Friday, July 21, 2017

Comments by ClayCosmic

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  • A long, but cogent and spot-on, excerpt from David McGowan’s superb book, Understanding the F-Word: American Fascism & the Politics of Illusion, which dovetails precisely with the theme(s) of this website:

    What then is this thing we call ‘psychology’? Put in the simplest possible terms, it is just another appendage of the national security infrastructure designed to attain social control over and enforce conformity to the fascist state. It in fact is nearly indistinguishable from the American criminal justice/penal system. There is at least one major difference though—the psychiatrist is allowed to serve as prosecutor, judge and jury in seeking the involuntary confinement of ‘deviants’ in mental institutions that are indiscernible in form and function from America’s rapidly growing prison complex.

    The harsh reality is that psychology has little to do with bettering the human condition and alleviating suffering, and everything to do with lending legitimacy to the corporate capitalist state and justifying as individual failings the ever increasing levels of suffering inflicted by the state onto society. As Frederick Winslow Taylor—the exalted father of ‘scientific management,’ an early euphemism for the deskilling of labor and the reduction of the American labor force to interchangeable, easily exploited automatons—so succinctly stated many decades ago: “In the past the man had been first; in the future the system must be first.”

    Not long ago, my teenage daughter asked me why it was that so many people she has met in life suffer from low self-esteem. Why indeed? The answer, it turns out, is quite simple: we are all victims of one of the big lies of American society—the one that says that if we educate ourselves, work hard, and apply our talents, there is absolutely nothing we cannot achieve.

    We are taught from birth that anyone in this great country can rise up to the highest strata of society if they so choose—that if we have the drive and ability, nothing can hold us back. George W. Bush articulated this very message from the campaign trail…when he said: “One of the wonderful things about America is, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. If you work hard, dream big, the notion of owning your own business applies to everybody.”

    Conversely, if we should fail we have no one but ourselves to blame, for we must not be smart enough, talented enough, or educated enough—or we just didn’t try hard enough. The brutal reality though is that in the real world, the sons of the rich and powerful will assume their father’s seats in the boardrooms of America regardless of their qualifications (George, Jr. being a prime example), while the most talented of kids from America’s ‘inner cities’ will live and die without ever seeing the world beyond the confines of their neighborhoods.

    That is the reality for the majority of Americans. And yet we are encouraged, in fact required, to set goals for ourselves that are impossible to attain—to buy into the Big Lie. When we inevitably fail to achieve those goals, which the social structure has deliberately put out of our reach, we are required to blame only ourselves. The system has not failed you, you have failed because you are a fucking loser. You’re too fucking lazy to succeed. You’re too fucking stupid to succeed. So stop looking for scapegoats and accept the fact that you determined your own fate.

    That is what the [current] system would have you believe. And it is, in the final analysis, the psychologist’s primary job to reinforce that message. That is why it is that the nation that heralds itself as the truest form of ‘democracy’ is home to more psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counselors, social workers and psychic friends than any nation in the world. Not coincidentally, that same nation is also the home to the world’s largest penal system. That, apparently, is the price we pay for ‘freedom’ in this country, a peculiar kind of freedom that does not include the right to engage in any sort of ‘deviant’ behavior.

    Freedom of that type, it seems, could conceivably pose a threat to the powers that be, lest too many people begin to question the ‘right’ of the wealthy and powerful to maintain their positions at the top of the food chain at the expense of the psychologically enslaved masses whose labors serve to fatten their investment portfolios. Better that we remain, in the words of George Orwell, in a state of “controlled insanity”—for nothing could pose a greater threat to the system than a sane population fighting for survival in an insane world.
    — David McGowan, Understanding the F-Word: American Fascism & the Politics of Illusion