The crafty art of psychopolitics
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The crafty art of psychopolitics

The Crafty Art of Psychopolitics

Dr. Thomas S. Szasz, a prominent American psychiatrist and outspoken critic of his own discipline as it is presently practiced, once described the mental health movement as essentially Communist ideology in medicine“.

The principal features of the movement, he said, are: first, that the individual is regarded as object, rather than subject; second, that the individual is considered unimportant, whereas the group – whether it be the community, society, nation, or mankind as a whole – is considered supremely .important; and third, that, in imitation of the physical sciences, the aim of social science (and psychiatry) is the prediction and control of human behaviour. Inherent in this approach is a contempt for man as an autonomous individual: we thus witness the aspiration by a „scientific“ elite to control the masses of mankind, whom they consider their inferiors. 1 (p. 219)

The important thing to remember here is that these are not the words of a layman who happens to dislike „headshrinkers“ and all their work, but the considered judgment

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of a certified psychiatrist who holds a full professorship in his specialty at the State University of New York. In short, he speaks with authority and from first-hand experience.

In his numerous articles, books and lectures, Dr. Szasz has argued – and I believe, convincingly – that the main thrust of contemporary psychiatry is not towards improved measures of prevention and treatment of mental illness, but „toward the creation of a collectivist society, with all this implies for economic policy, personal liberty, and social conformity“. 1 (p. 30) Far from reducing the number of cases of mental illness, promoters of the mental health movement create more and more cases by extending medical diagnosis to cover everything from petty larceny to political beliefs.

„There is no behaviour or person that a modern psychiatrist cannot plausibly diagnose as abnormal or ill.“ 2 (p. 35)

Dr. Szasz likens these psychiatric case-finders to the witch-prickers of the seventeenth century – a class of men which made its appearance in Europe during the witchcraft mania and who gained their livelihood by going from town to town to examine suspected men and women for certain insensible spots on their bodies that would indicate that they were witches. The prevalence of witches grew with the growing number of witch-finders.

Similarly, mental illness has grown with the number of psychiatric case-finders in the field.

„After the turn of the century,“ wrote Dr. Szasz, „and especially following each of the two world wars, the pace of this psychiatric conquest increased rapidly. The result is that, today, particularly in the affluent West, all the difficulties and problems of living are considered psychiatric. diseases, and everyone (but the diagnosticians) is considered mentally ill. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that life itself is now viewed as an illness that begins with conception and ends with death, requiring, at every step along the way.. the skillful assistance of physicians and, especially, mental health professionals.“ 1 (p. 4)

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In a surprisingly candid article appearing in Psychology Today, Dr. Anthony M. Graziano, a clinical psychologist of Buffalo, N.Y., stated the case even more succinctly in these words: „In the mental-health industry, illness is our most important product.“

Dr. Graziano correctly suggested to his colleagues that they are convincing ever-greater numbers of persons that even minor anxieties which everyone experiences might be symptoms of deeper and more severe problems. „The [mental-health] industry’s idealistic campaign rhetoric of public service assures it an annual slice of government and private budgets and a growing catalogue of treatable symptoms that attract an ever-expanding clientele. But this same rhetoric obscures from public view the fact that the treatment available to mental patients is of questionable effectiveness and may sometimes be destructive.“ (Emphasis added.) 3 (p. 13)

Dr. Graziano apparently assumed that the only reason promoters of mental hygiene indiscriminately label various forms of human behaviour „mental illness“, is the lure of government money and private largesse.

There is, however, a far more important motivation behind the whole mental-health movement throughout the world. ‘The statements and activities of the psychopathologists themselves will make that fact clear.

Historically, the master plan for a psychiatric take-over of progressively larger sectors of both social and political life in all countries was first formulated in 1948 at the International Congress on Mental Health, meeting in London.

Attending were delegates from forty-three countries, as well as representatives from the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

Dr. George S. Stevenson, one of the movement’s founding members, said of the initial assembly. „A small group of people representing a number of countries and several professions gathered in London to make a covenant to

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advance mental health on a world basis. Their decision to form the World Federation for Mental Health was a distinct advance over the earlier International Committee for Mental Hygiene in that it saw its job as continuous rather than one of sponsoring congresses periodically.“ 4

It was decided that the work of
the World Federation would be carried out by affiliated national mental health associations in as many countries as could be brought within its organizational framework. (At this writing 165 member associations in sixty-three countries throughout the world are affiliated with the WFMH.)

In addition to these various national bodies, the WFMH formed important links with the United Nations and its specialized agencies, as well as with the World Health Organization.

Although spokesmen for the UN have recently denied that close ties exist between that organization and the WFMH, one of the Federation’s own publications states otherwise:

„The Federation was brought into being partly at the suggestion of UNESCO and the World Health Organization, and was given an official relationship as a consultative body by them in the first few months of its existence. Soon after that we were placed on the register of the Secretary General of the United Nations, which involves a similar relationship to the Economic and Social Council. Later we came on the list of consultative bodies to UNICEF, and on the special list of the International Labour Organization.“ 5 (p. 12)

The function of the WFMH in relation to these UN agencies, according to Dr. George S. Stevenson, was „to advise support and prod where needed, just as do the counterpart national and regional mental health bodies in a country or its parts“. 4

With the World Health Organization, the liaison is even more intimate:

„The World Health Organization has in some ways a

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closer relationship to us, since its Mental Health Section, whose original program the Federation was asked to outline when it was set up, is the only other international body in this field.“ 5 (p. 14)

To fully understand the true objectives of the World Federation for Mental Health, it is necessary to examine the beliefs and avowed political aims of the men who worked so long and hard to bring the global organization into being and who have charted its course. Over the years since WFMH was organized, the same names have appeared regularly on one or other of the Federation’s boards, councils and roster of officers.

It is generally acknowledged that it was Dr. Brock Chisholm who was the chief architect and prime mover of WFMH. However, most if not all of his associates were known to share his ideas and general views concerning psychiatry’s role in the contemporary world.

Dr. Chisholm has defined that role in these words:

„The re-interpretation and eventually eradication of the concept of right and wrong which has been the basis of child training, the substitution of intelligent and rational thinking for faith in the certainties of the old people, these are the belated objectives of practically all effective psychotherapy.“ 6 (p. 9)

In addition to wiping out the moral concepts of right and wrong and the religious faith of past generations, Dr. Chisholm believed, in common with the radical left, that there should be an economic levelling of society:

„There must be an opportunity to live reasonably for all the people in the world on economic levels which do not vary too widely either geographically or by groups within a population. This is a simple matter of redistribution of material wealth.“ 7

According to Dr. Chisholm, and those associated with him in drafting the WFMH Charter, only psychiatrists could achieve these goals.

„Psychiatry,“ he said, „must now decide what is to be

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the immediate future of the human race; no one else can. And this is the prime responsibility of psychiatry.“ 7

It was a tall order, but not too tall for the mental-health professionals, who speak of their messianic mission as the remaking of man (or the remoulding of society) if possible, in a single generation.

„Certainly the psychiatrists are not in the least backward in staking out their claim to possessing superior intelligence and know-how with which to alter materially and permanently human behaviour.“ 6 (p. 6)

This theme – that the whole world is the psychiatrist’s experimental laboratory – was repeated not long ago by Dr. Howard P. Rome, senior consultant in psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic, and former president of the American Psychiatric Association. He said:

„Actually, no less than the entire world is a proper catchment area for present-day psychiatry, and psychiatry need not be appalled by the magnitude of the task.“ 8 (p. 727)

Quite in keeping with this ambitious plan for global domination is one of the principal goals of WFMH: world citizenship. An editorial appearing in the Federation’s 1968 Bulletin cites it as the first aim in the minds of the founders when they established WFMH in 1948.

„Outmoded loyalties“ are due to „the lag in citizen maturity.“ Part of the programme of the Federation is aimed at re-educating the public away from such political naiveté.

In a book distributed by the National Association for Mental Health (in the U.S.) it is stated:

„Principles of mental health cannot be successfully furthered in any society unless there is a progressive acceptance of the concept of world citizenship.“ 9

What are the implications of labelling a citizen immature because he believes in loyalty to his own country as a primary allegiance, to take precedence over supra-national loyalty? In the practice of psychiatry today it is very often a

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step towards declaring the same
individual mentally ill. It lays the groundwork for political control.

A citizen who feels that his first allegiance is due to his own country will resist the efforts of those groups he considers to be subversive or inimical to his political heritage. But a psychiatrist may interpret any suspicion of hidden enemies in our society and government as paranoia. Dr. George S. Stevenson has already hinted at this diagnosis. He described as mentally ill any person who is „suspicious of others and sees an enemy, perhaps a Communist lurking behind every acquaintance“. 10 (Italics mine.)

Similarly, scepticism or dissent regarding such matters as extension of long-term loans to Russia; compulsory sexeducation in the schools; or liberal re-interpretation of obscenity laws – all may be regarded by the psychopathologists as symptoms of „basic insecurity“.

As we shall see later, the use of psychiatry to silence dissent and to evade due process of law in the United States is already a fait accompli. As Dr. Szasz has observed, the psychiatrist is the only person in the U.S. who is empowered by law to deprive people of their freedom when they have not been convicted of any crime. This is also true of other countries where involuntary commitment without a court hearing is legal.

Given the broad definition of mental illness already cited by leading psychiatrists, this is a chilling fact that should be carefully weighed by every citizen who lives in those countries.

Public uneasiness about psychiatry does, in fact, already exist. There is a general consensus the world over that psychiatrists are an odd-ball lot. No other discipline in medicine has been so rich a source of bar-room jokes or has provided so many themes for cartoons and satires.

The attitude of the average man has been and continues to be that where crazy people are concerned, it takes one to treat one.

In the vulgate, psychiatrists are known by such epithets

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as sickyatrist, head shrinker, brain bender, dingaling doctor and psycho.

Such expressions clearly show that the majority of people hold the profession in very low esteem, a fact further attested to by actual statistics. A recent survey revealed that only 16 per cent of persons who have emotional difficulties consult a psychiatrist. Of that number, a great many do so only at the urging of relatives, friends or marriage partners.

The behaviour of the psychiatrists themselves, both public and private, has done much to reinforce this widely-held notion that they are mortals of a different and more exotic clay. Accounts of their hare-brain proposals or shocking escapades are a recurring constant in the daily newspaper and on television. One or two typical examples will serve to indicate the type of lunacies for which they are noted. (There are available even more outré instances than those which follow, but I forbear citing them because they would only provoke the total incredulity of the reader.)

A British psychiatrist recently accomplished a feat that most persons would pronounce impossible: he shocked a Swedish audience with his „liberal“ ideas on sex and social behaviour.

Addressing a gathering of 300 young people in Stockholm, he advised them to copulate in the corridors and to finance a youth revolution by stealing from supermarkets.

To set the theme for his talk, the psychiatrist, dressed in a black fur maxi-coat, ardently kissed a girl, then walked to the microphone and to the tune of Glory, Glory Hallelujah sang: „Glory, glory, psychotherapy; Glory, glory, sexuality..“

One member of the astonished audience said afterwards: „I was probably quite wrong, but I thought he was drunk, under the influence of drugs or something, or perhaps mad.“

It is important to note here that the speaker was formerly in charge of the mental health department of a large London hospital.

In the United States, one of the British doctor’s colleagues

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not long ago added to the doubts and suspicions that generally hang over their profession when he suggested that psychiatric chemicals might be added to community reservoirs to control human behaviour. „Then everyone will relax.“

Or again:

Writing in a professional journal, an American psychiatrist of ripe experience told how he had treated tensed-up wives by kissing, undressing, genital manipulation and sexual intercourse. Such unorthodox therapy was necessary, he explained, in order to act out what he termed „overt transference“.

Husbands who had to foot the bill were thus paying $25 an hour to be cuckolded.

Striking a familiar pose of his profession, that of the dedicated healer who is ready to undergo personal hardship or at least discomfort in order to restore his patient to perfect health, the practitioner asserted that: „The demands which this technique makes on the analyst are as grave as any difficulty encountered in the practice of medicine.“

The problem was particularly acute in the case of the unattractive patient. „Then it’s tough, as tough as a surgical operation.“

This psychoanalyst made it clear that he was not singular in his transformation of the traditional couch into an altar of Venus. He said many psychiatrists had told him they too employed the same methods and regarded them as a legitimate mode of treatment.

Another American psychiatrist confirmed the statement. He declared: „It’s widespread from coast to coast; and it produces results.“

In my own
experience, I once knew a Beverly Hills, California, secretary who went to her psychiatrist for an afternoon romp in the nude as faithfully as she went to her hairdresser. Sometimes, she reported, other patients joined in for a group therapy session, which included a variety of Paphian fun and games.

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It is hardly necessary to point out that all psychiatrists do not indulge in practices of the kind just described. But a surprising number do. And the fact that they are tolerated by their colleagues and, in many cases, hold important posts in professional societies, would seem to indicate that they are not as offensive to other members of their discipline as they are to the lay public. It is fair to say that silence gives assent.

Even more important, so long as they are qualified to practice, they hold an awesome power of life and death over patients, many of whom are treated involuntarily with a variety of terrifying psychiatric interventions, including lobotomy, convulsive shock therapy, powerful drugs and so on.

To entrust such men with the treatment – indeed, with the lives -of individuals described as mentally ill, is in itself a flagrant violation of the most basic human rights.

L. Ron Hubbard first came into open conflict with organized psychiatry soon after publication of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.

As indicated earlier, Hubbard rejected what he termed brutal assaults on the brain (radical surgery, electric convulsive shock and lobotomy) which form a routine part of psychiatric practice. He also boldly asserted that Dianetics was a better system of therapy than any known to orthodox psychiatry.

Not only that, but some of the political manoeuvrings of prominent mental-health professionals had begun to claim his close attention.

At that time, leaders of the mental health movement were preparing prototype legislation they hoped to push through the U.S. Congress, which would radically alter involuntary commitment procedures.

From its earliest conception, the mental hygiene movement had included among its prime objectives the involvment of government in its programmes. Such involvement

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would make it easier for the psychiatric groups to obtain grants-in-aid as well as to secure passage of enabling legislation.

In this aim the proponents of what Dr. Szasz has called a Therapeutic State have been highly successful.

In 1946, the U.S. Congress passed a National Mental Health Act, which set up the National Institute of Mental Health as a psychiatric research and training centre and provided grants-in-aid for the development of community clinics throughout the country.

The bill also authorized funds to be made available to both public and private agencies for psychiatric research, training psychiatrists and psychiatric social workers, clinical psychologists and psychiatric nurses. It included financial assistance to states in developing community health programmes and consultations.

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