Saturday, August 8, 2009

Health Care, Tea Parties, Lies, Racism and Capra

On Thursday evenings, in a business plaza located in Tucson, Arizona called La Placita, a local theater exhibits old movies in the courtyard for free to those who'd like to attend. This last Thursday, the movie shown was Frank Capra's classic, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. That particular night's (August 7th, 2009) event was sponsored by Gabrielle Giffords, a Demoncratic Party Congresswoman. In honor of the event, and as a means of politicizing an otherwise enjoyable evening which had nothing to do with politics, the Tucson Tea Party decided to attend and conduct a protest of President Obama's desire to reform health care and the Demoncratic Party's approach to achieving that end in Congress.

On its web page, the Tucson Tea Party (who maintains a web presence with its Facebook page in addition to its own website) describes itself as, "a venue for people who are against the over $12 trillion dollars in government bail-outs, stimulus, loans, entitlements, and guarantees since September, 2008, to come together and find their voice. We come together to send a message to our elected officials that, if they voted for any one of these measures, they had better be prepared to collect unemployment in 2010! We believe that the government is taking America away from the ideals that have made it great. We believe in individual liberty and responsibility, a small federal government whose constitutional powers are limited, and the pursuit of happiness. We do not believe that the government has the right to take your money in order to bail out big financial institutions, delinquent borrowers, or make it harder for you to earn your own living. The government is spending future generations into debt slavery. If you care about your future and the future of your children, join the Tucson Tea Party."

Now, anyone who has read any of the blog entries which I have posted here on economics and the bailout ("On Reviewing the Realities of Reaganomics' Supply Side Strategies and Their Effects on the Current American Economic Recession," "On Solutions Offered to Politicians for Averting an Economic Calamity" and "American Economic Decline - Stop the Bailout", will know I have been against the methods chosen initially by George W. Bush, Henry Paulson and Ben Shalom Bernanke, and which have been perpetuated by Barack Obama, Timothy Geithner and Ben Shalom Bernanke. I, too, have decried against the mountains of money being given to the wealthiest men in America, the most corrupt financial leaders who led us into the economic collapse, the businesses and corporations which have failed to adapt to the conditions in the current marketplace, and the corruption within both government and the systems set up for government to monitor and police the financial sector and thereby protect the American public from exactly the kind of greed induced corruption and failure of ethics and morality which has led to the current economic climate.

Let me be perfectly clear, while the Tucson Tea Party and I may agree that the bailout has been handled incorrectly and is not going to solve our economic problems, we couldn't disagree more about everything from that point forward - from what led to our current economic malaise to how to solve the problems to who caused the problems to who best serves the interests of the American public to the nature of Capitalism to the veracity of the information the Tucson Tea Party dissemenates at its functions to how it uses the children of its members to promote their cause to the racist slander and bigoted libel is slurs the current government with and even to the misinformation regarding the nature of and planned programs for the proposed health care overhaul being discussed in Congress.

I was appalled at what confronted me when I arrived at La Placita to watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, not knowing a protest had been planned for the night by the Tea Party. When I arrived, one of the first things I noticed were large placcards emblazoned with the face of President Obama, but altered, with a white face and red painted lips to imitate the appearance of Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker in the Batman series of movies. Signs contained messages such as spelling out OBAMA in caps vertically, and horizontally stating One Big Ass Mistake America. Another placcard stated "Social Health is not Free." Another stated "Socialism Chains We Cannot Afford." However, perhaps the most appalling thing I saw was the doctored photo of Obama as the Joker, pasted onto the backs of the Tea Party members' children, and beneath the photo was, in bold lettering, Communism, with the C being replaced by the communist symbol of the hammer and sickle. Every single member of the Tucson Tea Party who was present at the rally, and I am not exaggerating, was white and WASPish looking. Not one member present at the event had as their ethnicity any other segment or minority of society. In perusing the photos on their website and their link to Flickr, I only found one photo which depicted non-white Americans in it, and in that photo, only one person of minority heritage wore the red T-shirt uniform of the Tucson Tea Party (and the event which drew the non-whites was concerned with an anti-rent tax rally).

As you can see by the photos which I have copied from their Flickr page above, one sign even went to the extreme of calling Obama a dictator and advocating the President's death. Now, one can go all the way back to Vietnam era protests during both Johnson's and Nixon's presidencies and recall that, while both were burned in effigy, no one ever actually came out and called for either American president's assassination. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that such a position is treasonous. Let's be real here, the members of the Tea Party may disagree with Obama's positions, but the man was duly elected, the members of Congress who are pursuing the health care legislation were also duly elected, and indeed, are pursuing a bill which differs in many ways from the proposals Obama would prefer if he could actually dictate anything. We are witnessing the same machinations of government today for the inquiry into and passage of any bill as those which we've witnessed, at the very least, since the mid-'60s.

Let's also be honest about the details of the health care reform bill passing through Congress. These Tea Party members call it socialism and Communism in their remarks concerning the bill verbally, in their literature and on their signs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Socialism is a system whereby the government provides services without charging the public for the services. Communism does the same thing. The main differences between Communism and socialism are in the methods regarding how the government exercises power/control. Socialism has been administered by all kinds of governmental forms from democratic to fascist to Communist. Socialism concerns the economic system, not the form of government which administers it. In fact, some of the most free and most prosperous economies in history have been or are socialist, but democratic: Sweden and Denmark provide two examples.

Communism, however, includes the political apparatus which administers the socialist economic policies of Communist governments. In theory, Communism was meant to place power into the hands of the "proletariat," or workers. However, what arose with Communism was a bureaucratic class which assumed responsibility for administering (and even formulating) not only the economic direction and policies of the nation, but also every other political policy. As Communism developed, and as power centralized into the class known as the bureaucrats, and as power corrupts, the bureaucrats in most Communist nations eventually wielded power in a manner which served that class most predominantly, and the rest of the populace secondarily.

Some of the benefits of socialism are the manner in which the socialist society apportions social services. Schooling, health care, living quarters, jobs and other similar services are guaranteed to all, and all receive their fair share. There is no wealthy class, but there is no poverty class, either. The state makes sure that the economy runs efficiently and that it moves forward in directions which best serve the national agenda and national interests. One of the things a socialist nation was able to do in the past was industrialize extremely rapidly. Both Nazi Germany and the Communist Soviet Union used this to their advantage in the years between the two world wars. For instance, the Soviet Union, through its 5 year plans, was able to engineer the industrialization of its economy far more rapidly than either Britain or the US through Capitalist means. Had the Soviet Union not been Communist and not industrialized in roughly a period of 23 years years to a degree which took the US to achieve in a period of roughty over 150 years, the Nazis likely would not have been defeated during WWII.

Communism evolved into a dictatorial form of government. A small body of bureaucrats usurped control by forming an alliance with the military industrial complex of their nation. The authority over an amassed, modern, technologically armed military together with the centralized control over the economy gave these few bureaucrats an iron-fisted regulation over the machinery of government. The institution of a secret police provided that governing body with ironclad domination over the public as well.

Now, to suggest that Barack Obama is a Communist is utterly absurd. Whether or not he is a socialist or has socialist leanings may yet be up for conjecture, however, pinning the Communist tail on the Demoncrat donkey is not appropriate in the least since Obama is not dictating any of the policy matters with which the Tea Party disagrees. The bailout was begun by the Repugnican Bush Administration and set in motion without any real disagreement from other Repugnicans or other right-wingers (where were the Tea Party players when the policies they decry against in their mission statement were initiated by the previous white, Repugnican President Bush?). It has only been since Obama's election and his continuance of the program set in place by the Repugnicans that the right-wing Tea Party groups have come out of their white-sheeted closets to bash the policy. In actuality, the idea of giving money to businesses has always been part of the Repugnican agenda, and though most of today's right likes to take it back only as far as Ronald Reagan (insinuating that he was successful in his use of it, even though Raygun's stratagies actually led to a similar fiasco in '87 with the S & L failures as well as having led to the situation the US economy suffers from today), however, those strategies extend all the way back to the failed Herbert Hoover Administration and the ushering in of the Great Depression.

Furthermore, the suggestion that Obama's heath care reform is Communist again fails the "do you have any grasp on reality?" test. Not only is Obama not dictating the details of this bill, he can't even get Congress to get busy with it in the time frame he desires. The Demoncrats are also preparing a bill different in many ways from what Obama has stated he prefers. So, the suggestion that Obama is a Communist is just purely ridiculous because he is not a dictator which is one of the requirements for a government to be honestly and accurately called Communist.

It's also absurd to suggest the bill is socialist. The bill does not provide for the government to pay for health care for EVERY citizen in the US, or even ANY citizen in the US. That would be socialism. No, the bill provides for every citizen in the US to be required to be covered by an INSURANCE POLICY. The mandate that every citizen have an insurance policy has nothing to do with socialism, but merely forces every citizen to take part in one industry of Capitalism (an industry which has for years been granted exceptional protection by governments with the requirement that every auto owner have an automobile insurance policy and the requirements for nearly every business in the US to purchase health insurance coverage for their employees). In the case of health care reform, the government is proposing to pay the health insurance premiums for some citizens who are too poor to pay for health care insurance on their own. The government already does this for people receiving state medical relief. The health care reform bill only proposes to extend that benefit to a few more people - the ones who fall through the cracks because they work, but their employers don't cover them and they don't earn enough to afford to pay for their own coverage or they are self-employed and do not earn sufficient funds with which to purchase health insurance for themselves and their families. This is far from socialism!

No, what we are witnessing is a right-wing attack on the Obama Administration. They are throwing around the same words that were inaccurately thrown at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., socialist and Communist. Like the attacks on Dr. King, the rhetoric today is nothing more than a racist attempt to sway white voters away from supporting a black leader who is guiding a movement which would assist the poor, the infirm, the troubled, the mistreated, the maligned, who are discriminated against and who are the forgotten Americans, desperately needing the assistance of their government, especially at this time of economic crisis. The doctoring of the photographs of President Obama to look like the Joker are really more intended to be a play on the old racist use of "black face" in the theater - in this instance "white-facing" Obama.

These Tea Party bigots force their children to take part, putting the photos on their clothing and making them carry signs and attend events, indoctrinating these young and highly impressionable minds with lies, misinformation and rascist imagery. They have the children carry signs with racist slogans and with lies about the President. They force the children to attend events where other participants carry signs suggesting the President should be killed! And they do all this in the name of patriotism.

My friends, this is the same brand of patriotism as was brandished by the Nazi Party as Hitler rose to power in Germany in the 20s and 30s. These are the same tactics as were used by Hitler and the Nazis, too. The White Supremacists in the United States like the John Birch Society and Klu Klux Klan followed these tactics throughout the first half of the 20th century to keep black Americans in positions of servitiude and poverty. Those same groups used the same kinds of lies and tactics to try to smear Dr. King and other black leaders and organizations during the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s. Americans, you must not be fooled by their lies and their pretention for innocense and patriotism. Paint them as the bigots they are and refuse to allow them to paint your President as something he is not.

Irony rose to greet the night after the Tea Party protest failed. First, Congresswoman Giffords showed enough class as to avoid attending the showing of Capra's movie which she sponsored. She understood that the movie presentation was not intended as a political event, but merely as a kind gesture to the public, to offer free entertainment on a hot summer night. So, the Congresswoman stayed away to remove the focus for the Tea Party's denonstration. The Tea Party people milled about, tried to enlist members of the public to sign up for their literature and forced their propaganda on the public in attendance. They stood in the way of moviegoers, brandishing their racist, lying placcards, destroying the festive mood of people who merely wanted to enjoy a classic film about America and real American patriotism.

As the movie unfolded, the intense irony was revealed. Capra's tale, about corruption and graft in government and one man's fight to expose it showed the Tea Party movement for what it actually is. In Capra's film, the forces of Capitalist greed, graft, corruption and domination of the real interests of the American public used their wealth and power to strong arm the voice of Mr. Smith and his army of boys who only sought to tell the public the truth as they also sought to provide boys with a summer camp venue. Like the Tea Party movement, the corrupt machine of the greedy Capitalists (who wanted to steal the land for the boy's camp, put a dam on it, and make a profit on the sale of the profit at the expense of the taxpayers) spread lies about Mr. Smith, branded him with false epithets and accusations, and shouted down his supporters to silence them. Like the Tea Party movement supporters, the political machine sought to strong arm the opposition and force their own lies into the media at the same time as they stamped out an honest public debate of the issues. Nothing could have been more appropos as a metaphor for revealing the frighteningly corrupt, dishonest and repressionist tactics of the Tea Party and its advocates than Capra's brilliant movie.

Those of us who stayed and enjoyed the show went home with a clearer picture as to who are the real villians and patriots in the real life saga being played out by Tea Party fascists amid the actual democratic process of reform currently in progress.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moonset Sunrise

A bright, silvery-white orb
swims through night's celestial ink
arcing a path from crag
to mesa - jutting up to wall off
a desert expanse. The ancients
chanted many names:
Hecate, Diana, Ishtar,
Artemis, Europa;
still, this hour
a bell tower struck
Selene's chimes, tolling
an approach: winding
to her abode in Mount
Latmus' cave. Silvery
light yellowed, Selene
sank into the muggy
morning monsoon
clouds, drifting aimlessly.
Her fullness strummed
descending, peek-a-boo
moon chords, magnetic
Selene attracted dense,
wetly drenched dark
condensation, she winked
light rays on and off,
diffusing heat in a blink,
melting diaphanous
wisps into clear, dry
skies. Skin sponged
the night's persperation.
Behind the crag facing
the mesa, Eos' orange
wash, from pastel
to burnt sienna, crayons
the dawn as Helios bleaches
the inky dome, erasing
shimmering stars -
Jupiter and Venus stand
as twin sentinels, balancing
opportunity with beauty
and justice; the first rays
of sun sliver over
the edge of the world.
My body stood, trapped -
the poles of two magnets
charged by the haunting
voice of Jim Morrison,
gulping the tequila worm
at the bottom of a bottle,
laughing bloody phlegm out
from his lungs, pulling
the tails off lizards, wizards
churning out incantations
of cheap pop crap; and winds
swirl up a twister, blistering
across synaptic highways
as I reach out from darkness
finding light slips through
my fingers, and lightning
bolts magically charge
the ions of a new world
only found in the dove-
tailed resin of a joint
smiling from the street
corners of a One World
popular rally, six billion
strong marching across
corporate plasma TV
screens in the instant
between moonset and sunrise.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Splashing Passion

A soft zephyr lightly rustles barely parted,
sheer, lace curtains lapping and clapping
a window sill, a cool breeze caresses
porcelain skin - an alabaster woman's
flesh tingling anticipation. Sauvignon's
blush paints desire on rising goosebumps.

Strawberries bitten-open-blood stains
petulant, ivory lips moist, tart sugar
gushes from fruit's fleshy meat, steamy
heat oozes through sopping pores, high
tide's answer to a proxigee new moon.
Night's ebony canopy cradles pin-

prick, distorted light beams glimmer
diffused reflections against angled panes -
windows cranked ajar - shadows wildly
dance to gasped breaths' tempo, abandon
flickers on walls, a candle flame jumps
and wavers in the wind. Cascading

the room like a waterfall, splashing passion
drapes night with a moonlit, rainbow
mist: thickly scented coitus. Rocky strength,
hardened hands, seduces flesh, lightly
lingering grazes - enlightened feather-fingers
stroking, furnace stoking, eternal flames' rage.

She wraps arms around spirit, he erupts:
bodies meld. She grasps an instant, hoping
to overwhelm lifespans, to shine as unendingly
as stars, forgetting starlight is an ancient traveler,
long ago bursting, only to be witnessed, finally,
tonight: ever present, but one place at a time.

Monday, August 3, 2009

R. D. Laing's Radical Psychology and My Arguments with Contemporary Psychiatric Diagnosis and Treatment

Radical Scottish psychiatrist, R. D. Laing, author of The Double Bind and Knots among other works, suggested that it is improper to lable a person psychotic, but more appropriate to realize the individual has learned to react to a psychotic situation in the only way they knew how, leading to exhibition of psychotic behavior patterns. (The same understanding can be reached with regard to the relationship of neurotic behaviors and other degrees on the scale of the psychosocial adjustment of individuals with relation to society, family, nation, religion or other group entity.)

Laing is regarded as an important figure in the anti-psychiatry movement, along with David Cooper, though he never denied the value of treating mental distress. He wanted to challenge the core values of a psychiatry which considers mental illness as primarily a biological phenomenon, of no social, intellectual or political significance.

Laing was a critic of psychiatric diagnosis, arguing that diagnosis of a mental disorder contradicted accepted medical procedure: diagnosis was made on the basis of behavior or conduct, and examination and ancillary tests that traditionally precede diagnosis of viable pathologies like broken bones or pneumonia occurred after (if at all) the diagnosis of mental disorder. Hence, according to Laing, psychiatry was founded on a false epistemology: illness diagnosed by conduct but treated biologically.

Laing argued that the strange behavior and seemingly confused speech of people undergoing a psychotic episode (or any other aberrant social interaction) were ultimately understandable as an attempt to communicate worries and concerns, often in situations where this was not possible or not permitted (or permitted to varyingly lesser degrees with the variation in degrees determining the variation of the effect from mild neurosis to debilitating psychosis). Laing stressed the role of society, and particularly the family, in the development of "madness" (his term). He argued that individuals can often be put in impossible situations, where they are unable to conform to the conflicting expectations of their peers, leading to a "lose-lose situation" and immense mental distress for the individuals concerned.

Laing's ideas are not currently espoused by the psychiatric establishment. Significant critiques of his ideas have been published by contemporary psychiatric authorities.

In 1999, Elizabeth Gould and Charles Gross of Princeton discovered neurogenesis in the primate brain. Elizabeth Gould's continued research into neurogenesis has revealed that stress inhibits neurogenesis, consequently also inhibiting brain function.

Current approaches in psychiatry express a fundamental difference with Laing's ideas. Laing saw psychopathology as being seated not in biological or psychic organs – whereby environment is relegated to playing at most only an accidental role as immediate trigger of disease (the "stress diathasis model" of the nature and causes of psychopathology) – but rather in the social cradle, the urban home, which cultivates it, the very crucible in which selves are forged.

Laing's re-evaluation of the locus of the disease process – and consequent shift in forms of treatment – was in stark contrast to psychiatric orthodoxy (in the broadest sense we have of ourselves as psychological subjects and pathological selves). Laing was revolutionary in valuing the content of psychotic behavior and speech as a valid expression of distress, albeit wrapped in an enigmatic language of personal symbolism which is meaningful only from within the understanding generated by the situation which gave rise to the behavior. According to Laing, if a therapist can better understand his or her patient, the therapist can begin to make sense of the symbolism of the patient's psychosis, and therefore start addressing the concerns which are the root cause of the distress. (Such a therapist is required to exert rigourous and insightful efforts to assist the patient which is not the most economically rewarding position for the therapist but it is the most physically, emotionally and mentally taxing).

Comtemporary psychiatry claims that all mental illnesses are related to physical organs' breakdown in function, removing the environment from the equation. The handy consequence for contemporary psychiatrists is that they refuse to treat the individual with ongoing verbal therapy methods, a difficult and lengthy process which exhibits small and incremental benefits that are often hardly perceptible, but do get at the underlying roots of the psychological issues giving rise to abnormal behavior strategies.

Instead, contemporary psychiatry treats patients with mind and emotion-numbing drugs.

Rather than actually lobotomize patients with a scalpel, today's psychotherapists use drugs. We actually witness the reality of the psychiatric treatment of Alex DeLarge's character in A Clockwork Orange through contemporary society's approach to dealing with so-called aberrant behavior. Rather that realize society is the cause of the behavior, and try to do something about curing society's ills, society places the "blame" on organs and then controls the afflicted individuals with drugs that sap the individual of their individuality, their drive, their angst and much of their free will.

Psychiatrists claim individuals express aberrant behavior because they have a "chemical imbalance" thereby reframing maladjustment as physical impairment - turning matters of socialization, emotional sensitivity and cultural non-conformity into matters of disease rooted in the physical tissues of the brain. However, no scientist can actually tell you what a correct chemical balance is or should be. No tests have ever been done to provide any psychiatrist with scientific figures for optimum levels of chemical balances in the brain. Furthermore, no tests are done on the afflicted to even determine what their chemical balances (or imbalances, giving the physicians the benefit of the doubt) are or should be.

There is absolutely no scientific method in the current psychiatric modality for diagnosing and treating human behavior. In fact, the tome used for diagnosis, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), is based on statistical analysis and has very little to do with actually applying a mental examination to the patient based on lengthy observation of the patient or their socialization strategies. The DSM provides statistics that are used to determine diagnoses. For instance, if 80% of all patients exhibiting a particular "symptom" (socialization strategy) are diagnosed with a specific disorder, then all those who exhibit the same "symptom" and follow into the offices of psychiatrists and psychologists will be diagnosed with the same pathology, thus the system contains a built-in self-reinforcement mechanism which confirms and validates contemporary treatment programs. This isn't science and has nothing to do with the scientific method.

I argue, based on the findings of Elizabeth Gould in her later research, that in addition to the effects the environment (parents, the home, school, society, peers, etc.) impose upon the individual and which can potentially be seen as leading to some degree of social maladjustment through choices and strategies employed by the individual to deal with the relative "craziness" of the situation (where socialization strategies can be considered aberrant), the stress endemic to the living situation (the environment and pressures imposed by role models and authority figures within the environment) likely caused a deficiency in neurogenesis which then ended up leading to later increases in maladjustment because of brain impairment due to reduced neurogenesis which, consequently, negatively impacted the individual's ability to select appropriate socialization strategies. Gould has discovered that stress inhibits neurogenesis, not only at the time the stress is present, but in the future as well. The greater the stress is in the environment, the greater will be the impairment of neurogenesis both at the time the stress immediately affects the individual and in later life. Any deficiency in neurogenesis will negatively impact functioning of the brain, thereby initiating, continuing and perhaps intensifying the aberrant behavior or socialization strategy.

I suggest it is not be fair to attribute all abnormal behavior to the family home as Laing seemed to suggest. There are additional significant influences on individuals, for instance: television, video games, school, peer group pressures, music, popular culture, and other influences such as specific events which may occur, for example: involvement in a fist fight, witnessing a violent crime, being the victim of a crime or violence, or being subjected to some form of bigotry, as well as cultural events like 9/11.

As Jean-Paul Sartre noted, all experiences whether real, imagined or artificially created (including virtual) affect behavior, ethics, morals and value judgments made by individuals. Hence, the question - "Did an individual's parents' treatment of that individual cause him or her to become a murderer?" - would take years of verbal psychiatric treatment to unravel. Perhaps the cause was too much time spent playing with toy guns as a child, or too much time spent playing video games like World at War, Bully and/or Grand Theft Auto, or too much time watching violence on television and in the movies. Then again, the abnormal behavior may have been the product of a shock, some sudden occurrence which caused the individual to have to adjust behavior patterns - a rape, a beating, a gun in the face, or who knows what. Such an event might lead an individual down a path which could cause that individual to adjust their behavior to anywhere on the scale from introverted to catatonic to serial killer.

I have great difficulty accepting the currently advanced line of thinking that chemical imbalances are the cause of all abnormal behavior patterns and that all those abnormalities in socialization strategies can be "cured" with drugs. An article published in Los Angeles Times on August 3, 2009 titled "Treating depression can be hit or miss" informs us that psychotherapists have at their disposal some 20 different medications from which to choose when implementing a treatment program. The article goes on to quote Dr. Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, as saying, "It's a hit-or-miss, trial-and-error kind of process." Just as with diagnosis, there is no scientific method attached to determining the drug treatment program. The best the physicians can do is try one, see if it works, if not, try another. The same is true for the dosages. This form of "medicine" is really just a variation on the idea that a devil has possessed the body and that an exorcism can cure the individual of the possession. If an eye of newt doesn't work in the treatment program, let's replace it with the wing of a bat taken during the full moon.

Let me quote from the article to support this contention.

"Depression is a common condition, affecting nearly 15 million Americans a year and one in six over their lifetime. Antidepressants are believed to work by blocking the reuptake of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, increasing the amount available in the synapses.

"A review article in the November 2008 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at more than 200 studies of 12 second-generation antidepressants -- primarily selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac and Zoloft and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Effexor and Cymbalta -- and concluded that no substantial differences existed in how well they worked. 'There's no clear evidence that one antidepressant is more effective than another,' said Dr. Ian A. Cook, director of depression research at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Even if modest differences do exist among antidepressants, he said, patients vary widely in what will work for them. 'There is not a good way to know what medication is going to be the best for your patient,' said Dr. Raymond J. DePaulo Jr., a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 'At this point, many of the treatment recommendations are oversimplifications,' Dr. Maurizio Fava, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said.

"About 60% of patients get at least some benefit from the first drug they try, with half of those recovering fully. Although patients become less likely to respond with each new cycle, a significant number still do. 37% of patients went into remission after the first round of treatment, 31% after the second, 14% after the third, and 13% after the fourth. A third of patients in the study continued to struggle with depression after four cycles of treatment."

Let's hang on a moment here and contemplate what pharmacologists are trying to accomplish with the brain in the treatment of depression as discussed above. Pain medication works on the basis, not of actually numbing the nerves in the part of the body where the pain persists, but in suppressing the neurotransmitters in the brain which would receive the information that pain exists in part of the body. The process is basically like unplugging part of your brain. If you don't know that you are experiencing pain, you will cease to believe pain is inflicting some part of the body. One of the unfortunate consequences of this method of treatment is that an individual may perform some action or activity thinking that the pain is gone when it is still there, and not know that the pain is increasing due to the physical exertion. That can exacerbate the injury and lead to complications or new maladies.

With regard to the kinds of drugs described above as being used in the treatment of depression, the medications used adjust the brain's secretion of otherwise essential chemicals for normal brain functioning. However, neuroscientists are only beginning to scratch the surface of how the brain functions and the interrelationships of neurotransmitters, synapses, the effects of chemical reactions in the brain and their relationship to both physical functioning, emotional states and psychosocial adjustment strategies. The scientific inquiry into these areas is less than 10 years old. Neuroscientists will tell you they really don't know very much for sure, but psychotherapists speak with certainty on their efficacy. It's hardly scientific method for the clinicians to claim certainty in the same areas where researchers feel they are still groping in the darkness. That's the equivalent of the mechanic claiming he knows more about a machine than the engineer who designed it.

When considering what some studies have determined for the physicians' real effectiveness with these drugs, one discovers the difference with the effectiveness related to the placebo-effect is marginal. An analysis performed in 1998 found that 75% of the effectiveness of anti-depressant medication is due to the placebo-effect rather than the treatment itself. An analysis performed in 2008 found that 79% of depressed patients receiving placebo remained well compared to 93% of those receiving antidepressants for the effect of placebos (for 12 weeks after an initial 6–8 weeks of successful therapy). Another analysis in 2002 found a 30% reduction in suicide and attempted suicide in the placebo groups compared to a 40% reduction in the treated groups. You can see, the difference in effectiveness is actually marginal (especially when one considers the size of the study groups: the difference of 10% to 14% can be as small as 1 or 2 in study groups of 10 or 20 to maybe 5 or 10 people in study groups of 50 or 100 for 10% variation or 7, 14, 21 or 28 people for in study groups of 50, 100, 150 or 200 for 14% variation).

A 2002 article in The Washington Post titled "Against Depression, a Sugar Pill Is Hard to Beat" summarized research as follows, "in the majority of trials conducted by drug companies in recent decades, sugar pills have done as well as - or better than - antidepressants. Companies have had to conduct numerous trials to get two that show a positive result, which is the Food and Drug Administration's minimum for approval. The makers of Prozac had to run five trials to obtain two that were positive, and the makers of Paxil and Zoloft had to run even more.” So, the ability to repeat the benefit, which is a scientific necessity for a claim to be considered scientifically valid, occurred in only 40% of the trials for Prozac and was even less predictable with Paxil and Zoloft. These would not be scientifically acceptable rates in any other field of scientific study. it seems far more likely that the equivalent of lobbyists for pharmaceutical companies must be greasing the FDA wheel so their products can get on the market and generate profits for the companies.

Let's go on now to question the morality involved with the field of mind control through drug therapy.

Even if the drugs used by psychotherapists in the treatment of depression, for instance, are effective (and the jury is still out on that based on the evidence above and the link of drug therapy effectiveness to the placebo-effect), is it ethical for doctors (and often governments through doctors operating under authority granted by courts, probation departments, and competancy adjudicators among other similar entities) to require any individual to submit to drug therapies? We don't know that the drugs are returning an individual to some "normal" (whatever that is) state of chemical balance. For all we know the drugs are merely sufficiently sedating a segment of the non-conformist population into a state of compliant acquiescence. In such a scenario, society isn't returning an individual to mental health, society could be sufficiently medicating the non-conformist revolutionaries who have, throughout history, brought necessary change to previous cultures and helped advance civilization and the causes of freedom and human rights.

Wouldn't Van Gogh have been determined to be manic-depressive? If he had been given medication, the world might have been denied his great artistic achievements. Mozart probably would have been diagnosed as ADHD, so maybe he'd have been medicated to a degree that none of his brilliant musical compositions would have been composed (or just not been any good). Charles Darwin likely would have been determined to have been hyperactive, obsessive-compulsive and maybe even delusional. If so, would the world ever have come to understand natural selection? Certainly, Great Britain would have decided that men like Sam Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Nathan Hale, and those like them were a criminal element who needed to be subjected to anger-management training, and in the course of such a program, likely would have been given medications for some combination of obsessive-compulsive disorder, hyperactivity, paranoia or whatever other diagnosis might have been convenient in their day. The medications they'd have been given would likely have sapped them of the will to pursue, as well as strenously and convincingly argue for, the cause of freedom. How many poets' genius would have been lost to medication? Every religion is founded on the basis of "prophets" who claimed to have seen a vision or heard the voice of God. Each of them would have been declared delusional, locked up, and given mind-numbing drugs.

I'm not trying to suggest that no one be treated for real psychological disorders or psychosocial maladjustment. I strongly advocate psychological counseling and verbal psychotherapy. Furthermore, I agree with R. D. Laing in the assertion that verbal psychotherapy is both the proper method for arriving at a diagnosis and the proper treatment strategy for assisting patients to deal with their psychological issues. I also believe that, since individuals are individual, each must be assessed as an individual and not on the basis of some self-reinforcing, statistical probability list.

I simply resist arriving upon convenient diagnoses based on some arbitrarily applied statistical list of behaviors which are, in actuality, prevalent in just about every segment of society and which diagnoses strip individuals of their individuality, especially when no scientific method is applied in the determination of the diagnoses, nor to the finding that such a disease even exists, nor to the assumption that the pathology is rooted in tissue. I strongly resist the failure to arrive at diagnoses through a lengthy observation of the patient and an in-depth inquiry into the nature and roots of the patient's complaints (like any good medical doctor would do with any real biological disease) as opposed to running through a quick checklist of symptoms and derriving a diagnosis based on the statistical probability of a specific psychological disorder because previous, and potentially erronious, determinations have been made under similar circumstances in the past (again omitting to see the individual as an individual with unique circumstances and unique psychosocial adaptation strategies). I also strongly resist the application of medication as therapy when there is no scientific basis for what drug is prescribed or knowing, ultimately, which drug is the most likely to be effective in the treatment program. Additionally, I strongly resist the idea that the drugs are really "curing" anyone of anything when: 1) the efficacy rate is only marginally better than the placebo-effect and 2) there is no proof that the psychosocial integration issues are even rooted in tissue.

I think it is far too convenient a truth for governments, pharmaceutical companies, probation departments and psychotherapists (who want to assert for the first time in the history of their profession that they can actually cure anything and thus increase their incomes) to suggest that maladjustments of individuals for integrating with society are rooted in tissue and curable by medication rather than rooted in how society functions and trying to find ways to improve society.