the psychiatric industrial complex and talking back

fda-conflict-of-interests

Open Let­ter to the Board of Trustees and the Assem­bly of the Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric Asso­ci­a­tion by Dr. Mickey Nardo posted at his website.

It has been a dark time for psy­chi­a­try. Since the inves­ti­ga­tions of Sen­a­tor Grass­ley exposed sig­nif­i­cant cor­rup­tion and unseated three chairs of Psy­chi­a­try in 2008, there has been a series of dis­turb­ing expo­sures involv­ing wide­spread ghost writ­ing, guest author­ing, and ques­tion­able clin­i­cal trial report­ing; esca­lat­ing widely pub­li­cized set­tle­ments by phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies involv­ing psy­choac­tive drugs and impli­cat­ing promi­nent psy­chi­a­trists; charges of over­med­ica­tion and entre­pre­neuri­al­ism; the dry­ing up of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal pipeline; recur­rent charges of ubiq­ui­tous Con­flicts of Inter­est in high places; and an ongo­ing and divi­sive process that spanned the DSM-​5 Revi­sion process. Besides the grav­ity and fre­quency of the prob­lems, their han­dling by the admin­is­tra­tive lev­els in our spe­cialty have played poorly in the eyes of the pub­lic and our cur­rency is at an all time low.

feminism, democracy, and gender equality

women in congress

Fem­i­nism, Democ­racy and the ‘War on Women’

Food for thought– should women who are emo­tion­ally and/​or eco­nom­i­cally invested in second-​class sta­tus have the power to shape laws that effect other women?

Tracy Hig­gins explained in 1997 why courts should review and some­times even reverse demo­c­ra­tic out­comes in order to ensure equal pro­tec­tion on the basis of gen­der. Con­sti­tu­tional the­ory pre­sumes an autonomous, self-​defining indi­vid­ual and thus jus­ti­fies “state action as the legit­i­mate expres­sion of pop­u­lar will.” Fem­i­nists have coun­tered that this lib­eral view of indi­vid­ual agency does not cap­ture women’s expe­ri­ences under patri­archy. Instead, people’s pref­er­ences are socially con­structed, such that “women’s choices should be under­stood as nei­ther fully free nor com­pletely deter­mined.” In other words, “[h]ow can a cit­i­zen mean­ing­fully con­sent if her nature and beliefs are them-​selves a prod­uct of the sys­tem to which she con­sents?” Sit­u­ated within cer­tain cul­tural norms of “lan­guage, law, myth,[and] cus­tom” some “indi­vid­u­als may not be the best judges of their own inter­ests or those of the com­mu­nity.” This is a con­tro­ver­sial view of agency. An alter­nate view is that women gay sup­port poli­cies that are not in the strate­gic inter­est of their gen­der because changes “could threaten the short-​term prac­ti­cal inter­ests of some women, or entail a cost in the loss of forms of pro­tec­tion which are not then com­pen­sated for in some way.” How­ever, under either con­cep­tion of agency, the fail­ure of demo­c­ra­tic processes to ensure gen­der equal­ity means that judi­cial review can be nec­es­sary to check major­ity outcomes.

misogyny online

steubenville rape joke

Why Women Aren’t Wel­come on the Inter­net by Amanda Hess at Pacific Standard

Accord­ing to a 2005 report by the Pew Research Cen­ter, which has been track­ing the online lives of Amer­i­cans for more than a decade, women and men have been log­ging on in equal num­bers since 2000, but the vilest com­mu­ni­ca­tions are still dis­pro­por­tion­ately lobbed at women. We are more likely to report being stalked and harassed on the Inter­net — of the 3,787 peo­ple who reported harass­ing inci­dents from 2000 to 2012 to the vol­un­teer orga­ni­za­tion Work­ing to Halt Online Abuse, 72.5 per­cent were female. Some­times, the abuse can get phys­i­cal: A Pew sur­vey reported that five per­cent of women who used the Inter­net said “some­thing hap­pened online” that led them into “phys­i­cal dan­ger.” And it starts young: Teenage girls are sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to be cyber­bul­lied than boys. Just appear­ing as a woman online, it seems, can be enough to inspire abuse. In 2006, researchers from the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land set up a bunch of fake online accounts and then dis­patched them into chat rooms. Accounts with fem­i­nine user­names incurred an aver­age of 100 sex­u­ally explicit or threat­en­ing mes­sages a day. Mas­cu­line names received 3.7.

This Is What the Harass­ment and Abuse of Women on the Inter­net Looks Like, Part II

Rape and Death Threats: What Men’s Rights Activists Really Look Like by Katie J.M. Baker at Jezebel

Men’s Rights Activists are rage-​filled misog­y­nists who claim fem­i­nists inten­tion­ally “cover up” issues like male rape and work­place injury rates so women can achieve global dom­i­na­tion. Har. Those pesky fem­i­nazis, how­ever, keep get­ting in the way, so it’s up to the MRAs to win the world over. And how do they do this? By threat­en­ing to “gag, rape and gut” bitches who dare to ques­tion their flimsy politics.

End Online Misogyny

The Inter­net – a stalker’s haven

book review: “Misogyny: The Male Malady”

Oedipus_Cursing_His_Son_PolynicesHenryFuseli

Henry Fuseli
Swiss, 1741 — 1825
Oedi­pus Curs­ing His Son, Polyn­ices, 1786
oil on canvas

Oh, Andrea Dworkin a review of Misog­yny: The Male Mal­ady by David Gilmore at the Lon­don Review of Books by Jenny Diski

… we can con­cen­trate our thoughts and con­cerns on the real vic­tims of the mal­ady of misog­yny: the psy­chogeni­cally chal­lenged male who needs all the under­stand­ing we can give him. Appar­ently men’s psy­ches are ‘trou­bled’, they are in ‘mas­cu­line tur­moil’ as a result of uni­ver­sal expe­ri­ences in ‘the male devel­op­men­tal cycle’. Lord, how eas­ily the image of the oppressed is appro­pri­ated. If women think they’ve had a hard time as a result of being loathed and bul­lied by men, it’s noth­ing com­pared to the hard­ship suf­fered by men that has resulted in their feel­ing the loathing. If you are begin­ning to get an uncom­fort­able sense of milky moth­ers and moist mer­maids loom­ing on the hori­zon you are right, because men’s fear of help­less­ness, suf­fo­ca­tion and sub­mer­gence, in the inescapably female and del­i­ques­cent form of uterus, breast and vagina, is judged to be at the root of it all. Women drip with dan­ger for men, who, as we know, first can’t live with­out us and then can’t live with us. You can love your mother for a while, but then she betrays you with your father and you have to marry other men’s sis­ters: ene­mies, out­siders, who as like as not are plot­ting against you with their sex­u­al­ity and secre­tions while try­ing to abort your sons on whom the patriliny depends. Of course, it’s not women’s fault that it’s all their fault – Gilmore has all the rhetoric of a mod­ern man and throws his hands up sadly at the unfor­tu­nate social and bio­log­i­cal arrange­ments that make it this way – but men suf­fer from hav­ing been given birth to by women from whom they have to sep­a­rate in order to become men; they suf­fer from hav­ing to desire peo­ple of the same gen­der as their mother (my, this is very awk­ward, Jocasta), and they suf­fer because they can­not per­form the mir­a­cle of repro­duc­ing the species directly from their own bod­ies. Men suf­fer. No, they do. It’s awful.

the courts and distortions in abortion cases

Abortion_Restrictions_Texas
Tamir Kalifa/​The Asso­ci­ated Press

Corbin on “Abor­tion Dis­tor­tions” via Fem­i­nist Law Professors

abstract:

Two types of dis­tor­tions often arise in abor­tion jurispru­dence. The first is dis­tor­tion of sci­en­tific fact. Too often abor­tion oppo­nents dis­tort med­ical facts and courts accept those dis­tor­tions as true. Take, for exam­ple, the claim that abor­tion makes women depressed and sui­ci­dal. In fact, no rep­utable study sup­ports any such causal link. Equally with­out sci­en­tific foun­da­tion is the claim that morn­ing after pills like Plan B act as abor­ti­fa­cients. They do not.

The sec­ond kind of dis­tor­tion that occurs in abor­tion jurispru­dence is that the nor­mal doc­trine does not apply. Thus, despite the fact that com­pelling some­one to artic­u­late the government’s ide­ol­ogy is anath­ema in free speech jurispru­dence, courts have upheld manda­tory abor­tion coun­sel­ing laws that force doc­tors to serve as mouth­pieces for the state’s view­point. Sim­i­larly, despite the fact that for-​profit cor­po­ra­tions have never been held to have reli­gious rights, sev­eral courts have stayed appli­ca­tion of the new con­tra­cep­tion man­date on the grounds that it might vio­late the corporation’s con­science.” This abor­tion excep­tion­al­ism is prob­lem­atic for women and for First Amend­ment jurisprudence.

con­clu­sion:

Abor­tion excep­tion­al­ism means the rules are dif­fer­ent for abor­tion cases. Instead of reject­ing base­less sci­en­tific claims, courts rely on them. Instead of apply­ing exist­ing First Amend­ment jurispru­dence, courts ignore fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples or dis­tort them beyond recog­ni­tion. Con­se­quently, false claims about abor­tion have jus­ti­fied manda­tory coun­sel­ing laws, and mis­taken claims about morning-​after pills have allowed for-​profit cor­po­ra­tions to avoid the con­tra­cep­tion man­date. These dis­tor­tions not only impede women’s repro­duc­tive rights but also result in highly prob­lem­atic prece­dents. Indeed, the will­ing­ness to bend the rules when it comes to abor­tion may result in a jurispru­dence where for-​profit cor­po­ra­tions are enti­tled to reli­gious exemp­tions, even when the exemp­tion bur­dens the corporation’s (whole, sep­a­rate, unique liv­ing human being) employees.

You can down­load the paper 31 pages) for free here.

finally rethinking: the marshmallow study

kindergarden graduationWe Didn’t Eat the Marsh­mal­low. The Marsh­mal­low Ate Us. by Michael Bourne in the New York Times

The tale of the marsh­mal­lows, as pre­sented in Goleman’s book, read like some science-​age Calvin­ist para­ble. Was I one of the elect, I won­dered, a child blessed with the moral for­ti­tude to resist temp­ta­tion? Or was I doomed from age 4 to a life of impulse-​driven gluttony?

Clearly I’m not alone in this reac­tion. Search for “marsh­mal­low exper­i­ment” on YouTube, and you’ll find page after page of home-​video ver­sions of the exper­i­ment in which 4-​year-​olds strug­gle not to eat a marsh­mal­low. The marsh­mal­low study has been the sub­ject of TED talks. The New Yorker pub­lished a long arti­cle about it. Radi­o­lab did a show on it.

If you doubt the ubiq­uity of the Mis­chel study, try this sim­ple exper­i­ment: Put a few social-​policy geeks in a room and ask them about willpower, then see how long it takes before some­body brings up the 4-​year-​olds and the marsh­mal­lows. My bet is you wouldn’t have to wait more than a minute or two.

The marsh­mal­low study cap­tured the pub­lic imag­i­na­tion because it is a funny story, eas­ily told, that appears to reduce the com­plex social and psy­cho­log­i­cal ques­tion of why some peo­ple suc­ceed in life to a sim­ple, if ancient, for­mu­la­tion: Char­ac­ter is des­tiny. Except that in this case, the for­mu­la­tion isn’t com­ing from the Greek philoso­pher Her­a­cli­tus or from a min­is­ter preach­ing that “patience is a virtue” but from sci­ence, that most mod­ern of pop­u­lar religions.

coming up: January 19 exposé on the top 3 libertarian “whistleblowers”

snowden ron paul

The Whistle­blow­ers: Under­stand­ing the real moti­va­tions of Edward Snow­den, Glenn Green­wald, and Julian Assange at The New Republic

In our upcom­ing cover story (avail­able online Sun­day evening), Sean Wilentz takes a deep dive into the his­to­ries of the world’s most famous “whistle-​blowers”: Edward Snow­den, Glenn Green­wald, and Julian Assange. What he uncov­ers — a “crazy-​quilt assort­ment of views, some of them bla­tantly contradictory” — should make their lib­eral sup­port­ers doubt their calls for clemency.

excerpt: “The Myths We Live By” by Mary Midgley

sheep on the internet
paint­ing by Mike Sowa

Am lov­ing this pop­u­lar phi­los­o­phy book. Among other things, this descrip­tion of the par­tic­u­larly male fan­tasy of being human with­out a human body enter­tained me. She was address­ing a ten­dency had by some male philoso­phers had to despise their car­nal incar­na­tion because body flu­ids, soft flesh, vul­ner­a­bil­ity, phys­i­cal needs, and mor­tal­ity is a (dreaded) fem­i­nine thing to be loathed. They some­times felt that a human body was beneath their iron will. It’s a gen­er­ally male con­ceit to want to be god­like and to believe that he would be if only he had the right tech­nol­ogy and there was a col­lec­tive will to go there.

It has for some time been pro­posed that Homo sapi­ens should colonise space, and should, for con­ve­nience in this project, trans­form him­self mechan­i­cally into non-​organic forms. This project is now held to look increas­ingly fea­si­ble, on the grounds that com­puter soft­ware is the same what­ever kind of hard­ware it runs on, and that minds are only a kind of com­puter soft­ware. Thus, as the emi­nent Prince­ton physi­cist Free­man Dyson puts it:

It is impos­si­ble to set any limit to the vari­ety of phys­i­cal forms that life may assume … It is con­ceiv­able that in another 1010 years life could evolve away from flesh and blood and become embod­ied in an inter­stel­lar black cloud … or in a sen­tient computer …

Our suc­ces­sors can thus not only avoid ordi­nary death, but also sur­vive (if you care to call it sur­viv­ing) the heat-​death of the uni­verse, and sit about in elec­tronic form exchang­ing opin­ions in an oth­er­wise empty cos­mos. This, Dyson thinks, would restore the mean­ing to life, which has oth­er­wise been drained from it by the thought that final destruc­tion is unavoidable.

Midg­ley, Mary. “The Jour­ney From Free­dom to Desolation.“The Myths We Live by. Lon­don: Rout­ledge, 2003. 100. Print.

Why are Americans stranded in the 19th Century?

evolution or man and woman

attri­bu­tion for image not found

It is no coin­ci­dence that ref­er­ences to Dick­ens became stan­dard fare in the Bush years and are still rel­e­vant to the GOP. The Repub­li­cans are social Dar­win­ists who have inher­ited a phi­los­o­phy from the 19th Cen­tury that they’ve uncrit­i­cally adopted as truth; because the pur­pose of their phi­los­o­phy is to serve the rich and to let the poor know how unfit they are and what a waste it would be to keep them alive at the cost of a few pen­nies. This requires some Olympian gym­nas­tic level sophistry dur­ing cam­paigns when the GOP needs more votes than the tiny and exclu­sive minor­ity that the unfuck-​ingbelievablyrich can pro­vide, until Cit­i­zens United then, whoot! —- hege­monic power, the pin­na­cle of dom­i­nance which is the right­ful heir of white, edu­cated men of Euro­pean descent, and for­mi­da­ble means. Why would they want to shake off the mega­lo­ma­ni­a­cal delu­sions of mod­ernism with its sex­ist and racists tropes that they thought was deter­mined by nature and vin­di­cated by sci­en­tific rea­son­ing that some­how con­ve­niently vin­di­cated their con­cep­tion of God, while being con­ve­niently unaware of their own biases? They might have to con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity that they are, intrin­si­cally, no more valu­able than any­one else.

Wouldn’t that be a turd in the punch bowl? Poor, poor lords.

It is no coin­ci­dence that they hate post­mod­ernism and glibly dis­miss it with the over­ween­ing smug­ness of a man dust­ing dan­druff off his suit. For them to under­stand and acknowl­edge that they are not all that is good and right about civ­i­liza­tion would be a nar­cis­sis­tic wound deep enough to threaten their psy­che. We are see­ing white men in the throes of psy­cho­pathic rage, because their pre­cious illu­sions are not being so will­ingly sup­ported by those they have deter­mined to be lessor, sub­or­di­nate, or insignif­i­cant. Yet they con­script all those “oth­ers” to work on their behalf to pro­vide them with recog­ni­tion and com­fort at the expense of those who have the least mate­ri­ally, and socially. How dare these lessor oth­ers speak up on their own behalf or give an account of them­selves that devi­ates from the reign­ing dogma of faux Dar­win­ian reduc­tion­ism and Providence!

Unfor­tu­nately, our au cur­rant sci­en­tifi­cist navel gaz­ing is also invested in an ultra-​Darwinism, that is not Dar­win­ian. Many kinds of sci­en­tists have taken it upon them­selves to dab­ble in phi­los­o­phy and have dressed it as rea­son that is as hos­tile to human sur­vival and dig­nity as the most igno­rant GOP House rep­re­sen­ta­tive deny­ing evo­lu­tion. The far left, cling­ing to the help­less fatal­ism and nihilism of the Dia­monds, Dawkins, and Pinkers of the world are bereft of a phi­los­o­phy to help us nav­i­gate real­ity, much less to exam­ine the human prospect in terms that rec­og­nize human agency, social forces, struc­tural vio­lence, and so on. The far left and the far right are both stuck in bina­ries based on a com­plete mis­un­der­stand­ing and deifi­ca­tion of Darwin’s descrip­tion of evo­lu­tion to the exclu­sion of all else— it is tyranny.

The deifi­ca­tion of sci­ence is as faith-​based as the deifi­ca­tion of any­thing else, because there is no “sci­ence”. There are sci­ences, and they all have their lim­i­ta­tions, per­spec­tives, and meth­ods that don’t apply out­side of their domains. The belief that one has a “sci­en­tific” mind, and so is capa­ble of pon­tif­i­cat­ing objec­tively on any topic is so child­ishly mega­lo­ma­ni­a­cal and toxic, that kick­ing it squarely in the nuts may be the best that can be done with it so that we can get on with our human lives, on our human scales, and adapt socially to the chal­lenges ahead of us as a species that has, in a short cou­ple of hun­dred years, gained the power to destroy all of our nat­ural habi­tats and to carry out the whole­sale mur­der of our­selves with the push of but­tons and a twelve minute wait­ing period. Day­dreams of inhab­it­ing other plan­ets is as mean­ing­ful to our sur­vival as the dream of seventy-​two vir­gins in heaven. It’s a dis­tract­ing and cow­ardly fail­ure to deal with human prob­lems as they are, with­out grant­ing spe­cial dis­pen­sa­tion to one’s own pet con­struc­tions of a very nar­row, and often use­less sum­ma­tion of what is, writ large, and what that means.

It is no coin­ci­dence that they hate post­mod­ernism and glibly dis­miss it with the over­ween­ing smug­ness of a man dust­ing dan­druff off his lab coat. We are see­ing white men in the throes of psy­cho­pathic rage, because their pre­cious illu­sions are not being so will­ingly sup­ported by those they have deter­mined to be lessor, sub­or­di­nate, or insignif­i­cant— those that have not taken the opin­ions of par­tic­u­lar sci­en­tists, pon­tif­i­cat­ing out of their league, as a cloak of supe­rior knowl­edge and rea­son itself that excuses them from all other meth­ods of obser­va­tion— espe­cially the ques­tion­ing of them­selves. Hav­ing to con­sider their spe­cial knowl­edge to be only a small part of the human project? Hav­ing to admit that most of what they espouse in nei­ther ratio­nal nor author­i­ta­tive in any rev­o­lu­tion­ary way?

Wouldn’t that be a cock­block­ing buzz kill? Poor, poor dudebros.

On the far left, and far right, reduc­tion­ism rules the day. We can­not live in these win­ner take all abstrac­tions. We need to keep talk­ing about human real­i­ties in all their com­plex­ity among all humans. Until we grant our­selves per­mis­sion to address our selves and all oth­ers with­out cling­ing to some abstrac­tion that is richly rewarded with wealth and pres­tige, in an effort to give our­selves and all oth­ers dig­nity that should not have been denied in the first place, we will remain atom­ized, feel­ing help­less, para­noid, and trapped in mean and waste­ful competition.

What say we tell our­selves that we are all human, that we all have intrin­sic value, that none of us need to jus­tify our exis­tence, that we are enough— all of us are enough and all of us are capa­ble of grow­ing and adapt­ing to the good of all. If we learn to deal with our real­i­ties with­out think­ing it nec­es­sary to give “oth­ers” a bum deal, we just might make it out of most of the man-​made messes that are bear­ing down on us right now. We just might find out that most of us are smarter than we’ve been told we are and that we can­not move con­fi­dently and wholly into the world and the future with­out giv­ing our­selves per­mis­sion to fully embrace that we are enough and we can become more— because that’s what humans do. Social evo­lu­tion is not the domain of any ulti­mate author­ity, it is the birthright of all of us and every­thing that is human.

So You Think You Are a Dar­win­ian? by David Stove