable what happened to Justina, and we must do all we can to prevent it from ever happening again. Removing federal funding from such experimentation is an important first step,” said Mrs. Bachmann.

            “Foster children are particularly vulnerable because they may not have parents to advocate for them,” said Rep. Karen Bass, California Democrat, who is co-sponsoring the bill with Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat, and Rep. Tom Marino, Pennsylvania Republican.

            All four lawmakers are co-chairmen of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth in the House of Representatives.”

            “Here you go again”, presenting a caricature of Michelle Bachmann that does not match the reality of American politics.

            Throwing out the names of politicians demonized by the European media does not make you an expert in American politics.

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          • E Silly,

            There seems to be a pattern with you in which you present issues as if they come from some sort of “enlightened state of mind” when they are simply your own political positions and biases. It happened with the whole Scientology smear and it is happening now with the politics of American conservatives.

            Believe it or not, a large percentage of Americans do think that homosexual behavior is sinful. The United States is a much more religious society than Western Europe, because of its history of higher regard for religious freedom, so you can bet that people voted for Michele Bachmann precisely because of her views on homosexuality. Evangelical Christians make a sizable part of American society, whether Europeans like it or not.

            It might seem strange to you that many Americans vote for positions like those defended by Michele Bachmann but I can assure you that on this side of the Atlantic, there are still people scratching their heads that the National Front won the last elections to the European Parliament in France or that the Danish People’s Party won the same election in Denmark. At least the Tea Party movement is not racist!

            And before you bring again Western European folklore about how racist the Tea Party is, I challenge you to name me a single politician associated with the Tea Party movement that holds racist views like those of the leaders of the French National Front or the Danish People’s Party.

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        • Sorry but Sarah Palin is not only dumb as a doorknob but also has a dubious personality – the best proof that evil does not require intelligence to thrive. One can discuss the merits of Rand Paul with whom I happen to agree on some issues but Palin is despicable and there’s really not much to misrepresent.

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    • Exactly – Fox News was one of a few outlets which were very loud about Justina Pelletier’s ordeal. They of course did it for political reasons (to target the democratic governor and “big government in general) but in this case kudos for them nonetheless. Progressive media has ignored this whole story.
      On the other hand I largely do agree with the picture of Tea Party presented in the article.

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  3. «I must say that this article contains so many distortions and misrepresentations on the Tea Party and the positions of American conservatives like yours truly that the fact that it was published “as is” reflects poorly on the editors of Mad In America.»

    what a great rational debate.

    «Also I have to rush to dispel the notion that Fox News promotes coercive psychiatry.»

    He didn’t write about that at all.

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  4. Something else,

    “Top journalists from The New York Times, NBC News and CNN acknowledged Wednesday that, generally speaking, the national media have a liberal bias.

    On a Playbook Breakfast panel, the Times’ Peter Baker and Mark Leibovich, NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell and CNN’s Jake Tapper all said “yes” when asked if the news media lean left — though all agreed it was a nuanced issue having more to do with journalists’ life experiences than with any particular agenda.”

    Several studies on political party affiliation of American journalists confirm this. So reading these same journalists bashing Tea Party politicians is not the best way to get an accurate portrayal of American politics.

    The real miracle is that in spite of having to work in this hostile environment we still manage to win elections from time to time. I am not bashing these leftist journalists though. The reason we lost in 2012 had more to do with the incompetence of the Romney campaign and its consultants -like the ones who scapegoated on Sarah Palin the 2008 loss- than with the demonstrable leftist bias of the American media.

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    • “national media have a liberal bias”
      No, reality has a well known liberal bias. Media, even the so-called progressive media are hopelessly right-wing and corporatist.

      “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”

      ― Noam Chomsky, The Common Good

      Tea Party is just one way to limit the discussion to the right wing or far far far right wing.

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  5. With all due respect to my fellow commentators, this isn’t a political site; it’s a psychiatric site. I won’t bother to address your biases.

    Mr. Rüdinger, considering how little we know about the human brain, I think it premature of you to dismiss biological processes as anything but integral to behavioral science. Whether a situational crisis or environmental event precipitates a mental state, there are still biological processes occurring.

    Have you considered that, just as physical trauma precipitates a biological wound to the body, emotional trauma precipitates a biological wound to the mind? Neurochemicals become unbalanced. Pathways in the brain change. There is a distinct response to the emotional trauma that must, in the absence of magical thinking, be called biological.

    Fortunately for us, the brain is an organism that is capable of repairing itself to some degree. Otherwise, therapies like DBT and CBT would not work…and they most definitely do. By your own will, you can create new pathways.

    This is not to say that we now know how to heal all behavioral disorders, but we can improve some by our own actions, just as we can improve wounds to the body by rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Certainly, you cannot remove your own gall bladder; you require a trained professional. Nor can you improve your paranoid schizophrenia without a psychiatrist. QED

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    • Hi LunaNik!
      I am very well aware that there are biological processes happening in the brain in every situation that we are in. We can’t function without neural activity. I’ve actually studied a lot of the biological processes so it is not that I negate the fact that they exist. Just like I don’t deny that we as a society need a healthy economy.
      When I compare psychiatry to the Tea Party it is because from my perspective the Tea Party candidates make a lot of claims that they fail to prove – just like psychiatry has a 130 year long track record of failing to identify the biological pathology they always claim exists. If you can guide me to scientific literature documenting the existence of a biological pathology behind psychiatric disorders then I would indeed be very grateful and if the evidence base is sufficiently large I will definitely alter my views.

      As for your argument that we can’t remove your own gall bladder somehow proofs that we can’t recover from paranoid schizophrenia it is classical psychiatric proof. How are the two things linked?
      Your argument has no substance. You might as well claim that because a glass falls to the floor and shatters when we push it off a table thus you need a psychiatrist to recover from paranoid schizophrenia.
      Where is your documentation for your claim that you can’t recover from paranoid schizophrenia without the help of a psychiatrist. I know several people who have recovered in spite of the ‘help’ they got from their psychiatrist and I have heard several psychiatrist claiming that paranoid schizophrenia is a chronic, progressive disease.

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      • Speaking of falsehoods,

        As I write this, I can still read in your piece despite being demonstrably false (see the snopes page),

        “Sarah Palin claimed to know about foreign policy because she was from Alaska and could see Russia from her bedroom window”

        Sarah Palin never said that.

        As I said, there are other falsehoods or misleading statements in your piece. I am not doing the fact checking for you.

        Also one has to wonder how is that you picked the Tea Party for your allegory, which is obvious you know little about, but you left out the Danish People’s Party which not only is demonstrably a xenophobic party but you surely must know better since it is Denmark’s creation and was part of the governing coalition in Denmark during most of the 2000s.

        Still scratching my head that factually false information is allowed to be published by MIA (again Sarah Palin never said what you say she said).

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    • LunaNik

      Numerous people once labeled “paranoid schixophrenic” have healed and transcended the emotional and psychological distress that they experienced and have regained their lives and moved on. Most of these people accomplished this without the help of psychiatrists and most did it despite psychiatry. Some of the most famous psychologists and psychiatrists in the psychiatric survivor movement are people who were once labeled as profoundly and uncurably “paranoid schisophrenic.” You are stating things that don’t measure up to the facts as they stand at this moment.

      Most of us in the survivor movement recovered and healed despite psychiatry. We don’t need those people to be able to heal ourselves and move on with our lives.

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    • “Nor can you improve your paranoid schizophrenia without a psychiatrist.”
      Any proof for such a claim? Drugs used for “treatment” of “schizophrenia” have been shown to be harmful long-term and in many cases ineffective even short term. Psychotherapy has in turn been shown to improve outcomes in people who refuse meds. There are cases of “spontaneous recovery”, there is Open Dialogue. Sounds like psychiatrists may be redundant if not harmful.

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  6. Great article and great to see Trickle Down Economics and the Tea party slagged off so thoroughly.

    I think bio-psychiatry and neo liberal economics are related. Bio-psychiatry took off as neo liberal economics did, in the 80’s under Reagon and Thatcher. Deregulate and turn things over to the market and hey presto, sell lots of dangerous drugs and weaken any regulation.

    The Tea Party is funded in part by the Billionaire Koch Brothers, much like Big Pharma funds Astro Turf groups like CHADD and NARMI. A UK commentator said the modern Tea Party is much like the original one where the rich have persuaded the poor to fight on their behalf. Much like Big Pharma pursuaded NARMI and CHADD to fight on the behalf of Big Pharma profits

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  7. Ha! Ha! Great article! My grandmother always said when she invited people to her tea parties that we were to NEVER discuss politics or religion and certainly not together. Well here Bertel you have dared to do both while reflecting on psychiatry! I love it!
    Being me I naturally would ask “granny, why can’t we talk about politics or religion?” And my grandmother would answer because everyone ends up fighting.
    But the fact is psychiatry is political, the personal is political and psychiatry by not having science on its side makes it a belief system. Bravo for pointing that out Bertel

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    • Except that MIA is not supposed to be a blog about personal politics, when it comes to the bloggers, but about psychiatry. The only politics that should be allowed from bloggers is as it pertains to psychiatry. In fact politics is the reason Bob Whitaker gave to ban bloggers associated with CCHR/Scientology. Apparently echoing demonstrably false information about American politics is fine, as long as they are about the American right.

      One of the most persistent stereotypes that exist about average Americans in Europe is that we are clueless about what happens outside our borders. Several polls seem to support this. It is my personal experience though that Americans who don’t know will tell you out right: I don’t know. My experience with Europeans is the opposite, when they don’t know about something, they throw some cliches to give the appearance that they do, as this blogger is doing with Tea Party politics or E Silly did with the Scientology smear. Obviously, I find the position of the average American more authentic and reflective of self confidence. Worse things happen when people work on faulty beliefs than on the assumption that more information is needed.

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      • MIA has people blogging and commenting of a fairly wide political pursuasion. He was using some political movements and perticular politicians think and comparing them to how psychiatry thinks.

        That may or may not be legitimate. I leave that up to the editors.

        However, looking at how big business influences psychiatry, prescribing and public attitudes to psyche drugs is relevant and that is partly a political process. It is partly about how the state regulates big business.

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  8. Mr Rüdinger;

    I suggest you research American Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul through the,,,,, and for a more factual tally of their actions and motivations.

    “the Tea Party denies climate change is caused by manmade emission of green house gasses”

    They deny it because that position is factually correct.

    “The Tea Party is largely funded by the Koch Brothers whose interests have quickly become an integral part of the Tea Party’s agenda just like Big Pharma’s interests has become an integral part of psychiatric science.”

    I fail to see how donating $25 Million to the United Negro College Fund is in any way similar to Psychiatry being Pharma’s marketing Dept.

    “Like the Tea Party uses Fox News to distribute their theories about the problems in American society and economy, psychiatry uses medical journals to spread their biological explanations and justify the extreme use of psychotropics.”

    The Tea Party stands for smaller, less expensive and less intrusive Govt. With this current Administration putting us $5 Trillion deeper in debt – in 2011 alone this Administration issued a staggering $216 Billion in new ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that’ Regulations – Tea Party theories about reducing the scope of Govt. are not mere theories.

    Do you find anything “Extreme” about that?

    Pharma has only one theory: ‘Increase Share Holder Value’ no matter what the cost to Society. Psych/Pharma is a huge part of that Debt through SSDI payouts and their ongoing decimation of the workforce/productive sector.

    Fox News is a business. If its consumers didn’t want what Fox Broadcasts Fox wouldn’t have trounced NBC and MSNBC in the ratings for a consecutive 146 months. If Fox allowed itself to be “Used” the way MSNBC allows itself to be “Used”, Fox wouldn’t be as big as it is.

    Are your local news sources relying on MSNBC?

    Do your local news sources ever have anything to report about Billionaire Tom Steyer, funding the American Left? And if not, why not? They apparently feel quite free to bash the Koch’s.

    “Substitute the bible with DSM and the way of arguing is stunningly alike.”

    Psychiatry has nothing to do with the Bible or Creationism. Psychiatry/Psychology is Humanism: “Good Without A God”.

    Humanism is Godless because to institute its Utopia the State itself must replace God despite the historical record that every time that God of endless Bureaucrats has been tried it manifests the mind and motivations of whatever possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

    Personally, I’d welcome daily knocks on my door from Scripture quoting Little Old Ladies passing out the Watchtower over the Socialist mess we’re groaning under in America today in a heartbeat. Dismiss the Bible if you like but those Watchtower Ladies aren’t trying to lobotomize you simply for dirty money.

    I find it revelatory that you chose the Bible as an example of a way of arguing to bash the DSM. Why not the Quran? It’s Safe to ridicule Christians. Not so Safe to ridicule Muslims, huh? What’s it like on that front in your country? Does your Govt. cite you for Hate Speech? Or do you just run the risk of being murdered in broad daylight?

    “While the Tea Party at least denies obvious facts to hold on to their beliefs”

    Do you have examples beyond Man Made Climate Change which is Politically Agendized, Wealth Redistribution? And even if it weren’t, the Cure is worse than the Disease because it would only hobble the economies of 1st world nations which already produce far less Green House gasses than Socialist/Communist China.

    While I have seen more than one report/editorial here with which I take exception, I usually pass on engaging the author’s misconceptions as an exercise in futility.

    However, this particular piece does MIA and the Survivor Movement itself a disservice: creating an aura of disbelief in the cupidity of Survivors: ‘Perhaps Psychiatry really Does know what’s best for “Those People” if this piece is a serious yardstick of what goes on in their minds.

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    • I love this post.

      I just want to address one point,

      “Are your local news sources relying on MSNBC?”

      While I have absolutely no clue what are Bertel Rüdinger’s news sources, I can positively say that in Western Europe (in my own former country but also in others I have visited and based on my contact with other Western Europeans) the MSNBC message is what you read in the mainstream news sources over there.

      You might think that while you can expect that type of rhetoric from left wing outlets in Europe, “right wing outlets” should be different. Wrong. European right wing outlets bash the United States for a different reason: nationalistic politics.

      All Western European countries were either heads of large global empires, which are largely gone because of decolonization, or proud part of local empires (like Austria) so their right wing politicians hate the United States because Western Europe is pretty much irrelevant in today’s geopolitics.

      The leaders of Western Europe in the aftermath of WWII decided to retreat from world politics to focus on building local welfare states all while outsourcing Europe’s defense to the US throughout the cold war. It was a choice that these leaders made but they forgot that said arrangement would be less relevant to the United States once the cold were over. The end of the cold war happened, the US retreated from Western Europe and it exposed the continent’s many weaknesses.

      One would think that in these circumstances the political leaders of Europe would critically examine themselves. Wrong. Anti Americanism provides a good distraction tool that is used by both right wing and left wing politicians over there. While I am totally opposed to the massive spying perpetrated by the NSA, the hypocritical way in which Angela Merkel has reacted to the Snowden disclosures shows you how anti American politics are still widely popular over there.

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      • Btw, why do you assume that European mass media are any better than American? I don’t consume neither because they are hopelessly biased. There is this thing called internet where you can find alternative sources of news… By attacking MSNBC you’re essentially creating a strawman.
        Why there should be this false choice: Democrats or Republicans, MSNBC or Fox? It’s all the same bs mascarading as a legitimate debate.
        Europe has it’s problems but check the statistics on newborn mortality, education, mass shootings or shootings by police. I have mighty problems with policies of many European countries as I’ve lived in a few but it’s nothing like US right now (though it’s also getting worse). America is acting like a bully on the international stage and it’s pissing people off all over the world. As a libertarian you should be familiar with Ron Paul’s speech “why do they hate us?” – I disagree with the guy on almost everything but he got that one 100% right.

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        • Why there should be this false choice: Democrats or Republicans, MSNBC or Fox? It’s all the same bs mascarading as a legitimate debate.

          Exactly. Two corporatist political parties. Two corporatist media enterprises. The differences are only in branding. The People are not represented.

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    • “Socialist mess we’re groaning under in America today in a heartbeat”
      You want to see socialist mess go to some of the European countries (unfortunately less and less because of the neoliberal agenda taking hold with the global crisis) and I can assure you American economic system has nothing to do with it. Socialism is not America’s or world’s problem: it is capitalism or corporatism if you prefer and overwhelming greed.
      Global warming is not a hoax and people who fund climate deniers are also heavily funded by Kochs who happen to profit of gas/oil. Earth temperatures ON AVERAGE are going up and it can’t be explained by long-term trends in Earths climate (it’s too fast) or sun activity (it should be getting colder). But I guess some people will believe it only when they are knee deep in water (or probably not even).
      I don’t want to discuss someone’s personal believe in god or creationism but it’s not science and evolution is the universally accepted theory which has been shown over and over in many experiments and observations.
      “The Tea Party stands for smaller, less expensive and less intrusive Govt.”
      This is not a viable policy. The problems with debt don’t stem from too much government – they stem from tax cuts combined with spending money on such awesome adventures like Iraq and Afghanistan. There are places where there is overreach but there are also legitimate functions of government if it was not corrupted: back to psychiatry, America could do with a better FDA which actually does it’s job. The problem is not “too much government”, it’s “too corrupt government”.

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      • Re: climate: Right, not to mention the rapidly increasing ocean acidification. How is that being “faked”?

        Re: “socialist mess”: In terms of government policy, there is very little that is socialist about the US. That is one of its biggest failings.

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  9. @E.Silly;

    “I’m sorry, but Bachmann is her own caricature.”

    I did watch your youtube link, and regardless of the interviewers “Gotcha” journalism on the gay marriage issue, I found a great deal more solace in her insistence that people in her Administration would have to Support The Constitution, Which, Would actually Solve most of the problems if not All of the problems the Mental Health field has created.


    “As the mother of 23 foster children, I am committed to the improvement and support of America’s adoption and foster care systems until every orphan and foster child has a loving and secure home. ”

    23 Foster children.

    How many people – regardless of being ambushed as a homophobe on Meet The Press – or in any other walk of life, can top that?

    Is investing the time and energy to raise 23 Foster Children the act of an irrational, “Hater”, a caricature?

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  10. Another thought. As to why it is important that Mad In America doesn’t fool itself associating with political posts like this: its credibility.

    Bob Whitaker says he keeps CCHR/Scientology bloggers out for political/tactic reasons. Whatever influence these have, is nothing in comparison to actual American politicians.

    Pete Earley has repeatedly said in his blogs things like,

    “D. J. Jaffe, a protege of Dr. Torrey, and founder of Mental Illness Policy.Org accused the Democrats of stripping the guts from Rep. Murphy’s bill in favor of maintaing the status quo. He specifically chastized the Democrats for their continued support of SAMHSA.

    Congress created SAMHSA to “target … mental health services to the people most in need”. SAMHSA fails to focus on the seriously ill and funds programs and groups that make care more difficult. Those groups want to keep their funding. Only four of the 288 programs in the SAMHSA National Registry of Evidence Based Practices are for people with serious mental illness. SAMHSA uses block grant funds to coerce states to replace the medical model with SAMHSA’s recovery model, which requires people self-direct their own care. The most seriously ill, who are psychotic and delusional can not self direct their own care. SAMHSA encourages states to spend on prevention, when there is no way to prevent schizophrenia, bipolar or the other serious mental illnesses. SAMHSA suggests everyone recovers, thereby ignoring those so ill they do not. While accurate diagnosis is key to getting the right treatment, SAMHSA funds 20 Technical Assistance Centers (TAC) and the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) which joined the “Occupy Psychiatry” movement by declaring that “psychiatric labeling is a pseudoscientific practice of limited value in helping people recover.” Many NCMHR/TAC leaders do not believe mental illness exists and conduct SAMHSA funded workshops to teach persons with mental illness how to go off treatment. HR 3717 eliminates this nonsense by limiting SAMHSA to funding evidence-based programs and ending their ability to fund anti-medical model advocacy. This has engendered opposition from recipients of SAMHSA funds that do not focus on the seriously mentally ill nor use evidence based practices. This provision of HR 3717 is smart government: replace programs that don’t work with ones that do.

    Several of the mental health groups that have been working behind the scenes to thwart Rep. Murphy’s bill receive significant funding from SAMHSA.”

    One of the most absurd lines of attack coming from Murphy and his supporters to the opponents of his abusive bill is that it is motivated by traditional politics (Republicans vs Democrats) and by people who get currently funded by government.

    I must say that intentionally or unintentionally, publishing this blog advances that narrative since MIA has published several entries chastising, rightly so, Tim Murphy’s bill. If the concern of “appearance of conflict of interests” is genuine, then Mad In America should not publish political pieces like this that contain falsehoods about the Tea Party and Sarah Palin.

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  11. Liberal big government is what gave us big psychiatry.

    Psychiatry and liberals both think they know whats best for everyone.

    It’s the liberals always pushing for mental health screening in schools.

    Veteran psychiatrist calls liberals mentally ill !

    “Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded,” says Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of the new book, “The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness.” “Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave.”


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  12. I am totally out numbered here so I am pasting more from Dr. Rossiter,

    “A social scientist who understands human nature will not dismiss the vital roles of free choice, voluntary cooperation and moral integrity – as liberals do,” he says. “A political leader who understands human nature will not ignore individual differences in talent, drive, personal appeal and work ethic, and then try to impose economic and social equality on the population – as liberals do. And a legislator who understands human nature will not create an environment of rules which over-regulates and over-taxes the nation’s citizens, corrupts their character and reduces them to wards of the state – as liberals do.”

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    • And a sensible person will not ignore the power of the corporations and will realise that deregulation, as promoted by libertarians and the Tea Party will benefit the corporations and the rich while impoverishing the rest of us.

      Voluntary cooperation was a key part of the cooperative movement and allied to the labour party in the UK – and probably allied to socialist all around the world.

      Liberal means something different in the UK, but “free choice, voluntary cooperation and moral integrity,” are key to most left wing and social democrat ideas, though everything has limits. It just depends on whether you think the limits are about the public good or the benefit of the rich. Though what those limits are and how they should be enforced are endlessly debatable.

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      • America was founded by libertarians.

        Big government is just a fat waste, most all they do is enrich themselves with the billions of dollars they extort from the people mostly doing “work” consuming office supplies, violating freedoms and peoples lives wile creating nothing useful at all to anyone. You can’t eat or live in a stack of Govt forms and paperwork. It’s just expensive garbage that creates stress in everyone’s lives.

        In the USA big govt IS that greedy corporation with police powers on top of it.

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  13. Why The Tea Party Flocks To Rick Santorum

    WASHINGTON — Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has become a top-tier candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in recent weeks by appealing to evangelical voters as a man steeped in family values and his Christian faith. From 2007 to 2011, however, Santorum served on the board of directors of Universal Health Services Inc., a large hospital chain which racked up dozens of allegations of abuse during that time — including everything from rape to suicide attempts allowed by neglect to murder.

    I support freedom not these dirtbags.

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  14. I hope one day the “mentally ill will realize the system that is keeping them down, perpetuating and reinforcing illness and stigma. What we really need is strength. We need to realize that trauma is the source of our differences. Our dissociation from ourself and our suppressed memories keep us afraid. Society keeps us afraid and ashamed of our trauma, of our anxiety. This fear of being different can escalate symptoms of mental illness. “Mental illness”

    It is designed to oppress us, take away out power, our voice. There is a cure. It is realizing there are suppressed memories. We have hidden these memories to protect ourselves, but once we realize how past traumas have influenced “symptoms” we can become whole.
    My mission is to find the cure to the Illness that does not exist.

    -Tru Harlow

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  15. Let’s see how many people we can offend in a single post… Republicans, Christians…. Not that you should never offend anybody, but you really gained nothing by these comparisons. I’d suggest you stick to matters of psychiatry and keep your views on American politics and religion separate, as they’ll only serve as red herrings to distract people from the real issues at hand.

    I’m not a Republican, I agree many Tea Partiers are crazy, but as someone who believes in freedom and constitutional government I sympathize with a number of their ideas. All political parties make outrageous claims that aren’t backed up by facts. Why make this gratuitous comparison between biological psychiatry and the political movement you most disagree with? Totally counterproductive.

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      • It is fun.

        Liberalism says that….

        1) …it’s all about choice — unless you want to choose which gun or lightbulb to use, which school your child will attend, or you’d prefer more freedom and smaller government.

        2) …it cares about the environment, when in practice, not only do liberals like Al Gore live some of the most resource-wasting and ostentatious lifestyles on the planet, but they hurt the environment by blocking environmentally friendly energy production here in favor of energy sources from nations that care little about pollution.

        3) …you can have lots of free government services and somebody else will pay for them. The trillion dollar deficit we’re running every year that will have to be paid back says otherwise.

        …it’s all about compassion and taking care of the less fortunate, unless liberals have their own money on the line, in which case they give less to charity than those stingy, greedy, heartless conservatives.

        …it’s going to deliver equality of outcomes for everyone, which is true, if by “delivering equality of outcomes” you mean “make everyone poorer.”

        ….it’ll help the poor — and it does. Liberalism helps poor Americans live in ghettos with just enough food and money to survive so they can stay dependent on liberals.
        …liberals are the only people who care about black Americans and want to help, which doesn’t seem to square with the fact that just about anywhere and everywhere liberals have been in charge for decades, like Detroit or New Orleans, most black Americans are in dire straits.

        …you can fix crime by taking away guns, but by definition, the people who will voluntarily give up guns are law abiding citizens who have no intention of committing a crime in the first place.

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        • “The trillion dollar deficit we’re running every year that will have to be paid back says otherwise.” which is due to things: tax cuts for the rich and wars. Both right wing policies now happily continued by the “hope and change” Obama. Honestly, they’re all crooks.

          “it’s going to deliver equality of outcomes for everyone, which is true, if by “delivering equality of outcomes” you mean “make everyone poorer.””
          That’s actually not true – trickle down economics has been proven to be bs and the only reason why it is still pushed is that the rich get richer and can “trickle down” on us all.
          I happen to live in a country with a lot of evil socialist policies and I love it and if not for them I would probably not be either dead or locked up or worse.

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          • I happen to live in a country with a lot of evil socialist policies and I love it and if not for them I would probably not be either dead or locked up or worse.

            Good for you, B. I often daydream about how if I lived in Europe instead of The Greatest Nation In The World, I might have a home and enough food.

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      • ITS LOTS OF FUN !!!

        What is Modern American Liberalism ?

        The (mistaken) belief that the restriction of Individual Liberty and private property rights can improve society through government efforts to design and manage economic and social structures.
        The (mistaken) belief that a mob of men can better manage society than core values that protect the individual and his property and enforcement of laws that ensure equal protection of citizens while limiting government and allowing individuals to protect themselves.
        The (mistaken) belief that social safety nets imposed on the populace are more compassionate than allowing the individual freedom to fail (or succeed) from one’s life decisions.
        The (mistaken) belief that involuntary re-distribution of wealth is moral.

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        • You mistake what I meant. I meant to argue politics can be fun, whatever political believes you have.

          I am not a USA liberal.

          My position is deregulation such as encouarged by neo-liberal politics and Libertarian ideas such as expoused by the Tea Party allow those with money, ie large corporations, to make more money by fleecing people: this can be seen in the way fast food corporations have produced cheap, unhealthy food by paying people badly, buying supplies from poorly raised cows, killed and butchered in unhealthy dangerous slaughter houses – and how big pharma has watered down regulatory bodies, pushed psyche drugs onto the public, pushed them onto children, influenced Dr and all the other things that this website highlights.

          Giving things over to the market makes corporations more powerful and richer while impoverishing and putting at risk the rest of us.

          This website is partly about citizens protecting themselves because government has failed to protect us from Big Pharma.

          So the laws that protect citizens from dangerous drugs have been influenced by Big Pharma, and that is partly due to deregulation that gives power to corporations.

          That is not necessarily a Liberal – in the USA sense – position. It could be anarchist, communist, socialist, social democrat, or anything that says corporate power is dangerous and that the needs of citizens need to be taken into account.

          The alternatives to conventional psychiatry proposed on this website are indeed about providing safety nets for those who have failed from their lives decisions – though these are mediated by their lives experiences of trauma and oppression.

          Conventional psychiatry on the other hand blames people who have had hard lives and subsequently made bad choices and then gives them dangerous medication

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    • Counterproductive is the right word.

      After a few days, what this post has managed to do is,

      – To infuriate those commenters who saw political positions they agree with caricatured by a blogger who readily admits that his political opinions are based on what he perceives from Europe – in full disclosure I agree with some Tea Party positions, particularly those that have to do with small government and civil liberties, but not with others.

      – To have several commenters cheer the post not because of what it says when it comes to psychiatry – because in fact it said pretty little about psychiatry- but because they also share the anti Tea Party politics expressed by the blogger.

      – Contribute to the narrative that the opposition to reforms like the Murphy bill are ultimately based on politics and that outlets like MIA are part of some sort of “anti psychiatry coalition” part of the larger progressive coalition.

      – Divide the MIA community. No meaningful reform is going to happen if the psychiatric survivor movement is perceived as a fringe movement inside the progressive political coalition.

      I’ve stated numerous times that I oppose gay marriage (I am fine with civil unions for gay couples). While that discussion is a different topic altogether, the reality is that the gay rights movement would not have been successful in the US had it not been because it managed to persuade people of all political backgrounds of their position. Marginalizing the survivor movement to left wing politics is a disservice to the movement itself.

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  16. To much paste above sorry. I just seriously hate liberalism.

    I would like to start a business with some of my “mentally ill” friends.

    I have lots of idea’s of stuff we could do.

    There is little chance we could do a business “legally” with licenses , permit’s, fees, a zillion forms and paperwork’s. I don’t have the ability to jump those hoops or hire lawyers or paralegals to do it for me.

    Of course I put legally in quotes cause most gov’t hassles are illegal if you read the constitution.

    Those liberal phonies have everyone tricked into blaming “the rich” for their problems.

    It makes me sick and makes me waste to much time online messing with it.

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