Scott Jakovics, E. Clarke Ross and Mike Fitzpatrick attempt to counter George Will's excellent Feb. 28 column in today's Washington Post. Their arguments are instructive.
Supposedly, Will is on a crusade to "discredit science" (in general). He "denies" more than 50 years of research.
And supposedly it is "crucial" for such "misinformation" as George Will's column to be kept out of the media, so the public can instead be "enlightened" by NAMI and CHADD.
Well, what the hell, this is my own blog. Just as an exercise, I can be equally as strident as, and no less outrageous than Jakovics, Ross and Fitzpatrick. (My wife hates it when I do this, it pisses off the neighbors. But I'm occasionally allowed to get crazy, right? I don't drink too much, or gamble, or participate in extreme sports....)
I say these three individuals are dangerous, fringe-dwelling extremists. They covertly suggest censoring the free press and forcibly converting Americans to their mental illness faith. They should be fully investigated as to background and current illegal activity. They are depraved subversives, and possibly violent criminals. If this sounds incredible, just remember their names and google them every so often, and see whether I end up looking like a soothsaying psychic.
OK, fine. With a tip of my hat to Rodney Yoder, that's out of my system. I apologize to all conservative, respectable folk. I return to more careful, reasoned debate....
Does Mr. Jokovics really wonder if George Will (or for that matter, the rest of the human race) has insufficient experience with troubled teenagers? I've spent eight years working with every kind of seriously mentally ill person and their treatment teams in state nuthouses. These are the guys who went way beyond using marijuana and refusing to go to school or follow curfews. They're so screwed up that society has had to take away their liberty and restrain them behind locked doors for long periods of time.
Psychiatric "treatments" which attempt to neurologically disable even those miscreants I deal with from bad behavior merely make them worse and more dangerous. Something which could be called forensic psychiatry may be a useful or necessary social enterprise; but before they let a violent criminal out of the nuthouse, they should first withdraw him completely from all medications, and then make him demonstrate for at least a year that he can behave himself well enough to survive and get along in society. This is the opposite of current orthodoxy, where they try to brainwash the guy into the mental illness faith so he'll keep himself medicated/disabled even after he's out of the institution. Needless to say, the results suck.
But guess what, you don't even need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Medical science and common sense say too many people take drugs! All the research, and all the debate, is running strongly against Mr. Jacovics' presumption that we should err on the side of treating more people for more human imperfections.
The claim of the directors of NAMI and CHADD that the DSM "...provides clear, research-based criteria that distinguish impairments from character flaws" is simply laughable. Or it would be, were it not so creepily reminiscent of statements made in drug company FDA filings which were later discovered to be in violation of scientific ethics, or flat-out fraudulent, and which became legal evidence supporting billions of dollars in civil and criminal penalties.
I can't keep thinking about NAMI and CHADD in this context. It'll make me crazy again.
George Will's recent column is conservative, well reasoned, mainstream. The responses by Jakovics, Ross and Fitzpatrick are emotionally shrill and deceptive. NAMI and CHADD are losing the battle for public opinion. They will be gone, sooner than anyone thinks.