On Cognitive Liberty: A Principle to Rally Behind


Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind. (Milton, Comus)

Everyone has the right to freedom to hold opinions without interference.” (United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” (Bertrand Russell)

Whether we are members of the antipsychiatry movement, the mad movement, the critical psychiatry movement, or the neurodiversity movement, despite very real differences between us, we are united by a common cause—to wit, reining in the psy disciplines, for the most part, in particular psychiatry. Various concepts assist us in this vital endeavour. Examples of concepts that have been and are likely to continue to be indispensable in this regard are: validity, construct validity, basic human rights, dignity, and free and informed consent. A concept that falls squarely under the larger umbrella of human rights that I am suggesting that we would do well to draw on more is cognitive liberty. It is this concept that I am exploring in this article.

Traces of the principle now called cognitive liberty can be found in legal literature dating back as far as Roman times. An early formulation is evident in the maxim of Roman law “cogitationis poenam nemo patitur” (which means ‘no one can be punished for his thought alone’—for a good discussion of the history of the concept, see “Cognitive Liberty or the International Human Right to Freedom of Thought”). This principle in various forms has continued to be drawn on throughout the ages, with freedom of thought becoming a hallmark of the Enlightenment.

Underlying the general principle is a belief that on a profound existential level, the self-direction coming from our mind, our awareness, our consciousness is precisely what makes us human. Correspondingly, whether it arises from a dictatorial regime intent on punishing people for thoughts considered treasonous or it originates with a so-called “helping professional” out to alter our consciousness purportedly for our own good, interference with our right to our own awareness constitutes nothing less than a violation of our humanity.

Albeit intimately related to this age-old discourse on liberty and on the freedom of the mind, the term “cognitive liberty” itself is comparatively new. It got introduced and became popular recently with the spread of neuroscience and neurotechnology. Coined by neuroethicist Dr. Wrye Sententia and legal theorist and lawyer Richard Glen Boire, the term’s development and meteoric rise in popularity can be traced to the enormous threat that people see as posed by this new technology—the threat to the very integrity of the mind.

Like freedom of thought formulations before it, cognitive liberty refers to liberty in the area of mind or consciousness. At the same time, it reaches somewhat beyond earlier formulations. More particularly, the concept of cognitive liberty is predicated on the idea that there are three basic cognitive rights that we all have simply by virtue of being part of the human community, to wit:

1) People have the right to think both what they think and how they think. That is, people have a fundamental right to cognitive self-determination.

2) People have a right for their thoughts to be private.

3) People have the right to alter their own consciousness (for a video that highlights these three dimensions, see The Audiopedia’s “What is Cognitive Liberty?”)

It is this concept thusly articulated that I am looking for our community to upfront more. Why?

Quite simply because linking our respective movements to this concept brings with it a number of distinct advantages. On one level, it is valuable—one might even say necessary—precisely because it goes to the core of what we are as human beings. Correspondingly, it unmasks psychiatry for the profound human rights violator that it is. More fundamentally still, it reveals such transgression as the essence of what psychiatry is actually all about.

On a related level, it is valuable because it links us to a long-standing tradition and widely accepted legal and philosophic value—the value of liberty, with particular emphasis on the freedom of the mind—as found in Roman law; as articulated, for example, by John Stuart Mills in his seminal treatise On Liberty. As such, it could be of significant help in bringing the general public on side. Given the enormous prejudices against people seen as mad, the public often balks when it comes to the rights of psychiatrized people—the right, for example, to refuse treatment. More securely anchoring these rights to broader human rights with a long-standing history arguably could go a long way to navigating around this prejudice. To be clear, of course, we have already linked it in other ways to broader human rights and indeed have been doing so for centuries, and we need to continue doing so. Moreover, we have been making noteworthy strides with initiatives like the CRPD as currently formulated (see “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” on the United Nations website). Linking it additionally and explicitly to this right, nonetheless, has the added advantage that comes from this being a right that the public is currently highly concerned about.

The concept is valuable, additionally, because of how enormously broad and far-reaching it is. It of course rules out all compulsory psychiatric treatment aimed at changing people’s thoughts or “correcting their minds”—and this is critical. It rules out hassling people in any way for taking the recreational drugs that they choose to take, including those that the law currently criminalizes. However, it also rules out surveillance—and as we know, psychiatry is an extensive and all-encompassing system of surveillance. Additionally, if such a principle were accepted, it could allow us to significantly curb the pressure that is routinely brought to bear on people “technically free” to make their own decisions. How so? Because all such pressure is transparently incompatible with cognitive self-determination.

To give you a quick taste of what a principle like this could hypothetically be used to protect people from:

If cognitive liberty were truly enshrined as an inviolable human right:

  • Would anyone be able to be drugged or electroshocked against their will? No.
  • Would it be acceptable to try to alter someone’s brain by subjecting them to electrical stimulation under the pretext that they are children who do not know what is best for them and that this would improve their thought processes? Or indeed, under any other pretext? Not for a second!
  • Could people be locked up for what they think or seem to be thinking? No.
  • Could concepts like “grandiose thinking” and “paranoid thoughts” be used to typify people and/or to fashion approaches to them? No.
  • Would any current psychiatric diagnoses be acceptable? Nary a one of them.
  • Could extensive notes be taken on people, despite their wish for privacy? No way! (In other words, gone would be all that spying on survivors and the compilation of case records that can be trotted out and used against them in an instant.)
  • Could anyone be thrown in jail or in a psychiatric institution or have “treatment” forced upon them for using recreational drugs like heroin? No.
  • Could threats—covert or otherwise—or dismal predictions of what will happen to people if they do not agree to what is being recommended to them be used to pressure said people to agree to mind-altering treatments? Of course not!

In a nutshell, psychiatry as we know it today quite simply could not exist.

Nor is this the totality of the benefits that could be gleaned by rallying behind this concept. By way of example, it could also be of use to us in fostering alliances between the antipsychiatry movement, the critical psychiatry movement, the mad movement, and the neurodiversity movement—for it provides us with a basis through which we can act together. If we were considering joining in a collective action, for instance, despite very real theoretic and practical differences, one way we might go about deciding whether or not to take the leap is by asking ourselves questions like: Is the action consistent with a commitment to cognitive liberty? And does it aim in the direction of maximizing cognitive liberty?

Now, to be clear, I am in no way suggesting that we should always and only be uniting across differences. As an antipsychiatry theorist and activist, for example, I place enormous importance on the claim that there is no biological basis whatsoever to any of the so-called “psychiatric disorders,” also on maintaining an uncompromising abolitionist stance. Correspondingly, I often wrestle and will continue to wrestle with theorists and activists whose positions are of a reformist nature. Nonetheless, I also want to be able to unite with them. And I see the principle of cognitive liberty facilitating this.

By the same token, the principle could unite people with different beliefs within the same sub-movement. To see how this could work, let us consider for a moment the neurodiversity movement:

On one level, drawing on the principle of cognitive liberty, people in the neurodiversity movement who believe that there is a genetic basis to “autism” could use the concept of cognitive liberty as a way to ally with antipsychiatry activists who might question this causal attribution, and vice versa. However, what is every bit as fundamental, it could also be used to bridge differences that are totally within the neurodiversity movement itself. What is significant in this regard is that not everyone in the neurodiversity movement believes that autism is caused by inherent neurological differences.

Take the cutting-edge neurodiversity theorist Nick Walker, for example; correspondingly, witness this interchange between Nick and me (from The Revolt Against Psychiatry):

NW: It is clear from neuroscience 101 that all of our thoughts manifest as neural pathways. If you are thinking differently…

BB: In the very process of doing this, you are altering your neurology?

NW: Exactly. It is not possible to think outside the norm without building neural pathways in your brain… And every mad brain is a neurodivergent brain, which is different from someone’s whose thoughts stay within cultural norms.

Here is a leading neurodiversity theorist who indeed very much believes that there are differences between the brains of neurodivergent people and those of neurotypical folk but who absolutely does not believe that anyone is caused to be “neurodivergent” by these differences, but instead believes the reverse—to wit, that the neurology of “neurodivergent” people’s brains differs from the brains of the “neurotypicals” for the simple reason that they think “mad thoughts.” Uniting behind the concept of cognitive liberty allows people in this movement to bridge this divide.

As you can see by now, there are manifold advantages that can be gained through leveraging the concept of cognitive liberty. Of course, it goes without saying that there will be opposition to its use from a number of quarters and that these would have to be addressed. To provide a brief list of myths and facts that may be of help to people who take it upon themselves to lobby for the acceptance of this principle:

Myth: People’s thinking may sometimes need to be controlled, for their thoughts can be dangerous.
Fact: While thinking may well be dangerous, indeed, downright subversive, part of being a human being is precisely accepting such danger. It is one thing to put a stop to dangerous acts; it is quite another to interfere with people’s thoughts.

Myth: People will have greater cognitive liberty if we first correct the distortions in their thinking.
Fact: Besides the fact that the very framing of people’s thoughts as distortions is inherently problematic, people do not end up with more liberty from the removal of liberty. They invariably end up with less. Herein lies one of great lies and one of the profound tragedies of psychiatry.

Myth: Some ways of thinking are simply superior to others.
Fact: Even were this true, it does not justify intrusion. Moreover, it is not true. In the long run, we benefit from a broad range of ways of processing—reason, emotion, intuition, imaginative leaps, and no, there is no proof whatsoever that one way is demonstrably better than the rest.

Myth: Predicating anything on freedom of thought is a non-starter, for it assumes free will and people do not have free will. There are causal explanations behind every thought that we think.
Fact: There are clearly impulses and instincts that exert influences on our thinking as well as on our acts. However, that is different than saying that there is no free will. While people in the neurosciences commonly deny free will, none of their arguments show the absence of free will. Rather what they reveal instead is a tendency to gross reductionism on the part of the people who advance such arguments. It is high time that we stop reducing and we started taking in people in all their fullness.

Now obviously, it would be a real asset in any attempt to gain acceptance for the principle of cognitive diversity if any of the major theorists in any of the movements named in this article had already taken up the concept. Have any actually done so? Indeed yes. Nick Walker from the neurodiversity movement solidly embraces the concept. And well over a year ago Nick and I, at the instigation of Emily Cutler, and indeed with input from Emily, did a podcast precisely on using the concept of cognitive liberty. Correspondingly, in my upcoming book Nick explicitly names it as a concept that the various movements might unite around.

In other words, not only is the time right for this concept, and not only has substantial historical, philosophical, and other groundwork been laid, but practical steps have already been taken. As I see it, the task confronting us now is to tease out in more intricate detail its precise relevance to the “mental health area” and to begin building a broad-based acceptance for it—among survivors, among theorists, among activists, among legislators, within the public at large.

In ending, let me pose a few questions to the reader: Do you believe in the inviolable right of individuals to think what they think? To think how they think? Is cognitive self-determination important to you? Do you view the privacy of thought as sacrosanct? Is cognitive liberty a term, a principle, a bottom-line that you can imagine yourself rallying around?

If your answer to these questions is yes, my invitation is: Do consider joining Nick, Emily, and others in the attempt to build a broad-based acceptance for the principle. While for sure this principle is not everything, if our theorists, our activists, and our lobbyists truly get behind it, it just might be able to do the heavy lifting that a number of us are sensing that it can do.


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.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


  1. I am fortunate; as a reasonably intelligent late diagnosis autistic man, I was (and have been) spared a great deal of the “interventions” the caustically informed neuro-typical psych brigade now near the fore of society’s cultural evolution that could have been impinged upon me. If I had been subject to psychiatric medical regimens, either chemically with drugs, or physically with measures such as ECT (a common practice on youngsters with autism in the UK), I might not have the wherewithal to write this today; I’d have a much different series of outcomes at hand.

    Cognitive liberty, the notion that a being is first and foremost allowed to be a different thinker, would necessitate a different course of action – what would the world for autistic and other neuro-diverse youngsters be if psychiatry wasn’t touting a “calming the brain” solution such as ECT, and instead, we collectively worked, as human kin, to calming the exceptionally caustic environment we live in, and the myriad poisonousl inflows our industrially mechanized life, school, work and commute, and food production systems put upon our endocrine systems?

    A different world. One more conducive to actual health, both mental and physical, rather than a barbaric attempt to use electricity to overwhelm and exasperate a naturally sensitive way of being. A world where those who could tolerate these sickening environs weren’t positioned as successful, merely for being able to tolerate their untimely demises a few more decades than the “challenged”.

    Indeed, life here is a challenge. A position of cognitive liberty as integral to our cultural understandings of what it means to be human would begin to address some of the challenges that we put, or allow to be put, on our beings as a whole.

    A different kind of profitability.


    Report comment

      • Really Bonnie, I can’t imagine how or why anyone would want or hope to argue with the soundness of what you share,

        We are free, and responsible for the consequence, result, of the quality of make belief we choose to relate with ourselves and stimuli, and hold in order to cause ourselves to experience the flavor of whats happening at any given ‘present’ moment.

        For anyone else to pretend to know what another is holding or using, beliefwise, to self generate the quality of emotional feeling or behavior one is engaged in, is simply prepostrously ignorant and non-sense-sical. 🙂 <3

        Report comment

    • I just realized what it is about using the term “neurodiverse” that’s bugged me. It seems to imply that there is some monolithic mass of people with “normal” brains from whom the “neurodiverse,” well, DIVERGE. But isn’t the real truth that ALL of us are “neurodiverse,” and that it is the practice of expecting everyone to think and act the same that is causing the distress? Shouldn’t the concepts of allowing people to think and feel as they see fit apply to ALL of us, rather than just a category of people who are already judged to be “weird” by the judgmental “mainstream” of oppressive social institutions?

      I’m not saying this as a criticism, just asking what folks think about it?

      Report comment

      • Psychiatrists claim all who don’t agree with their DSM based opinions, particularly when those people haven’t studied or been educated about the DSM “bible,” to be “neurodiverse,” or “bipolar” or “schizophrenic” or whatever.

        And they claim people suffer from “anosognosia,” because our “mental health” workers don’t confess, or properly educate others about the fact they worship from the DSM “bible.”

        Psychiatrists believe all who don’t worship from the DSM “bible” are insane. But psychiatry is a primarily child abuse covering up religion, by design.


        Psychiatry and psychology were adopted by the mainstream paternalistic religions, to cover up their child abuse crimes, apparently over a century ago.


        Report comment

      • To varying degrees, we surely all are neurodiverse, though the degrees can be very different, which I suspect is why concepts like neurotypical are important to even those people in the neurodiversity movement who do not believe that these differences are inherent.

        Report comment

        • I understand not being comfortable with the term neurodiversity . In the end, the problem that I have with it–and I have a problem too–iis that most people who use it believing in a difference that is essentialized, which yes, I find problematic. At the same time, not all do. I see the turn somewhat away from the term and toward the concept cognitive liberty as a good sign. Though it remains to be seen what will happen with this.

          Report comment

      • Steve, what if we started approaching the word “neurodiverse” the way in the movement approach the word “mad”, acknowledging that for some people, it is key to their identity, moreover, to how others treat them, albeit all people are to varying degrees neurodiverse. If thought of that way, would the word still bother you?

        Report comment

        • Bonnie, I understand why some people who embrace these terms feel they ARE different from the “norm” and want to celebrate or acknowledge that.

          Personally, I have the same problem with ‘neurodiverse’ as I do with ‘mad’. I exist on the human spectrum of emotionality and I don’t appreciate anyone implying that there is something diverse or abnormal about me. The problem is not that I’m different, it’s that other people have placed me unfairly outside of the “normal” basket.

          Chickens lay a whole rainbow of egg colors despite only seeing the white and brown ones on the shelves at the grocery store. One might think a blue egg was diverse or strange if one didn’t know this was completely normal. Rather than fighting for the right to be different or abnormal, I’d really rather fight to educate that human emotion, affect, and cognition exist on a spectrum.

          I like your concept of cognitive liberty. I hope it will indeed be unifying.

          Report comment

          • I do get your point, and i have some problems with these words myself. at the same time ‘diverse’ does not that there is anything wrong with the person. It just implies that they are not mainstream, which depending on one’s vantagepoint, could be seen as a distinct asset.

            Report comment

          • Bonnie, I have a real problem with defining normal or typical mental or neurological functioning in terms of what is mainstream. What is considered mainstream is the conformity with a set of culturally defined messages that I largely consider unhealthy and even downright pathological sometimes. And so the topic becomes one of values rather than actual health or abilities.

            I value a range of emotional expression; fighting back loudly against oppressive regimes like government schools and working in cubicles; and being in community, cooperation and fellowship with other humans in a naturalistic setting. My values are completely opposite of most because I was not successfully socialized (propagandized) into the accepted practices of the culture I was born into. That does not make me neurodiverse, psychosocially disabled, or mad, though it does make me angry and leave me feeling isolated and strange in this toxic, individualist, bootstrap culture.

            It’s 1984 and we are the Borg. I will die shouting for people to wake up from their stupor. But I won’t fight for the right to be ‘mad’ or ‘neurodiverse’ or ‘psychosocially disabled’. I consider these terms slurs.

            Report comment

        • I consider “neurodiverse” to be similar to “mad”; both terms put a positive spin on a harmful myth that pathologizes natural emotional suffering and other natural “problems in living.” I do not criticize oppressed people for naturally seeking a more positive self-image but doesn’t advocating a positive spin on an oppression detract from a political challenge?

          Report comment

          • Agreed. “Mad Pride” is based on accepting system definitions of one as “mad,” and it is offensive to hear people claiming that submitting to such labels “reclaims” anything but one’s sense of self-denigration.

            As for “neurodiversity,” it sounds like another suspicious amalgam of the abstract and the material, or of the physical and the political. Neurological functioning and “diversity” are not terms that go together. It also seems like it should be relatively simple to differentiate between “diversity” and “dysfunction.”

            Report comment

          • ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I agree 100% with oldhead, and I wish that what he is saying was widely understood.

            I also say that when someone goes along with Psychotherapy, even without DSM and labels, that they are submitting to a whole bunch of faulty premises and understandings, which make Psychotherapy into a kind of Witch Doctoring.

            Report comment

        • An excellent question, and very kindly put!

          I do support that kind of use of the word – I have never had any problem with people advocating for “mad pride” or seeing themselves as “neurodiverse.” I think my issue is more one of assuming, for instance, that the kids who don’t act out in school and do their homework and try to keep the teachers happy are “normal” while kids who can’t manage that intense effort are “diverse.” I was one of those kids who did what he was told and tried to play the game so that I wouldn’t get in trouble. But I hated every minute of it. It was totally traumatic on a daily basis. So I was no more “neurotypical” than the kid who was being sent to the principal’s office for acting out. I was just being harmed in a different way because I did have the capability of pretending I was OK more than other kids did. I totally support anyone identifying as “neurotypical,” because I know some people have a rougher time than I have had. I just want to make sure everyone is clear that the kids (or adults) acting “normal” may be suffering in their own way from the oppressive system that we have to deal with. Just because I can “fit in” doesn’t make me “typical.” Those who “fit in” are an extremely diverse group that have little in common beyond their ability to dance to the masters’ tune well enough not to be singled out for special discrimination.

          I hope that makes my view a little clearer.

          Report comment

          • It depends who uses them and how. I have no problem with a person him/herself identifying as “mad” or “neurodiverse” if that is an identity they find helpful. The problem comes in when we start studying “neurodiverse” people to find out “what is different (aka wrong) with them” based on the same brain-based reasoning that the psychiatrists use. So “neurodiverse” in particular doesn’t challenge the psychiatric paradigm to recognize that THERE IS NO NORMAL in terms of “brain function” – everyone’s brain is different, and should be! After all, genetic diversity is the key to species survival. The term also tends to imply for me that one’s brain condition is fixed – I’m “neurodiverse” because I was born that way, you’re not, because you “fit in” better to our society’s expectations. Now, I understand that some people do believe that they were born particularly different, and that may even be absolutely true in their particular case. But brains change and develop over time, and everyone has their gifts and challenges biologically. I do very much appreciate the reflection that people who get diagnosed “ADHD” or “Autistic” or whatever can find positive characteristics associated within the groups that are diagnosed that way, and I often pass on or comment similarly when someone starts talking about “brain-based disabilities” and such crap. But those labels are still based on the DSM and the “adapt or you are diseased” way of thinking, and I’d rather do away with them altogether.

            So again, I’m not against a particular person identifying that way as a person, I just don’t like to use these terms myself because they reinforce the biological model for me. Others are certainly very much entitled to their own views on this, and those views may be far more informed than my own. It was just that the comments on this article brought to my attention why the term bothered me, as I would guess I’m pretty “diverse” based on what is actually expected of human beings in our society, but because I chose a quiet way to rebel and to deal with the oppression I was experiencing, I am considered to be somehow a “normal” person. I don’t think such a “normal” person exists on this earth.

            I hope that makes things a bit clearer.

            Report comment

          • Thank you for your response; I believe that I am using the term “neurodiverse” in a different context than others. I now understand you and others to use the term “neurodiverse” in a social context about what is “normal” brain functioning (wherein “normal” is understood as common or average). In contrast, I was focusing on a medical context about what is “natural” brain functioning. I agree that there is no “normal” brain functioning but believe that there is “natural” and “unnatural” brain functioning- natural and pathological functioning. I thought that advocates of “neurodiversity” were trying to put a positive spin on “mental disorders” that pathologize natural behaviors through the myth of “mental illness.” It now seems like the term is gaining a wider usage.

            Report comment

          • People can “identify” any way they want; that doesn’t mean others are obligated to accept such identifications as reality. If people want to believe they are “mad,” and that their “madness” gives them special powers that’s their right. If people want to believe that brains can be “diverse,” go for it. Just don’t tell me this is the “new normal” or that I’m a bigot for not buying it.

            Report comment

          • I am troubled by psychiatry harming the community with the myth of “mental illness”- by pathologizing natural emotional suffering and natural, non-conforming behaviors. I am also trouble by the term “neurodiversity” when it advocates that “mental illness” is a passageway to special spiritual enlightenment; this puts a positive spin on a harmful myth. I support “neurodiversity” in some contexts but not as a new myth that supports a few people while obscuring the source of a calamity for a multitude of others.

            Report comment

        • We shouldn’t be encouraging people to build their identities on things like mad or neurodiverse. They have no objective reality, and they aid in the eugenics movement and in the systematic abuse of children. And this is what is wrong with Austism Self-Awareness Network, and about Nick Walker’s doings.

          Report comment

      • Neuro-babble is the term I use for the trendiness of neuro-speak in academia about practically everything these days, and I think the term ‘cognitive freedom’ actually grows out of this neuro-babble, that is to say, it has grown out of a deterministic biological reductivism manifested by mainstream psychiatry. Get rid of the bias, and you won’t have people complaining about bad brains so much anymore. Isn’t that the issue really? The claim that some people shouldn’t have a voice on account of the thoughts generated by their bad brains.

        Report comment

        • “‘cognitive freedom’ actually grows out of this neuro-babble”

          Yes, I agree with that, and that is why I don’t go along with the idea of “cognitive liberty”. Rather I see the issue as being freedom from labeling, because they labels are what destroy.

          Report comment

  2. “Do you believe in the inviolable right of individuals to think what they think?” Yes. “To think how they think?” Yes. “Is cognitive self-determination important to you?” Yes. “Do you view the privacy of thought as sacrosanct?” It appears big tech has already taken this right away, which I believe is a matter our governments should have prevented, not condoned. Although, psychiatry and psychology abuse their power, unnecessarily nose themselves into others’ business, and take away our right to privacy as well. “Is cognitive liberty a term, a principle, a bottom-line that you can imagine yourself rallying around?” Yes.

    I’m curious, Bonnie, since you’re an antipsychiatry scholar, I can’t find an answer to this question on the internet. When, and why, did forced psychiatric treatment become legal?

    I’m also wondering when it became legal for our “mental health” workers to steal other people’s children from them. (That didn’t happen to me, thankfully, however my psychologist’s medical records show evidence of her desire to steal my “4 yr girl” from me on my first or second appointment with her. My daughter was actually only 3 at the time, in other words that psychologist knew absolutely nothing about me or my family at the time.) Wanting to steal the child of a person, who you know nothing about, should get a person put in jail.

    Report comment

    • Someone Else, no one is stealing anyone’s children from them.

      The first legal actions to protect a child were in 1874 in NYC. Since they had no other laws, they had to use laws designed to protect animals.


      Since that time the issue of child protection and its constitutionality have been examined by our highest court, and it has been found to be a proper and necessary government function.

      A big change occurred in 1974, with the passage of what is commonly known as the Mondale Act.


      The only way to keep a child away from their parents depends upon the decision of a judge. No mental health workers or CPS worker has the authority to make such a decision.

      While generally corporal punishment is not prohibited, severe abuse and neglect of a child is. So if you know of any such cases, just dial 911. If it is a more serious case or not in the child’s home, then probably police will deal with it. CPS is mostly for things which happen in the child’s home, as that should be handled with greater care.

      If a child has been removed then there will be a contested hearing where a judge will decide where to go from there.

      If there seems to be a reason to argue for continued separation of the child from the parents, the there will usually be a multi-disciplinary team assembled to evaluate. This likely will include a psychologist. But the actual decision will be made by a judge. Usually the judge will try to establish a family reunification plan.

      The idea of child protection remains one of the things the religious right is most threatened by, so the internet is saturated with completely distorted accounts.

      Report comment

  3. Yes, of course people should be able to think what they think. But it is not just Psychiatry and the Bio-Medical Model which threaten this, it is also Psychotherapy with its Moral Improvement and FYOG model, and then the ~neurodiversity movement~ to, which threaten this. Though often not coercive in a strict sense, and when applied to adults, they still work to corner people into accepting a diminished social and civil standing, and often by promoting out and out lies.

    When one opens their thoughts to such people, it is more like a religious confession. I think it was Alfred Adler who first wrote about this. And these things exist because of the abject failure of Western religion. So the Original Sin doctrine is being propagated by all of these assaults on personhood.

    So even if you or I are not confessing to our therapist, other people are, and still more believe that psychotherapy is the proper response to the perception of injustice. It all comes down to pressing people to live without public honor. So I say that people should only discuss their affairs with comrades, with people who are fighting, rather than “healing” or “recoverying”.

    Once people learn to protect their privacy and not to ever disclose to these sorts, then they do have thought privacy and liberty. But this alone should not be the objective. We also need restoration of public honor, and this means penalties for perpetrators and reparations for survivors.

    Report comment

  4. Thanks, excellent blog Dr. Burstow! And thanks to Emily Cutler and Nick Walker for the initiation and input on the concept of “cognitive liberty”.

    What could possibly be more important than the integrity of one’s mind. I agree this human rights issue could be the basis to unite those who oppose psychiatry (whether to abolish or reform) to rally for a collective action. As you explained so well if people are given the right to have their own thoughts, and how they choose to think, psychiatry can no longer operate as it does. Count me in, I totally agree and support the concept that cognitive liberty should be a mandated human right. Also a good point that viewing the issues with psychiatry from this human rights angle can help bring the general public on board.

    Report comment

  5. Interesting article. Thank you.

    I agree that it is important to rally around common principles, and that the idea of “cognitive liberty” may hold some potential for that purpose. However, there is something even more fundamental than “cognitive liberty,” and that is liberty itself. Unfortunately, in the modern world there is rampant confusion regarding the principle of liberty, some of which confusion we owe to the likes of John Stuart Mill and other modern political philosophers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx.

    Nevertheless, the concept that you describe as “cognitive liberty” may have more solid origins in the thought of American founders such as Thomas Jefferson: “…I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” The irony is that too many proponents of antipsychiatry, critical psychiatry, etc. also tend to side with the very originators of tyranny, cognitive and otherwise, in political matters. Nowhere is tyranny over the mind of man more prevalent than in the communist regimes who owe their practice to Marxist theory. The Orwellian thought control that was present in Soviet Gulags, for example, ought to inspire antipsychiatrists and any lover of liberty to resist the ideologies that gave rise to such tyranny.

    Although he was much too libertarian for my taste, Thomas Szasz labored incessantly to promote the twin principles of liberty and responsibility. Liberty and responsibility are two sides of the same coin, and Szasz correctly demonstrated that psychiatry is inherently antithetical to both liberty and responsibility. The term “cognitive liberty,” therefore, may unnecessarily obscure the true meaning of liberty in a way that is similar to the obfuscation of justice by other names such as “social justice.”

    To answer your questions:

    Do you believe in the inviolable right of individuals to think what they think? People are free to think and to choose as they will, but no one can control the consequences or the results of thoughts and choices.

    Is cognitive self-determination important to you? Liberty and responsibility are important. “Cognitive self-determination” sounds a bit too much like the psychiatric doublespeak that many of us are trying to resist.

    Do you view the privacy of thought as sacrosanct? People are free to choose what they think, and that freedom to choose is a sacred gift.

    Is cognitive liberty a term, a principle, a bottom-line that you can imagine yourself rallying around? As I hope to have made clear, liberty is something even more basic and fundamental than “cognitive liberty,” and since liberty itself is misunderstood, it is not likely that the principle of “cognitive liberty” will remedy the problems that are posed by psychiatry. Nevertheless, I rally behind the principle of liberty that I believe is being aimed at in this discussion of “cognitive liberty.”

    Report comment

    • Is cognitive liberty a term, a principle, a bottom-line that you can imagine yourself rallying around?

      Seems superfluous and overly academic to me. The abolition of psychiatry remains just fine as a principle of unity, and doesn’t need to be watered down as it addresses all the concerns mentioned. If people say they support “cognitive liberty” but don’t oppose psychiatry en toto their words ring hollow to me, and it means they have a ways to go before there’s any reason to unify. “Critical psychiatry” is still psychiatry. “Mad Pride” for many abolitionists is a ludicrous concept, and “neurodiversity” is another thing entirely. So let’s not look for “unity” where there is none, for “unity’s” sake. Again, anti-psychiatry works just fine as something to work towards, if people are looking for a “cause.”

      Report comment

    • Slaying the Dragon, I agree with you of course, that liberty is the larger principle, of which cognitive liberty is an offshoot. At the same time, given the highly specific targeting of thinking and threat to thinking posed, I do think it is one that deserves considerably more focus than it gets.

      Report comment

  6. Yes. USA it’s fine to say what we want.

    China and Russia it’s different. Can’t make the change they want happen. Entire lives and wealth accrued gone.

    USA I know I try to speak up gently although I do it everyday. Everyday and I keep eyes out as to kernels of excitement or big opportunities to combat society.

    Report comment

  7. Thank you for all of your community service in challenging psychiatry.

    However, I am concerned that your posted advocacy of “cognitive liberty” discounts the context of psychiatry functioning as a medical science. The community supports human rights violations (and violations of “cognitive liberty”) as unfortunate parts of “medical treatment” for those with “cognitive impairments” that interfere with “sound” judgment. The community generally considers psychiatry to be an altruistic enterprise (albeit with problems).

    In contrast, I consider psychiatry to be an illegitimate medical science advocating that natural emotional suffering and other natural problems in living are instead unnatural- medical problems. Psychiatry denies our humanity by advocating the myth of “mental illness”- that emotional suffering is unnatural regardless of cruel and unjust life circumstances. I consider the foundation of all of psychiatry’s harm to be the Myth advocating Pollyanna and a fairy tale world of goodness and fairness (in support of existing social structures). Doesn’t a reformist perspective of psychiatry imply that it has a legitimate goal that deserves reforming rather than being an illegitimate medical science pathologizing social welfare problems?

    Report comment

    • As people united against this bogus branch of medicine, Steve, you and I are in complete agreement on this, . And indeed, as you are suggesting cognitive liberty does not in any way get at this key dimension. That said I am in no way suggesting that we only tackle psychiatry through the concept of cognitive liberty. I am simply suggesting that it be an additional concept that we rally around. Understood that way, does the concept still bother you?

      Report comment

  8. Oh my goodness, You just posted this, and i just got to reviewing it, and 26 comments etc already? LOL already feeling like at the tail end. Very much intune with you Bonnie. I left you a message about the antipsychiatry curriculum, when you get time, thanks. <3

    Report comment

  9. I mean I definitely had I’d say a year of angry meditation about advocacy issues. These days the advocacy is ongoing and I get going when big issues happen.

    I am selective with my battles and I use the droids of perseverance and persistence.

    Report comment

  10. As an autistic man, I find my disclosure is oft encountered with, “Aren’t we all just a little autistic?” or “Why are you separating yourself with a label?” or “Stop labelling others as ‘normal’.”

    It’s offensive. We aren’t all “just a little bit deaf”, we aren’t all “just a little bit blind” – there is a majority (neuro-typical) and those who are not part of the majority.

    I am autitistic. I am a neuro-diverse being. I am.

    Report comment

  11. An immediate problem.

    People who are pro-psychiatry also have cognitive liberty. Same as those who are anti-psychiatry.

    Each group has cognitive liberty and thus will be endlessly locked in a tussle about who has the greater ethical right to claim their thinking as superior. At least in a legal sense.

    Next problem.

    The mind does not have a firewall and is hackable, from a distance, using various forms of consciousness-altering technology. There are no known defences against these technologies nor much awareness of their capabilities. So in the not-so-distant future, someone’s cognitive liberty could come under attack, invisibly, undetectably, and then this compromised cognition would be regarded as a protected right.

    Then the problem of thought and thinking as a purely private process. And it is, and it isn’t. Thoughts are private until an attempt is made to express them. And then those expressions are interpreted by others, who will have thoughts of their own. But the expression of thoughts and thinking aren’t protected. And in many cases they shouldnt be.

    For instance, a paedophile may think all the lurid thoughts they like. A terrorist may think all the hateful thoughts they like. A misogynist, a rapist, a bully, a bigot… all are free to think their thoughts just as much as they like. It’s when they express them that the trouble starts.

    Then we move into the area of censorship, either by others, or self-censorship… and that’s another can of worms. But briefly, cognitive liberty modeled around whose values and whose language-choices and modes of expression and so on? Could this simply become another oppressive over-valuing for instance of academic discourse and language over and above other modes of discourse? Which aren’t strictly speaking thinking or cognition but styles of organising thinking and cognition which tend to be favoured over other styles, such as working class or minority ethnic and so on?

    For a long time people have been able to think what they like without interference from others. Those days are fading fast. Technology is increasingly able to penetrate the mind and extract and insert thoughts.

    Another problem.

    If someone believes that unknown actors using unknown technologies are inserting thoughts into their minds. we have long considered this a delusion, or a feature of psychosis. Many serial and spree killers have claimed this has happened to them.

    Should their experiences be considered sacrosanct and protected, especially now that the technology able to conduct such experiences is extant and active?

    Report comment

  12. I applaud your list Bonnie and if it can ever come to fruition I would love to see it done. I have a couple of more things to add though. The other problem is an economic one. So many homeless, drug addicts and those in prison are forced on medications. It becomes quite the problem since the side effects from the drugs will either prohibit them from making good decisions,render them unable to function or get out of their situation entirely, or could lead to violence. Especially the homeless, they are forced to seek mental health services as a prerequisite to getting help. I was often told this in the hospital. If you don’t adhere to the regiment of “prescribed” outpatient programmed care when you leave the hospital we will not be able to help you with housing etc. I fortunately did not need these services. We need to stop this and making mental health services required to seek social services. This is causing most of the problems of the homeless. We give them these toxins and after awhile they are unable to function or “help themselves” get out of their situation.

    When will this merry go round to stop. We are causing more need for “services” by allowing the “requirement’ of taking these toxins to get “economical help” which should be given without strings. That’s the only thing I ask be added to the list.

    Report comment

  13. I wanted to say–and I alluded to it in the article but did not spell it out in detail for the article was not on neurodiversity, that there is a profound difference between the radical neurodiversity movement and the more mainstream one. That in the radical one, no one sees the differences in question as innate or as casual in any way. Moreover, no one in the neurodiversity movement would see any of the differences alluded to as the least bit “pathologoical”–an issue that came up i a few responses to this blog. As I have come to understand it, Why people in the movement championed the concept of diversity is precisely because it links them up with other types of diveristy–sexual diversity, for example, and racial diversity–and totally rules out the concept of pathology.

    Report comment

    • “That in the radical one, no one sees the differences in question as innate or as casual in any way. ” The LGBTQ movement has never run on “diversity” The racial civil rights movement had never run on “diversity” either. Such movements have to come from a much more forceful position. There is no reason there should be a radical neurodiversity movement. For one thing, it is starting with a concept of eugenic origins. People should be supported to be as great as they can be. Zero reason to like this to anything like “neurodivergence” “neurological difference” or “neurodiversity”. No reason to tie oneself to such labels.

      Report comment

  14. We live in the monotheistic reality of one god and spiritualism, but psyche/soul is something which belongs to polytheistic reality. Psyche is a slave of monotheistic fundamentalists. Psyche has got no real image. So how can we have a voice? We don’t have a liberty, because we do not have a right to psychology beyond apollonian ego. Pathology, psychological pathology is an enemy of theological mind. Psyche is now a Satan. Psyche will be an antichrist. For psychiatry, the psyche is Satan. I know it is hard to believe, but even our science our philosophy, our psychology belongs to monotheistic god.

    James Hillman “Re -Visioning psychology”.

    We must be aware of the differences between theological and psychological mind. Spiritualism,materialism/brain is not a psychology.

    Psychology is not a science, it is a form of polytheistic awareness. And our thinking is monotheistic, governed by theology. Psychiatry is a monotheistic fundamentalism, for which, polytheistic psyche is the enemy. Psychiatry is a religious hatred with scientific pretensions. We must know about facts that are hidden.

    Report comment

  15. ^^^^ I do not go along with the neurodiversity movement, as it seems like pleading for approval from abusers.

    Should Jews have asked for acceptance of diversity as they were being loaded into ovens?

    I am opposed to the concept of neurodiverstiy. No one knows that any such neurological differences exist, and unlikely anyone ever will.

    It has to be penalties for perpetrators and reparations for survivors. Otherwise it is just appeasing violators. The objective can never be peace, there has to be continual activism and escalation until there can be justice.

    Childism: Confronting Prejudice Against Children

    Talks about a father making “reparations payments”, money for college, and grad school, and therapy ( I don’t go along with this last though ).

    To Live With Honor and To Die With Honor

    Report comment

      • No it is pleading, they are going along with something for which there is no evidence.

        Their primary motivation for doing this is that some find them unacceptable and have resorted to labeling them. So instead of telling the bullies, the labelers, and the FYOGers where they should stick it, they ask for acceptance of this “neurodiversity”.

        How can you say that that is not pleading?

        Should racial minority groups promote “racial diversity”?

        Should religions minority groups promote “religious diversity”?

        Sexual minority groups promote “sexual diversity”?

        And rape survivors?

        No human grouping has ever established itself that way. The only way any group has ever been able to exist is by making would be violators understand that they either approach with respect, or they are going to lose their scalps.

        Report comment

  16. If you go to a “diversity paradigm” in the face of bullying and persecution, then your “diversity paradigm” is just another name for the “pathology paradigm”

    Remember, in the US, the word “colored” was used as a euphemism for saying “negro”, or for saying something worse. And it was spoken in a hushed voice, as it was seen as very touchy subject.

    Things changed when people refused to go along with that, “colored”, and instead proclaimed that they are “BLACK”.


    Report comment

  17. Part One *****************

    Bonnie, A big reason that slavery ended in the United States was that free blacks were highly offended by Harriet Beecher Stowe and her protagonist. Within one year they were speaking before the Massachusetts State Legislature, demanding to be able to serve in the militia. And their justification was that they did not want to have to be like Beecher Stowe’s protagonist. Then when the legislature still denied them, they bought their own uniforms and formed their own militia. Eventually 180,000 black men would train with rifles and bayonets and would serve in federal uniform. When Frederick Douglas praised them, he contrasted them with Beecher Stowe’s protagonist. Without this service, they probably would have been returned to a state of slavery.

    Part Two *****************

    Beecher Stowe had not intended her protagonist to be offensive. She painted him as a paragon of Christian virtue, tortured to death, but still not betraying the escapees. But offensive he still was. She had wanted Whites to accept him as non-threatening, as already subjugated.

    Part Three *****************

    In Nazi Occupied France, resistance emerged, Catholics, Nationalists, and Marxists from the Spanish Civil War. They killed both Germans and French Collaborators. When they killed Germans, other Germans took those places. When they killed French, no other French took those places. It is only because of such resistance that France was purged of such collaborators and treated as one of the four allied powers of Europe.

    Part Four *****************

    And then in the Warsaw Ghetto, Jews saw that it was better to die with honor than without, and so they rose up in the face of near certain death. This act and others like it today give Jews something to remember and to look up to.

    Part Five *****************

    Bonnie, you do not seem to understand the nature of honor. If people let bullies pin a completely bogus label to their lapel, or let psychotherapists talk them out so that they can easily manipulate them, then they are surrendering their honor.

    Part Six *****************

    Usually the primary bullies are the parents, doctors, and school teachers. Other children are secondary.

    Part Seven *****************

    And though it is right that LQBTQ members condemn abuses, just calling for diversity is not the same as taking any and all steps necessary to secure social and civil standing, and honor. I know of LQBTQ members who have devoted themselves to protecting children from religions abuse, and from familial abuses. Calling for diversity is not at all the same as directly standing up for ones own personhood and that of comrades.

    Part Eight *****************

    Diversity is an idea like tolerance, that rather than enforcing absolute standards, that one should look the other way and understand that not everyone can measure up to those standards. So the standards still remain in place, its just that they are not always enforced. So no, I do not go along at all with what you are saying.

    Part Nine *****************

    The ~mental health~, ~recovery~, and ~neurodiversity~ movements exist to label and marginalize, because that exonerates any and all abusers, and it leaves us with a society where everyone is always worried about their own compliance with normative standards.

    Report comment

    • I have written about almost all the activist things that you mentioned here, and I am first and foremost an in-your-face activist. What I am telling you here is that besides that you are not understanding neurodiversity theoeists here, and your are very definately not hearing what I am saying; Additionally, you really don’t seem to get where i’m coming from Moreover you are mixing applies and oranges. I don’t like the recovery movement eiher, As for the mental health movement, It is obviously part of the utterly unacceptable hegemonic paradigm.

      I think that this conversation has gone about as far as it can go for my sense is that it is going in circles. So please don’t be offended if I don’t respond to future posts of yours. No offence whatever intended.We are obviously both radicals who don’t like liberalism. And I wish you well.

      Report comment

      • Yes and
        Wow. Never ceases to amaze me how many seem to believe and want to overly complicate the issue of habits and choices, and responsibility of emotional distress fullness, and to obsess on distracting themselves as if only externals need or have to be changed….

        Report comment

  18. “A good course on autism (or, for that matter, a good piece of writing on autism, or good education or journalism on autism in any medium) should not attempt to strike any sort of “balance” between the neurodiversity paradigm and the pathology paradigm. ”


    The problem here is that the neurodiversity paradigm, even Walker’s version, is just another kind of pathology paradigm. And so this is why his approach must be rejected, along with the rest of the neurodiversity paradigm.

    He writes also:

    “While the term neurodiversity originally developed within the Autistic community, the neurodiversity paradigm is not about autism exclusively, but about the full spectrum of human neurocognitive variation. This particular essay, however, was addressed primarily to Autistic readers, and, in its discussion of the implications of shifting paradigms around neurodiversity, it is very much focused on autism, because that was the focus of the anthology for which it was originally written.”


    Well the neurodiversity paradigm, Walker’s version and earlier versions, are just wrong. They amount to capitulating to bullies and abusers, and in an area where there is zero scientific evidence. It is all just a way to placate abusers, and to tell victims that the abusers have some validity behind their actions.

    It exonerates parents, doctors, teachers, bully kids, and workplace bullies.

    Here we go Bonnie, how about we make up these as lapel tags to put on the patients.


    Report comment

  19. Why should any child have to submit to being labeled, all it does is open the door to:



    If a child has been targeted in these ways, then we should intercede and teach them to stand up for themselves. And we should be supplying them with a lawyer, and then we should be sending them to law school themselves.

    It is not sufficient for the instructor to merely tell students that in this class it’s okay for them to give expression to their neurodivergence. Sociocultural pressures to perform neuronormativity are lifelong, pervasive, and insidious. By the time people are old enough to end up in a college classroom, they have almost always internalized these pressures to the point where they habitually police themselves and engage in the performance of neuronormativity even in situations in which it isn’t explicitly required of them by any external authority. That’s how enculturation works, and how internalized oppression works on an embodied level. Internalized normativity is a powerful force, especially when engrained into habits of embodied performance.


    As far as I can see, most people will sometimes engage in those behaviors which are being used to justify this idea of ~autism~ and ~neurological difference~. I am talking about what they are calling ~stims~ and maybe avoiding eye contact, and just not feeling comfortable in a situation, and maybe being fidgety.

    And well, when one is a target, and when their life experience has been made very different from other people, they have every reason not to feel comfortable.

    Usually when people sense that they are under attack, they will become justifiably more defensive.

    When they feel more comfortable, they will eventually relax and open up, though you cannot try to force this.

    From the writings of those who supposedly have ~autism~ I have observed that things generally start to improve for them once they no longer live with their parents. Though of course as spokes persons for ~autism~ they would never dare say such.

    And so Nick Walker wants ~autistics~ to be leading these ~radical neurodiversity~ meetings.

    Well, people might set up meetings where it is more expected and understood that many people do come across as unusual and as not really comfortable in common social environments.

    If people wanted to organize some sorts of actions, like maybe law suits, or solving a bullying problem, or putting an end to the ~neurodiversity~ treatments, then it would be good if the meetings can be relaxed enough that people are not expected to be like everyone else.

    Most Muggle Functions are designed to be repressive.

    Okay, but none of this is improved by getting people to accept a “radical neurodiversity” label. Quite the contrary, using that kind of a label would turn the meeting from something positive into something very negative. And such a label of course exonerates all historic perpetrators. This is true, even though Walker is not tying ~neurological difference~ to genetics.

    We should be teaching those who are being targeted to stand up for themselves, and not to have to submit to any labeling in order to do this.

    Report comment

  20. In case people were not aware of this, one of the things that I was trying to do in this article, was to find ways to bring together from people various movements that critique psychiatry . Of the movements that organize against psychiatry, I am a member only of one–antipsychiatry. Which among other things means that I personally oppose all psychiatric diagnoses without exception.

    Report comment

  21. Autism-Aspergers is just a concept invented to legitimate the abuse of children and adults. And this is how it still works today.

    Autism, do labels and diagnoses help or hinder? – Professor Sami Timimi

    No one knows that there is any such “neurological difference”, radical or otherwise.

    Remember that it was always thought that Autism is related to Schizophrenia. Sami Timimi writes that the key to taking down adult psychiatry is schizophrenia. They key to taking down child psychiatry is autism.

    Autism does not exist out of the primate laboratory cage known as universal schooling and the Middle-Class Family. And this is not that far removed from Harry Harlow and his monkey experiments.

    Report comment

    • Cute. And uninformed. Are you on the Autism Spectrum?

      I think not.

      I bathe three to four times weekly in sulfur salts, as my ‘autistic’ liver (a non-psychological organ) does not process enzymatically without the sulfur I absorb through my skin, which my ‘autistic’ liver cannot produce on its own. My brain chemistry works differently – sedatives keep me awake, and stimulants put me to sleep, much to the chagrin of anesthesiologists who have had me wake up in the middle of surgeries in spite of their best efforts. Certain common medications have the capacity to kill my ‘autistic’ body, whereas a more typical endocrine system can abide. I am fortunate to have a great rapport with a many-hat physician who works with me as I am, and not as outsiders would have me.

      I am high-functioning.

      Those on the other end of our spectrum – good poster, what is not autistic about the lower functioning members of my ilk?

      Do allow me to give a ‘lower’ functioning autistic a chance to ‘speak’ for herself…


      This comment, and psychiatric/psychological positioning (pontificating) that autism is not real is tantamount to those who insist “you are not special”.

      Yes, I am.

      As is every being on our neuro-diverse human spectrum.

      Get over it.

      Here’s some other drivel ignorant people say to, or about, autistics. Superbly positioned by a juvenile, yet not specifically targeted to the more mundane lens…



      I do not use meds, or psychiatry, or psychology to deal with my exceptionalities. Respect, acceptance, and a commitment to be accommodating as I seek accommodation – these have garnered great dividends for this late diagnosis self-expert. My disclosures haven’t resulted in any sort of “all will be well now” with “those who can finally understand me”.


      Autism isn’t a label, just as ‘deaf’ is not a label, or ‘blind’, nor ‘scoliosis’, nor ‘scleroid’. If you aren’t it, don’t speak for it. A differentiation is simply that: a shade of being, a sense of direction and shape, an acculturated truism, not a cure-all for those whose efforts towards self-discovery can continue past each achievement of self.

      Queen Gertrude comes to mind, here. Much too loudly, good dawn. To dusk, and a setting sun on the need to dis-identify an Other.

      Autistics are approaching 25% of live-births worldwide, and will, within a century, be the “typical” of this neurodivergent species.

      You do not speak for me.

      The beauty of the neuro-diverity movement is our breadth to speak for ouselves, as individuals who make up a collective, without castigation or the need to prove or disprove another.

      I am.

      We are.

      This way, we shall go far…

      Report comment

      • The real problem here has been identified and that is that medical diagnoses are not the same as identities. No one can argue with how you identify. Identities are personal and generally not up for debate. What is up for debate is whether a discreet diagnosis called autism spectrum disorder exists. As much as you identify as autistic, that is not in any way proof that your symptoms are any more neurologically distinct from anyone else with autistic-like symptoms. I can easily see myself as a young child being labeled with aspergers or PDD were I raised in anything approaching a normal family with people who cared about each other. I was instead labeled as emotionally deficient. My doctor instructed my parents to not allow me to cry, which resulted in meltdowns because my siblings would tease me when the parents weren’t looking or around. My meltdowns were attributed not to neurological dysfunction but to being spoiled. And I was punished with cruelty, as many kids who don’t express themselves in culturally appropriate ways are. It makes no difference whether you call this marginalization autism or bipolar or cultural deprivation. All label the individual as pathologized and all the neurodiversity movement accomplishes is taking a single diagnosis out of the bucket and leaving everyone else to continue being punished by a cruel society that does not tolerate differences. I think that’s a special kind of cruelty perpetrated from within when a harmed population differentiates themselves as different from the other crazies. That not solidarity, that’s abandonment.

        From my perspective, the neurodiversity movement is a shameful differentiation from and othering of people with “mental disorders” on the same scale as the sleight of hand the LGBT community (which I consider myself a part of) pulled first with the gay population and then transgender identity ideology. There’s nothing noble about saving yourselves at the expense of others with overlapping symptoms but a different label.

        I have three family members labeled on the spectrum. I have “symptoms” of autism. I have genes supposedly associated with autism. But it’s a meaningless diagnosis that overlaps with most of the other mental disorders, as they all do. My daughter was labeled with RAD solely because it’s popular within the adoption community to blame a child’s lack of attachment to the adoptive parents on the first parents. What is a differential diagnosis for RAD? Autism. She would make four family members so labeled on the spectrum but it’s easier to blame me. Aren’t labels fun? The context of the application of these labels matters!!

        Identities aside, we must be able to debate the existence of specific labels in an educated and reasoned manner without having the conversation shut down because it’s threatening to those so labeled who find their specific label helpful. I’d ditch the trauma label if I didn’t live in a society hellbent on piling more traumas onto the already traumatized. Acceptance of personal differences in how we perceive and interact with our environments should come as a matter of course in a polite society, and not only to those whom we believe to be wired differently.

        Report comment

  22. Joey wrote, ” bathe three to four times weekly in sulfur salts, as my ‘autistic’ liver (a non-psychological organ) does not process enzymatically without the sulfur I absorb through my skin, which my ‘autistic’ liver cannot produce on its own. My brain chemistry works differently – sedatives keep me awake, and stimulants put me to sleep, much to the chagrin of anesthesiologists who have had me wake up in the middle of surgeries in spite of their best efforts.”

    You are helping to demonstrate what Sami Timimi etal are saying, “Autism does not exist.” One of the reasons they say this is that it is so broadly defined as to no longer mean anything.

    I have no idea what is going on with your liver or with these sulfur salts. Sounds like you are in need of some serious medical treatment right away.

    As far as having a different brain chemistry, no one knows that. Refuting that kind of an idea is the primary focus of this forum. Whittaker does an excellent job of this.

    You also wrote, “Autistics are approaching 25% of live-births worldwide, and will, within a century, be the “typical” of this neurodivergent species.”

    Well that 25%, and of both males and females, is the largest number I have ever heard. This explosion in the assessment rates is again one of the factors that Timimi etal point to to bolster their position, “autism does not exist.”

    People get marginalized and mistreated, so then medical theories like Autism-Aspergers give them some hope that eventually someone will find a reason. But this does not mean that such reasons have any objective reality.

    And no, I do not speak for you, and you have your rights to free speech, as do I, and as do Timimi etal.

    Here, best analysis I have found explaining where the concept of Autism comes from:


    The picture created is simply one of universal schooling, psychiatry, eugenics, and the middle-class family.

    But you Joey are free to say whatever you think. I would just like to point out that that freedom does not depend upon any neuro-diversity theory. And tying it to such a theory is, in my view, a big mistake.

    What Nick Walker and Bonnie Bustow are doing amounts to telling people that they have Autism-Aspergers. I consider this to be reprehensible, and I hope some of us can put out the counter and correct message, that Autism does not exist.

    Walker and Bustow are making people’s very existence contingent on this bogus political theory, Libertarianism, in this idea they have of Cognitive Liberty, and to do this they are promoting and idea which has zero evidence, Neurodiversity. Not good at all.

    Sami Timimi book:

    Video, Timimi makes it clear that look as they do, there are still no biological markers:

    Life can be hard, very hard, and all the more so when one is being targeted and marginalized. What the Autism-Aspergers label seems to do mostly is just to exonerate abusers.

    Interesting book:

    One chapter deals with autism and the author admits that that is the singularly most controversial topic in the book, and really in the entire area of disability studies.

    I am sure you know that it was just a few years ago that Arizona removed 5 children, plus a 6th older child, and pediatricians had to testify against the own Phoenix Children’s Hospital shrinks who have given the 5 autism assessments. The court finally agreed that the whole thing was just Munchausen’s Syndrome By Proxy.

    And the reason that the head of pediatrics got involved and pushed this, was she said that they had already fooled hundreds of doctors, and that now that they were exposed they were likely to leave the state and just start over somewhere else.

    You talk about a “neurodivergent species”. Well know one knows that anything like this could happen. It sounds like you are just following the eugenics movement, but arguing the opposite side. You are arguing for what some call a Post Human Existence. Again, no one knows that such could ever be real, and no one knows that what is being called Autism or Asperger’s would have anything to do with such.

    What is true, in my opinion, is that people are starting to rebel against Muggle Socialization, the schools which do little more than to use bullying to achieve conformity. Usually arguments in favor of autism depend upon this type of socialization, and upon the self-reliance ethic as backdrops.

    As far as what drives any “lines of flight”, Deleuze and Guattari say that it is Capitalism which creates schizos. But as to what creates clinical schizophrenia, that is the mental health system itself.


    Joey, I’m glad that you, someone committed to an autism identity, posted. I am concerned about this liver condition. But I also want people, like Bonnie, to see that Autism is not really different from the concept of Mental Illness. You can’t really argue against either one of them, unless you are prepared to argue against both of them.

    Hey, I am opposed to Muggle Bullying Schools, and I support people to learn all that they can, books, computers, electronics, chemistry, mathematics, everything. But as I see it, this is in no way helped by the concept of Autism. And neurodiversity, pushed to its logical results, really does not mean anything. It is something invented by people who are being subjected to oppression, and it helps the oppressors.

    Report comment

    • Thanks for your post. I appreciate you, and our divergent views.

      I don’t consider Autism an illness. It is a blessing. I am a lucky being.

      It is good to hope for, and experience, two disparate beings practicing and sharing their independent cognitive liberty, both of us on the same page.

      I salute you.

      Report comment

  23. I have only ever felt oppressed by those who insist they are an expert on my identity, and demand I see that my identifiable reality “really doesn’t mean anything”.

    Tantamount to telling me my homosexuality is an aberrance that must be extinguished from my mind in order for me to be “real” and “free”.

    Entirely oppressive, as much as one-line support smirks from the evanescent peanut gallery.

    My thanks for proving my point.

    These types of oppressions have nothing to do with diversity, or liberty, cognitive or otherwise. They are individuals insisting that their worldview is the only one.

    History has shown us what these types of individuals can destructively accomplish with their eugenic-like tunnel vision.

    It is heartening to realize that these mindsets are fast becoming a minority in our physical and cognitive realm.

    We all have a right to what and how we think. Cognitive liberty as an ideal defines a right to self-determination (aka self-identification) as absolute.

    Would you walk up to me and tell me to my face that I am not a homosexual, and that my identifying as such is a socially determined oppression?

    Why are you doing this with autism?

    This is beyond me. At that, I have no scope with which to understand that which is not me; how could I possibly do that?

    It isn’t me.

    Yet I accept that that which is not me has as much right to exist as I do. Respect isn’t born of, or borne by, understanding; it is a function of acceptance.

    I do not have the need to convince another of who or what they should be. I believe in the principles of diversity and liberty, cognitive or otherwise, and although I will contest any opine that deigns to define me for another’s sense of self, I accept that opinion’s right to exist, and will contest in kind but to maintain my boundaries, identity, and cognitive liberty.

    We all have the right to think what we think, and the right to self-determination. I accept divergent views, as long as they do not insist their way must be my way.

    Have a great life.

    I am.

    Report comment

    • Joey, while I don’t think the people in the antipsychiatry movement have been sensitive at all to people in the radical neurdiverisity movement and the radical autism movement, and I think it is important that this change for we should be allies, there is nonetheless a problem however, coming from the other side. When you simply use the word autism, for instance,what you are ignoring is that it is a disorder in the DSM. That is a problem here for you at that point look like you are buying into psychiatry. Under the circumstances, perhaps it would make sense finding . another term to use to describe what you are experiencing. To quote Audre Lorde here, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

      Report comment

      • Bonnie, I see this clearly. Thank you, as I was somewhat perplexed. My friends and acquaintances who are close to me on the human spectrum of neuro being do, or might likely, feel the same. We are not psychiatrized, nor do we wish to be.

        The subscription ends.

        As a learning member of the human family, I identify with the term autism as a collective; this is how we know one another. I will use the identifier here forth only to facilitate communications. My gratitude to this experience.

        Report comment

      • To that end, if I may be so bold: homosexuality itself was once a condition listed in the DSM. It is not, to my knowledge, considered a psychiatric disorder currently.

        In hopes the identifier autism will one day benefit from such freedom. Although the term originated questionably, I reclaim, as many divergent and diverse demographics have, in the modern cultural milieu, done with their own questionably originated monikers.

        Be well, and thank you for the opportunity to contribute.

        Report comment

        • the word “autism”, let me suggest, Joey, is very different than the word “homosexual” and that difference is such that it is not only reclaimable, it does not even need to be reclaimed. The word “homosexual” was not invented by a psychiatrist and had a long independent existence. By contrast, when you try to reclaim the word “autism”, the problem facing you is this is a word that did not exist until a psychiatrist invented it, and as such, it is is pretty close to owned by psychiatry. The word and its meaning was invented by Bleuler. In this regard, it should be noted, Bleuler is the very same psychiatrist who invented the word schizophrenia–a word that has plagued society ever since. I should also add that he was a eugenicist. This, alas, is the baggage that the word autism brings with it. Something, I think that it is important to consider as you reflect on what tactics to use in the highly important struggle in which you are engaged

          Report comment

      • But whether you call it ~neurodiversity~ ~radical neurodiverstiy~ or just ~Autism~, its still capitulating to abusers and exonerating them. There is no reason that we should ever encourage that. And it is not a way of resisting Psychiatry.

        Report comment

  24. No one is saying that Autism is an illness. But then really, that does not mean anything. We could say that mental illness is not an illness. Some times ~mental illness~ is used to make allowances for people, even to get them off for crimes. Other times ~mental illness~ is used to indict someone, even to convict them of crimes.

    Autism can and does work exactly the same way, and it is used in these ways regularly.

    So why would anyone want to pin a label on themselves?

    And why do we want to call for “diversity” when there is no proof of difference, no benefit obtained by claiming the difference.

    I walk into a café, one guy is talking with his friend, two women are talking to each other. Another guy is eating food. I am intending to read a book.

    Which one of us needs to call for “diversity” in order to be accepted as legitimate?

    Remember, the first best line of defense when you’re legitimacy is attacked, is the middle finger.

    Some people will attack your legitimacy, but packaging it as For Your Own Good. Again, the middle finger, or harsh toned direct words, will usually solve that problem.

    But some people need lessons in respecting people and their privacy. So if the middle finger does not work, I will usually go into Marine Corp Drill Sergeant Mode.

    Face 2 face, people do not try to mess around with me.

    And so what is this Neurodiverstiy Movement, and things like the Autism Self Advocacy Network?

    Walker asks how we deal with Autistic people? Well in the work place and in community service groups, one finds all sorts of people, with all sorts of communications styles. So how do you deal with them? You deal with them no differently than anyone else. You just have to be tolerant. I don’t mean tolerant of their category of difference, and I don’t mean making presumptions about them. I mean just tolerant of them as they are.

    I want to tell a brief story here, decades ago, for a while I had an autistic girlfriend. Or rather I should say, I had a girlfriend who had been convinced that she was autistic.

    I was only a year older than she, and she told me about the institution she lived in. It was only by happenstance that I met her.

    She was not different from anybody else. She was just as communicative and engage able.

    In those days I did not know anything about Autism, other than as shown in that movie RainMan. And I thought autistics did not talk at all.

    This girl was nothing like that, just like everybody else.

    I still though did come to feel that it would be a mistake to keep seeing her. The issue was simply that I thought it would be taking advantage of her. Its not that she was disabled in any way. It was simply the disadvantage, the compromised personhood which she was experiencing in living in the institution. She was at a huge social disadvantage, and this did come across.

    Overall I would say that she was guileless. Her feeling were right there on the surface. I see this as a positive. But I also know that she would have a hard time in adolescent girl culture. And then no tight or revealing clothes, no high heels, no makeup, no bombshell hair. She would be targeted.

    But this does not mean that there was anything wrong about her, or any reason she should have to accept a ~neurological difference~ label.

    There was however one thing which stood out. And I have seen strange issues related to this in girls before. She had strabismus in one eye. In my view, particularly with a girl, that will change how people react to her.

    Why did the parents send her to this school? Why did the parents have her ~accessed~? Were the parents embarrassed by her, as comes across in many autism narratives? Was she being targeted in a Muggle Bully School?

    She should not have had to have been institutionalized. A well run communal home would have been better.

    Louis Theroux’s Video About Autism is really good. But it is down. Autism is really controversial, and most of the advocacy has been parents defending themselves, or now this Recovery Movement version. Theroux’s video was not pro-parents.

    Here is his Medicated Kids Video, but it too is not kind to parents, and the video has been adulterated. Still worth watching.


    Someone believes that they have Autism, then they are an abuse survivor. It is not necessarily the parents, and they do not cause Autism. They couldn’t, Autism does not exist.

    But convincing someone that they have Autism, or the Neurological Difference, that is abuse.

    Report comment

  25. People see that “Brain Chemical Imbalance” is nonsense, and so they refute it.

    Why would the same people then go along with “neurological difference”. It is the same biomedical model, something which could somehow, scanning electron microscope on brain biopsy slides, explain human behavior.

    Suppose I wrote a book,

    “Does Your Child Have Evil Spirits In their Brain?”
    “Learn how you can save your child and save yourself.”

    And then if I worked with children and parents to promote this, and real children were harmed, don’t you think I should be sued for everything I had, if not incarcerated?

    Why are people putting up with “neurodiversity” and “radical neurodiversity”?

    I wrote of my short term ~autistic~ girlfriend above. Bad enough that people were telling her that she had ~autism~, but then to make it worse by saying that there is some genetic or neurological basis for it, when there is no evidence for this anymore than there is of ~Brain Chemical Imbalance~.

    Report comment

    • Continued from above:

      Sure we have an Autism Industry, part of our nationwide nexus of FixMyKid Doctors. And then we have parents who want to find the locus of Original Sin in their child, and who have children for that reason.

      But now, these self identifying ~Autistics~ who are promoting the ideas themselves?

      Well, it helps them exonerate perpetrators.

      And it does matter how we use it. Like Wittgenstein explained, there is no such thing as private language. So if you want to use ~radical neurodiversity~ or ~autism~ in some other way, or like an emerging species of super humans who are going to take over the world, that does not mean that I am going to go along with it.

      And I want to reply just a bit to Bonnie here, because I feel that she really is missing some crucial things. There was this Magnus Hirschfeld, and here it talks about Roehm’s troops ( Brown Shirts, SA ) destroying the Hirschfeld’s Sex Research Institute in 1933.


      Well Hirschfeld was at that time the leading thinker on homosexuality. Though I don’t think he called it that. He understood homosexuals as a third sex, and this was what he explained in his books.


      And there had been this serial child killer Fritz Haarmann in Hanover Germany. In 1925 he was apprehended and convicted and executed. But it seemed highly likely that what Haarmann was convicted of doing actually required a great deal of help, and coming from the Nazis who controlled Hanover police. Haarmann was being used as a provoking agent.


      The populace was terrified of this killer. they sung ditties about him. There was the claim that remains of murdered children were being cut up and sold as horse meat. But who ever may have done that, was getting official assistance.

      Haarmann was like their Jeffrey Dahmer.

      And so the Nazi’s used all of this to discredit Wiemar tolerance of homosexuality. In fact, ordinary Germans were somewhat tolerant of homosexuality, and especially in the big cities.

      But when economic times got tough, and people were being told that homosexuals were the reason, and then this child killing, then that tolerance went away.

      So the Nazi’s used this, and their control of Hanover Police, to discredit the liberal views of homosexuality.

      Magnus Hirshfeld, having no direct evidence about these crimes, he was brought in as an expert witness to try and discredit the attacks on homosexuals. But the Nazi’s turned the entire thing into a show trial, not of Haarmann, but of Wiemar liberalism and of this “tolerance” approach towards homosexuality. The Nazi’s won, totally terrifying people about homosexuality. And clearly this opened the door to their later interment and final execution of homosexuals.

      So I want to draw your attention to this.

      1. I am not sure that the word homosexual is entirely neutral and problem free.
      2. Generally a tolerance based approach is stupid, whether it be for sexual orientation, or this non-sense “neuological difference”. The only real way is a militant self defending approach.
      3. You or I may use these diagnostic terms and mean no harm, but I think that is also a mark of ignorance. Autism is today often used to convey the sense of some sort of disorder and propensity for extreme violent crime. And like with the Haarmann case, people who want to can really agitate and inflame the public.
      4. You don’t want to be opening doors to labeling. Best to always meet such labels with a cold like steel refusal, and a demonstration of willingness to defend self an others.
      5. So no, I think people do have to be careful about “homosexual”, but about “autism and neurodiversity” even more so. And remember, Hirshfeld thought there really were 3 sexes, and no one goes along with that today.


      Report comment

      • there is so much both that I agree with here, Pacific-Dawn as well as what I disagree with, that it is way too much for me to comment on everything, though I do appreciate you contribution. So I am limiting myself to one correction only. While Hirshfeld is famous for sponsoring gay rights, no, it did not begin with him. The person who invented the word “homosexual” is a more likely candidate to think of as the first gay rights advocate, and from Germany also, he signitificantly predates Hirshfeld. (and yes he introduced it as a positive term). the inventor is Unlrichs Kerbeney and he published a book in 1863 (which is before Hirshfeld was born)

        Report comment

  26. Continued From Above:

    I want to say this now, I have not read this anywhere, but it is influenced by things I have read. and I have since read things which show that others have thought this way.

    I believe that the abuse, the othering, the scapegoating associated with ~Autism~ go way way back, before any of the terminology existed. Buy this I mean, ~Autism~ is just a label being applied, and applied in the most negative of ways, to something which has existed in the human community since time immemorial.

    For one thing, I cite this Jayne Lytel in her horrid book, “Act Early Against Autism”. She speaks of being at the Yale Lab, getting her son Leo tested, and she speaks of how it just tore her guts out when the doctor said the wod “Autism”

    To Be Continued

    Report comment

    • Continued from above:

      And I have heard accounts of things like this, of a mother describing how something really deep was set off in her when she saw the child being on the ground, surrounded and bullied by other children.

      Its like that incident made her forever disown the child, and may indeed have started the child down the road of not being one of the herd, of somehow being different. And today he or she would probably get labeled as ~Autistic~.

      And then in Lytel’s book there are graphic scenes which show you how much Lytel and the husband hate their son Leo, and this is without any white coats or labels in the picture.

      And then I did not think of this when I first read Lord of the Flies, the character Simon. If I had to today pick someone who is the prototype of what the ~Autism~ proponents are talking of, it would be him.

      He was sitting in a closed thicket, communing with nature. Jack and his hunters had gotten all worked up chasing a pig. The pig broke into the thicket, followed by Jack and his people. They right away turned on Simon, and he was the first boy that they killed.

      No reason is given why they would want to kill Simon, no deliberation about it, it just happened. I would say that they killed him because they had already known that he was not really one of them.

      And this book predates most of the ~Autism~ hysteria, and the book never uses any labels or tries to explain Simon.

      Most people are in the herd, and they are of it too. They don’t need to think about it, they probably are not even capable of thinking about it, they just do what the herd expects.

      But some of us are not really of the herd, we think outside of it.

      Autism is nonsense, Autism and Aspergers are just concepts invented to justify the abuse of children and adults. And I think it a horrible mistake to be perpetuating and biologizing these via ~neurological difference~.

      Okay, but there are people who for whatever reason seem to have Mystical Abilities, and often with High Intelligence. Most of today’s people claiming to be ~Autistic~ would probably all into this category, Mystical Abilities and High Intelligence. Its just that once someone accepts the idea of ~Autism~ they are accepting all of its Eugenic Foundations, and this of course includes the Self-Reliance Ethic.

      So for example John Elder Robison and Temple Grandin could be interesting people, were it not for the fact that their entire world view is shaped by the need to hold up the Self-Reliance Ethic and show their unquestioning support for it.

      Based on a book I read long ago in college, I would say that these are the people who are probably going to get made into Shamans, Mystical Abilities and High Intelligence. And I think I want to drop the idea of High Intelligence, as that gets to Lewis Termann and to the same sorts of Mental Hygiene and Eugenics stuff. If someone is not of the herd, then they will have high intelligence automatically.

      Really it is Mystical Abilities, and that just means not being of the herd.

      Both men and women, but more men.

      Book said that in primitive societies adults scrutinize children for signs of mystical abilities. They value shamans.

      When the find one, the first thing they do is separate the child from the parents. And this does seem to be the key and the life saving step!

      They are placed then under the care of an adult shaman. Their path to adulthood will be longer and it will entail more risk. Whereas normals reach adulthood at sexual maturity, a shaman does not reach adulthood until much later, perhaps as late as age 30. It might entail vision quests and finding a totem spirit.

      And the life of a shaman will be more risky, usually. People may feel jealous of the shaman or threatened by the shaman. But nevertheless, they serve an important roll. But as Shamanism is probably something which is possible in all of us, and because it goes way back, so people have an in bread fear of it, or a fear that their child could go that way. Separation from the parents is crucial.

      A book about esotericism I read said that with most births the child resembles the parents. But there are some births which come from above, where the child will not resemble the parents, and these births are always announced. Citing Isaac, Samuel, and John the Baptist to name but a few.

      So is Shamanism ~Autism~? No it is not. ~Autism~ is a concept which is perpetuated to justify the abuse of children and adults.

      Where does autism come from, what created it?

      Autism is created by

      1. Captialism
      2. The Middle-Class Family
      3. The Self-Reliance Ethic, a capitalist over coding
      4. Mental Hygiene and Eugenics Movement
      5, and now, Resurgence of Mental Hygiene and Eugenics in service of Neo-Liberalism

      Report comment

  27. Autism does not exist, but what created and perpetuates the concept?

    1. Captialism
    2. The Middle-Class Family
    3. The Self-Reliance Ethic, a capitalist over coding
    4. Mental Hygiene and Eugenics Movement
    5, and now, Resurgence of Mental Hygiene and Eugenics in service of Neo-Liberalism

    Schizophrenia does not exist. But what created and perpetuates the concept?

    1. Captialism
    2. The Middle-Class Family
    3. The Self-Reliance Ethic, a capitalist over coding
    4. Mental Hygiene and Eugenics Movement
    5, and now, Resurgence of Mental Hygiene and Eugenics in service of Neo-Liberalism

    People should not be promoting the concept of neurodiversity, radical or otherwise.

    And making appeals to diversity or tolerance on any central identity issues is highly unadvisable. It amounts so submitting to abusers and inviting the worst sort of backlash.

    Report comment

  28. So adopting an identity label of “homosexual” then is not something I would recommend without some research. And then presenting it as an appeal to tolerance, that is never a good idea.

    Using labels like ~Autism~ and ~Neurological Difference~, how is that any different from making an appeal to tolerance?

    Autism is not Shamanism, it is a creation of the Mental Hygiene and Eugenics movements.

    Report comment

  29. This is interesting, to consider the freedom to think as we do, and to know that it will be diverse, by nature. Of course attempting to control the thoughts of others, as some people make a habit of doing, is not only high risk, it is a blatant violation of personal boundaries. If one’s boundaries are flimsy, then they are vulnerable. Yet, people seem to be constantly trying to manipulate the thoughts of others. And when they can’t, they can try to manipluate one’s life, to have power over another to this extent. That’s pure oppression, and I think about this when I think about my experience with psychiatry.

    A psychiatrist has the right to think and believe what they do, like anyone else. Yet, what they think and believe freely will most definitely impact their clients, one way or another. And if what they believe about the client is negative–which so often it is (consider even simply a diagnosis)–then the client is in trouble.

    These are irreconcilable differences in thought, beliefs, and perceptions because one is dangerous to the other, given the clinician-client dynamic, where the client is transparent and the clinician is non-disclosing (which, to me, amounts to deceit). That is a recipe for disaster, and it most often has led to that.

    So for me it’s a dilemma: sure we are free to think what we want, but wouldn’t mutual transparency and trust be vital and necessary components of a healthy relationship and social dynamic, rather than one of forced imbalance of power by not sharing one’s honest and authentic truth?

    Bonnie, I invite you to check out part 1 of 3 of an article I wrote which recently was published on Mad in Italy. It’s posted in English and in Italian, and is called “The Art of Being Human,” and deals with just this–how to honor diverse thinking and recognize when beliefs are irreconcilable because of the damage a belief can do to another in certain situations regarding relationship power roles. Parts 2 and 3, to be published soon, detail how one particular psychiatrist’s beliefs about me almost destroyed me and my life, and how I had to address the post traumatic stress of dealing with what I consider to be a treacherous human being to whom I naively surrendered my power for a time, during the most vulnerable time of my life due to being in the throes of withdrawal from a bunch of neurotoxins which I’d taken for years and years. I had no defenses at the time, nor any sense of personal boundaries for myself.


    In fact, you have influenced my work from the time that I remember your saying in a comment a couple of years ago that “we are looking at what it means to be a human being.” Something clicked when I read this statement by you, that indeed, this is the bottom line: when we can give *ourselves* permission to be FULLY human, regardless of what some others may think and believe about us, then we are free. That is our power, how we think and what we believe. It matters.

    Report comment

    • I always felt it important to be transparent when I was playing the role of counselor/social worker. The more real and human I was, the easier it was for the person I was helping to be open to communicating with me about how they want to change their lives.

      Report comment

      • The 1:1 clinical model is still very risky for clients, especially if the client is part of the “disability system” and low income and identified as such. Their power is limited, at best, and I think it’s really hard for a clinician to not even unconsciously exploit that, especially if the client is critical of services and files a legitimate grievance.

        This is what parts 2 and 3 of my article explore, as per my example with a particular psychiatrist of what can go very, very wrong, and most often does–all based on client’s word vs. clinician subjective perspective of reality and their personal opinion of/judgment toward the client. The deck is way to stacked and this kind of ongoing clinical relationship lends itself easily to personal harm for client and social injustice, directly.

        Report comment

        • I don’t at all disagree. Most therapists are either ineffective or dangerous. There are a small minority that can be very helpful, but most people either lack access to such people or don’t realize what they are really looking for. Just signing up for a therapist is a dangerous act, because the power imbalance is so profound and so few professionals are able to recognize this problem and address it.

          Report comment

          • Right, which makes it high risk. Threre should be a disclaimer, then: “psychotherapy can be hazardous to your health and can possibly screw you up more than you can imagine. Enter at your own risk.”

            The potential for hard core damage is very high. I don’t think the few good ones make up for the other 99%. Makes it a highly questionable profession.

            Report comment

          • I don’t disagree. That’s one of the big reasons I moved out of that realm into advocacy. Even the “good ones” are embedded in a system which rewards compliance and challenges any attempt to improve services or humanize clients. At a certain point, it starts to feel like you’re “sleeping with the enemy” and supporting a system that is generally much more damaging than helpful, and not by accident. My personal ethics would not allow me to continue to collaborate with the system.

            Report comment

          • I’m going with the fact that we agree that psychotherapy is a huge risk and can cause serious damage, more so than people realize and it is extremely challenging to pinpoint because emotional abuse can be very subtle, albeit very powerful in sabotaging one’s sense of self. This includes different levels of gaslighting, Munchausen by proxy, etc., all standard practices and tools of the trade which keep business alive and flourishing. That’s all I want to convey.

            Agreeing on that merits no qualifiers. That’s the only point I want to drive home because I believe it is an important truth, regardless of the very rare exceptions. Many people do not realize the harm that this causes, and it is what I try to highlight with my activism. I think it’s core to all of this.

            The worst part is that it is based on relationship behaviors which are accepted as the norm. We live in an abusive society, it’s not even noticed or recognized–aka “being well-adjusted to a sick society.” Kinda scary, when you think about it. Hard to know what to believe! Indeed, in a society created by lies, illusions, and power abuse, things are bound to become quite confusing. That’s the whole idea behind corruption.

            But I do know how I FEEL when I am dealing with abusive, double-binding, controlling, manipulative people, like radar. These are also human beings and obviously have their own issues. But it’s a heavy energy which drains and which can undermine well-being, and it warrants caution.

            Report comment

          • Again, agreed 100%. Cultivating that gut level feeling is something I talk about in my book as the ultimate tool for detecting abusive people, but our society teaches us from early on how to mute that “little voice” and talk ourselves out of believing what we have legitimately observed. A big part of healing on the spiritual level, to me, comes down to learning to listen to those intuitive messages and to take the time to figure out what they’re really about. It’s not always clear exactly why we get those messages, but they are there to be respected and listened to!

            Report comment

          • “but our society teaches us from early on how to mute that “little voice” and talk ourselves out of believing what we have legitimately observed.”

            Yes, Steve, you say a mouthful here. Psychiatry completely dissociates us from our intuition/inner voice/inner guidance with drugs, pure and simple. It’s why I was NOT attuned to my radar as I entered the field, followed by going through the system, which is why it took a while to wake up to what had been occurring.

            I believe the psych drugs don’t allow normal neural shifting from lived experience, causing one to get stuck in old patterns because they do not process so there is no growth in awareness or expanding consciousness.

            Once I got off the pills and healed from what they had caused me, my neuroplasticity kicked in (thank GOD!) and my consciousness expanded wildly, which was my healing and then some, like quantum shifting. Finally, my neurons were flexible again. Then I had to learn how to ground all that new awareness. Quite the process, on the exhilirating side.

            What you say is also one of the things I caution about talk therapy–therapists can easily talk a client out of one’s inner voice and intuition, when they impose their own truth and reailty onto the client, filling the client with self-doubt and questioning their own sense of self and personal reality. Challenging a client is one thing, but throwing doubt at them for any reason is abusive because it can only cause confusion, anxiety, and ultimately psychic harm, if they are particularly vulnerable, which is most often the case.

            Personally, I think cutting someone off from their inner truth, intuition, and personal sense of self-guidance is a crime against humanity. That is nothing short of disastrous for a person, to be dissociated from their personal truth, no two ways about it. That is how suffering can become chronic because one cannot find their way out of the dark, if they don’t know their own light!

            Report comment

      • But when a psychotherapist is listening to the client, in a psychotherapy session, aren’t they listening from a point of superiority, feeling that they know things which the client does not, and that they will be able to tell the client things which the client would not know.

        And doesn’t that then mean that the therapist is right off ruling some of the views of the client as being invalid?

        From Franz Brentano to Sigmund Freud and to Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, versus from Franz Brentano to Edmund Husserl and to Phenomenology and Existentialism.


        Report comment

        • Not necessarily. There is no requirement that a therapist listen from a point of view of superiority or of instructing the client on what is going on or what to do. Certainly the majority of therapists these days DO operate in that way, partly because they’re now trained to look down on their clients, partly because they haven’t done their own work on their own issues.

          But a truly good therapist would, in my view, listen only from the point of an outside observer of their client’s narrative of their own life and experiences. Their job is to ask questions to help the client make up their own minds about what is causing their distress and what THEY want to do about it. The therapist’s job is not to tell the client what to think, in fact, my own therapist years ago pretty much refused to EVER tell me what she thought even if I asked her to. She did share some things from her own life to help me understand that she was NOT coming from a superior point of view, but had been through similar pain and frustration herself. But she never, ever told me what to do or think. She simply helped me unwind my own story and realize some important things regarding “feeling my feelings,” which you correctly point out is so essential to moving beyond the abusive/neglectful/oppressive environments that most kids grow up in. She empowered me by listening without judging, asking pointed questions about what I said, and supporting me in feeling my feelings and acting on the logical consequences of those feelings. It was my parents who viewed my viewpoints as invalid. She never did, and in fact, strengthened my confidence that my own views were, in fact, valid, in contradiction to what I’d come to believe from listening to and being worried about my parents’ and siblings’ views of what I should/should not be or think or do.

          Report comment

          • “Not necessarily. There is no requirement that a therapist listen from a point of view of superiority or of instructing the client on what is going on or what to do.”

            But the whole premise of the session, and of charging the fee, what could be the premise of it if not superiority?

            And in asking questions isn’t the therapist steering the client? I mean what experience does the therapist have with disruptive activism? Here activists refused to leave City Hall and so they were carried off to jail. And on other occasions they have crow bared into vacant city owned buildings, as a form of protest, and they got arrested.

            And then of the legal high water marks for holding perpetrators accountable, what does the therapist know about that?

            Isn’t the basic premise still that the client is going to do nothing?

            Jeffrey Masson says that the therapist is always just going to have to say that you just have to live with things, and that this is a universal part of how therapists are trained. They really don’t have anything else which they could offer. This is why he says, “The practice of psychotherapy is wrong because it is profiting off of other people’s misery.”

            I mean a lawyer will at least be honest up front. If they can’t take your case they will tell you so right off. But with the therapist they will listen and listen, letting you talk yourself out, knowing that there is nothing which they can do to help with the objective circumstances of your life.

            But with the therapist, they are pretending to agree with you, when in fact they know that to live you are expected to give up on such feelings, just like they have.

            I mean pain and frustration, that is how you look at it when you have given up on redress. I say that looking at it as pain and frustration is already yielding.

            As I see it, the therapist is a clean up artist, bringing people back into line who might otherwise remain disgruntled.

            That is how those mental health questionnaires work, being the basis of about half of the research reports on this forum. Anyone who is disgruntled does not really enjoy ~mental health~.

            And the therapists is not any kind of a comrade, say the wrong things to your therapist, and as people have already posted about, you can have police at your front door.

            Report comment

          • It appears to me that you are unable to accept data from my personal experience that contradicts your philosophical premises. It should be easy enough for you to simply acknowledge that I had this experience and that my therapist, at least, did not have the intention of preventing me from becoming active in asserting my rights or was encouraging me in any way to “adjust” to my environment. Why is this so difficult for you to accept? What would be wrong with recognizing that not all therapists are the same? And that some do, in fact, encourage their clients to stand up against those who are mistreating them, whether in the past or the present or the future, even if the majority do not do this? Is maintaining your philosophical purity more important than respecting the actual data you get from people who actually use this kind of service? Maybe you would do well to stop telling everyone what to think and instead listen to people’s experiences? Maybe you could learn something from listening to survivors yourself?

            Report comment

          • Steve, psychotherapy is built on a crumby model of cognition. From this, Freud promoted his idea of the “talking cure”.

            But there is no knowing without doing. All knowing is doing and all doing is knowing.

            We do not know things in an abstract detached Cartesian way.

            Sure maybe there are some psychotherapists who do a lot of listening and very little talking. But this does not mean that they actually have anything to contribute, or that they ever really side with the client.

            Now yes, I have not met every therapist. But if you had therapists who sided with the clients, there would be redress for the wrongs committed, not just people who say that they feel better.

            Confronting people is not usually redress.

            This book talks about redress, a father making “reparations payments”.


            Nothing done in the office of the therapist restores your public honor. It is all a private matter. But the lack of public honor is what makes it so difficult for survivors to function. The idea that this is all caused by pain from past events, I say is a deception, and that Psychotherapy is Con Artistry.

            Report comment

          • Again, it’s clear you argue from your own personally limited viewpoint and nothing anyone says will sway you from it. You tend to repeat the same statements over and over, but they are full of assumptions, such as the assumption that therapy itself must lead to legal redress, or that therapists are going out of their way to force people to adjust to their circumstances instead of fighting back, which is, of course, only your own assumption and in my case is directly contradicted by the facts I’ve presented.

            You’re also invalidating my assertion that taking on my own parents and reclaiming my power is plenty of redress for me, as it freed me to follow my own path instead of spending all my time worrying about what they think or do. If that is not a positive outcome, I’m not sure what if anything would ever qualify. Perhaps you’d have been satisfied if I’d sued my parents for being insensitive and overwhelmed and not being able to do what they needed to for us kids?

            And you yourself admit that some “stuff” IS between your ears, in the sense that “feeling your feelings” per Alice Miller is an essential part of becoming a whole person, at least if you really believe what Alice was saying. I would think you would support whatever efforts did that for a person, regardless of what it’s called. But you don’t seem to do that. You want to tell everyone else what to think and believe, even when the person him/herself tells you that your beliefs are incorrect in their case. This kind of invalidation doesn’t help anyone, and in fact reminds me of the very failings of the “mental health” system you and I both so vehemently disapprove of. You would be a lot more credible with me, and I think with a lot of people, if you stopped telling me/others what they should believe and started listening a little more and trying to incorporate what you hear from me and others into your philosophy, instead of just ignoring or arguing with me down when I don’t agree 100% with your preconceived philosophical notions.

            Report comment

    • Alex, people can think what they think. And as you have demonstrated, people car write what they want to. But when you have programs being set up, telling people that serious abuses should be taken very lightly, made into some kind of a game (transhuman evolution), instead of helping people to seek and obtain redress for wrongs, I say that that is preying on survivors and legitimating the abuse of children and adults.

      Report comment

      • I’m not sure I follow your reasoning here, PD. Who is taking abuse lightly? Regardless of vindication efforts, people still need to heal from abuse, and that is a complex healing. Otherwise, it is bound to be repeated and to me, it’s important to stop the cycle of abuse, and there are many players in that dynamic.

        It’s not one or the other, healing and finding justice can go hand in hand. Everyone makes their own choices based on what they feel is right for them, as it should be. No one size fits all in any respect!

        Report comment

        • Taking abuse lightly we have Mad Pride and this new Radical Neurodiversity.

          Mind Freedom I would have counted too, but maybe they have started to clean up their act.

          These trivializers have no interest in vanquishing foes, but they are making public identity destroying labels into a joke.

          And as far as a need to heal, you don’t heal when you are in the middle of continuing abuse. The idea that your pain comes from things of the past is part of the con that is psychotherapy. Talk of healing is just a way of further delegitimating survivors, and of getting them to accept passivity in the midst of continual attacks.

          Suppose someone goes to a police station to report that they have been raped. And suppose that what they hear is, “Well we have all the healing resources right here. We have therapists and recovery programs, and we have doctors who can administer drugs so that you don’t have to propagate more cycles of abuse. But otherwise you should not really be talking about this, not until you have healed.”

          There is clearly something wrong. But this is how it goes, not at the police station, but when ever one enters into the realm of therapy and recovery.

          People have been told that the abuses they have experienced are aberrational. They are not. So much so that I try to limit my use of the term “abuse” as it makes it sound like something which is aberrational and which the law might prohibit.

          I find it more useful to talk about “exploitation”, as this conveys the sense that it is not aberrational, and that not only does the law not prohibit it, the law encourages it.

          Some people talk about ~Dysfunctional Families~. I do not go along with that idea. I say that the families are perfectly functional. They do exactly what they are intended to do. Paraphrasing Nietzsche from “Genealogy of Morals”, its just like it is with the sharp stones and hot coals that primitive societies use to initiate adolescents, these are intended to scar and maim, they are used to “Breed Man”.

          In the US though people see that the best response to a dysfunctional family is Psychotherapy, Healing, Recovery, and maybe Getting Saved.

          It is not looked at that way everywhere. In British Columbia the best response to a ~Dysfunctional Family~ is simply to call a lawyer:


          People have been taught that they need Therapeutic Release. I say that that is just a way of continuing to marginalize someone, trying to get them to accept life without honor. Rather than Therapeutic Release, the issue should be Tangible Results, because this is what restores public honor.

          Today most middle-class child abuse is predicated upon the bogus ethic known as “Self-Reliance”.

          Report comment

          • The one thing I agree with here is that one cannot heal if one is in the midst of abuse. The first step would be to get out of that situation. And yes, that can be really, really hard for a number of reasons. But it’s a must, before anything else.

            From there, many things can happen which can include punishing the abuser as well as starting a healing process from the abuse. Were healing to not occur, that person would more than likely walk right into yet another abusive relationship, happens all the time like that.

            But when a person heals from abuse, then they change whatever it was that attracted them to that abuser to begin with, and why they didn’t hear their intuition and pick up on the signs. And there are always indicators, we just don’t pay attention to them because we are in need of something. This is what people have to change within themselves if they expect to break patterns of abuse. That’s a separate issue from vindication, but it’s necessary in the process for anything at all to change for that person.

            None of this is easy in the slightest, but it’s what it comes to for some people. First step, though, is to get out of the situation one way or another. From there, it’s up to the person how they are best served proceeding, and I don’t believe anyone has the right to tell that person what to do. It is their choice and I feel it should be respected and HONORED.

            I disagree with most of what you say, but I’m not going to argue with you about it. You have a right to think what you want as does anyone. I believe that’s the entire point of this article.

            Report comment

          • Alex wrote, “But when a person heals from abuse, then they change whatever it was that attracted them to that abuser to begin with, and why they didn’t hear their intuition and pick up on the signs.”

            Alex, the abuse is built into the foundations of our society. It is not just this Recovery Movement idea that you or I are inclined to set up abusive relationships.

            As I know that is probably coming now from Richard Schwartz.

            The Mental Health and Psychotherapy enterprises are always trying to make survivors responsible for the difficulties they experience.

            We have to reject that and instead pursue this issues at a political level.

            Report comment

          • “the abuse is built into the foundations of our society.”

            PD, I totally agree with you here and I think this is really important to wake up to. And because it is built into the foundation, it is the norm, which means that it is the familiar, which means that people are used to it and do not recognize it as abuse. All kinds of excuses, justifications, and chronic enabling happen here, holding up the system of abuse.

            Considering that we are all part of the collective, and we have all been programmed one way or another, we can make sure WE are not contributing to this by not allowing ourselves to be abusive toward others. In addition, we can make abuse in our lives unacceptable and have strong and non-negotiable boundaries around this. Abusive people don’t respect boundaries and will tend to wear people down before giving up, so it’s tricky and takes practice. We’ve been programmed to take abuse, enable abuse (look the other way or make excuses for it), or to be abusive, so breaking these programs takes some doing, what I’d call inner work.

            Old habits are hard to break and require neural shifting. Playing any of these roles supports the abusive system. One must evolve out of that dynamic for the system to experience challenging change. That would be a new normal, to break the system by not playing ANY of the roles in it.

            But I agree that it’s the norm and society is set up that way, currently (power-imbalanced), so a new normal (consisting of integrity, kindness, justice–all missing currently from the foundation of society) would be required for anything to change–political, social, economic, etc. That’s not at all easy for people, to move away from the familiar and trust the unknown, but I believe it’s necessary for survival at this point.

            Report comment

  30. Bonnie, I don’t go along with things like “Mad Pride”, because it creates the impression that ~mental illness~ is somehow real, and because it gets into an extremely serious area of delegitimation and abuse, yet it is not penalities for perpetrators and reparations for survivors.

    Do Japanese Americans throw parties to celebrate internment?

    So ~neurodiversity~, no matter how radical, seems to be the same thing, giving up on holding perpetrators accountable, giving up on restoring public honor.

    If someone has been labeled as ~Autistic~, then not only do they seem to be an abuse survivor, they have had their biography poisoned. It will not look like other people’s biographies. Very hard to remedy this. But one way is by fighting and obtaining redress.

    But making light of this idea like ~neurological difference~ does not do that.

    I cannot disrespect survivors that way, nor can I sit idly by and watch how others do it.

    I am obliged to oppose all such advocacy of ~neurodiversity~ and ~autism/aspergers~.

    Report comment

    • “mad pride” and “radical neurodiversity” amount to taking very lightly, almost making a joke out of something which should be seen as deadly serious.

      The original labeling and othering should be redressed. penalties for perpetrators, reparations for survivors, not Live and Let Live.

      Report comment

    • I disagree, Pacific Dawn. Etymologically speaking the term mad predates medical model terminology which is why NAMI sorts get so out of shape over calling people mad rather than “mentally ill”.

      Lightheartedness, too, can underline the difference between serious and frivolous “mental illness”. Frivolous “mental illness” is not so likely to be deadly, nor intractable, although the other sort, or at least treatment for it, can be a real killer. Of course, the term itself is a misnomer, but it still designates something that gets under somebodies craw.

      Neurodiversity is just more neurobabble, and should be covered under civil liberties. All nonsense aside, you should have a right to be who you chose to be. Cognitive freedom, if that’s the way it is put it, sure. How you choose to be includes how you are.

      Report comment

      • Frank, I concede your point about “mad”. But I still want to see people seizing reparations where there have been abuses. And as I see it, the labeling is the biggest part of the abuse.

        “Mad” in some other context, like a “Mad Hatter’s Party” would be fine. But for people who have really been harmed by the mental health system, had their chance at life severely undermined, I can’t go along with it.

        Neurodiversity, to me that has always just been the survivors of abuse pleading for mercy.

        I think Nick Walker is misguided, he does not see the broader context of what he is doing.

        My .02

        Report comment

  31. ~Mental illness~ is abuse. The concept is abusive, the so called treatments are abusive, the stigmatizing and often an original othering, are abusive. None of us should ever go along with this. Instead, it should be penalties for perpetrators and reparations for survivors, as these are about the only way of restoring public honor.

    And we should never support anything which propagates the idea of mental illness.

    This makes mental illness into a joke, and so it is not about penalties for perpetrators and reparations for survivors.

    Penalties for perpetrators and reparations for survivors is not a difficult concept. It is the way survivors of abuse can restore their public honor, so that they can again have the socio-public identity with which it is necessary to function.


    Radical Neurodiversity and Mad Pride do not constitute resistance to a Biomedical and Eugenic paradigm, they constitute subservience to it by making it into a joke. It does not show that the whole thing is abuse to start with, and it is not about obtaining redress for abuse.

    Shari Karney was able to get laws changed, and as she explained, this is the reason why there are now $2 Billion in judgments against the US Roman Catholic Church.

    Julie Gregory is fighting to get prosecution for Muchausen’s perpetrators, and her book with medical records showing her own saga is compelling.

    I don’t believe that either of these survivors has received financial reparations, but no one would ever accuse either of them of life without honor, as their aggressiveness in acting against perpetrators is commendable.

    But if someone takes a Mad Pride or Radical Neurodiversity approach to abuses, how does that do anything to restore their public honor?

    Report comment

  32. https://www.jewishboston.com/etymology-of-the-word-autism/

    Autism: being one’s self.

    Many of us in the autistic community have never been diagnosed, and do not subscribe to medications, or other allopathic mis-alignments, such as psychiatry.

    We recognize each other as a community of neuro-diverse beings, who share very specific and similar traits.

    Although indeed, the master’s tools will never take down the master’s house (whoever presupposes they themselves are that), the psychiatrist who coined this phrase took from Latin to do so, and is not the owner of this terminological twist of fate. Originator, perhaps. Autists ourselves are the reason this term came into being, and it may be in the future that we succeed in having this identity taken out from under the tattered umbrella that sought to wield a shield over our existence.

    Rain or Shine, We Are.

    Changing the minds of the community of autists to use another self-referent may come about. I will strive, in the interests of community, cognitive liberty, and the greater anti-abusive collective, to satisfy these aims. Not, however, in the interests of placating other ideologies or political stances where our group identity is concerned. We will decide how we are referred to.

    I can speak for myself in identifying with other identifiers, such as neuro-plastic, or highly sensitive. I do not speak for other autists, their family members, or their communities of other neuro-diverse beings, who do not see this term as diminutive, depreciative, or of medical origin, however true this last aspect may be.

    To take an anti-psychiatric stance, being autistic is not an illness, although specific illnesses can and do occur. Psychiatry is but one modality of allopathic medicine that is contestable; there are many. My autistic identity is a difference that can sometimes inhibit participation in the social realm of a fashion that other beings find feasible. Yet more-so, autism is a blessing: a state of being, perspective, and plasticity I would wish on anyone, in spite of aforementioned difficulties.

    Under the auspices of cognitive liberty, I am fortunate that I can make up my own mind, and remain grateful as anyone for the liberty to change it.

    I greatly appreciate the contributions of all posters; supportive, informative, or contesting. I have learned a great deal from this thread, and I thank you deeply with Love.

    Report comment

  33. The reason the mental illness myth persists, is that many go along with it. No different with Autism.

    Suppose I show up at Nick Walker’s group. He asks me what my favorite color is. I say, “blue”.

    Then he asks the boy next to me and he says, “yellow”.

    So I am not sure if Walker has taken the idea of radical neurodiverstiy as far as Bonnie has, saying that it does not need to be tied to genetics.

    Maybe the second boy is just responding to me. But nevertheless, as Bonnie explains it, that boy and I have to be neurodivergent from each other, as well as neurodivergent from she, from Nick, and from everyone else in the group.

    So who gets into the group? Suppose Walker does not have room to take us both, so either I get in, or the yellow boy gets in.

    Well what it would probably come down to is just who has the parents that really want us in that group. Maybe my parents find me to be an embarrassment, and they think that this group would help me to be less so.

    Or maybe yellow boy’s parents have accepted that he has autism (making them child abusers) and they think that the group will help him.

    Hard to say.

    But one thing is clear, AUTISM IS ABUSE. There is abuse before the label is applied, there was abuse before they even had the labels.

    And I know that what I read decades abo applies, the one whom they see as being a future shaman is removed from his parents, and places under the care of some adult shaman.

    Autism is a kind of abuse which strikes right at your presumed humanity. The concept is abuse, the treatments are abuse, and it is all an abusive response to abuse.

    The only remedy is just learning to live, learn, grow, and then to find places to fight back.

    Report comment

  34. Adult to adult, the principle of free speech is well established.

    But when someone is profiting by targeting minor children, who’s lives are still orchestrated by their parents, and who might be subject to schools where bullying is used to socialize, then telling them that they have some sort of ~neurological difference~, even though that is not to be understood as an illness or a deficiency, I say that that is still organized serious child exploitation and abuse.

    There is no right to such access to children, and I say that doing it at all is serious crime. I also see protection from this as being part of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    Report comment

    • Pacific Dawn, this is an absolute truth. I am fortunate to have been an adult when I came into my own, with regards. I stand against any onus foisted upon children regarding whom they are, and the profit sharks intent on abuses by dint of imposition of identity must have their spurious wont curtailed at all costs.

      Report comment

  35. Joey, I support you to continue to advance any identity you wish. What it really comes down to is just how you understand yourself, and how you understand your relationship to the world. And no one can tell you how to make that interpretation. You have to find your own way.

    Also I would like to add, in reference to what you have posted, that I am old enough to have missed some forms of medical child abuse, but not necessarily all. The workings of all of this were already there. And I am convinced that the abuse which is autism, was there even before their was a label. What is being called autism is something which is part of human make up going back before civilization. Lets face it, not everyone is the same, and we don’t know and will likely never know of what really makes anyone the way they are.

    But today, it is clearly a much more dicey world.

    Used to be that if the parents were driving it, it was MSBP, or facetious disorder, or now just medical child abuse.

    But if it were the medical staff, it was medical malpractice.

    But what do you call it when areas of normative medical practice are there specifically to exploit and abuse children, and when these sorts of doctors are seeking out parents who are receptive to this medicalization?

    One person in the UK told me that with the old American 80-20 insurance, and no care limit or management, that was highly conducive to medical child abuse.

    It has taken a long time, but I think today people are ready to see that parents are often like this.

    I mean today, people do not have to have children. So when they do it, it is for a reason.

    I believe that it was Rollo May who first pointed this out.

    Report comment

  36. Suppose I were to start telling children, “We don’t look at it as Mental Illness, that is out of date. I look at it as a Brain Chemical Difference. We don’t advocate drugs, and we don’t see it as a defect, disorder, or illness. We encourage people to celebrate that Brain Chemical Difference.”

    And I am not talking here consenting adult to adult. I am talking about doing this with children, still having their affairs orchestrated by their parents, and likely subjected to schools which use bullying to socialize. So it is being done with people who are already stigmatized and already desperate for relief and for answers.

    Report comment

  37. Greta Thunberg

    So they ask her about her ~Asperger’s Syndrome~. She calls it her Secret Power, and she says she has a tremendous ability to concentrate, and she talks about how she likes to do this whenever she learns about new things.

    So to listen to her talk, that’s all it is.

    So yes, I have to admit that when I first saw her in the news, she did strike me as a bit odd. But this is far less so today now that she is more accustomed to being in the news, and a bit older.

    But to go from this to saying that she has some ~syndrome~ ~disorder~ or ~neurological difference~, that is just medically enforced conformity. It is medical abuse.

    She probably doesn’t want to fight the labeling, just because she doesn’t want to initiate avoidable conflict. She probably doesn’t yet know how harmful the labeling can be, or its origins. And it is still probably something which has shaped the relationship she has with her parents.

    Adults can read and talk to whomever they wish, and they can make their own decisions about that they find.

    But the lives of minor children are still orchestrated by their parents. They are not really in charge of their own affairs. So to target children, and through the school system, for a kind of medical and pseudo medical abuse, telling them that they have some kind of ~neurodiversity~ ~radical neurodiversity~ or ~neurodivergence~ I say that this falls within Nuremberg president and that it should be prosecuted as such.

    Even though this is just words, its an organized program, and its comparable to that electrical forehead device and to the transcranial magnet. It encourages parents who are inclined to medically abuse their child.

    Report comment

  38. Trying to make a child play Simon Says is an extreme example of what Alice Miller called, Inflicting the Narcissistic Wound. But this is the example Naomi Klein uses to try and characterize what is this ~Autism-Spectrum~.

    It is basically a parent who wants and needs to have a child mirror them, rather than the other way round.

    In his book #3 John Elder Robison writes of seeing this done to his son “Cubby” on a daily basis. Cubby, rightly so in my view, refused to ever respond. Roibson does not ever indicate that he saw anything wrong about it. Rather he sees it as confirmation that his son is afflicted with


    Robison is one of the primary advocates for the Transcranial Magnet.

    Naomi Klein seems to see it the same way, as she says that not mirroring is why such children get bullied in school.

    I would also point out that it is well known that Sweden is the country which has worked the hardest and longest to eliminate school bullying.

    I would also point out that many American Idiots are trying to discredit Greta Thunberg by focusing on the claim that she has ~~Asperger’s~~. I believe that somewhere in the Right Wing Nonsense Media someone must be pitching this.

    Report comment

  39. I read Elaine Pagels:


    Gut wrenching story about a son, Mark, who dies at age 6, and then the husband who dies in an accident a year later.

    Mark was born with a heart problem. He had surgery on his first birthday. Then they found out that he has pulmonary hypertension. There is no cure, no treatment, and it is 100% fatal. They gave him 3 months to 3 years.

    In book it comments that at age 1 1/2 Mark was not really talking.

    Would this today get him an ~Autism – Aspergers – Neurological Difference~ label?

    Husband Heinz said that he did not talk until age 3. Would this get him the label?

    Later in bathtub, Mark utters a very complex sentence, entirely grammatically correct, explaining why he does not want to talk yet.

    Elaine is surprised. Yes that would be surprising, like you are suddenly hearing from a much older person.

    Is this what Hans Asperger called “The Little Professor”, one of the children he decided to keep around as he sent thousands more to be euthanized?

    So Mark Pagels really does sound like some kind of a Magical Child.

    7 years trying to get pregnant, then some kind of a fertility ritual. In lucid dreaming Elaine is approached by some kind of a spiritual being who tells her that she is trying to control it, and asks if she is willing to just let go and be a vehicle for what happens. She says yes.

    Does this qualify as one of the announced births, like for example Isaac and Samuel?

    3 weeks later she discovers that she is pregnant.

    Mark not really talking at age 1 1/2, except for that exceptional sentence. Heinz not talking at age 3.

    But John Elder Robison and his partner trying to force their son to talk and to read aloud. Trying to force him to play Patty Cake. Of course he refuses. But then he does start to read at summer camp, first time he had ever been away from his parents.

    Then later they will send him to the Yale lab where he will be accessed as having ~Asperger’s Syndrome~.

    Then later John and the boy’s mother will also be assessed, and they both have it too!

    For John this marks an entire new direction for his admittedly hard life. It now explains everything.

    He becomes one of the most widely read ~Autism~ advocates. John talks about the people who design and build rail locomotives, and who work for NASA, and who design the diesel engines for container ships. That really is a lot of people.

    And John becomes the primary advocate for Trans-Cranial Magnet treatment.

    They only wanted to have children, as John explains, because co-workers were having them. And soon the partner is bringing home pedagogy magazines.

    And then Naomi Klein seems to think that you can distinguish a child who is on the ~spectrum~, because other children will play Simon Says, where as those on the ~spectrum~ won’t. They are in their own worlds, they don’t “mirror”. And she says that this is why they get bullied.

    There is something seriously wrong with this picture. The concepts of Autism, Aspergers, Neurological Difference are just ways of justifying the exploitation and abuse of children and adults.

    Elaine and Heinz Pagels had very interesting academic careers, lots and lots of friends, mostly colleagues and students, educated at Stanford and Harvard, and dealing with extremely high level stuff. Never trying to live beyond their means, never being influenced by Motivationalism, Self-Improvement, or Financial Literacy teachings. Never feeling pressed to keep up with anyone. Their works always had intrinsic value, not just extrinsic value. And they and their son Mark, and now their two adopted children, always have intrinsic value.

    They have suffered more pain than most could bear, but it was never from some feeling that they needed to measure up to some external standards.

    And never could I see that they were ever exploiting their children or refusing to take responsibility for their own choices.

    Mark did seem a magical child, and that his life was to be so short seems to have been foreordained.

    Naomi Klien and John Elder Robison on the otherhand, they really make my blood boil. And then the White Coats behind all this, they infuriate me beyond measure or description.

    Report comment

  40. Hello? Aspergers/Autism? What if we instead of making up behavior as something to label, and instead explored respecting the fact that behavior is simply a choice? A choice greatly effected by ones choice of logic and ‘beliefs,’ as to how to best take care of oneself, given what one make believes is happening? (in otherwords respect individuals are doing their best, to take care of themselves, out of simple ignorance of knowing any better,) or believing, trusting themselves, to explore, discover, embrace and playfully consider altering or changing, replacing with possibly more useful ones? 🙂 (and the fact it is usually a logic of doing fear, that supports oneself in self limiting oneself, and explore ways of facilitating them to trust themselves more, than continue withdrawal, typical of what we refer to as Autism/Aspergers?)

    Report comment

  41. “explored respecting the fact that behavior is simply a choice?”

    To me it seems that the reason this does not happen is that most of the ~Autism-Aspergers-Neurodiversity~ advocates believe that one is obliged to measure up to a broad range of social expectations.

    Like one on Alex Plank’s “Wrong Planet” forum said that without the ~Autism-Aspergers~ classification, the “the parents would just think that that kid was extremely rebellious”. And then John Elder Robison says, “They don’t owe you an allowance”. And of Temple Grandin, her whole pitch is about conformance with the ~Self-Reliance Ethic~.

    Of Naomi Klein, listening to her in just the one statement, it does sound like she does see being a target of school bullying as being at least a factor in defining one as having such a ~condition~, and she is in effect pointing a finger at children on this ~spectrum~ in being a frustration to their parents for not being willing to play Simon Says.

    And then this Nick Walker, advocating for ~Radical Neurodiversity~ and not necessarily tying it to a genetic cause, he is still targeting those who have been labeled by white coats and parents. He is just switching their lapel labels, from something which sounds negative to something which does not to him sound negative. But for your social and civil standing, his lapel label is just as bad as any other. The fact that someone would still accept a label, and attend Nicks classes, rather than responding with FU, suggests that they do not even understand the concept of social and civil standing and that they are already functioning under duress.

    I say that everyone and anyone must forcefully reject these kinds of labels, and then we must protect children in school and in the home, and in the doctor’s office.

    People do have different temperaments, and this is apparent in children. But the ~Autism Spectrum~ concept does come from trying to make people fit into situations, and especially from the middle-class family and from universal schooling. Going along with the ~ASD~ concept, in my view, is always a mistake. And never would Alex Plank’s stuff or Nick Walker’s stuff ever be welcome in anything I am responsible for.

    Very good:

    Report comment

  42. The ~Autism/Asperger’s/Neurodiverstiy~ assessment mostly seems to exonerate perpetrators.

    Like for John Elder Robison, Temple Grandin, Alex Plank, and for Nick Walker, this seems to be the main reason that they go along with it and promote it.

    It is easier to believe in something, even total fiction, if it lets one evade the fact that they have been subjected to horrendous abuses. These abuses usually will have come before the assessment, but the the assessment itself ushers in whole new kinds of abuses. But the fiction created by the label, and the fantasy that that will lead to real answers, as Sami Timimi explains, are far easier to stomach that to see the abuses themselves and how much of one’s life opportunities have been destroyed by that.

    Not a Cartesian film like memory of events, but a Heideggarian Always-Already Thrown experience of what has been done, and what the tremendous costs have been.

    The assessment lets one stay in denial. And to stay true to the OP, the Nick Walker program promoting the concept of ~Neurodiversity~ is just another form of extreme child abuse.

    Report comment

  43. As far as I can tell, you often have situations where the parents are jealous of their child. The child could grow up in health and free shame or stigma, and without having to prove their legitimacy. But the parents are frightened of that. They had to submit and conform to herd expectations. They are ashamed to have a child who seems not to be doing so.

    They don’t want the child to be able to exit the herd. They don’t want them to become expert original contributors in any field. So they undermine the child’s chances of educating themselves and distinguishing themselves.

    So then the child will likely end up employed by people who are also jealous of their intelligence, and who already have an axe to grind in denigrating that person.

    It is as a crystallization of such situations which the ~Autism-Asperger’s-Neurological Difference seems to arise.

    Report comment

  44. Greetings: it has been some time since I checked in. As I commit these past few months, and next few for-evers, to my continuance, I must pop in and give thanks.

    I will take some time this week to ‘catch up’ with posts, as I am able.

    To Bonnie Burstow, Pacific Dawn, and all posters near and far, THANK YOU. I have been impacted greatly by your efforts, and am now referring to myself as a Highly Sensitive Intuitive Empath. I suppose that acronym-ically, that would be pronounced ‘hissy’ – mayhap fitting, indeed!!! 😉

    I am not a disease. I am not an illness. I am the exception to the rule of the majority cognition, whatever that is, and as an exception, I add to the bounty of our diverse collective and its evolution.

    I dearly thank you. I am, if this group of posters will kindly grant permission, going to use the materials posted here that I’ve learned from, as the base starting point for my research for my PhD application and thesis: investigating the intersection of cognitive liberty, identity, disease modelling, and divestment of informed self recognition as an illness, to independent self identifying as an exceptional being.

    Thank you all for assisting me in a growth that is, at this time, almost impossible. WE are the impossible, and changing my reflection in the mirror, albeit a work I must take responsibility for, merits accolades to the group of intellects who helped me to inform myself.

    With all sincerity, wherever and whomever you may be, I love you dearly. From the top of my heart, my gratitude will last to my rocking chair and far, far beyond.

    Merci mille fois!!!

    In kinship and solidarity,

    Le Joey

    Report comment