Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Comments by abbot

Showing 44 of 44 comments.

  • to joel hassaman,

    I`m not sure I would be looking to a psychiatrist for lessons in diversity.

    ps. does psychiatry have any (pseudo) tools in it`s (pseudo) toolbox to measure the level of condescension in a written statement?

    If so i would like to see that applied in a rigorous fashion to your statement.

    sincerely trying to follow you responsibly

  • I agree and I really hope that is the way Robert Whitaker looks at it: This is surely a good sign and a testament to Whitakers effectiveness and brilliance!: The power mongers are past the ignoring stage and working full steam on the demonizing stage!!

    I really hope Robert Whitaker is trying to get a rebuttal in with CBC: I’m actually confident he could get in there either by contacting Enright or some other party at CBC.

    like so many I’m so grateful for the game changing work of Mr. Whitaker!

  • “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

    ― Philip K. Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

    ..and that`s how i know psychiatry is real!!!

    I find these articles amount to the hand wringing brought about through being a practitioner of the normal police! Maybe “cognitive dissonance“. I mean you can`t put a nice face on this…inspite of your efforts.

    also brings to mind the elvis costello quote:

    “writing about music is like dancing about architecture“.

    so to me trying to help people in distress and with life problems with psychiatry is like dancing about architecture. good luck!!

  • Well I would agree Szasz is of course the premier critic of the 1000 room edifice that is psychiatry ( I think he said something like that if memory serves). However I wouldn`t say Chomsky was clueless on these matters of liberty!…granted this aspect of liberty has not been his focus he still “gets it“ to some degree:

    “For example, it’s considered not nice to treat human beings by the techniques of the police state. It’s not nice to coerce people or to control them or to train machine guns on them. But, on the other hand, if you have a mass of people you want to control and you can claim you’re not doing anything ugly like that but just applying the methods of science which, as everyone knows, are neutral and good and benevolent and achieve the same result, that’s much more palatable. Much more acceptable. So one finds, let’s say, in total institutions, in institutions in which masses of people are placed subject to external controls, like prisons, schools and mental hospitals, not quite even that behaviorist psychology is in vogue but that it provides support. It may even sharpen and refine the methods which are known intuitively to anyone who has to control masses of people. It provides a kind of palatable ideology for the application of these techniques of coercion. “
    (Noam Chomsky, On Psychology
    Noam Chomsky interviewed by David Cohen
    Excerpted from Psychologists on Psychology: Modern Innovators Talk About Their Work, Taplinger, 1977)

  • Regarding Ron Ungers comment:

    For what it`s worth I think Szasz addressed his perspective on this in the following excerpt from one of his speeches ( youtube, unsure of exact clip link):

    “It`s not necessary to propose an alternative, it would be easy to do so. In my writings for almost 40 years, I have used the analogy which I think is very valid, to slavery. Slavery is an unqualified evil. Now it existed for thousands of years of human history and there came a point that slavery was abolished. Abolishing slavery does not require that one propose an alternative as to what to do with these people. Once involuntary psychiatry, once it would be abolished, society would develop different ways of dealing with different problems, because so called mental illness is many different problems one cannot make a single solution.“ (excerpt of Thomas Szasz speaking, youtube clip)

  • Sandra Steingard writes:

    “I respect Daniel and I am interested in engagement but I just do not even know how to begin. I think about the many thoughtful psychiatrists (and other clinicians and family members and “experiencers”) I know who may approach human suffering from a disease model but who may be curious to learn from the experiences of those who write here. When one is labeled in that way, one is more likely to just walk away from the conversation.
    I hope that explains my different reactions to these posts.“

    Well I don`t know where to begin either. I will say that during the civil rights movement there were also many “supporters“ of the movement that were quite aghast with the voices and actions of the oppressed and wished to steer the words and deeds of the oppressed in a more “correct“ and contained fashion. Malcolm X spoke of this and referred to this strata as the “wolves in sheeps clothing“. So I guess it depends on what your goals are: a kinder gentler face from the slavemaster with some modest reforms? or and end to psychiatric oppression and some semblance of equality? Personally I’m not interested in some kind of miss manners course for psychiatric surviours with regard to how to express themselves.

    “When one is labeled in that way, one is more likely to just walk away from the conversation.“

    exactly! haha! wow!…is this intended irony?…the mind reels! …metaphorically speaking! jeez!….easy

    In conclusion when I am mandated the power to forcibly confine and drug psychiatrists (and the power to label them with fake diseases…can`t forget that one) I will once again consider becoming fully engaged with psychiatrists
    sincerely
    abbot

  • Hi Laura,

    I just wanted to say thanks for all of your brilliant writings! I usually don`t comment on this site much but after reading your article and then your comments I really wanted to say how great your writing is! I particularly love your little bit on the use of the word “mental health“…agreed ìts gotta go!

    I`m also very pleased when you and others like Bruce Levine link psychiatric oppression to the broader framework of societal oppression:

    “ think in order for our young people to really grasp the absurdity of the medical model, we should be positioning the message of psychiatric liberation within a broader framework of oppression, for most people end up labeled “mentally ill” because they’ve responded to some kind of oppression they’ve experienced in life, whether it be within the family system, the foster “care” system, the school system, or society more generally via racism, classism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, transphobia, etc. Really, the PPIC is the final resting stop for the oppressed… and of course, few make it out alive… literally.“

    Surely the “ruling ideas in any epoch are the ideas of rulers“ (sorry if this quote offends the delicate sensitivities of patriots or psychiatrists) and if one falls afoul of the rulers in any way…well we always have psychiatry (and it`s related disciplines) to straighten then out…or kill them.

    May your (brilliant) words and deeds continue to act `like rust to cruel social machinery“ (KV)

  • I have such great respect and gratitude for all of your work and efforts Robert Whitaker. So hopefully my comments are conveyed with that in mind. For me I see your greatest achievement as this: providing people with an “inoculation against the manufacture of conscent“ with regard to psychiatry. Of course it is your prerogative to choose your tactics with regard to optimal social change with regard to psychiatry. However I do feel compelled to point out what I see is some of the missing pieces of the puzzle with regard to your points c) and d) above:

    I think some of M.L.K`s words most definitely would have been perceived as “demonizing“ the other (although I don`t need to point out devilish actions surely bring on the demonizing all by themselves!…no demonizing required!): For example:

    King called the US government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”.

    I also agree with another posters comment that M.L.K.`s effectiveness or ineffectiveness has to be understood in relation to the powerful role and tactics of Malcom X (and of course the 1000`s of nameless freedom fighters who made these leaders possible!)

    With regard to your point d), I would quote the following for a missing piece of the puzzle:

    “So, my Quaker friends and colleagues in disrupting illegitimate authority adopt the slogan: “Speak truth to power.” I strongly disagree. The audience is entirely wrong, and the effort hardly more than a form of self-indulgence. It is a waste of time and a pointless pursuit to speak truth to Henry Kissinger, or the CEO of General Motors, or others who exercise power in coercive institutions — truths that they already know well enough, for the most part.

    Again, a qualification is in order. Insofar as such people dissociate themselves from their institutional setting and become human beings, moral agents, then they join everyone else. But in their institutional roles, as people who wield power, they are hardly worth addressing, any more than the worst tyrants and criminals, who are also human beings, however terrible their actions.

    To speak truth to power is not a particularly honorable vocation. One should seek out an audience that matters — and furthermore (another important qualification), it should not be seen as an audience, but as a community of common concern in which one hopes to participate constructively. We should not be speaking /to, but with. That is second nature to any good teacher, and should be to any writer and intellectual as well.

    Perhaps this is enough to suggest that even the question of choice of audience is not entirely trivial.“ (Noam Chomsky, Powers and Prospects)

  • Thanks Daniel for saying what needs to be said!..and thanks Stephan Gilbert for all his great comments (which save me time and breath…and are expressed way better than my words). Much as I respect and honour Robert Whitaker I think this talk of shutting down “dialogue“ is nonsense. Seems more of a rhetorical trick of those with power (not meaning Whitaker) to shut down the honest voices of those they oppress (particularly when the oppressed speak of such ugly truths). When the slaves ran away from the slavemasters were they shutting down the dialogue between slave and slavemaster? that kind of discussion is too grotesque to even enter. Lets stop psychiatric oppression and have some semblance of equality and then…well maybe then we can talk of dialogue.

  • Dr. Ragins writes:

    “The internet has helped like minded people to organize and expand their voice. Too often the outcome, however, has been to create uncompromosing gridlock rather than dialogue.“

    I think you are blind to the “uncompromising gridlock“ that you purvey: For example speaking of “illnesses“ (ie socially constructed (and oh so lucrative$$) fake diseases …refuted to the 50th decimal point here by others on Mad in America…quite brilliantly actually…check it out!…please?), “medications“ and the trite hot button cliches you put forth: eg “people who tried to recover without medications and ended up hurting someone“….yeah those dam violent mentally ill folks!

    So yeah some “uncompromising gridlock“ is more equal than others!

    I would also point out that while I respect your right to refer to people as “angry survivours“, it does strike me as rather grotesque coming from a member of your profession: I mean I would not look to the the slave holders to act as a barometer on the “anger“ level of their slaves. They are just not someone I would look to for any sort of defintion of the slaves…regardless of how the slaves or former slaves may define themselves.
    It strikes me that entering that line of debate is a very undignified way to go…not interested.

  • Haha! Right on Stephen! and on a side note i`m tired of using the word “medications“ (even with quotes). If I have to use that propaganda term/idealogically loaded term to be among decent company then surely the other camp should have to accept my preferred terms for “medications“: chemical lobotomy, chemical acme anvil to the head, neuro poisons, mothers little social control helper etc. It`s only fair and respectful.

  • Hi Sandra

    You write:
    “What I am saying is that I have observed individuals who appear to experience reduced voices, improved organization of thoughts and/or reduced salience of views that do not comport with consensual reality and this improvement occured when the person was fully alert.“

    I believe this kind of language conceals more than it reveals. To me this is so indicative of the unresolvable problem with status quo psychiatry. I do not know where to begin…I would just say this is highly problematic given the power differential in defining both the desired consensual reality and the “improvement“ toward that end, and given the (very often) non consensual meeting of the “patient“ and psychiatrist. I would also of course note that even when it is more consensual how truly consensual is it?: how much is internalized/external pressure from those around the identified “problem“ to stop being a “pain in the ass“ so to speak and get themselves to a psychiatrist pronto! I think it is very misleading to suggest that your above quoted statement occurs in the context of two consenting and equal parties…in fact that would surely be in a small minority of cases (speaking of psychiatry as a whole). In those cases perhaps the above quote would be fine and dandy and not concealing a larger wrong.
    This language of “improved organization of thoughts and/or reduced salience of views that do not comport with consensual reality“ seems like the antiseptic prelude to the opening of the pandoras box that is bio psychiatry. How many horror stories occur under that anti septic rationale?

  • Entrenched power systems (and their dupes and minions) have always responded to their critics in this fashion…particularly their most brilliant and effective critics. Sorry to hear of this ugly affair, but it is clearly a sign of Robert Whitakers effectiveness in his challenge to status quo psychiatry. “Demonize, Trivialize and ignore“ are the standard techniques of the power mongers and par for the course…Carry on Robert Whitaker and thank you for all of your efforts.

  • Hi Morias,
    Yes so many great PKD books…I love a ton of them but my faves probably: Martian Time Slip, Time out of Joint…and UBIK is overrated!!
    I find your comments very refreshing…as Neil Young would say long may you post!
    My impression is that these are points that many get stuck on here: It is for everyone individually to decide on the course of action to change/reform/dismantle psychiatry. Needless to say there is great value to any and all approaches: the more change from with in (the more Whitaker approach…as i understand it at least), and the more grass roots “survivor“ led alternatives…and of course individuals who are far removed from either of those big or bigger tents…often wisely having run as far and fast as possible from the “mental health“ shitstem and developed their own personal networks of support and most importantly their own strengths….However I don`t think any approach has a monopoly on the truth and can mathmatically state this approach should/shall prevail…one can argue the merits and then go from there. Personally I think its fine to appeal to those of conscience within the system but believe the history of any social movement shows that simply appealing to your oppressors just ain`t gonna work!…you need to do the things that so many honourable people at MIA already do: build the new in the shell of the old…and be wary of the tendency of movements to suck defeat from the jaws of victory through self destructive infighting/ sabotage…i mean rigorous debate but no monopolies on truth

    My sympathies lie mostly with just making psychiatry irrelevant…and yes i get it so many can`t right now…yes i get that to my very bones thank you…in some sense appealing to psychiatry is oppressive in itself and in that way not the preferred approach for many…don`t really care to communicate to the oppressor in that form…

  • Hi David,

    I concede that your adolescent point scoring is more erudite than mine. I also concede that your enlightenment is bigger than mine….and my “e-motive reactivity“ has worked well since encountering psychiatry.

    good day sir! why I never!

    oh know that’s ok. takes many flowers to bloom I think and keep on with yours sir. I mean that. Good luck to you sir.

  • First of all Morias, I love you! haha!…yeah after an extended hiatus (about 24 hrs i think) from this site and now due to popular demand…what?…i`m back, well for this one instance you hear…your comment is too good for words and yes i love you…haha…in fact i thought i wrote your comment for a minute in some kind of Philip K. Dick turn of events…but on rereading it I quickly realized the sheer quality and coherence (not to mention grammar spelling and argumentation precluded any possibility of it being mine!)…plus people who think those kind of things are delusional! …geez!…having said that it reminded me of something the psychiatrist Stuart Shipko said about bio psychiatry in North Amercia : something like we would all be infintiely better off if the whole box and practise known as psychiatry just dissolved. This would be the most optimum solution and cause the least harm.

    I like your question on what to then do with these unemployed psychiatrists. I think they would have the skill set to do well in the Pentagon, and on a less lethal note they might have the tempermental disposition to work at the Canadian/American border….

    on a similar note I worry about the effects of bring the kids to work day with regard to psychiatry and the pentagon (although i have written extensively on the pentagon with regard to bring the kids to work day)

    thank you

  • Hi Joanna,

    No I was not directing my comment to you. sorry you may feel that way. In this particular blog: Any thing that could perhaps be called tongue in cheek, laughter or sarcasm I am able to muster would be directed to patronizing mental health professionals…and to much of the arguments in favour of the moderation guidelines(and a good deal of the actual guidelines and reasonsing themselves)…while still respecting the goodness and intelligence of the person who put the guidelines forth…if I didn`t think they were intelligent and cared I wouldn`t bother posting…as I noted I never bothered to post here before…and i`m kind of done with it already…i`m taking my ball and going home…I will be missed…haha…i`m starting another site called “mad at america“…

    …oh and I guess another way of expanding on my intent of the specific comments you are referring to…actually I won`t do that…I find i`m sitting here explaining humour…a decidedly unfunny thing in my view…which indicates many things…not the least of which…I may not be funny to everyone one!?..or anyone?…my humour coping strategy has failed..i`m going home now…haha!

  • Hi Scott,
    You write:
    “I`m not trying trivialize moderating comments“
    Ok. Glad to hear that.

    You also write:

    “What i am saying is absurd is that this is the most righteous indignation i’ve seen on this site. “

    ok. that is your perogative and i have no insight into your “righteous indignation“ hierarchiacal barometer so to speak.
    You go onto write:
    “We are confronting an institution of death that kills and maims with impunity and people are all up in arms about comments being moderated“

    to that i would again reply see Ted`s comment (july 16, 2013, 1:42am)…I would also add that I certainly agree that yours it the more important focus, so no need for any false dischord. However it just strikes me as a bit of convoluted argumentation?!: the eqivalent of me criticising someone who is arguing the travesty that is the erosion of habeus corpus in the U.S.A by saying something like: “ Why the outrage over habeus corpus, don`t you realize the U.S. has killed millions in its imperialist wars.“…i mean they are both outrageous (one on an extremely more lethal level) but in some sense related. Talking of one doesn`t peclude talking about the other…although they may not always be done simultaneously…and one may also even pet their dog in the moments between talking of the different events

  • Hi Stephen,

    thanks a lot very kind…and interesting comment you made:

    “We stand on equal footing with them and if they can’t take the heat and turn out to be the more fragile of the group, then so be it.“

    good point and fruitful angle: the “fragile“…they made need to look at their “triggers“and immerse themselves more in their “resilency“ literature..haha…i know i`m shading too far into the red on the attack meter…one`s persons “mean spiritedness“ is anothers irreverence and thought provocation…i think…and i don`t need to vet that through any person or agency…no i live in Canada …i can just write that…remarkable..haha!

  • Hi Scott,

    please see Ted`s comment below and mine…and you can tell them apart at a glance as his is the well written one…haha! Actually the absurdity I see is the whole thrust of “moderation guidelines“. Chopping the very principles of a free and open discussion off at it`s knees with subjective/paternalistic (and yes more P`s!..please) patronizing “moderation guidelines“ was the most glaring absurdity that I saw..and felt: incidentally did you see some of the comments that were “moderated“ and the reasons why?…I would kind of rest my case with that in terms of absurdity and a real harbinger of what going down that road can lead to….so I kind of agree with you in one sense: having a foreigner (Canadian) argue the elementary merits of a free and open discussion to a largely American? site is very absurd in my view…in fact if I get any more trite and banal in my arguments i`m going to vomit…haha

  • Thanks Ted,
    My sentiments exactly..and quite honestly I anticipated Scott`s argument above with respect to the laughable aspect to the “uproar about MODERATING COMMENTS“: I tried to point out numerous times that yes being “moderated“ is not even remotely like being on the receiving end of bio psychiatry in terms of the harmful consequences. However it is remarkably parallel to being on the receiving end of bio psychiatry in some respects…which I outlined: eg. the subjective masquerading as objective, having an arbitrary gatekeeper on “truth“, the patronizing paternalistic slippery slope of others “authoritatively“ telling you what is “right“ and “out of line“ and proper “decorum“ etc etc ad nauseum!

    AS you say: “So of course, any policy that even vaguely resembles a limitation of our freedom gets resisted.“

  • yeah the old “I went to the fights and a hockey game broke out“…for sure..haha

    well first off: sounds like things well be a lot less in touch with our inner Stalins then it first appeared…I applaude that. However (and again perhaps i`m a minority of 1 on this) as others have stated far better than me (and as they say has been well understood for centuries) there is really only two positions you can have on free speech! haha! So of course I would prefer people were respectful and chose your preferred form of interaction but if they instead chose to be `verbally abusive“ I would still let it ride…no i`m not being “macho“…it is just a basic principle which is I`m learning heretical in decent society and “online forms“…and yes words hurt and it is abusive but the price one pays for taking on the slippery slope of of censoring, filtering or “moderating“ (again a turd dressed in a 3 piece suit is still a turd!) is far far worse in my view!!…and yes my argument here is so banal and so well articulated…what 300 years ago?…which is in part why i`m baffled here…and yes owners of the site can take there ball and go home anytime they want…I ain`t going there…i`m just pointing out the pitfalls of getting in touch with your inner polit-bureau! haha

  • Hi Jill,

    You write:

    “I think the new guidelines are a good idea. If people want to discuss an issue in a way that digresses from the actual content of the post, they should use another forum. (In that forum, they should be able to exchange any and all ideas.)“

    As I`ve been trying to state on other posts here, surely this is all very subjective and surely one persons digression is another persons “on point“. Perhaps even onpoint with great acumen!!

    To me (again) such basic principles like a free and open discussion are being obscured or lost in rationalized arbitray “nonsense on stilts“ that is the “moderation guidelines“. But perhaps i`m just “lacking insight“ into “appropriate“ posting techniques…I may very well have OCMG (overly critical of moderation guidelines) and perhaps may have suffered from it for years!?

  • Hi Morias,

    I concur! and thanks for saying this so well…saves me time and you did it better than me! haha!

    one minor quibble…I don`t see any need for “moderation“…like I said short of legal matters impinging…ie death threats or some such thing…yes I know that is clearly a minority opinion…perhaps of 1 here?…all the more reason to keep it alive in my view…seems so very odd to me that a Canadian is having to argue the merits of free discussion on an largely American based site?! haha! I apparently had this misconception that these values were learned at daddys knee so to speak!? Perhaps the patriot act and such has wiped that from vast swathes of the populations consciousness!?..oh no… rambling and offensive off topic writing…i`m clearly “lacking insight“ into “appropriate“ posting techniques…haha!

    anyway thanks for articulating these matters so very well from my point of view!!!!!

  • Hi Ted,

    Yes, yes and yes to you fine sir! Agreed agreed and agreed! And MASSIVE respect and honour to you for all that you do, have done and have been through. To me you are IRON WILL and GOODNESS writ large! bless you in a believing, non believing and agnostic way…which ever suits you best!

    ps. I hope this has not been too “off topic“ or has not “moved the discussion forward“ sufficiently and thus rendered in need of “moderation“`…I await the ministry of truths decision on this grave matter…haha!

  • Hi Morias,

    You wrote:

    “And the fact that all this has come up because of NAMI’s overtures is the most worrying thing of all…“

    Yes I agree and I think a number have people have pointed out (and I think it has been stated by the “moderation“ initiaters if you will) that this new “moderation“ policy is at least in part due to this need to appeal to the mainstream. That is very disturbing and quite possibly a forshadowing of future dire overtures/practises at MIA. Not to overstate: I think MIA is fantastic but this is so very very disturbing to me: i`m squeamish when I look at some of the recent “moderated“ comments and the rationale for “moderating“them: to me very UNcompelling arguments: sort of rationalized “nonsense on stilts“ or more bluntly nonsense dressed up in a three piece suit: censorship is censorship is censorship…no matter how nice of suit is dressed up in. And as I keep repeating how closely the parallels with the central modes of bio psychiatry in its subjective (masquerading as objective) methods of defining matters dealing with “appropriate“ conduct and “civility“, “character attack“ barometers and “misrepresenting“ and well having a monopoly on “truth“. Of course in this context the consequences aren`t even in the same ballpark as dealing with bio psychiatry! Of course not, it`s just that it is so absurd to be adopting these very methods of the oppressive institution of bio psychiatry on a site that welcomes and supports the very people injured by that very institution!?

    Yes almost feels (in some respect) analagous to when cities get all juiced up in their Olympic bids and then go about “cleaning up“ the streets by hiding the homeless and the rest of the “great unwashed“. How patronizing (among other things). One wonders if the proper “moderation“ policy with be able to make us more palatable to the good people at NAMI. (I hope that hasn`t veered to far into the red on the “vague“ character attack meter…I shall send it to the ministry of truth for analysis! haha!!)

  • Hi Richard,
    thank you. and I really respect your stressing of the paramount importance of action in the world!…no dispute with that here….Pressed for time so my comments are sort of directed to you and I guess to Matthew as well in case he cares to read this as well.

    You wrote:
    “In your comments above about Chrys and Jonah being “censored” you do not state if you believe their ESSENTIAL message was in any way being stifled or if you thought somehow the standards for moderation were wrong in and of themselves“

    respectfully I would frame it in what I see as a much simpler formulation (however heretical it apparently seems to many peoples needs/desires for “guidelines“ and “decorum“): there is no need to censor anyone (I suppose other than when the law impinges…one can imagine a scenario where someone was making threats or something…). So what i`m trying to say and in answer to you question yes their essential message was stifled in the sense that they were censored!…and as to do I think there is something wrong with the standards of moderation…heck YES!..I think it is quite frankly much ado about nothing..in some respects…it seems the ruffling of feathers and the fear of ruffling feathers of potential readers/writers has trumped a free and open discussion. I think this is a colossal waste of time and energy, a colossal overreaction: for a moderator to have to go through each comment and be a mini polit-bureau and determine the “`truth“, “tone“ and measure the reading on the “character attack meter“ is absurd in my view and very troubling to me (for many reasons which I have already touched on in other posts) ….which is why I bothered to write..as I said I didn`t really feel the need to even come on here for over a year as I felt my views were mostly represented by others.

    To even have to argue the merits of a free and open discussion (regardless of how offensive some writers, readers comments may be) seems rather redundant. I believe it is self evident and a well understood principle of productive, thoughtful discussion…

  • Hi Matthew,
    thanks for your comments. I looked at the links you shared with me.

    well again I don`t know quite where to begin. To me as soon as we enter this subjective topsy turvey (Orwellian?!) world of someone having the power to determine the “truth“ with regard to “civility“ and “misrepresenting of arguments“ of others dialogue we have granted arbitrary power which is ripe for pitfalls. Again in my view this would be the case for the thus far “moderated“ comments of Chrys Muirhead and Jonah. For someone to have that kind of power over “authoritatively“ deciding when someones words are labeled “uncivil“ “offtopic“ “emotional“ is in some respects analogous to the powers of bio psychiatry (albeit with a exponentially less harmful effect as I stated!). That was the sense in which I was trying to make the analogy, along with pointing out the problematic definition with the word “moderation“: again what parallels to the function of bio psychiatry and what poetic justice for critics of your “moderation“ policy: Moderation: “Moderation is the process of eliminating or lessening extremes. It is used to ensure normality throughout the medium on which it is being conducted.“
    Very parallel in that sense to bio psychiatry and not bogus at all in that sense: trying to eliminate “extremes“ and ensure “normality“. That was the respect in which I was trying to make the analogy. By your moderation system I could now say that you were deliberately trying to “misrepresent“ my argument and using a “strawman“. Now I don`t think you were: my point is again how problematic this slippery slope of censorship is.

    As for some of your other points: yes it is on madinamerica`s dime that the site is run and it is your prerogative to set the guidelines. I was just operating under the assumption that one is welcome to question the change in “moderation“ polices…especially since this was not originally the policy of this very site where a free for all so to speak was allowed.

    I also find it ironic that one of the aims in the quoted guidelines is to:

    “…. further discussion, and if comments distract from that goal, and instead serve to stifle discussion, then they are not helpful.“ (Robert Whitaker)

    I would argue that the discussion was stifled when you censored Chrys and Jonah above. See it depends on who is defining the situation…and yes as the site owners you have the power to define that…i`m not questioning that…just the rightness of that decision!!and the imbalance of power in the defining process…much like bio psychiatry!! haha!

    Needless to say I`m extremely grateful for all brilliant work Robert Whitaker has done. I just don`t like your “moderation“ policy for the above reasons.

  • Hi Richard,

    thanks for your comments. oh yes I have enjoyed many of your excellent comments on the blogs for sure. My feelings are summarized on a comment I just made to Matthew. I do not think we will have any agreement on this. To me censoring comments like Jonahs and Chrys is just fundamentally wrong on so many counts, which I have outlined on my posts. My opinion is that this seems to be an overreaction to the ruffling of feathers of some mainstream writers/readers (or the perceived, potential ruffling of feathers, in the quest to court more mainstream writers and readers). My opinion is one does not compromise basic free discussion principles in this quest. In fact that road is fraught with pitfalls: co-optation etc.

  • Hi Matthew,

    thank you.

    you write:

    “The guidelines are as arbitrary as any other social interaction I can imagine. I’ve gone to lengths to try to define them and practice consistency, so that this can feel like a safe and inclusive space. I think that’s about the limit of my human capability in this matter. Most moderators on most sites will never even have this conversation. You just get banned if they don’t like you, and that’s it.“

    well ok, I agree sort of… I love the content on Mad in America and am so glad it exists… and you are not behaving like “fox news network“ I imagine or some such thing…but I mean arguing you are doing better than other sites is not really where i`m heading (or a very compelling argument in my view…sort of were doing better than the “lowest common denominator“ so to speak.

    and I don`t claim to be particularly thicked skin…although I certainly acknowledge you could read that into my quip about sticks and stones…no I just claim to value free and open discussion…regardless of the hurt feelings that inevitably occur.

    I don`t wish to go around in circles, or want to alienate/insult the valuable work you do for MIA, but to me it is clear as a bell: it is wrong to censor people. The two comments in the moderated section thus far by Chrys Muirhead, and BeyondLabellingakaJonah, being two examples. In a previous post I believe you asked me to point out where you have gone wrong in moderating comments. Well I would call the moderating of the above noted comments (Chrys and Jonah`s)silencing of heartfelt intelligent comments in my view. Even if I hated what they said why should they be censored? I would also hark back to my other posts about the paralleling of peoples treatment at the hands of bio psychiatry (albeit in this case an exponentially less harmful way!). I just mean to say it is so paternalistic (in the sense that we need someone to be a gatekeeper and let us know our thoughts, comments and emotions are “out of line“?! not to mention arbitrary (as in who decides the “historical truth“ of opinion etc), and degrading: a minor version of thought crime.

  • Hi Matthew,

    thanks for your comments and the welcoming. and no I don`t doubt your sincerity, intelligence or good faith. it is the arbitrariness and objective impossibility (and pitfalls) of the task at hand that you have set for yourself (or my understanding of it) that I doubt.

    you write:

    “I’m not sure what rule you broke that requires moderation. Would you let me know if I missed it?“

    Well these “rules“ are surely subjective, my provocative humour (well I thought it was funny..i`m biased, ha) a la nami pamby could be construed as a “personal attack“ at your (arbitrary) will, one day and not the next. As much as words can hurt, I would much rather live by the maxim that “sticks and stones will break my bones but names can never hurt me…however being exiled to the moderation form hurts tremendously!!“ haha!

  • I should also add (to my comment above) that with regard to the pitfalls of this new form of “moderation“ I think looking of at the definition of “moderation“ is quite telling (and sadly lends a certain poetic justice to the arguments of the critics of this “moderation“). from wiki pedia I find it defined as:

    “Moderation is the process of eliminating or lessening extremes. It is used to ensure normality throughout the medium on which it is being conducted.“

    Again how sadly that this parallels the very process so many readers and writers at Mad in America have had to deal with, at the coercive hands of bio psychiatry.

    I would be very wary of anyone taking on the role of “ensuring normality“ and “lessening extremes“ however good their intentions. new boss same as the old boss, deja vu all over again! I would like to coin the oxymoronic term excessive moderation! down with excessive moderation!! haha!

  • Hi, I have followed the MIA site for about 1 year. I love most of the articles and the comments sections especially. Some of the readers comments are sheer brilliance (ie the posters “annonymous“ and “BeyondLabellingakaJonah“ being my favourites). I have never felt the need to comment as I felt my views have been expressed so well by so many others here. However I feel that I must now chime in due to this very latest turn of events with regard to what you are calling “moderation.“ This is so absurd and sad in my view and I don`t really know where to begin. However a few points: Do you not see what a slippery slope this is? How do you propose to be the arbiter/gatekeeper of what is acceptable speech?…and do you not see how this mirrors the societal function of bio psychiatry in terms of being the gatekeepers of what is “acceptable“, “normal“ and “civil“. Do you not see the dangers of co-optation in your quest to not scare off a more mainstream writers and readership? (surely we have ample evidence of other social movements facing this very question and the dangerous pitfalls they encountered confronting this very issue). It is my view that the latest effort to “moderate“ peoples view will lead to the dominance of more, shall we say nami-pamby type verbiage….I mean namby pamby!
    …hi ho hi ho it`s off to the moderation forum I go! (on my first ever comment no less!
    thank you