Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Jeffrey Lieberman's Totalitarian Mind

Years ago, I was present when Jeffrey Lieberman gave a talk to psychiatrists which included a suggestion that they could rule the world as elite captains of treatment with an iron fist of brain science.

At the time I recognized a vaguely totalitarian intent, but I discounted it, perhaps in part because I was distracted when the outgoing APA President gratuitously singled me out of the crowd of a couple hundred. He attempted to put a stigma on me, maybe unknowingly as a harmless joke, maybe not.

Since then, Lieberman has been a steadfast proponent and defender of the American, hyper-medicalized, coercive psychiatric orthodoxy. He testified before at least one Congressional committee. He lambasted the New York Times for their anti-psychiatry tendencies despite their positive review of his book. He's the single most obvious spokesman for the bad guys.

I follow Dr. Lieberman on Twitter. Today I noticed an interesting conversation. At 3:34 PM on 7/15/17, Jeffrey tweeted disapprovingly about a NY Times opinion piece by op-ed writer Pagan Kennedy: Ancient Cure for Alzheimer’s? via @nytimes Hmmm? Not much of #Medical relevance here. More like anthropol fiction. 

Maybe this was an unremarkable comment by itself, but Jeffrey and the Times are kind of an item, so it got my attention. 

At noon on 7/16/17, there was a reply from a Canadian psychiatrist, Dr. Garth Kroeker: While no "cure" is established, I find this article thought-provoking.  Always good to show respect for a unique perspective. Dr. Kroeker was not automatically buying into Jeffrey's disapproval of the Times' incipient divergence from the pure faith of medicine.

Jeffrey's correction of his professional colleague at 6:54 PM the same day is what I find revealing: Agree but precious editorial space could be better used for more substantive info on #Alzheimers or other brain disorders. 

This is the tweet of a little corporal with apocalyptic ambitions. It's elitist arrogance even beyond what got us a President Donald Trump! "Precious editorial space" apparently is some commodity that must be regulated by psychiatric experts for the good of that majority of us who are stupid and impressionable, freedom of the press be damned.

And never mind that "brain disorders" (as opposed to brain diseases) is a term to obfuscate the fact that psychiatrists have no objective medical specialty. Never mind that "more substantive info" is inherently subjective. (E.g., Lieberman and Whitaker surely have radically opposed views regarding what is "more substantive info" about research on the use of antipsychotic drugs!)

Jeffrey's point (whether he's willing to state it overtly or not) is that psychiatrists should rule. We can replace the Constitution, religion, all our laws and customs, with psychiatric wisdom.

Jeffrey Lieberman is actually advocating and attempting to instigate the darkest version of thought reform. This is an unusually pure form of totalitarianism, or totalism

Most mental health professionals are good. They got into the business they are in to help people. Perhaps that didn't work out well, and they got caught up in a bureaucratic machine, became cogs in the wheels, got stupid, etc. But the true intention of 39 out of 40 was to help.

There are a very few however, who are truly bad people. It is extremely valuable to identify those outstanding few, because their power and influence actually must be obliterated.

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman is one of those outstanding few.


  1. His letter to the NY Times criticizing New York's police commissioner for banning the so-called "hog-tie" should serve as a perpetual source of humiliation, but not enough people know about it. It's on my blog, linked at bottom of this comment. I found it in the NY Times online archive. Not sure if it's been blogged about elsewhere.)

    Lieberman's letter to the editor:

    Police commission Benjamin Ward's response:

    In the same blog post, I covered his cringe-worthy demands to the United Nations' anti-torture czar, sent while he led the APA, and the UN gentleman's response. I found the letters in the most unlikely place, hosted as a standalone pdf on the site of a minor web hosting service that seemed to be out of business. At the time, it could be found in only one other place, the brochure from a conference on ethics in medicine, or something like that. I don't recall how the conference people got their hands on it, if they even said. Maybe the letter is better-known by now. You'd think...

    The link to my blog post is below. If you want to jump ahead to the exchange of letters, search the page for "United Nations." The police commissioner exchange comes right after the UN one.

    The blog post:

    Your Twitter Correspondent,

  2. Sorry. I meant to say, also, that this is a good post. The measure of a man is in every little thing he does. Lieberman was Trump on Twitter before Trump was Trump on Twitter.

    1. Thank you for complementing my blog. But thank you even more for your comments on Jeffrey Lieberman. He's a problem.