THE FIFTH COLUMN (1/2)

Note: The Fifth Column is a regular, independent column
written by Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

Opinions and comments are invited. Please send them to
the PsychNews Int'l mailbox: pni@badlands.nodak.edu


                   TO SPEAK AGAINST

               Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

"The man who sees his neighbour only as an aggregate of
atoms cannot have the same conception of his real self.
He thus arrives necessarily at a fundamental
--F. Husemann (1977)

Contradiction means "speak against" (contra + "dicere").
The word shares the same root as addiction. (1)

        It is one thing to contradict, or speak against, an
other. To contradict an other is to challenge the
authority of the other. It is quite another thing to
contradict, or speak against, oneself. Depending on our
point of view, behaviors labeled the expression of
mental disorders can be explained as contradictions,
i.e. a living against oneself. Consider also
contradiction as George Orwell termed the contradiction
of dictators, i.e. those seeking to control others
through contradictory and influential speech,
"doublespeak." Dictators use contradiction, or
doublespeak, as a rhetorical device. Orwell termed the
contradiction in thought, the successful manipulation of
the other through doublespeak, "doublethink."

        Dictators deliberately confuse people in order to
do certain things to them. This may include achieving
certain psychological goals, e.g. Avoiding
responsibility for behavior, garnering attention and
sympathy, etc. We describe a person who contradicts
himself to others as "two-faced," (also, speaking with
"forked-tongue," "talking out of both sides of one's
mouth," etc.). Doublespeak is used to achieve political
goals, e.g. economic gain, political power,
circumvention of Rule of Law, etc. Politicians are
cynically referred to as people who say one thing and do
another, i.e. hypocrites.

        As Orwell wrote: These contradictions are not
accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy:
they are deliberate exercises in doublethink. For it is
only by reconciling contradictions that power can be
retained indefinitely (Orwell, 1981, Pp. 176-178).

        Confused persons think contradictory thoughts and
act in contradictory ways. These individuals are easily
manipulated by powerful others. They abdicate to
dictators. They believe the contradictions of dictators.
They are more likely influenced in their attitudes and
behaviors by who is delivering a message (peripheral-
route processing) rather than by what the message
actually is (central-route processing). Central-route
processors use reason to decide whether or not an idea
is valid. (2)

        Thus, one can contradict another person, in the
sense one disagrees with or opposes the other. One can
contradict or speak against oneself, in the sense one is
confused, in conflict, etc. One can also present
contradictory ideological messages (doublespeak) to
psychologically paralyze another into abdication

        The difference between exposing the contradiction
of dictators and the contradiction of confused
individuals is similar to the difference between
exposing a malingerer and a hypochondriac. The former
becomes defensive and hostile when exposed as an
imposter. The latter becomes anxious when a disease is
not found. Exposing contradiction upsets contradictors,
whether the contradiction is directed toward self or
other. This is because doing so interrupts a kind of
hypnotic spell cast over oneself and others. The person
exposing the contradiction then becomes a target of
vituperation, if not a victim of "_Todschweigen_ (Tod =
death, schweigen = silence), i.e. death by silence,"
(Leifer, in press).

        Clearly, people are addicted to contradiction. Here
are some examples: "Freedom," as James Baldwin wrote in
_Nobody Knows My Name_ (1961), "is not something that
anybody can be given, freedom is something people take."
Yet, people try to give and receive freedom all the
time. Psychiatrists and other mental health
professionals assert they can restore autonomy.
Restoring autonomy is contradiction. People who say they
can give freedom and restore autonomy are engaging in
doublespeak. The result is doublethink. They enslave
people by "giving" freedom and reinforce dependency by
"restoring" autonomy.

        "Mental illness" is contradiction and used by
psychiatrists and mental health professionals to achieve
political, economic and legal goals. Their own goals are
served in the name of helping others. The mind cannot be
sick. (The brain can be sick.) Since the mind cannot be
sick, it cannot be treated. What is treatment then? (3)

        And those claiming mental illness does not exist
contradict themselves too. They assert Prozac and other
anti- depressant drugs can cause people to commit
homicide and suicide. On the one hand they claim
neurochemicals cannot cause criminal behavior. On the
other hand they claim changes in neurochemical levels
(brought about through the use of neuroleptic drugs) can
cause criminal behavior.

        Spokespersons for "psychiatric survivors"
contradict themselves when claiming mental disability is
the same as physical disability, e.g. the recent Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission regulations regarding
employer accommodations for those with mental
"disabilities." On the one hand they argue against
involuntary commitment on grounds constitutional
protections are implemented in an arbitrary manner - in
the name of "mental illness." On the other hand, they
argue for mental and physical disability "parity," i.e.
that the arbitrary classification of certain "mental
disability" is consistent with Rule of Law and
impartial. (4)

        Understanding the prevalence and occurrence of
contradiction is useful in breaking the "spell cast by
persons, the nexus of unfreedom," as Ernest Becker
(1973) described it. I list four examples exposing
contradiction here in the form of letters of mine the
editors of various publications refused to publish. What
is interesting is how the editors chose not to publish
_any_ letters contradicting their editorial positions or
their news story. The editors of New York Review of
Books did publish a letter from the author of the book

        The first letter concerns an editorial on
Scientology in Germany appearing in The Washington Post.
The editors at The Washington Post have long maintained
opposition to the repeal of drug prohibition and
supported the "war on drugs." They believe addiction is
real, that drugs are dangerous, and that treatment for
addiction "works." How many of these editors either have
or have had problems with drugs or alcohol, consider
themselves "in recovery," or have family members who
have had problems with drugs or alcohol and/or are "in
recovery," is unknown. On the one hand, the editors at
The Washington Post advocate religious freedom in
Germany. On the other hand they oppose religious freedom
(drug use) in America.

        The second letter concerns an editorial by Virginia
Postrel on medical marijuana appearing in REASON
Magazine. Postrel defends individualism on the one hand
and collectivism on the other. This, of course, is the
problem with the medical marijuana movement in the first
place (see Szasz, 1997). She advocates Rule of Law and
Rule of Man simultaneously! She opposes a theocratic
state on the one hand and supports a therapeutic state
on the other! (I would not be surprised if George Soros
gives money to REASON. He who pays the piper calls the
tune ....)

        The third letter concerns an article about the
history of psychiatry in Russia appearing in U.S. News &
World Reports. The editors allowed an ethnocentric
article to be published without any reference not only
to the fact psychiatric abuse was (and still is)
prevalent in America, it originated here! Moreover, the
writer argues Russia needs to acknowledge its past. To
what extent does America acknowledge its psychiatric
past and present? Not one letter was published speaking
against this blatantly biased presentation.

        The fourth letter concerns a book review by
philosopher John Searle appearing in New York Review of
Books. After systematically dissecting philosopher David
Chalmer's theory regarding the foundations of
consciousness, he asserts that the mind is a product of
the brain, that this is the basis of cognitive science,
and that if one doesn't know how this is true, well, he
simply can't help us. Reason is necessary for Chalmer's
argument to be valid, according to Searle. Reason is
unnecessary for his own argument to be valid. In so
doing, Searle suggests his brain is different from the
brains of others. This is similar to the psychoanalyst
claiming he knows his patient's unconscious mind, but
the patient cannot know the analyst's unconscious mind
(T. Szasz, personal communication, 1997).

        I follow these letters with more examples of
contradiction, this time in the form of actual
transcripts of television and radio shows I participated
in recently. The first transcript concerns a dialogue on
the use of drug- testing kits by parents for their
children. The second concerns the prescribing of anti-
depressant medication for children. The third concerns
the regulation of tobacco by the Food and Drug
Administration. The fourth concerns the use of anti-
depressant medication as social control.

December 16, 1996
Letters to the Editor
U.S. News & World Reports
2400 N Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037-1196

        "_Russia_ has yet to come clean on its history of
punitive psychiatry" ("Mad Russians," Dec. 16)?
>From Benjamin "Father of American Psychiatry" Rush
(whose silhouette still adorns the halls of the American
Psychiatric Association) to Karl "Dean of American
Psychiatry" Menninger (author of The Crime of
Punishment) the history of America is replete with
psychiatric abuse. Two Americans (Walter Freeman and
James W. Watts) developed the technique of cutting the
frontal lobes of the brain by inserting an ice pick-like
surgical instrument through the eye socket. The authors
of Nazi euthanasia programs received much of their
inspiration for terror from Americans - the involuntary
sterilization of 15,000 mental patients in Californian
psychiatric institutions - before the German
sterilization laws of 1939. Moreover, the American
Journal of Psychiatry openly supported euthanasia in a
1942 editorial.

        Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of
Independence, medicalized socially deviant behavior in
the 18th Century, initiating one of the more prevalent
threats to liberty in our free society today - the
involuntary commitment of innocent persons to
psychiatric institutions for "treatment." Karl Menninger
argued criminals are mentally ill, thus punishing
(instead of treating) them, he claimed, is a crime - the
contemporary rationale for the insanity defense.
Unlike the Russians, perhaps Americans do not view
psychiatrists as aggressors out to harm them, as your
article would suggest. However, that may be due to the
fact so many Americans (100,000 patients yearly in the
U.S. alone according to Max Fink, editor-in-chief of
Convulsive Therapy, the leading journal in the field)
have had their memories erased by involuntary and
voluntary electroshock "therapy." (signed)

January 31, 1997
3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400
Los Angeles, Ca. 90034-6064

        Virginia I. Postrel contradicts herself when she
argues "For drug warriors, Propositions 215 and 200 are
terrifying because these laws recognize that marijuana
is not especially dangerous" ("Reefer Madness," March).
"Especially" dangerous? If marijuana is "safe" then it
can be "dangerous." It is neither.

        Drug warriors argue drug use is a plague, an
epidemic, and a treatable disease. Drugs such as
marijuana are panopathogens. Marijuana medicalizers
argue drug use is a cure, a remedy, and a treatment for
disease. Drugs such as marijuana are panaceas. Drug
warriors and medicalizers are simply two sides of the
same coin. Shalala and Barry McCaffrey on the one side,
and (gasp) Postrel and George Soros on the other.
Ms. Postrel's doublespeak continues: "Yet if thousands -
or even hundreds - of average Americans suddenly start
admitting in public that they smoke marijuana to relieve
various illnesses, the demonization of the drug can't be
sustained." Is this a sick joke? And then "In other
words, it's about doctors _and their patients_." Is
Postrel's reasoning so clouded she forgets the Nazis
claimed they were just practicing medicine? The right to
drugs is no more about doctors and their patients than
the murder of Jews was. Going public wouldn't reduce
demonization: It is likely to legitimize it.
And there is more: "In their attempts to manipulate the
public by misusing the language, administration
officials have decided to wrap themselves in science."
That is _exactly_ what those supporting the
medicalization of marijuana and addiction are doing.
George Soros, funder of the medical marijuana
propositions, is creating a new problem in the name of
an old solution: Doctors as policemen. Clinton is re-
creating an old problem in the name of a new solution:
Policemen as doctors. There's not much difference
between the two of them.

        The war on people called the war on drugs is a
religious war fueled by sanctimonious scapegoaters.
Illegal drug dealers, prison builders, law enforcement
agencies, politicians, etc. are economically addicted to
it. They claim they're motivated by compassion.
Deprivation of liberty is the consequence.
The medicalization of people called treatment is a
religious war too, fueled by sanctimonious scapegoaters.
Legal drug-dealer wannabes, treatment center builders,
doctors, politicians, etc. are economically addicted to
medicalization efforts. They claim they're motivated by
compassion. Deprivation of liberty is the consequence.
The classical liberal perspective on drug policy is
offensive to drug warriors and legalizers alike and
rarely even gets into print (including REASON). There is
only one legitimate argument against drug prohibition.
Drugs are property. Everyone has a right to drugs as
property. Medicine has nothing to do with it.

February 2, 1997
Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20071

        In your editorial entitled "Germany, America and
Scientology" (Feb. 2) you assert "Adults everywhere
ought to have the widest possible freedom of belief -
even the freedom to develop psychological dependencies
and spend their last pfennig on religion if they so
choose." Does this mean you now support the right of
every American to develop psychological dependence on
currently illegal drugs? The difference escapes me.
If you really support the idea people have a right to
put whatever ideas they want in their minds, how can you
oppose the idea people have a right to put whatever
substances they want in their bodies? You can only do so
by contradicting yourself. And as George Orwell wrote in
_Nineteen- eighty Four_ "it is only by reconciling
contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely."

March 15, 1997
Letters to the Editor
New York Review of Books
250 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10107

        Regarding "Consciousness & the Philosophers," if
John R. Searle read psychiatrist Thomas S. Szasz's book
entitled The Meaning of Mind (Praeger, 1996), he might
understand how viewing the mind (consciousness) as a
product of the brain is strikingly similar to viewing
the brain (body) as a product of the mind (NYR, March
6). In fact, both views are like sides of the same coin.
Professor Searle's conclusion regarding the former reads
more like a born-again, cognitive-science bumper
sticker: "It is just a plain fact about nature that
brains cause consciousness. It does not seem at all
implausible to me because I know, independently of any
philosophical argument, that it happens. If it still
seems implausible to the biologically uninformed, so
much the worse for them." In other words, the mind is a
product of the brain. Searle knows it. And that settles

        Hallmarks of holistic thinking include the
following ideas: People have cancer because they want to
have cancer. They can will it away if they just think
the right way. Or, here's one I heard just today: A
holistic physician told his patient if she really wanted
to stop her uterus from hemorrhaging she should just
will herself to stop menstruating. The idea of mind
causing body is no more irrational than body causing

        Searle's argument is used to remove responsibility
where it belongs. For example, how can we ever hold
someone accountable for their good and bad behaviors if
consciousness is caused by the brain? If mind and
behavior are products of the brain, what are moral
agency and the execution of will? According to Professor
Searle's argument, they are simply biological processes.
He is mixing categories in nonsensical ways. Moral
agency and the execution of will are metaphorical
"things" characterizing us as distinctly human. To say
the brain causes consciousness is ultimately

        Further still, what is that represented by the
pronoun "I"? It cannot be found in the cadaver.
Therefore, it is not biological. "Who" possesses the
brain? To say the brain "possesses itself" is
tautological. And what's the difference between dead and
alive? Electricity? That answer sounds too much like the
thermostat argument Searle rightly dismantles.

        If Professor Searle would remove responsibility
where it belongs, the holist would assign it where it
does not belong. Both are right because they "know." But
they don't tell us how they know. They just "know." I
know they're wrong. Who is right? The issue of
responsibility for behavior is of critical importance
here, and it is never addressed by Searle: A person is
responsible for behavior, not a thing. The brain is a
thing. A "caused" person is a thing, a zombie, not a
human being.

        To dismiss this criticism of Professor Searle and
his holistic Doppelganger to dualism is another ruse.
Yes, it makes as much sense to speak of mind independent
of body as it does to speak of body as independent of
mind. Dead is dead. Alive is alive. That much we know.
We also know the words life, mind and behavior do not
connote things. They are processes. They are activities.
Consider "living," "minding," and "behaving." Now
consider "deading," "braining," and "bodying." The
former makes sense. The latter does not.

        Moreover, how can there be any other mind than a
conscious one? Mind means consciousness. Unconscious
mind is a contradiction in terms - It is an invention,
not a discovery. Consciousness can be "touched" in a
metaphorical sense only. Mind is to brain as metaphor is
to literal. The metaphor is constructed. It can no more
be produced by the brain than a sick joke can be

Fox Morning News, WTTG Channel 5 TV Wash., D.C. January
23, 1997 Host: Brian Wilson, Fox News
        WILSON: Parents who suspect their children are
using drugs will soon have a new testing kit available, that
can be used in the privacy of their own home. "Dr.
Brown's Home Drug-Testing System" is the first kit to
gain the approval of the Food and Drug Administration.
But even with the accessibility of such a test, should
parents actually use it? The creator of the test is J.
Theodore Brown, Jr., a clinical psychologist based in
Maryland. He joins us here this morning, along with
Jeffrey Schaler, who is a psychologist also, associated
with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us here. And we
have actually, this little kit right here in front of
us. It's a very simple kit. Basically, it's a way to
take a urine sample. It is sent in the mail, and then
you get test results back, what, a few weeks later?
        BROWN: A few days later. The test results will be
available between one to three days after the specimen
arrives at the laboratory.
        WILSON: And so then you dial in and give a special
code and somebody gives you the results?
        BROWN: That's correct. A 1-800 number is provided.
The customer calls in, obtains the results, as well as
an explanation of those results, and in addition to
that, we will be making a clinical referral to a health
care provider, a substance abuse specialist, or a
        WILSON: ... If that's required ...
        BROWN: ... as indicated.
        WILSON: All right, let me ask you though about the
larger question here. A lot of parents now have this
available to them. It will be, I guess, available to
drug stores, etc. And they now have the decision to
make: If they suspect that their child may be using
drugs, or if they just want the peace of mind that comes
with knowing yes or no they're not, they can administer
this test and have their kids take it. But should they?
What's your reaction to that question?
        BROWN: My reaction to that basically points to the
very high incidents of substance abuse that we've had in
this country, especially over the last five years, four
or five years. I think the statistics indicate that that
has doubled. The number of teenagers between the ages of
12 and I think 15 or even younger, over, I think, 60
percent are experimenting with illicit drugs. I think
given the consequences of substance abuse, not only to
the individual using the drugs, but the impact that it
has on the whole family, pretty much warrants that
parents start to assume primary responsibility rather
than deferring that to others.
        WILSON: Well, Dr. Brown, I guess the question is,
doesn't it destroy trust, though, between the parent and
the child?
        BROWN: No, I think the term "trust" is terribly
misapplied in this circumstance and situation. The
primary issue is one of parental responsibility. "Trust"
presupposes that the individual can exercise proper
judgment, if you will, is competent to distinguish right
from wrong, and to inspire the confidence and faith that
goes along with the concept of trust. This basically
purports to emphasize the parental responsibility, and I
think dereliction or negligence of that responsibility,
given the consequences would be terrible.
        WILSON: Jeffrey Schaler, you are a psychologist as
well, and I think you have a different perspective on
all this.
        SCHALER: Yes. Certainly Dr. Brown is capitalizing
on the "war on drugs" hysteria. He says his drug-testing
kit is good for America, but really it's good for him.
Of course, he's going to make money on this, and he's
going to make a lot of money because what parents are
going to do is turn their kids in, if they find out
they've been using drugs, into his addiction treatment
programs. I think what's important though, is to think
about why this is a newsworthy event in the first place.
Well, because history tends to repeat itself. Sixty
years ago the government of Germany encouraged children
to turn in their parents for crimes against the state.
Back then the crime against the state was a mythical
disease called Judaism. Today, the federal government is
encouraging parents to turn their kids into the state
and to addiction treatment professionals for a mythical
disease called drug addiction ...
        WILSON: ... Let me stop you right there ...
        SCHALER: ... I think this is a sorry state.
        WILSON: ... That's harsh rhetoric you're using ...
        SCHALER: ... I think this is a very sorry statement ...
        WILSON: ... Let me just interrupt you for a second ...
        SCHALER: ... of family values ...
        WILSON: ... Let me ask you this question though: I 
mean, if you're a parent, don't you want to know? ...
        SCHALER: ... Of course you want to know ...
        WILSON: ... And if there's a problem don't you want
to step in and try to solve the problem?
        SCHALER: Absolutely. But let me suggest this ...
        WILSON: ... How can you know if you don't do a test?
        SCHALER: You can know by paying attention to your
children. Let me suggest this to parents: If you're even
considering using Dr. Brown's drug-testing kit, you have
a problem already. And you need to talk to your kids.
You don't need to buy his kit. You don't need to listen
to addiction-treatment professionals, the federal
government, pushing all this anti-war rhetoric ...
        WILSON: ... a chance to respond to that ...
        BROWN: Well, obviously Dr. Schaler has a problem
with the concept of capitalism and the profit system ...
        SCHALER: ... I have no problem whatsoever with the
concept of capitalism ...
        BROWN: ... that is basically the basis for this
country. His assumption, or if you will, presumption,
that we will make money is yet to be determined. I hope
that he is correct, to that extent we will be able to
provide even more services and indeed whatever money we
make will not be nearly as much as the people who are
actually peddling the illicit drugs and offering them to
our children in the forms of tattoos and other
clandestine mechanisms that they have an inordinate
amount of money to create. I think that, overall, the
company has created this product with the best
intentions. I think the government has cleared it under
very significant scrutiny. I think it is incumbent upon
the individual parent to make a decision as to whether
or not Dr. Schaler's prepositions are appropriate or
whether or not they're concerned about their kid
becoming or not becoming one of the statistics.
        WILSON: Now let me just ask you one other question
that comes to mind, and that these drug tests are not
absolutely fool- proof. And that there are occasionally
false-positive results.
        BROWN: Absolutely incorrect. There are no false
positives. Let me make that very clear ...
        WILSON: ... Now hold it. I've heard stories that if
you eat a poppy-seed bagel you can show, come up
positive, for cocaine in some cases ...
        BROWN: Again, this is part of our effort, I think,
with this product, to educate the public. There is no
false positive. If we report a positive test result,
something that has been ingested or used, that conforms
to the protocol of the drugs that we are testing for,
has been determined to be existent. Now, whether or not
that came from medicine, food, or actually illicit drugs
is yet to be determined. We have our personnel and staff
prepared to provide the necessary assistance, and in
addition, we have the professionals who will basically
help the parents clarify and rule out whether it is in
fact food, drugs, or some other illicit substance.
        WILSON: Last word from Dr. Schaler.
        SCHALER: This drug-testing kit has really become a
representation of the sorry state of family values in
America. Certainly, I think Dr. Brown has a right to
market his product. But, let's see it for what it really
is ...
        WILSON: ... very quickly ...
        SCHALER: ... a way to make money and a way to
alienate children from their parents.
        WILSON: We'll have to leave it right there. A good
discussion. Thank you both for joining us. We appreciate
it. We'll be right back. Stay with us.
(8:18am finish.)