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 .iimportant; 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” annd 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 ex
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 cllass 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
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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 tr
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 jo
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.”
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.
Mental health was on its way towards becoming a major industry.
Once these centres were established and functioning, an advertising campaign, operating under the guise of a mental health education programme, was launched to attract clients. Dr. Szasz describes the activity thus:
“Mental health education is an effort to lure unsuspecting persons into becoming clients of the community mental health services. Then, having created a demand – or, in this case, perhaps merely the appearance of one -the industry expands: this takes the form of steadily increasing expenditures for existing mental hospitals and clinics for creating new, more highly automated factories called ‘community mental health centres’.” 1 (P. 41)
On the state level, the problem of mental health occupied an increasingly important place on the agenda of the Annual Governors Conference each year after its first introduction in 1949. Representatives of the psychiatric fraternity cited statistical evidence which purported to prove that mental illness is the nation’s number one health problem; that every other bed in the country’s hospitals was a “men-
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tal bed”; that perhaps one in every nine persons could look forward to a mental breakdown at some time or other during their lifetimes (a self-fulfilling prophecy, considering the ever-wider classification of problems in living as “mental illness” by the profession).
These figures were quoted with the same air of certainty than an epidemiologist might asume in predicting the probable incidence of a communicable disease such as gonorrhoea. Yet mental illness is not a disease entity. If it were, as Dr. Szasz has observed, one could catch mental illness as one catches a cold. One could have or harbour it; one might transmit it to others; and finally, by employing the proper treatment, it could be cured.
The truth is that there are no precise clinical criteria for determining mental illness as a true illness or disease. Definitions differ among authorities in the field, depending upon the individual psychiatrist’s personal orientation. To mental health professionals of a political stripe, patriotism is considered a form of mental illness that should be treated by psychiatric intervention.
The same is true of religion. A deep religious faith is regarded as a form of psychoneurosis if not psychosis, by the majority of psychiatrists practicing today.
Aside from a handful of Catholic and even fewer devout Protestant practitioners, there is virtually universal agreement in the profession that religion has an adverse effect on mental health.
This implacable hostility to spirituality has prompted many attacks on the personality of Jesus Christ, whom leading psychopathologists have pronounced insane. Typical of these “diagnoses” is the statement of an American psychiatrist that, “Everything that we know about him [Christ] conforms so perfectly to the clinical picture of paranoia that it is hardly conceivable that people can even question the diagnosis.” 11
With the exception of an early work by Dr. Albert Schweitzer, The Psychiatric Study of Jesus, published in
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1913, I know of no major work by a psychiatrist which seeks to challenge or to repudiate this view.
It should occasion no surprise that psychiatrists would thus undertake to diagnose the mental condition of a man who lived almost 2,ooo years ago and about whom no clinical details exist. For, while claiming that mental illness is a disease (which can be determined only by personal examination and/or laboratory tests), psychiatrists do not hesitate to declare persons psychotic whom they have never seen.
When Senator Barry Goldwater became a candidate for President of the United States, no fewer than 1,189 members of the American Psychiatric Association (who were opposed to his political views) declared him to be “psychologically unfit to serve as President”. Many of them asserted that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, and that he was “a potentially dangerous man”.
Senator Goldwater’s running mate, William E. Millar, was diagnosed as “a man as hostile and semi-paranoid as [Goldwater] himself”.
On the eve of the 1972 national elections, when President Nixon was seeking his second term in office, a “psycho-historical inquiry” into the President’s personality was published. Bruce Mazlish, who wrote the book had never interviewed Mr. Nixon, but this did not discourage him in psychoanalysing the Chief Executive.
An example of what can happen when a career politician does consult a psychiatrist concerning simple problems in living is provided by the case of Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, Democratic nominee for U.S. vice-president in 1972. Senator Eagleton’s medical history became a national issue and was said to be partly responsible for his party’s loss of the election.
Soon after Eagleton’s nomination, the press revealed that he had previously undergone electric shock treatments for what he described as nervous exhaustion. The public, which rightly regards that kind of psychiatric intervention with
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great apprehension, reacted unfavourably to the news and the Senator’s party asked him to withdraw.
Eagleton thus had good reason to regret his having placed himself in the hands of the mental health professionals. But certainly, he was not the first public figure to become so involved. Psychiatrists have treated presidents, legislators and judges. Indeed, Dr. F. Cloutier, former president of the World Federation of Mental Health, once suggested that top office-holders be assisted at all times by a psychiatrist-adviser.
As early as 1938, H. D. Lasswell, writing in the professional journal, Psychiatry, proposed that psychiatrists “cultivate closer contact with the rulers of society, in the hope of finding the means of inducing them to overcome the symbolic limitations which prevent them from utilizing their influence for the prompt re-arrangement of insecurity producing routines”. (Translation: Psychiatrists should gain control over the world’s leaders and use them to restructure society along the lines suggested by Dr. Chisholm and his school.)
The boldest move by proponents of the mental health programme to extend their control over an entire population was the Alaska Mental Health Act, introduced in the U.S. Congress in 1955.
As an unabashed circumvention of the American Bill of Rights, this measure was without precedent in the legislative history of that country. Under its terms, anyone at any time is subject to seizure and involuntary commitment to a mental institution without recourse to due process guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
A prominent Los Angeles jurist, Superior Court judge Joseph M. Call, who made a careful study of the act from the legal stand-point, characterized it as “totalitarian government at its best”.
“Under this section [104(b)], any health, welfare or
7-HSOS * *
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police officer who has reason to believe that an individual is mentally ill and therefore likely to injure himself or others if not immediately restrained pending examination and certification by a licensed physician, may take the individual into physical custody and transport him to a mental asylum. This section, in effect, practically nullifies every constitutional safeguard to be found in the Federal Constitution for the protection of the individual. It is the police state working at its best.
1. It permits no examination of any type.
2. No statement of probable cause need be filed under oath to support the issuance of a warrant of arrest or apprehension.
3. No judge or magistrate need issue a warrant of arrest.
4. No examination is permitted of the patient by the patient’s own physician.
5. No examination is provided for by any physician.
6. No trial is permitted by a judge.
7. No trial is permitted by a jury.
“This section under these conditions permits the patient to be held in custody and without bail up to a period of 5 days under rules and regulations to be prescribed by the head of the hospital. By the end of 5 days the head of the hospital is authorized to designate an examiner to make an examination, and upon the certification of the examiner that in his opinion the patient (1) is mentally ill or (2) is likely to injure himself or others if allowed at liberty, he is forthwith committed to further confinement and custody under this certificate.
“Let us lay this section of the Health Act side by side with Article VI of the Bill of Rights of the Federal Constitution and see what we find. We see that under the Constitution in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy.
1. The right to a speedy and public trial.
2. The right to be informed of the nature of the charge preferred against him.
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3. The right to be represented by an attorney at all stages of the proceedings.
4. The right to trial by an impartial jury.
5. The right to be confronted by witnesses against him.
6. The right to subpoena witnesses in his own behalf and for his own defense.
“And when we further square up these provisions of the Health Act against Article VI of the Bill of Rights, we find under the Constitution that the right of people to be secure in their persons against unreasonable seizures (of the person) shall not be violated, and no warrant of apprehension shall be issued but upon probable cause, under oath and particularly describing the person or persons to be seized.
“Section V of our Bill of Rights states that no person shall be deprived of’ life, liberty, or property without due process of law. There can clearly be no denial of the fact that Sections 103 and 104 of the Mental Health Act deny the individual his liberty in advance of commitment to an insane asylum and deny him any of the safeguards specified in Articles IV and VI of the Bill of Rights and, as such, constitute a clear-cut denial of due process of law.
“And at this point it should be clearly pointed out and stressed that all of the foregoing proceedings could be accomplished without the patient’s knowledge or that his mental condition was being questioned in any respect whatsoever. And at the time of commitment – for want of any subsequent affirmative action-however induced – the patient could be confined in the mental institution for the rest of his natural life.” 12 (pp. 41-3)
An important feature of the bill was its broad, ambiguous definition of mental illness: “The term ‘mentally ill individual’ means an individual having a psychiatric or other disease which substantially impaires his mental health or an individual who is mentally defective or mentally retarded.” (Emphasis added.)
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Who, then, would decide whether an individual is mentally ill? According to the Act, any “interested party or parties”, which it defines as “the legal guardian, spouse, parent or parents, adult children, other close adult relatives, or an interested, responsible adult friend of a mentally ill individual or a patient”.
Dr. Lewis Albert Alesen, an eminent California physician and formerly Chief of Staff of the giant Los Angeles County General Hospital, who was deeply disturbed by these commitment procedures, spelled out the meaning of the Act in these words:
“An individual, a so-called proposed patient, could be seized by a police or other peace officer in his home or in the street, and transported against his will to a mental hospital where he could be forcibly examined and subjected to any type of therapy thought best, including drugs and narcotics, and the various practices of modern psychiatry including hypnotism, conditioned reflex therapy, shock therapy, and yes, even lobotomy if the doctors in charge thought such techniques indicated, even before the individual bad been legally heard and his true mental status actually established by what we Americans have been trained from birth to regard as justifiable legal procedures. During this preliminary period of hospitalization authorized by the bill as an emergency procedure on medical certification, the patient might well be held without opportunity to contact family, friends, or legal counsel for a period not greater than fifteen days, but during such preliminary period ample time would have been given for all manner of brain washing and brain changing. This may seem fantastic, and it may be contended that no real physician conscientiously practicing under the requirements of his Hippocratic oath would resort to such tactics, but nonetheless the provisions are there, and the poor proposed patient has no legal protection against the conscienceless experimenter or the tool of a political regime which deliberately designs to silence all opposition by this expedient.
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“Without the protection of the Fifth Amendement and the due process of law it guarantees, the way is wide open for involuntary commitment to mental institutions on the basis of political reprisal, avarice, and cupidity of relatives, and the malice and jealousy of neighbours or enemies.” 12 (pp. 37, 39)
As Dr. Alesen pointed out, the Alaska bill followed almost exactly the provisions of earlier prototype legislation known as A Draft Act Governing Hospitalization of the Mentally Ill, put together by Dr. George Stevenson, medical director of the National Association for Mental Health and a founding member of WFMH, together with other promoters of the movement.
The Draft Act was a skeleton bill intended for use by federal and all state legislatures in adopting a uniform law covering involuntary commitment procedures. It is significant that the well-settled legal definition of psychopathology – insane – does not appear anywhere in the Draft Act, nor in the Alaska Mental Health Act based on it.
One of the first to denounce the Alaska bill and to mobilize civic groups in formidable opposition to its passage was L. Ron Hubbard. And if his thunderous invective at times seemed to have an obsessional tinge, it was only because he had learned that the American public no longer listens to anything moderately stated.
Hubbard called the measure the Siberia Bill because, be said, under its provisions any man, woman, or child could be seized and transferred without trial to an Alaskan Siberia being set up under authorization of the Act. There, the allegedly mentally ill person, deprived of all human and civil rights, could be detained forever. A cleverly legalized way of railroading political enemies, personal opponents and other “undesirables” into permanent oblivion à la USSR.
Proponents of the legislation asserted that Hubbard was deliberately misreading the section of the Act covering transfer of non-resident patients to the (then) Territory of Alaska.
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Hubbard and his followers answered that the Act was foot-in-the door legislation that clearly provided for Alaska to make reciprocal agreements with any or all of the States for a wholesale transfer of patients. In fact, prototype legislation bad already been drafted, and was embodied in the Connecticut Health Compact that unequivocally authorized such an involuntary transfer of patients.
The legislative manoeuvring which preceded final passage of the bill clearly supported Hubbard’s charges.
To save the measure from outright defeat in the face of the formidable and growing opposition to it, the Act’s proponents agreed to an amendment proposed by Senator Barry Goldwater, one provision of which would specifically prohibit the transfer of patients from anywhere in the U.S. to insane asylums in Alaska. The Senate sub-committee to whom the bill had been referred, deleted this restriction.
Likewise cut out of the Act was a section of the Goldwater amendment guaranteeing humane treatment of individuals seized as being mentally ill; and another reaffirming the patient’s right to a writ of habeas corpus.
On the House side, Constitutional protection of the individual fared no better. A provision in the original bill had made it a crime to willfully cause, conspire with or assist another to cause the unwarranted hospitalization of anyone under terms of the Act. However, at the instigation of some unnamed member of the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, this safeguard was also removed.
How could the law-makers satisfactorily explain these indefensible deletions? The only conclusion that issues from such ruthless contempt for due process was that Hubbard and other critics of the bill were right: the secret aim of the legislation was social control.
Even the manner in which the measure was rammed through the Congress suggests the heavy-handed strategy of private interests rather than the carefully considered procedure of responsible law-makers. According to Dr.
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Lewis A. Alesen, cited above, the bill was passed by a voice vote in the House, after only two hours of debate. Dr. Alesen correctly observes: “It is reasonable to think that these circumstances indicate the lack of quorum of House members when the measure was adopted.” 12 (p. 45)
The measure’s passage through the Senate was marked by the same unseemly haste and want of deliberation.
I have treated at length the Alaska Mental Health Act because it was the first major piece of legislation mental health groups were successful in steering through Congress. In design and purpose, it was a prototype of other bills which the same sponsoring organizations have since pushed through both national and state legislatures.
Congress has continued voting funds for expansion of the Community Mental Health Centers programme, initiated in 1963, which provides for setting up “all-purpose mental health” establishments across the nation. Public Law 88-164 scheduled the opening of Soo such centres by 1970.
It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the mental health professionals who plan and direct the activities of these centres are mainly concerned with social issues which they define as mental illness. Dr. Szasz argues that such programmes are really modes of coerced behaviour and control. Let us hear him again:
“They establish themselves as agents of social control and at the same time disguise their punitive interventions in the semantic and social trappings of medical practice.” 2 (p. 136)
In the light of these observations, it becomes an ominous fact that in the United States 98 per cent of the care for the so-called mentally ill is provided by federal, state and local governments. In Great Britain, it has been estimated that the proportion is approximately the same. In the Soviet Union, the figure is 100 per cent and all psychiatrists are in the service of the government.
For a clear idea of the dangers that lurk in State
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established psychiatry, we have only to look towards Russia, where that system has reached its full maturity.
During the reign of Stalin, political enemies (actual or potential) as well as those suspected of deviation from the officially-proclaimed Communist line, were simply taken out and shot en masse, or sent to Siberia to die a slow death in the slave camps. As a dictator whose power was absolute, the Soviet mass-murderer had little use for psychiatrists. He did not pretend that the countless victims seized by his secret police were being incarcerated for their own good, as a therapeutic measure. Like Hitler in his attitude towards the mental defectives, Jews and gypsies of Germany, he just wanted them liquidated.
Following de-Stalinization in the USSR, and the attendant need to establish the appearance of justice in Soviet courts, the Kremlin oligarchy had to find some respectable means of continuing their despotic rule. They urgently required some extra-judicial means of social and political control.
This is precisely the point at which psychiatry gained ascendancy in Russia. Writers with a thirst for liberty, drones and dissenters were no longer brought before legal tribunals where their side of the case could receive at least a token hearing, thereby proving a source of embarrassment to the regime. Instead, they were seized and handed over to psychiatrists as citizens suffering from “mental illness”.
A leading Russian forensic psychiatrist, quoted in Time magazine, stated the Soviet position unequivocally:
“Why bother with political trials when we have psychiatric clinics?” 13
Community mental health centres (called dispensaries in the Soviet Union) have been established throughout the USSR, just as they have been set up in the United States. “Russia’s social structure has enabled psychiatry to go out into communities and actively search for persons in need of treatment,” declared Dr. B. A. Lebedev, prominent Soviet
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psychiatrist and a medical director of the World Health Organization. 14 (p. 1)
The recent case of Zhores Medvedev, an eminent Russian geneticist, highlights with disturbing clarity how easily mental hospitals may become political prisons in disguise.
Medvedev’s troubles began when he published an attack on the scientifically discredited theories of Stalin’s favourite scientist, T. D. Lysenko. For that “offence” he was discharged from the position he had held at a radiological institute near Moscow. Then he compounded his crime by writing a study of the State censorship, surveillance and harrassment that restricts intellectual activity in Russia today. The literary underground smuggled the work through the Iron Curtain and published in the West – an unpardonable sin in the eyes of the Communist hierarchy.
Medvedev was seized, and sent, without trial, to a Soviet insane asylum. The diagnosis of his case by Russian psychiatrists bears a chilling resemblance to professional opinions voiced by their opposite numbers in the West concerning the mental condition of persons whose political views and social behaviour were unacceptable. Medvedev, said the Soviet psychiatrists, had a “split personality, expressed in the need to combine the scientific work in his field with publicist activities; an overestimation of his own personality; a deterioration in recent years of the quality of his scientific work; an exaggerated attention to detail in his publicist writing; lack of a sense of reality; poor adaption to the social environment”. 13
Before the Western reader indulges himself in the smug and wholly unjustified satisfaction of believing that such a terrible injustice could not occur in “the free world”, I hasten to assure him that the truth is quite otherwise.
Consider, for example, the case of the late Ezra Pound, one of the most distinguished figures in the history of American literature. Following World War II, Pound was indicted for treason because of statements he had made in
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broadcasts from Mussolini’s Italy, where he had long resided. Pound declared himself ready to prove his innocence in a court of law; but he was not permitted to do so. Instead, under Section 4244 of the United States Code which (I believe, unconstitutionally) allows a federal judge, upon motion of the prosecuting U.S. Attorney, to order an accused person sent without a hearing to a mental institution “to be examined as to his mental condition”, by one or more psychiatrists. Pound was handed over to the mental health professionals.
Dr. Winfred Overholser, one of the four psychiatrists who examined Pound, reported to the Court that: “He insists that his broadcasts were not treasonable. He is abnormally grandiose, is expansive and exuberant in manner, exhibiting pressure of speech, discursiveness, and distractability. In our opinion, with advancing years his personality, for many years abnormal, has undergone further distortion to the extent that he is now suffering from a paranoid state.”
Dr. Overholser then added: “He is, in other words, insane and mentally unfit for trial, and is in need of care in a mental hospital.” 15 (p. 37)
Ezra Pound was committed to the insane asylum and held there for thirteen years. He was released only in response to growing protests against his incarceration. Dr. Overholser continued to oppose the poet’s being set free, insisting that Pound was “permanently and incurably insane”.
Upon being released from the asylum, Pound returned to Rapallo, Italy, where he spent his last years quietly and quite sanely despite the terrifying experience of having been confined to a madhouse for thirteen years – surely an ordeal to test the temper of the most resilient mind.
But that was not the final cruelty and humiliation to be dealt the old poet at the hands of his implacable enemies, who dominate the academic as well as the political centres of power in his native land. Early in 1972, Pound, then
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eighty-six, was informed that he would be given an honorary degree from the University of Maine in recognition of his great contribution to American literature. Pound accepted “with great pleasure” and prepared to journey to the U.S. to receive the degree in person.
Then he was informed that the degree was not approved, after all, and could not be awarded. English Professor Carroll Terrell, whose non-political view of literature had led him to propose the degree, was quoted as saying it was all “a ghastly blunder”; opposition to the honour had been too great or, rather, too influential.
Here at its rankest was an illustration of the cynical ambivalence which characterizes intellectual life in America today. Honorary degrees have been impressed upon Marxists, anarchists, Communists and teachers of violent revolution, with the pleading that cultural and educational freedom demand the broadest tolerance of unpopular political viewpoints.
Yet a major poet, none of whose work is concerned with political themes and whom mature European critics class with the greatest of his contemporaries, was denied a small honour because of an alleged offence that occurred more than thirty years previously and for which he had never been tried nor given an opportunity to exonerate himself.
Only a short time after the disgraceful University of Maine affair, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced that, for unexplained reasons, it would not award its $ 2,ooo Emerson-Thoreau Medal in 1972. It was later learned that the Academy’s literary committee had recommended Ezra Pound for the award, but the governing council had rejected him, again citing his Italian broadcasts during World War II.
That was too much for Biologist Jerome Y. Lettvin of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who resigned his membership in protest.
“Had you decided that Pound was an indifferent poet and so deserved no prize,” he wrote, “then you would have
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no need to study his human failings. But you decided he was a good poet. And then you decided not to award him because you disapproved of the man but not his poetry. I will have no part of it.” 16 (P. 23)
To return to the Russian system of dealing with social or political undesirables as mentally ill (and it is different from the American system only in extent, not in kind), it has been only recently that organized protests by writers and scientists have put Soviet authorities on the defensive. Yet, almost a decade ago a Russian writer named Valery Tarsis published in England a book called Ward 7, relating in detail the story of his confinement in a Moscow psychiatric hospital because his views were regarded as deviationist by the Kremlin.
“To Russian ‘scientific psychiatry’,” wrote Dr. Szasz, “Valery Tarsis was mentally ill; to American ‘scientific psychiatry’, Ezra Pound was mentally ill.” 1 (p. 111)
It was not Tarsis, but another Soviet writer, Vladamir Bukovsky, who became a cause celebre in the long struggle of the Russian intelligensia to direct world attention to the political prisoners immured in KGB-controlled mental wards.
One group of fifty-two Soviet intellectuals, led by a prominent physicist, Andrei Sakharov, laid the case before the United Nations in the vain hope that the international body could or would seek amnesty for Bukovsky.
In an open letter circulated by the Russian underground during his latest detention, Bukovsky’s mother wrote: “His only misdemeanour in fact was that he had recounted for the whole world the practice of placing people who think differently in Soviet psychiatric hospitals under the pretext of mental illness.”
In the face of growing world concern about the publicized cases in the USSR, several psychiatric organizations, the WFMH among them, issued statements denouncing
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the practice of misusing psychiatric diagnosis to suppress dissent.
But their belated protests sounded a little hollow when measured against the lavish praise they had earlier accorded Russian institutional psychiatry in their professional journals, lectures and reports.
It was precisely this argument, in fact, that was used by Dr. Andrei Snezhnevsky, chief psychiatrist of the Soviet Ministry of Health, in keeping the topic off the agenda of the World Psychiatric Association conference, held in Mexico City in the autumn of 1971.
Dr. Snezhnevsky pointed out that in 1967 a group of American mental health officials who had toured Russian mental hospitals, found nothing to condemn in the Russian system. According to an article by Dr. Zigmond M. Lebensohn, in the American Journal of Psychiatry (November 5, 1968) the “mission team” to which Dr. Snezhevsky referred was composed of “seven seasoned experts . a prominent jurist, a public health administrator, a wellknown mental-health lobbyist and four highly experienced psychiatrists”.
“Prior to Stalin’s death in 1953,” wrote Dr. Lebensohn, “American psychiatrists had little first-hand knowledge of what was going on in Soviet medicine – even less in Soviet psychiatry. Since 1956, however, psychiatric pilgrims travelling singly or in groups have been wending their way in a steady stream to the main fonts of Soviet psychiatry.”
Dr. Lebensohn’s choice of the word pilgrim – commonly understood to mean a religious devotee who journeys to a shrine -reveals much.
The article stressed the fact that the 19 67 tour was not a once-over-lightly visit, but an in-depth study of the Communists’ methods: “Their report merits careful study by all Americans interested in broadening their horizons. It is a tribute to the industry and zeal of the members of the mission that they succeeded in overcoming numerous obstacles, administrative and otherwise, to attain their
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objectives. As a result, they were able to see more and to report in greater depth than any previous group in recent history.
“For the first time we can get a clear picture of the symbiotic relationship between Soviet psychiatry and Soviet law. For the first time we can see their efficient system of emergency psychiatric services in action. For the first time we can see clearly how the Soviet organization of mental health services permits their psychiatric manpower (and womanpower) to be efficiently used in hospitals, factories, dispensaries, workshops and schools.” (Emphasis added.)
The article then added conclusively: “The experienced members of this important mission have carefully scrutinised many facets of Soviet psychiatry and have emerged with a remarkably favorable estimate of its effectiveness.”
As Dr. Lebensohn has informed us, members of the 1967 official Mission on Mental Health were not the only U.S. “pilgrims” to wend their way to Soviet psychiatric “fonts” and come away with only the warmest feelings (even veneration) for the collectivist Pavlovian practice of psychiatry. A considerable number of individual practitioners have also spent much time in the Soviet mental wards, clinics and sheltered workshops where their dedicated colleagues are doing so much to help shape what Russian psychiatrists themselves call their “therapeutic society”. All have agreed that, “in the current atmosphere of reassessing mental health programs, it is time to learn from everyone’s experience, regardless of ideology or political orientation”.
The foregoing statement is contained in a report by Dr. Henry P. David who, during his three-year tenure as associate director of the World Federation for Mental Health, “travelled extensively in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union”.
Dr. David noted (apparently with approval, certainly without disapproval) that “Therapists vigorously engaged in re-education, suggesting values and standards of
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behaviour they considered realistic, correct and socially desirable. The ultimate measure of improvement was the patient’s behavioural change.” (Emphasis added.)
This is another way of saying that mental health in Russia is measured by how closely the individual conforms to the politically acceptable behaviour pattern set by the state.
If we are to judge by what its leading spokesmen say and what we read in their literature, that is also one of the principal goals of the mental health crusaders.
Before leaving the subject, there is another aspect of Soviet psychiatry which deserves our attention. It is psychopolitics or the use of trained operatives in the fields of psychiatry and psychology to produce chaos, violence and mutual distrust among the populations of capitalist countries.
The Scientologists have faciliated the widest possible distribution of a booklet dealing with this topic, entitled Brainwashing: A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics. Owing to the fact that the authorship of the text is somewhat obscure, critics of Scientology have intimated that the whole idea was something Hubbard dreamed up to discredit mental health organizations.
The proof (if proof is needed) that such is not the case lies in the fact that most of the information and comment contained in brainwashing has been stated elsewhere by recognized scholars who had no connection whatever with Scientology.
For example, in Protracted Conflict, Strausz-Hupe, Kantner, Dougherty and Cottrell, cited as one of the chief aims of Communist psychological warfare “the creation in the ruling, upper and intellectual classes of non-Communist societies, of frustration, confusion, pessimism, guilt, fear, defeatism, hopelessness and neurosis; of oblomovism or nevolya, in essence, the psychological destruction of anti-Communist leadership”.
It is an ominous fact that the statement of Communist
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aims just quoted is also a deadly accurate description of the middle and upper classes in America today.
just as the idea of a “generation gap”, being boldly asserted and plausibly maintained, produced in our society the condition it describes, so the concept of a “sick society” insistently urged upon us by the mental health professionals is producing the psycho-neurotic populace it postulates. One of the most significant changes in public attitude, in fact, has been the uncritical and widespread acceptance of the idea that mental illness in Western countries (especially the U.S.) has reached virtually epidemic proportions and now constitutes a real threat to the survival of a sane, orderly society.
A recent expansion of this concept has been the new psychiatric technique called “crisis intervention”, practiced in the Los Angeles County Hospital. This notion is based upon the assumption – asserted as a medical fact – that there is a period in every person’s life, lasting from four to six weeks when he shows all the symptoms of madness.
During such times any of us might try to assassinate the President, rape the girl next door or engage in other kinds of abnormal behaviour. We must be caught in time and given psychotherapy at once to prevent a long-term mental illness. According to a World Federation for Mental Health bulletin, a team of nurses, social workers, therapists, ministers and psychiatrists are on the lookout for such “crises”, and deal with them promptly.
It is safe to predict that this new mental hygiene product will soon be put on the intellectual market alongside such packaged moonshine as “identity crisis”.
As we have previously noted, the principal aim of Soviet community-based psychiatry is the modification of individual behaviour to conform to state-established patterns.
“There is a relative de-emphasis of personal needs in favour of the primacy of the collective to which the indi
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vidual is expected to yield,” wrote Dr. Henry P. David in his report on mental health in the Soviet Union.
The same statement fairly describes the main thrust of community mental health programmes in America. Whether they go by such names as operant conditioning or group encounter, they are in fact lineal descendants of the classical Pavlovian technique. Their chief purpose is not therapeutic improvement of psychotic patients, but the political coercion of the non-conforming individuals. Their interventions always result in progressive enslavement to and dependence upon the state. The totalitarian must eradicate at all costs that precious “island of separateness”, the independent life and thought of the free man, which allow him to question or to challenge the values of a totalitarian ideology.
In harmony with this Marxist concept of the mentally healthy man as one most fully identified with the collective, leading psychiatrists have redefined individuality as loneliness and alienation, and regard it as “mental illness’ requiring treatment.
The same notion has been introduced generally into sociology, literature and religion, with heavy emphasis being placed upon the “need to relate”, to “become involved”. Criminals and the assassins of public figures are always depicted in the media as “loners”, who didn’t “fit in”, and who acted out of madness, not as part of a far-reaching, international conspiracy.
Is it coincidental that, at the time of writing, one of the most popular procedures among psychotherapists is sometimes called behaviour modification? A direct outgrowth of experiments conducted by Dr. B. F. Skinner of Harvard, the treatment, in its modality and purpose, is indistinguishable from Pavlovian conditioning.
It is based upon the theory that behaviour can be changed and guided by giving or withholding desired pleasures or bodily needs. This is how it works:
When a patient responds in the “correct way” to the
8-HSOS * *
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behaviour pattern expected of him, he is given a reward, called by the psychiatrists, a reinforcement. In many mental hospitals these reinforcements are in the form of tokens which the patient may exchange for meals, permission to leave the ward (where he is obviously a prisoner), watch television or be allowed visitors.
To anyone familiar with the history of psychology, this routine is clearly a variant of the rat in a puzzle box experiment, graduated to human subjects. In the original animal studies, a rat was put into a box equipped with a small brass rod which yielded to very slight pressure and when moved downward released a small pellet of food into the tray. The rat learned to press the lever if he expected to eat. In similar experiments, cats learned to escape from “Skinner boxes” by activating a release mechanism.
Another and even more merciless man-as-animal experiment, known as ESB (for electrical stimulation of the brain) is currently in progress at several psychiatric research centres in the United States.
This intervention seeks to control human behaviour by surgically implanting micro-electrodes in certain areas of the brain and stimulating them by an electric current. Here again, a technique formerly applied only to monkeys, cats, dogs and bulls has been transferred to human subjects.
Since the brain has no feeling, when implanted with the hair-thin wires leading into even the deepest centres, brain cells respond to electrical currents or remotely controlled radio signals without the controlled individual being aware of it. He acts (or reacts) believing that he does so spontaneously and of his own free will.
“The kind of controls that can be exerted on animals and men by ESB,” science writer Albert Rosenfeld tells us , “range all the way from simple muscular movements to fairly complex social behaviour.” 17 (p. 97)
Trading on the public’s growing fear of violence, the brain manipulators now justify their radical programme by assuring us that ESB can provide the means of controlling
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criminal and aggressive behaviour. The a priori assumption that a psychiatrist elite would have either the legal or the moral right to determine who needs such controls and to forcibly implant them is in itself an indication of how they view their role in what Floyd Matson calls “the vision of a techno-scientific future”.
The psychiatrists’ concern about violent behaviour is also somewhat ambivalent when one recalls that some of the most prominent spokesmen for their profession have in the past, if not condoned violence, at least explained it as being therapeutic in its effect. For example, Dr. Elliott Luby, a Detroit psychiatrist who was given a grant Of $ 135,ooo by the National Institute of Mental Health to make a study of racism, reported that the outbreaks of Negro violence were a sign of racial pride.
The disastrous Detroit riots, said Dr. Luby, were an expression of the black man’s “growing identity, growing pride, growing esteem, and an indication that the black man is no longer measuring himself in terms of the white man”. 18
Others, extending the catharsis theory a step further, have encouraged and excused even murder, which was characterized as the only way the Negro could “define his manhood and achieve dignity”.
Time magazine quoted psychiatrist Theodore Isaac Rubin as suggesting that a fight a day keeps the doctor away. In the Yngry Book, according to Time, Dr. Rubin asks, “with a burst of earnest lyricism”: “Have you ever experienced the good clean feel that comes after expressing anger, as well as the increased self-esteem, and the feel of real peace with one’s self and others?” 19 (P. 32)
While Luby, Rubin et al. are encouraging violent behaviour, however, their colleagues are implanting electrodes in the heads of patients for the ostensible purpose of eradicating it. For instance, at an ESB clinic in Boston, one patient is a young wife whose brain is now wired for electrical stimulation because she repeatedly had fights with
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her husband. At last report, Dr. Frank R. Ervin, assisted by two brain surgeons, was experimenting with fifty cases of implanted brains at the Boston centre.
Similar studies are being conducted at various research centres across the U.S., notably at Tulane, Harvard and Yale Universities.
The people puppeteers have expressed an overweening self-confidence in their ability to shape and control human behaviour. Dr. James McConnell at the University of Michigan once put it this way:
“The time has come when, if you give me any normal human being and a couple of weeks – maybe a couple of months, but I don’t think so – I can change his behaviour from what it is now to whatever you want it to be, if it’s physically possible. I can’t make him fly by flapping his wings, but I can turn him from a Christian into a Communist and vice versa.”
For “scientists” who regard man as wholly animal, it is only natural that he should be a laboratory animal.
What kind of future, then, do these creators of a new society envision?
Ultimately, a genetically engineered, rigidly controlled race of humanoids, subject to the scientific whims of their masters in white smocks? And until that seventh day of diabolical creation arrives, a population made docile and obedient by tranquilizers, shock treatments, conditioned response, lobotomy, or electrodes in the brain?
The short answer to these terrifying questions is: yes.
In these circumstances, when L. Ron Hubbard and his adherents set out to expose the evils of psychiatry, they found ready at hand an abundance of hair-raising material.
Eschewing the polite pussyfoot prose of debating societies, the Scientologists carried forward their crusade in the hardhitting style of political activism. From Scientology centres throughout the world issued an incessant flow of news reports, memoranda and handbills charg-
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ing psychiatrists with crimes that included criminal negligence, sadistic torture, sexual assault and murder.
Specially formed organizations staged protests to direct public attention to the charges. Groups of well-dressed, responsible-looking youths picketed the annual meetings of psychiatric and mental associations, carrying placards which read: “National Association for Mental Wealth – You Fill the Coffers, We Fill the Coffins!”, “Psychiatry is Garbage”, and “Mental Health Means Money for the Brain Butchers”.
Some of the demonstrations were even more dramatic. For example, at the 1970 annual meeting and assembly of the National Association for Mental Health in Los Angeles, a mime troupe, dressed in surgical gowns, staged mock lobotomies on the pavement, using cauliflower “brains”, to protest against violent psychiatric practices.
During the annual convention of the American Psychiatric Association in Miami, Florida, people all over the city were startled to see an aeroplane fly overhead, towing a row of huge letters which spelled out against the sky the legend: PSYCHIATRY KILLS.