Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The final propaganda push

American hyper-medical psychiatry is approaching a climactic moment in its desperate struggle for survival. I believe it will fail, and the world will soon change for the better.

We are hearing some high-pitched propaganda these days. One line is typified by cries for more coercion of "treatment" because, it is said, people only refuse psychiatric drugs when their mental illness prevents them from realizing that it's what's best for them. Perhaps the most succinct expression of this comes from Rep. Tim Murphy and his gurus at the Treatment Advocacy Center (T.A.C.).

Another line is heard from the likes of Cook County (Illinois) Sheriff Tom Dart. The real problem according to these guys is, there are a number of violent people who should be treated by doctors rather than restrained/punished/warehoused by the law, and we've made the error of closing down too many treatment facilities, so now our jails and prisons don't work correctly, and that's dangerous.

The public is supposed to put these two points together and conclude: We really need to force more people to be treated by psychiatrists, and we need to spend much more public money to enable psychiatrists to treat them. Otherwise we are cruel, unscientific and deserving of all manner of terrible consequences.

Propaganda is distinct from other forms of advocacy because it intends to change people's minds through deception and confusion rather than persuasion and understanding. Over the past century, propagandists have had to become more and more skilled to achieve the same level of results because human society has learned from being duped and become more cynical about communications from established interests.

We tend to have great faith in anything perceived as medical or scientific. Doctors eliminated smallpox and physicists built the atom bomb after all, so we're impressed. Then again, there was that guy named Mengele, and the uncertainty principle is a little embarrassing. We are suspicious these days, even of the demigods in our expert classes.

The actual scene of coerced "treatment" includes the unfortunate reality that in a non-totalitarian society it's almost impossible to keep people on drugs which they hate, and which disable them for no long-term benefit whatsoever. Forced psych drugging may be a perfectly legitimate emergency measure in some circumstances of immanent threatened violence. Then again, a policeman's baton and handcuffs work just as well for less money. It's also a pitiful degradation of real medicine and the great humanitarian Hippocratic tradition (not to mention our most fundamental human rights principles) to even call chemical restraint (iatrogenic disabling) "treatment".

The T.A.C./Murphy position in favor of "Assisted Outpatient Treatment" (a despicable euphemism) laws pretends that if we just get mental patients on drugs, they'll recover and realize how much it helps them. The anosognosia will go away. This hearkens back with such shrillness to historical episodes of political psychiatric repression, as in the Soviet Union, that the term anosognosia is rarely even offered to the mass media -- it's usually reserved for websites which are frequented more by zealots. Tim Murphy actually did try to lecture about anosognosia in a Congressional hearing once, but he came across as mean and ridiculous, and got slammed by recovery advocates on the web and social media.

The other propaganda line, the Tom Dart pitch, seems inconsistent. T.A.C./Murphy insist we need to force more people onto drugs, and the traditional institutions where you force people to do things are prisons and jails. It's a quintessential function of the law, not of health care, to coerce people.

Maybe the real bottom line is, we don't even remember the difference between criminal punishment and medicine anymore, it has all become a giant confusion. The expert classes simply demand that we cough up more money, to be spent for whatever they think is best. The state is our only hope and paying for it is our only duty. That's what they tell us.

I think we should stop paying them and stop giving them coercive authority. Meanwhile, we should learn to quickly recognize the two lines of this big push. Whenever somebody implies that more people need to be forced onto psych drugs and/or that more taxes must go to pay for "treatment", they are working for the same establishment experts who brought us more disability from mental illness and more random, unexplained violence.

Future generations will laugh about how anyone was ever expected to believe this propaganda.