Behind Rolling Stone’s Hatchet Job on a Psychiatrist Critical of Neoliberal Capitalism


From CounterPunch: “For quite some time now, the standard hatchet used by psychiatry apologists in their attacks on any critic of psychiatry is to include the extraneous fact that the Church of Scientology—a pseudoscientific and secretive institution with a reputation for financially exploiting members and retaliating against former members who speak out against the organization—is a critic of psychiatry. This tactic is similar to the one that was routinely used by the right-wing media on anyone opposing the Vietnam War, which in that case was the inclusion of the fact that the war was opposed by the totalitarian Soviet Union and China.

Moncrieff is not a Scientologist, and Rolling Stone avoids a libel suit by—instead of calling her one—stating: ‘Moncrieff’s work is frequently promoted by an organization called Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), which touts itself as a “mental health industry watchdog” and was established by the Church of Scientology, which is virulently opposed to psychiatry and medical interventions for mental illness.’

Then, neglecting Moncrieff’s January 2022 Marxist analysis of psychiatry and how it enables neoliberal capitalism, Rolling Stone states: ‘Yet Moncrieff’s views more clearly align with the right on other matters. For instance, much of her work has focused on the question of preserving personal bodily autonomy over the health and welfare of the general populace, as evidenced by one 2014 paper she wrote on the work of the late Thomas Szasz, a controversial psychiatrist who questioned the institution of psychiatry and eventually co-founded the CCHR. (Szasz himself was not a Scientologist).’

So, Rolling Stone gets Scientology into its Moncrieff article a second time, and then declares Moncrieff’s concern about preserving personal bodily autonomy to be a right-wing concern. Isn’t a woman’s right to choose an abortion about a woman’s right of ‘preserving personal bodily autonomy’? Somehow the vaccine political landscape has made what was once the left issue of ‘personal bodily autonomy’ into a right one.

In any regard, both the Scientology and ‘bodily autonomy’ issues are completely extraneous and unrelated to Moncrieff’s ‘The Serotonin Theory of Depression: A Systematic Umbrella Review of the Evidence.’ Why the attempt to associate Moncrieff with the right-wing to discredit her for Rolling Stone readers?”

Article →


Back to Around the Web


  1. This “friendly” article contains what I would refer to as “covert hostility.”

    I am a Scientologist and I am aware of how my church has been portrayed in the mainstream.

    However, my church is only an organization charged with the dissemination and protection of a subject named by its founder “Scientology.”

    Almost no one on any side of this issue can tell you what Scientology actually is, though volumes of information about it is available on the church’s streaming website, which anyone can access for free. So much for “secretive.”

    Hubbard jumped into this conflict in 1950 when he published a book subtitled “The Modern Science of Mental Health.” We have had to deal with the blowback from the “mental health” establishment ever since. Hubbard had a lot to say about that establishment, which is one reason CCHR was formed in 1969. But the church prefers to concentrate on its mandate.

    My personal opinion is that people involved in the subject of “mental health” should have at least a rudimentary education in Dianetcs and Scientology. I think the subject (not the church) should be a part of the conversation about mental health. So far, however, the ability of the mainstream to invalidate a subject with propaganda rather than frank discussion has rendered this hope largely unfulfilled. In fact, I have never met a person involved in mental health who can have an intelligent discussion with me about the spiritual aspects of mental health.

    Report comment

    • As a friend and ally of Szasz, I think his biggest mistake was to join forces with Scientology, though he clearly stated that he was not interested in its creed. His duplicitous critics have smeared him with the association ever since. I think Scientology is silly, but no sillier than other religions. It comes in for ridicule because of its attacks on psychiatry, some of which are not carefully made (e.g., Tom Cruise). Still, Scientologists are subject to nothing as cruel as the treatment of Mormons in the early years of their religion.

      Report comment

    • Actually, although convoluted at times, this article gives me hope. And, the hope lies in the fact of those who ask questions. As long as people can ask questions about anything, there is always hope. Never give up. Never give in. Always believe the truth will out itself. And, this article does help to promote the truth. Thank you.

      Report comment

      • I have to agree, in as much as Bruce makes some comments that make no sense to me – as an independent – Moncrieff’s research into the invalidity of the DSM disorders should NOT be politicized.

        Since the invalidity of the DSM disorders is a reality, and should not have to become a political discussion, other than that the political and religious classes need to recognize that they’ve lost their child abuse and rape cover uppers, which is what the “mental health professionals” are.

        Report comment

  2. How things have changed. In the 1960s and 1970s the Left celebrated Szasz’s tolerant and liberating views. (He was the leading public figure speaking out against pathologizing homosexuality, advocated decriminalization of drug use, supported abortion rights, was an unabashed critic of the oppression of women, and opposed the death penalty.) Kesey was a Szasz enthusiastic fan of Szasz when he gained fame for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I’ve posted to YouTube a warm and interesting interview of Szasz by Studs Terkel. But the authoritarian instinct, and increasing awareness of how psychiatry could be used against people disapproved of by the Left, gradually lead to not only an embrace of coercion, but an almost complete takeover of the mental health industrial complex by leftists.

    Report comment