Shrinkocracy Anyone?

lucyasshrinkHELP! The shrinks are trying to take over the world. This one issue of Today’s Psychopathic Times has an article suggesting psychiatrists vet political candidates to see psychiatristif they are mentally healthy enough to serve as president. Of course, the editor of this publication, Tina Taylor, has long believed that presidential candidates be given an MRI brain scan to weed out the psychopaths. At least this involves a specific procedure the results of which can probably be objectively interpreted. But this is worse. They could eliminate any “condition” considered abnormal and their means of diagnosing that condition is pretty open-ended. That would give these shrinks enormous power over our political candidatesystem. The author, Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D., argues that many occupations less sensitive than the presidency have stringent requirements and tests that applicants must take before they are allowed into that position. But the presidency already has an extremely stringent vetting process: elections. First, a candidate must persuade one of the political parties to nominate hir. In many cases, there is a primary election just to get nominated. Then the candidate must compete with the other candidate(s) for the job. The “experts” who evaluate the candidates are the voters. We are the ones, after all, who will have to live with the president’s policies.

As if that weren’t bad enough, another article suggests Occult Practices Feed Both Depression And Psychopathy. It seems odd to me that both conditions are lumped occultsigiltogether since psychopaths are less vulnerable to depression than “normal” folk. The article even admits this:

“Psychopaths are generally less likely to suffer from typical depressive disorders, but drawing upon an extensive research, Dr. Zlatko Šram from Croatian Center for Applied Social Research argues, that people who practice black magic or have otherwise occult bondage in their history are particularly susceptible to comorbidity of depression and psychopathy.”

satanicsyndromeHe goes on to say, “Psychopathy and depression were significantly predictive of “satanic syndrome” in individuals who had been subjected to the occult involvement, suffering bouts of depression and nearly twice as often compared to the rest of society.” Satanic syndrome? I’m pretty up-to-date on most psychiatric terms but this is a new one on me. What is “satanic syndrome?” The article informs us that “it is measured by specific occult practices.” So a person who practices certain occult rituals is said to be suffering from “satanic syndrome?” Doesn’t this look like the “disease” and the “cause” are one in the same? A person who does these things “suffers” from a condition caused by the same behavior by which s/he is diagnosed as having the condition? That’s downright sloppy thinking. But it gets worse:

“This key correlation yields new perspective on the early-onset . ‘This is an important study in that it takes ontological claims seriously and supports the real possibility that demonic forms of bondage may be linked to psychopathology as […] evil forces can interfere in human behavior.’ comments Prof. Ralph W. Hood from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.”

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Christian fundamentalists have long attacked occultism as spiritually harmful. But religiously-oriented concepts seem to be creeping into the realm of science. The above statement mentions “ontological claims” that “demonic forms of bondage may be linked…” That statement seems to take for granted that demons exist. When did science prove that there are demons? Or is he just saying that some “forms of bondage” are “demonic?” Is “demonic” merely being used as an adjective, in other words, not claiming that there has to be such a thing as a “demon” in order for some kinds of “bondage” to be “demonic?” Well, in the good old days of the Middle Ages, the “mentally ill” were certainly demonized.

demonicWe have writers such as M. Scott Peck, M.D. who boldly introduce the concept of “evil” into what purports to be a scientific discussion. Seems we have come full circle. There was a “religious” explanation for “mental illness” back in the good old days. Science attempted to cleanse people so stigmatized of the judgemental term of “evil.” That attempt has never been completely successful. People have always had a hard time dealing with behavior they find inexplicable. Such people who are “mad” are also felt to be “bad.” A popular put-down these days is, “That’s SICK! The context and way it is said make it clear that it isn’t said out of compassion, but, rather, a judgement of disapproval.

conformitySociety will always have ways of enforcing it’s norms. Whether behavior and attitudes that conflict with society’s values is called “sick” or “evil,” society has found language with which to isolate those people who threaten those values. Now we have a president who has been called a “psychopath” or a “sociopath” more often than any other American president. At the same time, a large number of American voters think he is the greatest president ever. I suggest we try to avoid sloppy thinking and are clear on the difference between a clash of values and what is scientifically verifiable.


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6 thoughts on “Shrinkocracy Anyone?

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