In a recent post, I briefly mentioned James Baker... again.
I say again, because I’ve been blogging about James for many years, maybe longer than anyone other than Rodney Yoder. He has a long Thiem date because he was NGRI for murder back in the 1980’s. However, James has been asymptomatic for psychosis and very well behaved for decades now, without any reliance at all on psychiatric drugs. He’s in his seventies, very smart, very disciplined, and until recently in excellent physical health.
James has had all his privileges, including court-ordered passes, for about six years. Never caused any problem, always responsible.
Tom Zubik once told me he doesn’t want James to die at EMHC. That worries him because it would make him look bad. (Sure as hell! And I would do anything I could to contribute to those optics.)
So, anyone with common sense might ask, why not get James out as soon as possible, as a high-priority, creative-solution work product by a couple of competent and well-intended people at Illinois’ legendary Elgin Mental Health Center, which once upon a time even included Thomas Szasz on its staff? It’s never more than one or two people out of scores who can actually think outside of institutional boxes and get things done, but there are a couple of prospects for James. His current treatment team, run by Social Worker Rose Adler and Psychiatrist Vic Gill, might be able to pull it off.
The thing that has probably cost James a couple years or more is ”medical evidence” that maybe he did believe, or does believe, that he’s the King of Egypt. “Medical evidence” of someone’s beliefs is of course a very strange concept to begin with. Psychiatrists have to talk about “delusions” to suggest that they are somehow experts with specialized knowledge about people’s beliefs. But delusions are defined in such a squishy, context-dependent way as to let anyone describe anyone else’s beliefs as delusional. The real point needs to be somebody’s behavior, not their beliefs.
Baker has stated categorically that he does not imagine himself to be an actual king of the present day nation, the Islamic Republic of Egypt. He has assured everyone that he doesn’t expect any privileges or acknowledgement or value, from anyone, with regard to being King or Egypt.
In fact, he completely stopped talking about this “King of Egypt” thing for years, and a prior treatment team stopped worrying about it, as well. It took psychiatrist Richard Malis-with-malice to dredge this thing up out of old records and taunt James with it, in hopes of making some case that James should take drugs to cure his delusions. “Curing” someone’s unacceptable beliefs with drugs is a truly atrocious, (Soviet- or Nazi- or Maoist-) totalitarian-style version of “mental health services”. In theory, we don’t do that in the USA.
But psychiatry is psychiatry. Maybe Dr. Malis-with-malice wanted to be the medical hero who discovered a brain malfunction in James Baker and cured it with drugs. So he ramped up the coercion, which is psychiatry’s most cherished, vital tool. James was denied competent care for physical injuries until he couldn’t even walk. He still declined to deal with his tormentor. He refused to be transported in chains to medical facilities, even though I offered to hire a PI to get a picture of it, which would have made for a dramatic internet demonstration of the slave plantation character of EMHC.
Finally the court put an end to this cruel nonsense, and shortly afterward, mercifully, Malis-with-malice was taken off the case. Maybe James will eventually recover from his iatrogenic physical injuries and disability. Maybe he’ll play basketball again, like he did before Malis-with-malice arrived to torture him.
What about dangerous delusions?
Baker likes to imagine himself as some kind of historic dignitary, knowing full well it’s his own personal illusion which gives him life-sustaining private comfort and has no value in the outside world. Much like, perhaps, dreams of wealth or flying or a world without COVID19....
Richard Malis likes to imagine himself as a “medical scientist” who can fine-tune other people’s imaginings and self-images with “medication” even if that necessitates turning them into cripples. Much like, perhaps, Josef Mengele or Ernst Rubin or Ewen Cameron.
Which one of these guys is dangerously delusional? I just hope that Dr. Gill, Rose Adler and other well-intended people in IDHS can take a reasonable perspective!
Get Baker OUT!