Monday, October 21, 2019

Comments by Slaying_the_Dragon_of_Psychiatry

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  • Marci Webber’s daughter is in heaven, the same heaven where untold numbers of innocent victims of psychiatry now dwell. While Szasz made it perfectly clear that the so-called “insanity defense” is itself insane, it is also perfectly clear that this terrible tragedy was caused by psychiatry and psychotropic drugging.

    Webber’s story provides yet more evidence that psychiatry is not something that can be reformed, rethought, or simply criticized. It is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that destroys the lives of many innocent people, including children, the homeless, and the elderly. Isn’t this the very definition of evil? Why put up with it anymore? Slay the dragon of psychiatry.

  • Excellent question, Oldhead.

    I mostly agree with Szasz that, in many ways, psychiatry gradually took the place of false religions. It’s more complex than that, but at least he was on to something.

    In other words, there are a variety of motivations, power and wealth being among them. But these are characteristics that are common to modern and post-modern political philosophies as well, namely, that the purpose of philosophy is no longer to understand the order of the cosmos or to achieve wisdom, but to remake the world and dominate nature through ideology and technology.

    What this means is that there is a connection between what Marx and others were trying to do with philosophy, and what psychiatry has accomplished. Money and power are always motivations for the worst proponents of psychiatry, but it is helpful to keep in mind that many people enter the field of “mental health” under the false belief that they will be helping people.

    Psychiatry is doubly pernicious because it accomplishes its evil purposes while masquerading as a medical profession that aims to help and to heal people.

  • Psychiatry is a branch of medicine in the same way as slavery is a branch of productive labor, in the same way as Nazism is a branch of legitimate government, or in the same way as priestcraft is a branch of religion. In other words, psychiatry is a rotten branch that needs to be extirpated from the tree and cast into the ash heap of history.

  • Psychiatry works wonderfully. It accomplishes exactly what it was designed to do, namely, subjugating, torturing, and annihilating untold numbers of innocent people, including children, the homeless, and the elderly. It accomplishes its goal all too effectively, and it does so while masquerading as a medical profession.

  • Oldhead writes sensibly, and hopefully Whitaker is coming to the realization that Oldhead has been writing sensibly all along. This elephant of psychiatry, to expand the metaphor, doesn’t just need gnats buzzing around its ears. It needs a few rounds from the elephant gun. It needs heavy dose of its own medicine. In any case, what’s the point of remaking a fraudulent, pseudo-scientific system of slavery? Not many people are interested in remaking Nazi prison camps or chattel slave plantations. Why should anyone be interested in remaking psychiatry?

  • Again, oldhead sees clearly. Nonsense such as “mad pride” threatens the real work of antipsychiatry, namely the abolition of psychiatry. What next, idiot pride? Stupidity pride? Foolishness pride? We already have enough of that, and it’s not something to be proud of.

  • Oldhead is great, and he understands the inherent absurdity of psychiatry and so-called “mental illness.” Unfortunately, like Efrat and many others, he conflates antipsychiatry with the radical leftist notions that will ultimately undermine the cause of liberty that he genuinely aspires to promote. Bonnie Burstow and her group of antipsychiatrists also fall into this trap. It is very unfortunate because they are absolutely right about psychiatry. Thomas Szasz must be rolling over in his grave because of the ideological and utopian fantasies that threaten to obscure the cause of abolition for which he so valiantly contended.

  • The word “psychiatry” is one of the most misleading and unnecessary words that has ever been invented. Think of it for a moment. Just pause to think. What is psychiatry? Etymologically, the word psychiatry means the medical treatment of the soul. Yes. Let me repeat that to see if anyone else is paying attention. The medical treatment of the soul.

    Now pause to think of the implications of such a ridiculous word. First of all, a person would have to know what a soul is, and psychiatrists are the most ill equipped of all people to understand such a thing. Second of all, how on earth can medical treatment be applied to the soul? What utter nonsense. Religious believers understand that the healing of the soul is something only God can accomplish, and yet the word “psychiatry” has been invented to signify that somehow a doctor, or at least a person who aspires to be a doctor, can take the place of God and “treat” the soul medically. What complete and utter nonsense.

    Yet, here we are, debating with psychiatrists and hoards of other people who actually believe that such a thing as “psychiatry” is somehow necessary and useful, instead of what it actually is, namely, a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that is bent on destroying the lives of innocent people, including the elderly, the homeless, and helpless little children. Thus the term “antipsychiatry” is the most necessary and useful term because it is synonymous with truth, common sense, and justice.

  • Ekaterina, great article. Thank you. You are exactly right that the problem lies in the term “mental illness.” The problem is psychiatry itself.

    Congratulations on your great accomplishments as well. Which languages do you speak? Which countries have you lived in?

    Also, what do you think of Thomas Szasz’s book “The Myth of Mental Illness”?

    Thanks.

  • “Do you now agree that biological psychiatry is a ridiculous farce that’s really about shutting people up, by dismissing (invalidating) their complaints as mere ‘symptoms’ to be drugged away?”

    No. As you well know, Lawrence, so-called “biological psychiatry” is just a euphemistic term that is used to cover up the whole nasty history of psychiatry itself. Psychiatry must be abolished. It is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that wreaks havoc and destroys the lives of many innocent people, including children, the elderly, and the homeless.

    I applaud your efforts to expose some of the obviously fraudulent aspects of psychiatry, But I invite you and your readers to consider why the whole rotten system must be abolished not simply reformed or criticized.

  • Mr. Whitaker, thank you for your courage in addressing this very controversial topic. There is much that is praiseworthy in your assessment of the controversy surrounding so-called “mental illness,” and mass shootings. For example, it is clearly wrong to blame a supposed group of people for the nefarious deeds of one disturbed individual. And Torrey is clearly wrong to attribute the tragedies of violence to people with so-called “serious mental illness.” Thank you for pointing out what ought to be obvious.

    I would also like to commend you on the great work that you have already done on your books, particularly “Psychiatry Under the Influence,” “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” and “Mad in America.” These books are an invaluable resource and ought to be required reading for all first-year medical students, among other people.

    However, there are a few ideas in this blog post that don’t stand up to scrutiny. First of all, the notion of so-called “hate speech” is almost as problematic as the false notion of so-called “mental illness.” The Marxist origins of the notion of “hate speech” have long been recognized, but this is not something that a dictionary will explain. (See, e.g. https://www.heritage.org/civil-society/commentary/the-origins-hate-speech)

    Furthermore, the problem isn’t just that Trump or anyone else might blame an entire group of people, but that to pin the blame on so-called “mental illness” is to pin the blame on something that doesn’t exist in the first place. While it is courageous to defend people who have been labeled as “mentally ill’ against the attacks of those who would blame them for the tragedies of mass shootings, it is more courageous to defend people against the label of so-called “mental illness” itself. Your work has accomplished much by way of demonstrating that which Thomas Szasz understood best of all, namely, that so-called “mental illness” is a myth. There is no way to blame the so-called “mentally ill” for any tragedy because in reality there is no such thing as “mental illness.” Until this basic reality is recognized by the general public, there will continue to be so-called “hate speech” directed toward a mythical group of people who are “mentally ill.”

    Although there are furious debates between Democrats and Republicans on a wide variety of issues, the reality is that the myth of so-called “mental illness” has confused most everyone on both sides of the political fence. The problem has nothing to do with Republicans, Democrats, or gun control. The problem is that the vast majority of people in the United States and elsewhere has been deceived by the myth of so-called “mental illness.” As soon as people begin to understand that “mental illness” is a myth, and that psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession, there will be no need to worry about so-called “hate speech.”

    Furthermore, there are several studies of the connection between psychiatry, psychotropic drugs, involuntary incarceration, and acts of violence. Our own Peter Breggin has written eloquently and at length on this topic. (See, e.g. “Medication Madness,” https://breggin.com/medication-madness/ and https://ssristories.org/) The truth is that psychiatry CAUSES the very problems that it purports to remedy. It is such a clever system because the myth of mental illness and the continued drugging of the innocent is creating an increasing population of drug-damaged individuals who may be chemically incited to violence. When the violence occurs, everyone is ready to point the finger at the so-called “mentally ill” and call for more psychiatric “treatment,” or more psychiatric interventions. The truth is that the rise in the power of psychiatry corresponds directly with the rise in psychiatrically induced acts of violence.

    The more people are subjected to psychotropic drugging and psychiatric violence, the more we should expect an increase in these terrible and tragic acts of violence. Not everyone who commits these murders has been subjected to psychiatric torture, but many of them have been. The reality, as you well know, is that psychotropic drugs can CAUSE otherwise innocent people to perpetrate terrible acts of violence, and they can surely promote violence in those who are already so inclined. It is a well known military tactic to drug soldiers into a chemical craze in order to numb them and incite them to maniacal violence. Just imagine the millions of innocent children, for example, who have been subjected to this kind of psychiatric torture. When they try to withdraw from the drugs, the result is often even more devastating than going on the drugs in the first place. These things have been thoroughly documented even in your own works.

    The attempt to silence opposition by labeling their utterances as “hate speech” is almost as bad as the attempt to stigmatize and ostracize people by labeling them as “mentally ill.” Until the general public becomes aware of the myth of mental illness and the nefarious nature of psychiatry, these acts of violence will continue to increase and politicians will continue to pin the blame anywhere except where the blame belongs, namely, with psychiatry itself.

  • Good article. Rousseau was one of the earliest purveyors of the false notion of human “perfectibility,” but there is seemingly no end to the litany of utopian schemes that have arisen from modern political philosophy. Following Rousseau, Marx attempted to transform philosophy itself: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” It is natural and necessary to focus on the path of eugenics through Nazi Germany, but if we really hope to learn from history we can’t ignore the role that Marxist ideologies had in the creation of the Russian Gulags. Neither can we ignore the work of the most articulate and courageous psychiatric abolitionist of the 20th century, namely Thomas Szasz. Of course, a single blog post can’t cover every important topic, but it is worth remembering that in addition to the fictitious disease of “schizophrenia,” the myth of “autism” also arose in the context of Nazi Germany and Austria. https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/the-myth-of-autism/

  • Great article.

    It is refreshing to read such crystal clear statements of truth in such straightforward and simple language. It should be obvious to every honest and reasonable mind and to every compassionate and loving heart that the “chemical imbalance” hoax has been one of the most destructive tools of the pseudo-scientific system of slavery that is more commonly known as “psychiatry.” The myth of “mental illness” and the attendant “chemical imbalance” hoax have caused the suffering and death of untold numbers of innocent people, including helpless children, the homeless, and the elderly. What makes psychiatry more evil than the most blatant of evils is that it masquerades as a medical profession and purports to heal, care for, or treat its unsuspecting victims.

    Dr. Hickey hits the nail so squarely on the head that even the most unfeeling and retrograde reader cannot help but be moved by the force and lucidity of his logic. Thank you Dr. Hickey. May you be blessed with long life, good health, and joyful increase for your relentless efforts to bring to light the truth about, and to defend the innocent victims of, psychiatry.

  • Grazie, ma non ho una posizione ideologica. Infatti, mi oppongo alle ideologie della psychiatria.

    Il mito della malattia mentale e il libro piu famoso di Szasz, ma purtroppo, i suoi libri piu’ importanti non vengono letti.

    La psychiatria distrugge le vite di innumerevoli persone innocenti, incluso i bambini, gli anziani, ed i senzatetto. Come Szasz spiega, la psychiatria e’ una forma di schiavitu’, paragonabile allo schiavismo che dominava negli stati del Sud negli Stati Uniti. Quindi, la psychiatria non e’ qualcosa che si puo’ cambiare o trasformare. Bisogna abolire la psychiatria proprio come e’ stata abolita lo schiavismo negli Stati Uniti.

    Forse tu puoi aiutare ad abolire questo systema di schiavismo in Italia, come Szasz si e’ sforzato di fare qui negli Stati Uniti.

  • There are lots of books on Amazon. Whether or not people have read or understood them is an entirely different question.

    Too few people have read the works of Thomas Szasz, whether in the United States or elsewhere, and too few of those who have read his works have really understood them.

    The best thing that Mad in Italy could possibly do would be to disseminate the works of Thomas Szasz more widely, and to promote his ideas on liberty and responsibility, and the abolition of psychiatry.

  • 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.”

  • Meno male. Quindi, lo sai che Szasz cercava di abolire la psychiatria? Lui sapeva che la psichiatria non poteva essere trasformata o criticata. Come la schiavitù, deve essere abolita. Quale dei libri di Szasz è il tuo preferito? Grazie. A presto.

  • Ciao Marcello. Vorrei sapere se la gente d’Italia conosce le opere di Thomas Szasz. Tu sai se i suoi libri sono stati tradotti dall’Inglese all’Italiano? E i libri di Signor Whitaker? Si leggono i suoi libri in Italia? Grazie.

  • “Psychiatrists are seen as hard-working, caring, understanding healers, but they’re really snake-oil salesmen, drug-dealers, and master-sedaters. What they do should be illegal. Someday everyone will realize that not only do psychiatrists not heal anything, they’re a major contributor to the recent rise in suicides and overdoses.”

    Excellent. This is one of Lawrence’s best articles thus far.

  • I don’t care if you eat broccoli and salmon for dinner and probiotics and every other thing that can constitute a good diet… there’s no such thing as “ADHD”. It is impossible to “cure” a fictitious “disease.” Psychiatry’s purported “remedies” are often the root cause of the problem.

  • Szasz was a human being, but a thorough and charitable reading of his works reveals that he was as merciful as he was just. He spent his entire life working to expose psychiatry for the sham that it is, and to have it abolished. He spent his entire life working to support liberty and responsibility, principles that benefit all of mankind, rich or poor.

  • It’s good to have other witnesses though. There is so much to learn from Szasz and his real legacy, and not just because he was the most effective critic of psychiatry and a psychiatric abolitionist. We can also learn from the way his work was received, and how he was treated. Furthermore, the continuing jealousy of Szasz shows us a bit what the uphill battle will be for present and future psychiatric abolitionists. In this way we can celebrate Szasz’s work and his legacy while also learning to be wiser than he was.

  • Excellent comment. Thank you Bradford. I would recommend that people read Szasz’s works before they read interpretations of his works. Szasz is far superior to his critics. Those who still feel like they need to read Szasz’s critics ought to read “Szasz Under Fire: The Psychiatric Abolitionist Faces His Critics,” because at least this book contains Szasz’s own responses to his critics. Appraisals of Szasz’s legacy are worth much less than Szasz’s actual legacy. In fact, appraisals usually do more to obscure and obfuscate a legacy than to clarify. Naturally, I champion any effort to expose more people to the works of Thomas Szasz, but this blog post invites skepticism for a variety of reasons. https://www.amazon.com/Szasz-Under-Fire-Psychiatric-Abolitionist/dp/0812695682

    First of all, many of Szasz’s colleagues had an axe to grind because Szasz exposed their chicanery with such relentless, Socratic precision. Second, psychiatry is not a hybrid profession of clinical science and humanities. That is sheer nonsense, and Szasz knew it. Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession. There is nothing scientific about it, unless you wish to call it what it is, and what Szasz so aptly described, namely “The Science of Lies.” https://www.amazon.com/Psychiatry-Science-Lies-Thomas-Szasz/dp/0815609108

    Third, although it is true that Szasz was an able philosopher, his works are best read how he intended them to be read, and not merely as philosophy rather than psychiatry. Like Karl Kraus before him, Szasz considered himself to be a noble rhetorician, that is, he used language correctly in defense of truth. The truth is that psychiatry is neither medical nor a profession. Szasz exposed psychiatry for the sham that it is, and he exposed its founders for the frauds and the charlatans that they were.

    Szasz’s legacy is so much greater than the six points that he included in his 1998 manifesto. Szasz was a psychiatric abolitionist, not merely a critic of psychiatry. A serious appraisal of Szasz’s legacy would mention this fact clearly from the outset. The list of the authors who composed “Thomas Szasz: an appraisal of his legacy” invites even greater skepticism. As if the mention of Allen Frances weren’t enough to discourage a person from reading the book, add to that the names of Pies and Torrey, and you have a certain recipe for what Szasz would have recognized as base rhetoric or pseudo-science. Dr. Phil Hickey has exposed the mendacity of these and other psychiatric apologists. (See, e.g., https://www.madinamerica.com/2019/04/in-defense-of-anti-psychiatry/ or https://www.madinamerica.com/2015/11/my-response-to-dr-pies/ )

    Furthermore, although Szasz’s libertarianism was too extreme for my taste, his commitments were to freedom and responsibility, commitments to counteract the real utopian schemes of the socialist and communist ideologies that inhere in what Szasz called “The Therapeutic State.”

    “The Theology of Medicine,” “The Manufacture of Madness,” and “Coercion as Cure” are indeed great books.
    But Szasz’s wrote many great books, and any list of his great books that fails to mention “Psychiatric Slavery” or “Liberation by Oppression” is incomplete. And as far as Szasz’s connections to Scientology are concerned, Bradford’s comment above hits the mark. The attempt to discredit Szasz by emphasizing his connections to Scientology, especially by citing Torrey as an authority, is yet another reason to be skeptical of this so-called “appraisal.”

    Szasz already gave himself enough tough love. It’s Szasz’s critics and appraisers that need the tough love that Szasz already gave them. The problem is that instead of reading and understanding, his critics continue to obscure and obfuscate Szasz’s works to the detriment of his legacy and to the detriment of others who would benefit from it.

    In other words, begin by reading Szasz, and not his critics or his “appraisers.”

  • Jennifer, thank you. Keep up the fight. You are winning.

    As I’m sure that you are well aware by this point, there is really no such thing as “bipolar disorder,” and psychiatry is a sham. Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession. It is simply criminal what psychiatrists have done to you, and what they are doing to millions of innocent people, including children, the homeless, and the elderly.

    I believe that your artistic talents will flourish now more than ever, and that you will be able to help many other people who are suffering as a result of psychiatric abuse. Along the way, if you are looking for some good reading on the topic, I highly recommend the work of Thomas Szasz, Peter Breggin, and Robert Whitaker.

    Keep up the good fight, and all the best. – DS

  • “Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the medical term for a disorder, or malfunction in thinking, in which a person suffers from obsessions, which are often linked to compulsions.”

    Nonsense. There is not one single shred of evidence that there is any such thing as “OCD” or any other fictitious “disease” that is listed in the Bible of psychiatry.

  • Alan, I am very sorry about what psychiatry has done to your son. I feel compassion for you both, but I also want to express the hope that there is life after survival. I sincerely hope that your son can extricate himself from the shackles, and shed the false labels of psychiatry. It may be difficult, but it can be done.

    You mentioned Laing several times. While I sympathize with your perspective, and while I understand why Laing’s influence is important to you, I would recommend that readers of this post consider Thomas Szasz’s critique of Laing, as well as Thomas Szasz’s critique of the concept of so-called “schizophrenia” in his book “Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry.” https://www.amazon.com/Schizophrenia-Sacred-Psychiatry-Thomas-Szasz/dp/0815602243

    The truth is that there is no such thing as “mental illness,” and “schizophrenia” in particular is a terrible hoax. Psychiatry, as I’m sure that you are now aware, is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession. Psychiatry, from its inception, is rotten to the core, and it thrives on the suffering of the innocent. The purpose of psychiatry is to cause the very harm that it purports to remedy. All this psychiatry accomplishes under the guise of “treatment” and “care.”

    For these and other reasons many who frequent the Mad in America website advocate for the abolition of psychiatry, and they do so with truth and justice on their side.

  • The problem of authority doesn’t go away merely by wishing. When legitimate authority is dismissed, rejected, or opposed, something else inevitably sweeps in to fill the vacuum. Tocqueville foresaw the tyranny of the majority or the soft despotism that is now rampant. Anarchy is not a viable solution to the problem, and neutrality is an illusion.

  • Of course this ignores the fact that there is no such thing as “first episode psychosis,” and that “treatment” is a euphemism for coercion, force, torture, drugging, involuntary incarceration and other forms of psychiatric abuse. “Early intervention” is a method of subjugating the innocent to psychiatric torture and abuse, in a sort of Minority Report style. Under this tyrannical system, a person is automatically and preemptively declared guilty with no avenues to prove his or her innocence.

    There is also no such thing as an “antipsychotic.” A more appropriate name for these dangerous, brain destroying chemical compounds might be “thanatophoric drugs,” or death inducing drugs.

    A novel concept that members of the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex ought to consider is one of the ancient definitions of justice: mind your own business.

  • The irony in all of this, of course, is that Marxism is its own kind of fundamentalist religion, and Marx himself knew it. The further irony is that Marxism, like psychiatry, caused and still causes the kinds of problems that it purports to resolve. No sober person can examine the real fallout from the Marxist fundamentalist religion and still consider that it has any redeeming value.

  • “The second idea is that people may not have to change to be OK and valuable — that people can even be proud of what has been called madness!”

    This dichotomy leaves out the most important idea, namely, that so-called “mental illness” itself is a myth. There is no reason to be proud or ashamed of fictitious “diseases.” The only real madness is psychiatry’s obsession with promoting and promulgating the myth of “mental illness” in order to cover up it’s own illegitimacy.

  • “but as Aristotle points out, these ‘goods’ are the product of society, at least to some extent, not something that is inherent in us.”

    Citation please. Are you suggesting that Aristotle thought that the good, the true, and the beautiful were merely conventional? Perhaps I have misunderstood.

    “but we should not forget that our sense of ourselves as indivisuals, with some power to influence events ourselves, is associated with the shaking up of centuries of unchallenged social heirarchy.”

    Please elaborate.

    “But I don’t think we can resolve modern existential problems simply by returning to ancient philosophy or medieval Christianity”

    I didn’t mean to suggest that we can resolve modern existential problems simply by returning to ancient philosophy or to medieval Christianity, but I was suggesting that unless we have at least some grasp of both of those things, we will make very little progress in fully understanding modern existential problems in the first place.

    “On the question of mental illness/disorder, I think it is too simplictic to just blame psychiatry. I recognise that psychiatry does create many of the problems it is supposedly there to address, but there is a historical record of something that was widely recognised as ‘madness’ (lunacy, insanity etc) long before psychiatry came into existence, which caused problems for many different sorts of communities.”

    Your point is well taken, but there is something different about the modern manufacture of madness for which psychiatry is directly responsible. Although he is too libertarian for my taste, Szasz writes eloquently on this point. Oldhead has it right. It is a far cry from the “village idiot,” or ritual ostracism, or even a few so-called “lunatics,” to the mass production of “mental illness,” the mass persecution of the “mentally ill,” and the medicalization of everyday life. Szasz often referred to the problem as the “therapeutic state.” The therapeutic state is unique to our time, and psychiatry has played a major role in the growth of this therapeutic state.

    “I am not making a plea for psychiatry, but I am trying to work out how we, as a society, can respond to these problems without pretending they are medical conditions, with all the worrying implications that go along with that view.”

    The first and most obvious step is to understand what the “problem,” or really, the lack of a problem, is. By positing that there are “problems” (a euphemism for “mental illness”) to which society can respond, you are making a plea for psychiatry. Psychiatry, the so-called “mental health” industry, and the pharmaceutical industry, thrive by promoting and propagating the myth of “mental illness.”

    I do not wish to imply that all psychiatrists are inherently evil. Most are probably good, but egregiously misinformed people. One may recall that a certain man with an ugly mustache was very eager to take care of what he regarded as “the Jewish problem.” Many good people were drawn in by his propaganda.

    Listen to T.S. Eliot:

    “Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

    Then listen to Henry Grady Weaver:

    “Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own. The harm done by ordinary criminals, murderers, gangsters, and thieves is negligible in comparison with the agony inflicted upon human beings by the professional do-gooders, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means.”

    Finally (and this is the most perceptive comment), listen to C.S. Lewis:

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    This is a PERFECT description of psychiatry.

  • In answer to your question, the way to address the problem of Big Pharma and Big Government corruption is not to adopt utopian Marxist, communist, or socialist fantasies. Did we learn nothing from the 20th century?

    How has evil been defeated in the past? If we are intent on resisting and defeating evil, should we look to Lenin, Stalin, or Brezhnev as examples? Should we look to Mao, Chiang Kai-shek, Ho Chi Minh, or Pol Pot? Should we look to Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong-Il, Hideki Tojo, or Saddam Hussein? I think not.

    The history of the triumph of liberty cannot be traced to these communist dictators, spawn of Karl Marx. No. The history of the triumph of liberty can be traced through those who opposed such men and the evil that they wielded, men like Churchill. The history of the triumph of liberty can also be traced through men like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers. They were not perfect men, and they would have been the first to admit as much. But they loved liberty, and they opposed evil.

    If we are to resist and defeat evil, we need to consider carefully the sources of our inspiration. So to answer your question, how do we reduce the vast influence of Big Pharma? In the same way that evil has always been resisted and defeated. A wise man once put it this way: “overcome evil with good.”

  • Not quite. The irony of course is that the Founders of the United States were instrumental in forming a system of government that has helped to produce the greatest breadth and depth of political and individual liberty for its citizens that the world has ever known, whereas Marxist ideologies produced misery and death on a scale that makes even these increasing suicide rates look like a picnic in the park.

    This is not to suggest that suicide isn’t a problem, or that there aren’t evil people who turn a profit from the suffering of others. It is simply to point out that much of the misery that is described in this article is the direct result, not of capitalism, but of the progressive ideologies inherited from Marxist predecessors. Psychiatry is also a direct cause of much of this misery.

    In fact, psychiatry CAUSES the very suicides that it purports to prevent. Psychotropic drugging and psychiatric torture CAUSE many otherwise healthy and robust (and also vulnerable) people to do things that they would never otherwise do. In this sense, there has not been an increase in the suicide rate, but an increase in the murder rate. “Suicide” is sometimes a euphemism for psychiatrically-induced death. Once psychiatry has been abolished, this “suicide” rate (really murder rate), will decline or disappear.

    Mr. Whitaker has written at length, in “Anatomy of an Epidemic” and “Psychiatry Under the Influence” about how the increase in fake psychiatric “diagnoses” and psychotropic drugging has created the very epidemic that psychiatry purports to remedy. Capitalism is not the problem. Psychiatry is the problem.

    Thank goodness for a system of government and a capitalist economic system that allows for the hard work of people such as Robert Whitaker to help create a forum in which to expose the chicanery of psychiatry.

  • Exactly Frank. No amount of rationalization can turn evil into good or wrong into right. Even if you piled up every philosopher and brilliant rhetorician in the history of the world on the side of psychiatry, psychiatry would still remain a pseudo-scientific system of slavery.

    Abraham Lincoln’s wisdom applies here: “How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” Saying that psychiatry is medicine doesn’t make it so. Saying that there is such a thing as “mental illness” or “mental disorder” doesn’t make it so.

  • I could enjoy these discussions regarding communism and Marxism as a form of entertainment if the historical record of the unlearned lessons of the 20th century weren’t so crystal clear. I suppose that it is only in a free country that was founded on principles that are diametrically opposed to communism and Marxism that such utopian fantasies can be so freely entertained. Besides the millions of innocent victims of communism, those who survive and labor under the real constraints imposed by communism don’t have time to entertain such utopian fantasies.

  • Joanna, I appreciate your attempts to grapple with the difficult philosophical problems that have led up to our post-modern confusion regarding what a human being is, what the mind is, and particularly whether or not there is any such thing as a “mental illness” or a “mental disorder.”

    Of course you, Hacker, and Wittgenstein are correct to debunk neuroscientific, or more accurately, neuroscientistic reductionism. You are also correct that if we are going to discuss human nature, or the nature of life, a good place to start is with Aristotle. It would be interesting to contrast Wittgenstein’s or Hacker’s conception of the connection between language and the kinds of beings we are with that of Aristotle, but as the internet sensation Sweet Brown wisely put it: “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waEC-8GFTP4

    You and Hacker are correct that psychology and neuroscience lead us astray. But Hacker’s attempt to describe human beings or the nature of life is also reductionist, albeit not to the same extent as the reductionism of psychology and neuroscience. In Aristotle’s teleology, human beings aren’t just unique in their physical or intellectual capabilities. You only allude to the deeper truth that was understood by the ancients, namely, that human purposes are connected to goods that are pursued because of three main motivations: the pleasant, the useful, and the noble.

    As you point out, many modern and post-modern philosophers rejected the wisdom of Aristotle, the ancients, and teleology. Beginning primarily with Machiavelli, they also rejected Christianity. This led to much of the confusion that was inherited and exacerbated by thinkers such as Hobbes, Descartes, Bacon, Locke, and others.

    Although Hacker posits a conception of mind that might resemble Aristotle’s “psuche” in some ways, the comparison breaks down as soon as he loses track of the ancient motivations grounded in the pleasant, the useful, and the noble, or the longing for a better world as articulated throughout the medieval Christian era. Hope and regret, for example, are not just complex emotions, and one’s sense of right and wrong cannot be severed from these ancient or Christian sources without falling prey to the same modern influences that produced the scientism and reductionism inherent in neuroscience, psychology, and especially psychiatry.

    But all of this philosophizing serves as your preface to the question of the nature of health and disease, ostensibly to support the conclusion that “health can be understood as a state of the body that enables the organism to undertake the activities typical of its kind,” and disease “is a state that interferes with this.” You also use this preface to bolster your conclusion that “our mental attributes are more central to our identity than our physical or corporeal properties.” But these things only beg the questions that Aristotle and Christianity answered more completely than any subsequent thinkers, namely, what is a human being, and what is human identity?

    The attempt to associate identity merely with personality is far from the definitions of a human being that were set forth by Aristotle or by Christianity, and hence much closer to the definitions set forth by Descartes and Locke. Furthermore, the attempt to connect enigmatic notions of a “mental disorder” with personality breaks down on many levels when we consider that fictitious “diseases” such as “schizophrenia” or “depression” have nothing to do with beliefs, actions, or sense of self, and everything to do with labels that are imposed from the outside by the very scientistic reductionists that you criticize.

    Not only is it madness to suppose that so-called “mental disorders” constitute disease, it is madness to suppose that there is any such thing as a “mental disorder” that corresponds with an underlying biological, psychological or personal phenomenon. Of course medically disguised social engineering is abhorrent, but so too is philosophically disguised social engineering. Psychiatry’s obsession isn’t just to view “mental disorder” as disease. Psychiatry’s obsession is to view everyone other than oneself as the problem. Instead of relentlessly seeking to change other people, whether through pseudo-medical or behavioral interventions, wouldn’t it be more pleasant, useful, and noble to engage our human faculties in the exercise of improving ourselves?

    I suppose it is only human nature to attempt to create or define a “mental disorder” where no such thing exists, instead of working toward those ends that the ancients and the medieval Christians saw more clearly than we do.

  • That’s right oldhead. In some ways psychiatry is worse than chattel slavery because at least most honest people understood and recognized that chattel slavery was wrong. Unfortunately there are many good and honest people who wrongly suppose that psychiatry is a genuine medical profession that helps people. This is one reason why psychiatry is so pernicious. It is a worse kind of tyranny because the tyrants exercise their tyranny with the approval of their conscience.

  • Opinions are a dime a dozen. It’s truth that we’re after. The attempt to reform or rehabilitate psychiatry is tantamount to the attempt to reform chattel slavery in the South or to rehabilitate Nazi prison camps. I’m content to leave it in the Lord’s hands because truth and justice will prevail in the end, and psychiatry will be exposed for what it is, namely, a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession.

  • Yes. There must be fair trials. Then there is the problem of prison space. Where would we keep all of these guys? Where would we find the space? Maybe there would be a use for the vacated psychiatric edifices after all.

  • Good point OH. Psychiatrists don’t diagnose. They impose labels. A diagnosis implies that there is some real illness or disease to identify. That’s not what psychiatrists do. So called “mental illnesses” are not discovered. They are invented. The entire DSM V and every other edition of the DSM is a work of fiction. It is a very dangerous and harmful fiction, but still fiction.

  • Impressive! Keep beating that drum because it also reminds us just how resilient the human spirit and mind can be, even after enduring psychiatric torture. It gives hope to those who are now emerging from the psychiatric haze and the chemical fog.

  • No need to imagine. It’s happening right now. Many of those who comment on MIA are psychiatric survivors, escaped slaves. Why should they not discuss reparations? Why wait?

    This is a topic that needs to be addressed more thoroughly and in more detail. Psychiatry causes irreparable harm to untold millions of innocent people, and yet next to nothing is being done to rectify the problem or to assist psychiatric survivors. If a person is lucky enough to escape the foul clutches of psychiatry, he or she still has an uphill battle to fight because there is no legal or social support for victims of psychiatry.

    By all means, abolish psychiatry. But where is the legal and social support for psychiatric survivors. If Stella Liebeck can sue McDonald’s for almost $3 million when she spills coffee on her lap, why can’t a psychiatric survivor obtain any compensation whatsoever when his or her entire life is destroyed?

  • “Most readers of this blog would probably agree that the paradigm of care that grows out of the medical model is the biggest challenge to confront.”

    Nope. That’s not even close.

    One of the biggest problems to confront is the proliferation of articles like this one that advocate for critical or reform psychiatry. Critical or reform psychiatry perpetuates and reinforces too many of the false notions of psychiatry. Critical or reform psychiatry, like psychiatry, is a major part of the problem. There is no sense in talking about solutions to problems that a person hasn’t even begun to understand.

    The so-called “paradigm of care that grows out of the medical model” is not even remotely the problem. In fact, it is an obfuscation of the problem. The problem is psychiatry itself.

  • Oldhead gets credit for doing his homework, and guinea pigs figure prominently in the story.

    An A+ paper on the topic would have included a description of the work of John Frederick Joseph Cade. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cade)

    “Since he had no sophisticated analytical equipment these experiments mostly consisted of injecting urine from mentally ill patients into the abdomen of guinea pigs.”

    Say what? Yes. You read that correctly.

    To quote wikipedia again:

    “Cade found that in the guinea pigs injected with lithium carbonate solution, as a control solution, the guinea pigs were more restful. His use of careful controls in his experiments revealed that the lithium ion had a calming effect by itself, but even this finding may have been caused by the toxic effects of an excessive dose of Lithium.”

    LOL! This guy was nuts. Completely wacko. No wonder the entire psychiatric industry still relies on his lithium “experiments” and subjugates human “guinea pigs.”

  • There’s nothing fast and loose about the reality that I described.

    Reconstruction and Jim Crow are further evidence that the abolition of slavery and emancipation were not simple matters of letting people go.

    To return to the topic at hand, namely psychiatry, we might imagine that psychiatry is abolished, but as long as people continue to believe in the myth of “mental illness” or to hunt for cures to “chemical imbalances” in the brain, there will always be something that sweeps in to fill the vacuum that psychiatry leaves behind.

  • That’s right. There is nothing to name.

    There is no “mental illness.” The name and the myth, however, are pervasive enough that most people behave AS IF there were some entity that “mental illness” describes. Myths are powerful, and human beings are imaginative creatures. That is why I have set out to slay the dragon of psychiatry.

    But you’re right. There is no such thing as “mental illness,” and the myth of “mental illness” does not describe or point to any underlying reality. Hence my frequent comments regarding the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc.

  • Even though it is impossible to adequately compensate for the destruction of so many lives and the unfathomable harm that has been caused to so many innocent people, reparations is a serious question to consider.

    Think of it. The average income of a psychiatrist is approximately $200,000 per year. Then think of Big Pharma profits. Think of the APA, and their accumulated wealth. Think of the profits from sales of the DSM-V. Add to that all of the money that is wasted on “mental health” and other such nonsense. There is an astronomical amount of money that is poured into the deliberate harm of the innocent through psychiatry.

    As part of the abolition of psychiatry, that money needs to be redirected toward the victims of psychiatry. If a psychiatrist makes $200,000 per year harming innocent people, it seems that the bare minimum compensation for a single psychiatric survivor ought at least to exceed that amount.

    Then, what to do with all of the wasted space of psychiatric wards, pharmaceutical companies, departments of psychiatry in universities, and so forth. Bull-doze them and erect useful edifices?

  • I agree with you oldhead, but there are a couple things to consider regarding slavery and concentration camps. Obviously, no one in their right mind would dream of replacing slavery or concentration camps with reformed or critical slavery or concentration camps. However, the abolition of American slavery required more than an emancipation proclamation.

    In many ways it would have been cruel to emancipate slaves and set them loose in a society where they would be immediately killed or pressed into worse forms of slavery. Some provisions had to be made. Those who survived the concentration camps also needed somewhere to go. This doesn’t mean that slavery wasn’t wrong, or that the Nazi’s weren’t evil. It just means that the process of the abolition of psychiatry might take much longer and cost more than one might initially anticipate.

    Thus, no alternative for psychiatry is needed, but the ever augmenting numbers of psychiatric survivors will struggle to reintegrate into society. There is also the question of how justice is to be administered to the perpetrators.

  • True. There is no such thing as “mental illness.” The typical response to this assertion is to wonder about all of the people who suffer or who manifest symptoms of some sort of a problem. Again, the answer is simple, whatever problems a person may have, they do not constitute some mythical “mental illness.” Every one of the fictitious “diseases” is a figment of the psychiatric imagination and a fabrication of the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex. “Mental illness,” therefore, is a pernicious myth that has been adopted by psychiatry and Big Pharma in order to “manufacturing madness,” as Thomas Szasz put it. Even though there is no such thing as “mental illness,” pervasive ignorance about this fact causes many people to behave as if it were something real. Children wait upon the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus for their treats. Meanwhile, those who have been deceived by psychiatry wait upon the magical solutions to their non-existent chemical imbalances and mythical “mental illness.”

  • Does anyone here know the history of lithium “treatment”? Testimonials of the terrible effects of lithium are great, but if people actually read books, they could discover how absurd it was to “treat” human beings with lithium in the first place. Psychiatry goes to great lengths to obfuscate or suppress its own sordid history. Think about it for a minute. How on earth did anyone think that lithium was something that a human being should ingest? Now, go research the story. If you can still tell me with a straight face that lithium “treatment” was a good idea, then I have a bridge to sell you.

  • I need to second this motion by oldhead because it is critical for people to understand. Why don’t people pause to ask themselves “What is mental illness?” Those who pursue this line of questioning might be led to Szasz who posed and answered this question better than anyone to date. It used to be a question of real interest, as Szasz points out, among philosophers, politicians, and laymen alike. Now, as Szasz also points out, the myth of “mental illness” has become a lying fact. The myth is so pervasive and held so dearly that few dare to pose the question “What is mental illness?”

    Let me pose the question, and answer it. What is “mental illness”? Mental illness is no more real than the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or Santa Claus. Fortunately, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus don’t go around labeling, drugging, incarcerating, and murdering innocent people. The Easter Bunny delivers treats or Easter eggs or chocolate, the Tooth Fairy delivers money in exchange for a tooth, and Santa Claus delivers gifts to good girls and boys. Psychiatry, on the other hand, in the guise of medicine and wielding the myth of mental illness, delivers destruction. It deprives innocent people of everything that is dear, their lives, their liberty, and their pursuit of happiness. Unlike benign or beneficial myths, the myth of mental illness wrecks havoc upon innocent men, women, and even children.

    In fact, a good definition of evil is anything that intentionally causes harm to innocent little children. By this or any other measure, psychiatry, along with it’s pernicious myth of “mental illness,” is and always has been evil. Therefore, to resist the evil of psychiatry is only natural for those who possess any scintilla of a conscience or any particle of common sense.

  • I had exactly the same thought oldhead. I even used a similar phrase, “irrefutably true,” before I read your comment about “irrefutable logic.” That’s it. Phil’s irrefutable logic. He just hits the nail so squarely on the head that no other hammers are needed.

  • No kidding. In a way, Dr. Hickey’s articles are so clear, straightforward, and irrefutably true that not many comments are needed. But this article should be one of the most, if not THE most popular article on Mad in America.

  • That ought to be the case. It is true that most are harmed too severely to be able to retaliate. Even those who recover enough to retaliate have no recourse through the legal system to any kind of justice or compensation. In any case, how do you compensate monetarily or legally for destroyed lives or even death?

  • Excellent article. Well done, and thank you Dr. Hickey.

    I hope that by this point it is sufficiently clear that Dr. Hickey is the most articulate and effective author on the Mad in America team. As far as I’m concerned, his articles demonstrate unsurpassed clarity of vision and expression. He has done his homework, and Mad in America would be wise to promote his work more vigorously.

    Dr. Hickey is correct that opposition to psychiatry pre-dates Szasz, even though Szasz was one of the most articulate and effective opponents of psychiatry in his time. More people ought to read the works of Thomas Szasz. More people also ought to read the works of one of the men who inspired Szasz and who also saw through the deceptions of psychiatry, namely Karl Kraus. In fact, Thomas Szasz wrote an excellent book entitled “Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus’s Criticism of Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry.” I commend it to your attention.

    https://www.amazon.com/Anti-Freud-Krauss-Criticism-Psychoanalysis-Psychiatry/dp/0815602472

    What Kraus, Szasz, and now Dr. Hickey reveal is that psychiatry has been rotten since its inception. It is, as I have frequently written, a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession. Let me echo Dr. Hickey’s powerful concluding statement: “Psychiatry is not something good that needs minor adjustments. Rather, it is something fundamentally flawed and rotten. Based on spurious premises, and devoid of even a semblance of critical self-scrutiny, it is utterly and totally irremediable.” Amen.

    This. Is. The. Truth. About. Psychiatry. The truth will prevail. For those who would like to expand and deepen their understanding of the true history of psychiatry, I also recommend the following resource:

    https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/the-truth-about-psychiatry/

    – Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry