I recently watched this video (DemocracyNow, 2019) and was struck by the power and clarity of James Earl Jones giving voice to the timeless words of Frederick Douglass. In 1852 Douglass, himself a freed slave, was asked to speak at a gathering to celebrate Independence Day and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He understood the hypocrisy of such a request, and in measured but unmistakable terms he explained why such a request could not be honored. (Full text)
He would grant their request that he attend, even agreed to speak, but celebrate he would not. As he said, the 4th of July is “the birthday of your national independence, and of your political freedom.” Acknowledging the rightfulness of their cause, he listed the “restraints, burdens, and limitations” that were imposed in the name of “parental prerogatives…deemed wise, right and proper” by British authorities.
Praising the founding fathers and revolutionaries alike, he explained why their reaction to British oppression and indifference was understandable and necessary. “Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs…”
As I listened to this pointed and unapologetic speech, I wondered if anyone else was at that moment recognizing the irony inherent in a similarly ugly and hypocritical celebration taking place right now all over the world.
I am talking about the celebration between Psychiatry and Technology, funded as in Douglass’ time by the rich and the powerful at the expense of the poor and the powerless. Today’s rich and powerful are the Tech Giants, most especially Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, and the Cartel jointly led by the American Psychiatric Association, the National Institutes of Health, the FDA, and Big Pharma. The target of their “restraints, burdens, and limitations…deemed wise, right and proper” because of “parental prerogatives” are the men, women, and children who have been fraudulently “diagnosed” and singled out for the mental health system’s abusive and dangerous treatments.
Jails, prisons, conservatorships, forced out-patient drugging programs— the venue is unimportant. The message is the same then and now. We who are in charge and know what’s best for you will never tire in our responsibility to find new ways to insure “tranquility” (read tranquilization) for you and the blessings of liberty for us.
I suspect that many of you reading this will find the parallels interesting, even agreeing with the point of view expressed. Few, though, are likely to understand that these are not just fears for the future, penned by an angry and imaginative psychiatrist. The information required to see the real threat to society posed by the Psychiatry and Technology alliance is available. I urge you to read my recent article, “Technology in Psychiatry: An Example of Artificial Intelligence.” I describe just how psychiatry is already “diagnosing” people based on their internet behavior, and then arranging for anything from hospitalization with forced drugging or even electroshock to court-ordered conservatorship, to jail based on purported “dangerousness.”
I also point to the work of others, recognizing that my meager understanding of the technology side can only scratch the surface, but confident that my understanding of Psychiatry’s fraudulent, arrogant, self-serving and unscientific celebration is a house of cards that needs to fall.
It’s made of cards, but it’s a big house indeed, and will require more than a little pushing. We will need your help.