Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Insanity Offense

A very few people actually debate me about the positions I take on this blog. Some comment here, some elsewhere. But the vast majority of those who disagree don't debate in any real sense at all, and their arguments fall into the following categories:

1. I'm evil
2. I'm stupid
3. I'm White (and therefore I just don't understand)
4. I'm old (ditto)
5. And the most frequent "argument" of all, I'm crazy.

These all, especially the last, are very handy for people who don't know exactly why they hold the opinions they do, because no actual thinking is required. I've been told I'm crazy because I believe that a person can defend himself with a firearm (this, I'm told, is impossible, and never happens), because I'm aware of racial differences in mental capacity, because I think we should enforce immigration law, because I think we should not be involved in the Middle East's local disputes, and because I think feminism is toxic and destructive.

Since all these positions of mine are pretty unassailable by logical means, a nice, simple accusation of mental illness is the easiest way to go. And it impresses one's fellow lefties, also.

Stuart Schneiderman, who knows what "mental illness" really means, writes:

You Disagree; You're Sick

Is psychiatry to blame?

Should we fault psychiatry when public intellectuals and even political leaders dismiss opposition ideas on the grounds that those who think them are mentally ill?

While psychiatry is not to blame for the way its diagnostic criteria are misused for political ends, it ought certainly to point out that this misuse is pernicious and irresponsible.

After all, if a right-winger were to psychoanalyze a great leftist, psychiatrists will probably rise up to denounce him for practicing without a license.

The habit of misusing psychiatry seems to have originated in totalitarian dictatorships. The Soviet Union often imprisoned dissidents on the grounds that they were suffering a mental disease or defect. Communist China did as much.

Precisely why totalitarian dictatorships needed to invent a rationale for imprisoning people remains a mystery?

In America, a more democratic and presumably open-minded place, certain groups of people are often denounced for being mentally ill.

In particular, those who do not believe in the prevailing leftist orthodoxy are said to be insane. One suspects that conservatism and Tea Partyism will become diagnostic categories in the next DSM.

In the past, religious leaders accused and denounced dissidents for heresy. They dragged these unfortunate souls before inquisitions and most often destroyed them if even a suspicion of heresy was noted. You can’t be too careful.

And then there were witch hunts, whereby women were prosecuted and persecuted for being in league with diabolical forces.

Modern thinkers, especially modern atheists reject these primitive means of enforcing correct thinking, but they happily denounce those who believe in God as… sick.

As you know, anyone who does not believe in the dogma of climate change will immediately be labeled a denier. The term comes to us from psychiatry. It is supposed to refer to people who are out of touch with reality. It has been applied to people who believe that the Holocaust did not happen… an execrable group of people if ever there was one.

Applying it to people who reject the dogma of global warming is trafficking in false analogies.

If you don’t believe in climate change, as many important climate scientists and physicists do not, you must be mentally ill. It is vastly easier than arguing the science with, say, Prof. Richard Lindzen, retired head of the climate lab at MIT.

Dismissing someone as mentally ill is easier than debating the issue. It is even better when you can walk away from a debate by saying that your opponent’s position is a sign of mental illness.

It’s the ultimate ad hominem argument. As we know, because I have mentioned it before, ad hominem arguments are the first recourse of the feeble minded.

Not everyone who indulges this form of debate-avoidance is feeble minded. Some are happy to make a few cheap debating points. As long as our culture accepts name-calling as a legitimate contribution to political debate, we will be seeing more and more of it.

If the only thing you learned in college was how to slander and defame those who do not think as you think, then you will be happy to denounce your enemies as mentally ill.

One suspects that the defamers and name-callers did not come to their convictions through honest labor, so they have no response to any opposing point of view. When confronted with dissent they panic because their inability to counter it makes them feel like imbeciles. And we know, it’s better to see others as sick than to see yourself as an imbecile.

When Rudolph Giuliani recently drew attention to the high levels of black-on-black crime, Michael Eric Dyson, professor at Georgetown accused him of suffering “the defensive mechanism of white supremacy.”

When conservative commentators criticized President Obama’s recent order on immigration, Charles Blow proclaimed:

Make no mistake: This debate is not just about the president, this executive order or immigration. This is about the fear that makes the face flush when people stare into a future in which traditional power — their power — is eroded, and about their desperate, by-any-means determination to deny that future.

Obviously, Dyson and Blow are seeing the world through an ideological lens. They see the world in black-vs.-white terms and pretend that anyone who criticizes President Obama is motivated by racism. Apparently, a black president can do no wrong.

Thus, they can dismiss all criticism of Obama without having to address its substantive points.

As Ian Tuttle explains, denouncing your opponent for a psychiatric disorder shuts down debate. It closes up the marketplace of ideas.

In Tuttle’s words:

And certainly this impulse was on display in the quarrels above. How is one to debate whether Rudy Giuliani says what he does merely because he is a white supremacist? “But I am not a white supremacist!” he might object — which is, of course, what all white supremacists say! And when Blow claims that the president’s opponents are desperately clinging to power, how is such an opponent to respond? After all, doctor knows best.

To psychologize the question at issue in a debate is to remove it from the realm of debate altogether. That is why liberals are eager to explain their opponents’ positions as the work of psychological “mechanisms,” operating subconsciously or unconsciously, of which the opponent is unaware.

One suspects that the proponents of this kind of modern witch hunt would propose cure-by-therapy.

Yet, if therapy, like sensitivity training, is merely a way to brainwash people into adhering to leftist dogmas, why are insurance companies paying for it as a mental health treatment?
The original essay is here:


  1. Using psychiatry for political ends is part and parcel of Marxism and of R thinking. I'm sure that proto R's said opponents were"of the devil" or whatever else back in the day though there were of course many less of them inn the pre-industrial era.

    The fact that this behavior degrades legitimate mental health care and causes massive distrust of actual ethical professionals is not as important to the bunnies as "warren law."

    In the R/K selection theory sense they are kind of correct as K selected people have radically different brain structures than R's. The problem is its just that the Rabbits are nuts by our standards since they can't operate in the manner healthy K's do unless a fairly totalitarian state forces the "warren law" is made to reflect K principles or prosperity is low.

    Essentially the freedom and prosperity that work well for K's create population blooms for R's who than destroy it just as they have now.

    What K's have to do are several things, here are three suggestions.

    1st they to understands that R types have no qualms about slaughtering them and on a biological level don't value life as much. Genocide is never off the table with them however they are aren't really good at it and the number of war bunnies with military talent is pretty small. They do exist but they are a tiny minority. we can often short them out with strong defense , policy games and by making sure they get no K help.

    2nd Be aware of depersonalizing on both ends, cutting from the warren is automatic practice with R types but when K types start depersonalizing , they need to be careful.

    Bill Whittle's "Not One of Us " is a good caution and calling them Rabbits is fine as rabbits are thought of as cute but its very possible we may go much farther if pushed too much .

    We may well start seeing them as hostile Aliens.

    They are in some ways but we need to be mindful of consequences to ourselves if we act with disproportionate strength, as much as I hate it if we act we'll need to show chivalry.

    3rd If we wrest power from them, the best defense against another R takeover is to build a system by which the public law and its mechanisms reinforce Conservative views to a degree "warren law" also complies. They'll still be Rabbits of course, its biological but they'll end up serving a K state as they'll assume the laws are the same. This is easier said than done though and the current R's will hate it as will the current K's

    1. What A.B. Prosper and embrace your inner bunny (dies)....said...;-)

  2. Thought you might like this:

    Couldn't find a more appropriate post to post it to, but thought you'd like the cartoon - btw I'm not the first one to use that hashtag.

  3. (1) Every year, in this nation of more than a quarter billion individuals, a few thousand (three quarters of them suicides) are killed with firearms, while _millions_ of Americans successfully use personal weapons to save themselves and others from injury or death. Guns save many, many times more lives than they take.

    (2) In every jurisdiction that has made it even microscopically easier for individuals to carry weapons, violent crime rates have plummeted by double-digit percentages. Vermont, where no permission of any kind is required to carry a gun, is named in many respectable surveys as the safest state to live in.

    (3) More telling and urgent, every episode of genocidal mass murder in history has been preceded by a period of intense disarming of the civil population, usually with "public safety" or "national security" as an excuse. According to Amnesty International -- hardly a gang of right wing crazies -- in the 20th century alone (in events entirely separate from war), governments have slaughtered more than a hundred million people, usually their own citizens.

    The U.S. is far from immune. Look up "Operation Keelhaul".

    Clearly, if those millions had been armed, they couldn't have been murdered by their own governments. And if the governments hadn't known where all the weapons were and who possessed them, the people couldn't have been disarmed. It follows, then, that no amount of gun control -- especially "soft" measures like registering guns or gun owners -- is reasonable or safe. Those who tremble at the idea of personal weapons -- "hoplophobes" is the diagnostic term -- are fond of saying that guns are made for only one purpose. Well, gun control serves only one purpose, too -- the incapacitation and extermination of whole peoples.

    That's why we call it by its right name: "victim disarmament".
    Let's ask some questions that everybody on my side's been too polite -- too damned polite -- to ask before.

    What kind of mind would sacrifice millions for the sake of a few thousands, especially when it's been demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that victim disarmament can't save even those thousands?

    What kind of mind wants a return to mean streets and ever-soaring crime rates?

    What kind of mind collaborates with agents of mass murder and genocide?

    Make no mistake: you victim disarmament types are sick, sick people, in the words of T.D. Melrose, who'd rather see a woman raped in an alley and strangled with her own pantyhose than see her with a gun in her hand.

    You're people, down deep in your blackened, shriveled souls, who wait like vultures, secretly delighted whenever atrocities like the Columbine shootings occur -- atrocities whose only significance to you is their usefulness in advancing your political agenda. Dancing in the blood of innocents, just like the lying, thieving, murdering rapist you've sent to the White House twice in a row.

    You're people who, like German voters in the 1930s, have empowered and unleashed on your decent and unsuspecting neighbors the most evil and violent terrorist bureaucracy in American history.

    You're people, in short, who must be stupid, insane, or evil to continue arguing -- in the face of indisputable facts and irrefutable logic -- that others must be forced into a state of helplessness and victimized by individual criminals or the state.

    Stupid, insane, or evil.

    -- L. Neil Smith, "Murder by Gun Control" (31 March 2000)

    Seems to work when we're dealing with the gun-grabbers, doesn't it?