Category Archives: psychologists

Psychiatric imperialism

Screenshot 2020-01-30 at 09.42.36The growing pseudo-sophistication of credulity

Under the empire of the shrinks, writes Dalrymple (himself a shrink), there is a dialectical tendency to reinforce people’s wish to

objectify themselves and their behaviour, the better to escape personal responsibility and avoid genuine but painful self-reflection.

He observes that

the doctor wants to give patients a diagnosis, and patients want the doctor to give them a diagnosis. Every unhappy person leaves the doctor clutching a prescription. And every study shows that, whatever they are given as an antidepressant, their pills have a powerful placebo effect. Unfortunately, they can have serious and unpleasant side-effects. Gone are the days when doctors can dish out coloured water as a placebo to a credulous clientèle.

We don’t believe any more in spirit possession, he says,

but we do believe in serotonin – too much or too little or in the wrong place – as the root of all our troubles.

W.E. Henley’s toxic stoicism

W.E. Henley: emotional constipation

Dalrymple draws attention to the distressing mental disorder exhibited in ‘Invictus’ (1875):

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow’d.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

He notes that the deranged ‘fortitude’ and emotional repression that the poem betrays are deeply problematic, being

part of what is known, including by the American Psychological Association, as toxic masculinity.

‘Fortitude’ is treason to the self

Dalrymple says that

if only Henley had been true to himself, he wouldn’t have bothered with all that captain-of-my-soul stuff.

Instead he would have gone into

  • counselling
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • psychotherapy

Courses of treatment of this kind, which might usefully have been accompanied by colectomy, frontal leucotomy, Metrazol-induced convulsion therapy, laxative therapy, and insulin coma therapy (Insulinschockbehandlung),

would really have sorted him out and rid him of the poisonous notion that misfortune was something to be overcome by making the best of things.

Dalrymple points out that in advertising his neurosis by producing verse of such hysterical irrationality, Henley

set a very bad example, for not everyone can overcome misfortune as did he. By becoming famous, by achieving a great deal despite pain and illness all his life, he inhibited myriad others from admitting their vulnerability and victimhood, thereby reinforcing toxic masculinity.

Rather,

it was Henley’s duty to have been angry and resentful at his fate, thereby giving work to psychologists and psychotherapists. If everyone went round being the captain of his soul, what would there be for psychologists to do? They would need counselling about their loss of income.

Henley lived in Woking in the latter part of his life, though he also maintained a flat in this Battersea block

St John the Baptist Churchyard, Cockayne Hatley, Bedfordshire

The superstitions that beget terror

Dalrymple says of the 2019 London Bridge stabbing:

If it had been an episode in a novel by a social satirist, it would have been dismissed as too crude or absurd.

He writes that public discussion in the wake of the outrage reveals three superstitions that, thanks to the activities of criminologists, sociologists, psychologists, and others, are deeply ingrained in the public mind:

  1. Terrorists are ill and are both in need of and susceptible to ‘rehabilitation’, as if there existed some kind of moral physiotherapy that would strengthen their moral fibre, or a psychological vaccine that would immunise them against terrorist inclinations.
  2. Once terrorists have undergone these technical processes or treatments, it can be known for certain that the treatments have worked, and that some means exists to assess whether the terrorists still harbour violent desires and intentions.
  3. There exists a way of monitoring terrorists after their release that will prevent them from carrying out attacks, should they somehow slip through the net.

Usman Khan

These notions are, of course, false,

though they have provided much lucrative employment for the tertiary-educated and have contributed greatly to Britain’s deterioration from a comparatively well-ordered society to a society with one of the West’s highest rates of serious crime.

Their broad public acceptance

is evident in the remarks of Jeremy Corbyn, who, after the attack, said that terrorists should undergo rehabilitation rather than serve full prison sentences.

The father of the slain young criminologist said that he would not want his son’s death to be ‘used as a pretext for more draconian sentences’. Dalrymple comments:

Decadence can go little further.

Psychoanalysis is that mental illness for which it regards itself as therapy

An American psychologist by the name of John Gartner argues that Donald Trump should be removed from office on psychiatric grounds:

We live in a pre-fascist society…The German psychiatric association said nothing during the rise of Hitler…We are facing a crisis that threatens to engulf the world in flames…Trump meets standards for commitment and should be required to undergo psychiatric evaluation, whether he wants to or not…The man is threatening to murder an entire country…We cannot call the authorities because the homicidal patient is the authorities.

Dalrymple notes that Gartner

displays no knowledge of or imaginative insight into what it is like to live in a totalitarian dictatorship—his Jewishness notwithstanding—despite countless memoirs, academic books, and films attesting to and describing life under authoritarian rule. Such ignorance or lack of imagination is culpable. For an American to compare contemporary life in the USA, no doubt unsatisfactory as it is in many respects, with life in a fascist dictatorship is self-dramatising, self-pitying, and an insult to those millions who suffered or died under totalitarian dictatorships.

It is legitimate to oppose the government and to despise the person of the president;

it is another thing to claim jurisdiction over whether he should be entitled to be president and whether he ought to be removed by committal to a mental institution. In the Soviet Union, psychiatrists occupied the kind of commissarship that Gartner is appealing for.

Gartner

shows an implicit contempt for US institutions and history if he thinks that the election of one allegedly unstable man can turn his country into a fascist dictatorship almost overnight.

He is

what Kraus said of psychoanalysis, a cause of the disease it pretends to cure. He believes that people who show instability, anger, paranoia, feelings of persecution, and cognitive confusion would and should be involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation.

Dalrymple suggests that Gartner read Chekhov’s 1892 short story Ward No. 6, in which Dr Ragin is committed to his own asylum.