“Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalities, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”—John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

 

 

“There is a way of speaking which is... entirely correct and unexceptionable, but which is, nevertheless, a lie....  When an apparently correct statement contains some deliberate ambiguity, or deliberately omits the essential part of the truth... it does not express the real as it exists in God.”—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lutheran theologian executed by the Nazis

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

           

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

uch moral bankruptcy leads to the second distinctive fact about hyperthymic personalities now being so indistinctive, the big one, which is that some pretty significant, unambiguous, behavior problems come with a considerable number of hyperthymic personalities, and that knowing the source of these possibly lethal behavior problems could lead to getting them under control.  Yet this behavior could seem to constitute slightly excessively normal human imperfection.  Exactly what destructive behavior is excusable, is a matter of opinion, so if you think that any behavior is inexcusable, that could seem to be only your whiny egocentric opinion.  (I.e., moral relativism becomes amoral absolutism.)  Neo-Buddhism means failsafe coping skills.  This is especially within the family, since naturally people will be more imperfect within their own comfort zones.  It’s pretty safe to say that there’s always an out, in that if the person who has the problem wants to be well-adjusted and non-passive, then she’ll see how what caused the problem is at least excusable, and how much she plays an active role.

 

Our cultural norms would insist that something’s wrong with you if you don’t accept the definition of “personal responsibility,” that you’d see in The Serenity Prayer.  These norms obviously aren’t aware that the entire unredacted Serenity Prayer as originally written by Reinhold Niebuhr, says, God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.  Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it; Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next—Amen.” 

 

 

 

 

Yet it should be obvious to anyone who knows only the famous first sentence of The Serenity Prayer, that it corrects victims as a panacea, that no matter what happens to you, you’re personally response-able for dealing with it by courageously what you can and serenely accepting whatever you can’t.  Aggressiveness seems ineradicable, and objections to it seem eradicable.  Those who aren’t that forgiving could seem suppressive, and, therefore, scary in their victim-power.  No problem could really be a problem if the victim prevented solved or dealt with it well enough, so victims who don’t take care of their own problems well enough seem omni-responsible.  On one hand you have the psychological advisors and other pragmatists who are very aware of how important fitting in always is, and on the other you have natural human feelings.  If one rationale for victim correction doesn’t work, it’s replaced by another.  Anathematizing the weak in the simple-minded fashion that’s typical of anti-intellectualism might sound like the ultimate Nazi-esque moral bankruptcy, but this would fit our principles of freedom based on responsibility for our own welfare, would stop manipulative victim-posturing and all other victimhood, would pressure the weak to try to empower themselves which would benefit them, and would get those who are the most reliably motivated to solve the problems, to do it as well as possible.  If we presumed such victims as innocent until proven guilty, of manipulative or passive-aggressive intent, of wanting to believe what they’re assertively and sincerely claiming, etc., how could we possibly prove it, so how could we protect ourselves from such perfidy that you couldn’t oppose without seeming villainous?  Washington Post Op-Ed columnist Robert J. Samuelson wrote on March 23, 2009, based on the writings of Joseph Schumpeter, “Capitalist prosperity also created an oppositional class of ‘intellectuals’ who would nurture popular discontents and disparage values (self-enrichment, risk-taking) necessary for economic success,” and anathematizing the weak would have to go hand-in-hand with treating self-enrichment and risk-taking as values that would increase productivity the more that the strong do them unimpeded and with plenty of self-motivation.  This isn’t only in the economic sphere, but also in much of our everyday lives, since the person beset with any problem is probably the one who has the most reliable motivation to solve it, and to correct any weaknesses that would interfere with this.  He could also try to get what he wants through emotionalistic victim-posturing, just as, in the economic sphere, intellectual “victimologists” could be said to be making mercenary efforts to go against our self-enrichment and risk-taking.  The title of the chapter about Reaganist deregulation, of Charles R. Morris’ The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown, is, “Wall Street Finds Religion,” and that’s how this fundamentalist and very demanding religion (“But that’s where a quarter-century of diligent sacrifice to the gods of the free market has brought us.”), must construe who are the sinners with the defects of character, and who are the martyrs.  This religion would also say to have faith that, in the long run at least, you get what you deserve and deserve what you get.

 

 

Pat Buchanan, in a syndicated column in 1977, wrote, “...despite Hitler’s anti-Semitic and genocidal tendencies, he was an individual of great courage...  Hitler’s success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone.  His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path.”  The “defects of character” stressed by AA’s Big Book, resentment anger and fear in general, are the same as what Buchanan and Hitler meant by “character flaws,” i.e. not handling one’s own problems (whatever they may be) with enough stolid and self-reliant backbone.  “Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” as well as, “Whatever your problem is, courageously change what you can and serenely accept what you can’t,” also define “character flaws” as supposed weakness masquerading as morality.  One could say that the fix is in, not in the sense that a conspiracy put the fix in, but in the sense that our untermensch-bashing cultural norms did, so it’s predictable that if you’re the one with the problem, you’d be held response-able for “empowering yourself,” “taking care of yourself,” etc., by solving it.

 

 

Agent Orange has a webpage on how shocked Reinhold Niebuhr was about the fact that Frank Buchman, the founder of the Oxford Group (now called “Moral Re-Armament”; “Oxford” must have sounded too dreadfully intellectual), the conservative Christian group that AA grew out of, had similar attitudes toward Hitler.  Niebuhr was a hell-raiser, before Stalinism made him fatalistic about human nature.  Yet if any organization preaches the Serenity Prayer at people, the final result would be the same, that self-reliant STRENGTH seems good, and weakness that tries to get persuasive strength from emotion and/or abstractions seems intolerably bad.  As the history of The AA School of Self-Help Psychology shows, Nazism, minus anti-Semitism and committing outrageous aggression, equals taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as you’d have it.  As can be seen in Nietzsche, the weak could easily seem to be the dangerously WILLFUL ones, since everyone’s beliefs regarding what they deserve are shaped by their own SELF-WILLS, and the weak can exercise their supposed SELF-WILLS only in ways that would seem mollycoddle, “dishonest” and “ignominious,” whereas red-blooded strength is “honest,” proud, and at least forgivable (i.e. must be forgiven).  We must appreciate all the hidden dangers of unchecked “victim-power.”  As Niebuhr wrote, power, which would include victim-power, “cannot be wielded without guilt, since it is never transcendent over interest,” over (hidden and surreptitious) SELF-WILL, though we dare not talk in such overgeneralized terms when passing judgment on overt sinful power.  We fear fearmongering, but not greed-mongering.  “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” could happen to anyone.

 

 

As one could see in the Great Crash of 2008, such a laissez faire concept of personal response-ability could seem good ’n’ gutsy, until you see the consequences of the moral bankruptcy.  (Of course, this self-response-ability must include the same self-justifying, fatalistic, conformist, simplistic, “upbeat,” absolutist, unconditional, predictable, and dogmatically necessary illusions as laissez faire economics has, the very illusions that got our economy into such trouble; after all, people will do only what they feel motivated to do.)  Economist Steven Landsburg said, “Most of economics can be summarized in four words: ‘People respond to incentives.’  The rest is commentary,” and that’s also how this sort of self-help could be summarized: You’re the only one who has a reliable incentive to solve your problems, and nothing that disagrees with this “natural” pragmatism could matter, no matter what chaos and helplessness result.  Realism simply must be oriented around the fact that you absolutely can change what’s tactically wrong with your own reactions, and absolutely can’t change what’s morally wrong with others’ actions; not being realistic would be ridiculous (said sardonically, or maybe to encourage victims to empower themselves in what laissez faire economists would call “tough love,” though the expression “tough love” originally meant the authoritarian and coercive approach that parents could use on their teenagers who have drug problems and the like).  Our economy reward$ those who think like this.  And even if this sort of thinking leads to a worldwide economic catastrophe, it could always be blamed absolutely on the supposedly mollycoddle weak.  (We all know how insidiously dangerous they are!)  All relationships and marriages considered codependent are treated just as fatalistically, whether or not the problem person is addicted.  As Greenspan said, that’s what works; even behavior problems who aren’t addicted aren’t motivated to change so expecting them to do what they don’t feel an incentive to do won’t work.  Victimhood doesn’t produce anything, so why should we give it any credit?  The ends justify the means, since the ends, functionability and good coping skills, are necessary.  Is someone sociopathic?  Avoid him since you’re incompatible!  End of story!  NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO ENDURABILITY!  Endurability has to come from somewhere.  Either we have self-responsible self-reliance, or we have nanny-ism, whining, trauma-drama, etc.  Both the economics that led to the financial crash, and self-help for anyone in trouble including addicts’ family members, wear the cloak of realism, which is both all-important and expected of all red-blooded people.  After all, we must have an un-ignorable incentive to do certain things that we may or may not be able to do.

Sacrilege, Sexual Abuse In the Catholic Church, by Leon J. Podles, says that ravenous pedo-priest James Janssen was able to manipulate his psychologist since Janssen “knew the categories in which the psychologist thought and told his story in such a way that the psychologist concluded that Janssen wanted to be celibate, but needed help, especially the help of a good psychologist,” obviously the sort of skepticism that social conservatives would have toward intellectual social scientists, a skepticism that seems perfectly acceptable.  The category in which typical psychologists would have predictably classified Janssen, would have been, “someone who looks like an aggressor (so if you’re greatly offended that’s whiny resentment), but is actually the helpless one,” helpless since he’s under the sway of his own human nature, and/or at present he’s completely helpless to undo what he did whereas the victim isn’t helpless to solve his own problems, etc., a very German-sounding conception of aggressors’ and weak people’s responsibilities.  Since our usual conceptions of mental health, survival skills, self-responsibility, etc, must be in line with psychologists’, a good way to know that you could get away with something is to know that it fits favorably into psychologists’ categories of forgivable, red-blooded, anti-repression, etc., which have the same categorical, black-and-white qualities that you could see in the cognitive distortions of modern Western depression (of which no realists could be skeptical, since reality’s demands tend to be this absolute).  Of course, that’s also the category in which the bishops who enabled pedo-priests put them, based on the same unconditional, “Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” traditions.

 

THE GREATEST RISK IS NOT TAKING ONE, AIG ad from 2001, so if you tried to restrain this you’d seem profoundly: weak, whiny, defeatist, controlling, unrealistic, counterproductive, opinionated, manipulative, negative, moralistic, etc.  Sure, post-scandal AIG CEO Edward M. Liddy said, “I have seen the good side of capitalism.  But over the past six months, since agreeing to take the reins of AIG and reviewing how it was run in prior years, I have also seen instances of the bad side of capitalism,” but one could also call the gutsiness of AIG in its PIG era, “character-building,” giving plenty of backbone and fortitude.

 

 

 

In theory this means self-responsibility, self-reliance, gutsiness, anti-controlling, good coping skills, realism, conventionality, respectability, etc., but in practice this means that nothing except, “Can I change this?” including the most basic morality and concern for the weak, can really seem to matter.  Sure, you could recognize that destructive sinfulness is destructive sinfulness, but in the end you’d have to forgive it, or you’d be maladjusted and suffer the consequences of this weakness.  (“YOU VILL ENJOY!”)  Frank Buchman, leader of the Oxford Groups, the club on which AA and then Al-Anon was based and until recently was called “Moral Re-Armament,” (Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here, from 1935, includes Buchman in its list of currently trendy “Messiahs.”) said, “D’you know Heinrich Himmler?...  Say, you ought to know Heinrich.  He’s a great lad....  [Hitler] lets us have house-parties whenever we like.”  Anti-Nazi British travel-writer and journalist Robert Byron, who got a chance to observe Nazism up close, wrote in his diary, “Himmler apparently dotes on the Oxford Group [How cute.] and writes to its English members discussing their troubles with them,” so he was their Dear Abby.  This was the same Himmler who said, in his speech on October 4, 1943 to the SS Group Leaders in Poznan, “Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand.  To have stuck it out and at the same time—apart from exceptions caused by human weakness—to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard,” but that personal strength concerned one of the Nazi practices that Buchman didn’t like.  It’s pretty obvious what the “Dear Abby” version of that would advise those in trouble, who are members of an honored group of people who are working on their own resolute and impassively accepting attitudes.  Anything less than, “Happiness is an inside job,” (in general), or, “Things happen.  It’s what we do when they happen that’s key,” (in general), would have been too weak-spirited and blaming for Himmler, so he was their perfect “Dear Abby.”  The only suggestions that Himmler would have made in a Dear Abby letter would have been, (1) courageously change what you can, and, (2) serenely accept what you can’t, since anything else would have mollycoddled WEAKNESS.

Himmler Logic, after all, would focus on whether the person with the problem seems to have a weak (as in literally WEAK) character, and would be quick to interpret inadequacies in problem-solving as weaknesses of character, so the weak seem contemptible, blameworthy, and, possibly, insidiously dangerous.  This self-responsible self-help approach is also like the “exemplary dualism” of the Militia Movement, like classifying people as redbloods or mollycoddles, or as übermenschen or untermenschen; this preaches that those who seem to have (literally) strong characters are the allies of decent people so are at least forgiven, and those who seem to have (literally) weak characters are the enemies of decent people.  This leads to some predictable distortions in our conceptions of right, wrong, shame, etc.  Take the Nazi might-makes-right ethos, remove the racism and war crimes, and you’d have what Western culture considers to be the only conception of personal responsibility that works, which is what Hitler’s Wagner’s and Nietzsche’s main inspiration, Schopenhauer, actually wrote about.

The question of whether “it” can happen here, all depends on whether or not “it” includes the aspects of Nazism and Himmler that Buchman’s formula for living didn’t include; if not, “it” happens every day.  The “it” in It Can’t Happen Here included merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude racism (“It was understood... that all Jews of all conditions were frequently to sound their ecstasy at having found in America a sanctuary, after their deplorable experiences among the prejudices of Europe....  The allegiance of all such Negroes as had the sense to be content with safety and good pay instead of ridiculous yearnings for personal integrity Sarason got by being photographed shaking hands with the celebrated Negro Fundamentalist clergyman, the Reverend Dr. Alexander Nibbs, and through the highly publicized Sarason Prizes for the Negroes with the largest families, the fastest time in floor-scrubbing, and the longest periods of work without taking a vacation.”), so the “it” in modern America could include merely an ambiguous, covert, attitude-of-gratitude form of the strong horrifying the weak.  A classic cliché expression is, “There is no alternative,” to the power dynamics of our economy, and another way to say this is that there is no alternative besides dictatorship and/or Zimbabwe-style economic failures, so every time that these power dynamics horrify us, we should be grateful that we’re not instead dealing with dictators’ outrages, and/or economic failures including massive unemployment, irrespective of any indefinable abstractions such as integrity.  If you’re in a Wagnerian conflict, and you simply must deal with your realities, then you simply must deal with them as Schopenhauer prescribed.  The psychology of, “You don’t want to think/act like a weak person, do you?” could be called a form of neo-Nazism.

 

 

 

 

Yet, in a society with rampant depression, one could just as easily call that “pragmatic logic”: the weak courageously change what they can (themselves) and serenely accept what they can’t (everyone else), and what one deserves is completely irrelevant.  You can’t change your enemies, except for one.  Yet the limits of the threshold of human endurance are a fact, and if we don’t deal with it, it will deal with us.

“Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” is all about what the weak should do, believe, and take responsibility for.  Even sophisticated psychology tends to classify people, aspects of human nature, desires, etc., into categories that are very German, Freudian: übermensch means ineradicable so at least forgivable, while untermensch means true shamefulness, suspiciousness.  (And, of course, treating this moral bankruptcy as necessary for realism seems a lot better than does treating this as admirably open-minded and gutsy.)  These Oxford members no doubt tended to take his ideas about coping skills, to heart, since they wanted self-improvement that would build fiber.  After all, we must accept that if you win, you win, and if you lose, you lose.  That self-responsible self-motivation is also how, and why, market discipline works; we must discipline even perfectly innocent failures.  The more that the weakness of the weak is blamed (What exactly is to blame when someone doesn’t protect himself well enough to succeed?): the more that they’d be motivated to take responsibility for taking care of themselves, the more hope that they’d have that they could change what causes their problems (themselves), and the more that we could all have faith in this red-blooded worldview.   Prejudice against the weak means an optimistic and patriotic faith in The System, and focusing on how the weak could hopefully solve their own problems if only they made themselves worthy, changed what they can.   “Personal strength,” “strength of character,” etc., tend to mean literally strength, transcending “weak” but natural and warranted feelings.  Himmler’s advice would have said that when we deal with our own troubles, the strong do get forgiven and the weak don’t.  Sure, this is stereotypically Nazi, but it would also be the most pragmatic (in the microcosmic sense) and well-adjusted approach. These are exactly the benefits that psychologists often get from using the AA approach, or other pragmatic approaches.  If Himmler had sent you some “Dear Abby” letters that didn’t mention the Nazi practices that Buchman didn’t like, the advice that the letters would have given would have helped you become more resilient, courageous, self-responsible, realistic, and abiding by Gelassenheit (a fatalism that teaches that willfulness leads to self-defeating frustration if you’re helpless to get what you want or need), so you would have ended up with a stronger character.  Victim Correction as a Panacea, is Gelassenheit and similar all-encompassing attitudes about physical response-ability for one’s own problems, exactly what a society with rampant depression, anxiety disorders, etc., would most need.

 

 

Anyone who’d love the Nazis, couldn’t help but love victim-blaming, targeting weaknesses (as in whiny) of character, etc.  Übermensch imperfection such as sinfulness would have to seem at least forgivable, while untermensch supposed imperfection would have to seem to be an insidious (as in “the hidden lie,” and, “We are all victims of victims.”) expression of weak people’s SELF-WILLS.  Dictator or no dictator, just about all of those in any society must define “personal responsibility” in basically the same predictable way and truly believe it, or different people would play by different rules, and plenty of people wouldn’t take the rules to heart when fortitude would be most necessary.  No doubt plenty of Oxford members who weren’t Himmler’s advisees, could have been just as easily, since they were just as free of whiny resentment; all “good” members followed the same school of psychology.

 

Yet:

 

 

Sure, a Chinese proverb says, “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names,” but calling things by their right names would go against the sort of “wisdom” that The Serenity Prayer refers to.  To call many things in a society with rampant depression and anxiety disorders, by their right names, would make one distressed rather than serene and courageous.  In a society that doesn’t have rampant depression, someone who accepted what causes it in the societies that do have it would seem grossly immature, oblivious of the horrendous consequences, but in a society that does have it, someone who didn’t accept what causes it would seem grossly immature, hopelessly unrealistic.  Yet a humanistic standard of what really is good or bad, would have to care about devastation that’s this unnaturally gargantuan!  Our natural senses should really be attuned to avoiding what causes rampant depression, since, no matter how much our folkways equate goodness with red-blooded strength, what causes rampant depression really doesn’t naturally feel rig

We must be realistic enough to remember what the threshold of human endurance is.

 

 

Here I’m going to talk about the possibility of getting them under control with medication, and this might sound as if I think that psychiatric disorders are simply medication deficiencies so if you give people these medications then that would fill the gap.  All you’ve got to do is look at the statistics on mental illness in the USA, that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV says that affective disorders affect 20% of the American population, anxiety disorders affect 25%, substance abuse disorders affect 27%, schizophrenia affects 0.7%, and sociopathy affects 3.5%, and you could see that psychiatric disorders aren’t the natural result of certain genes, since it isn’t only natural that this much of such disabling conditions would result.

The practice of using medication automatically to treat all conditions like this could have all the soullessness and victim-correction of biological determinism.  Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin of the previous Bush administration, who in an address he gave to a meeting of the National Mental Health Advisory Council made his infamous remark that inner-city males are like monkeys living in the jungle, that, “maybe it isn’t just the careless use of the word when people call certain areas of certain cities jungles,” was describing his NIMH Violence Initiative.  This was to be based on testing inner-city kids to find which kids seem to have violence-producing genes, and, out of goal-orientation and pragmatic leveraging, treating the problem as if it exists solely within each individual, “you are going to leverage it through individuals, not through large social engineering of society.”  Sure, Eliot Spitzer said on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, on March 22, 2009 about Wall Street, “...it’s kind of odd, because everybody derided leverage in public, but in private, participated to the hilt,” though Dr. Goodwin obviously had no problem with honoring it in public, or even with not setting risk-benefit limits, as long as the leverage is the pragmatism of people taking response-ability for their own welfare.  (Possibly, talk about leverage is like locker-room talk: both sound offensive most of the time, but when it’s time to act gutsy, both seem ideal.)  The Great Crash of 2008 showed how dangerous a reliance on inadequately limited leverage could be.  Sure, now leverage seems to be “the L word,” but at one time leverage seemed to be a great way to get a free ride in the name of pragmatism.  (As Henry Paulson testified in 2000 before the Security and Exchange Commission, about allowing investment houses to use more leverage, “[W]e and other global firms have, for many years, urged the SEC to reform its net capital rule to allow for more efficient use of capital.”)  Both leverage in the investment world, and the leverage that comes from re-engineering victims, mean that those who pay the costs aren’t the ones who make the real decisions, which is where the dangers come from.  The post-Reagan/Thatcher conception of personal responsibility is like an economic bubble, in that, using too much leverage, people’s excited, sardonic, “optimistic” emotions will keep pushing this to get bigger and bigger, since it seems necessary for freedom, realism, etc., and it will finally get so big that the bubble pops.

 

In an address he gave to the 1992 American Psychiatric Association National Convention, “Conduct Disorder as a Precursor to Adult Violence and Substance Abuse: Can the Progression be Halted?” he described the Violence Initiative as basically teaching the families of inner-city kids who come across as conduct-disordered, to discipline authoritatively.  In this address, he said, “Now the NIMH Violence Prevention Initiative, just to repeat, focuses on individual vulnerability factors, depends on early detection.  The early detection would first take a look at groups that in the sociological literature are known to be at high risk like low social class, living in high-impact urban areas,” so the problem is all those high impacts and vulnerabilities, but the solution that would have the most leverage is correcting, re-engineering, the victims, by labeling them when they’re barely school-age.  If the scientific studies on which drugs best controlled everyday violence, were as extensive as the studies on Ritalin for hyperactivity are, inner-city kids could have been mandated to take violence-controlling drugs just as kids anywhere could be mandated to take Ritalin.

After all, our society wants to define “personal responsibility” much as William Ryan defined “blaming the victim,” in his book Blaming the Victim, that whenever possible, we should attribute people’s problems to how well they handled them.  This reductionism seems good, since the more that such a conflict is reduced to how the person with the problem could most effectively take care of his own problem, the more that the personal responsibility for the problem would go to the person who’s the most motivated to deal with it effectively.  The Wikipedia webpage on Ayn Rand says, “When asked in a 1991 survey by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club what the most influential book in the respondent’s life was, Rand’s Atlas Shrugged was the second most popular choice, after the Bible.” 

Without this rousing faith, too many losers would have too many excuses, and even legitimate excuses have a price.

 

 

 

That is, it protects us from untermensch dangers such as manipulation, quitting, whining, and cowardice, which could very much interfere with our society getting what it needs.  And you can’t prove most manipulative, passive-aggressive, codependent, etc., machinations, so “presumed innocent of machinations until proven guilty” is out of the question.  To get a good idea of how much blaming the victim is a part of our culture’s conception of personal responsibility, all you’ve got to do is look at the ads, guidebooks, etc., that tell us how we should treat our rampant depression.  I’ve got plenty of quotes from these, on my Making the Political, Personal, webpage.

That’s living in the real world.  You do what you can.  Beat the hardcore blues.  No self-care could seem onerous.  No one is entitled to anything, since everything has to come from somewhere or someone, isn’t going to just happen because “it’s what’s right.”  Whatever happens is, therefore, “life on life’s terms,” “reality,” etc.  Maturity means accepting reality.  Of course, we live in a competitive and self-responsible society, nothing’s guaranteed, and human imperfections are whatever they are.  Those who have Nietzsche’s values would be both most likely to succeed, and most likely to seem to have good, well-adjusted backbone.  Response-ability for one’s own welfare, one’s own problems: serves the greater good, maximizes efficiency, is a moral obligation that we can’t afford to forgive.  Where would our economy be if people weren’t truly motivated to take response-ability for their own welfare?  There are no guarantees in life, and if there were, plenty of people wouldn’t be productive enough.  Emotionalism such as whining, victimology, and victimhood, wouldn’t be fair play in the contest for success.  Fighting for what is good could actually turn out to be bad, since people: are naturally motivated to do what they want and to take response-ability for their own problems, aren’t reliably motivated to take moral responsibility, must be motivated to get what they want by winning and earning it, and mustn’t be motivated to get it by acting like victims or their allies.  Asymmetrical warfare means that the strong fight fair and the weak fight unfair.  If everyone were to get what they deserved, where would it come from?  For example, the homepage of the Mental Illness—What a Difference a Friend Makes website, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says, “An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older—about one in four adults—suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.”  As the title suggests, this website is about getting the friends of the 26.2% of the American adult population, to support these people rather than stigmatizing them.  The ways in which one friend treats another, is one of the few sociological factors of this huge social problem, that we could honorably take seriously.

The Learning About Depression webpage on the Zoloft website says, “If you have depression, this sad mood along with other symptoms can last weeks, months, or even years if not treated.  Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw.  It’s a real medical condition, but there are ways to successfully treat depression....  Depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

So it seems only natural to treat that rate of depression as if it’s just one of those biological diseases that are parts of the natural order, so the only question that we might have is whether that consists of 34,000,000 rather severe medical conditions, or 34,000,000 rather severe character flaws.  Everyone knows that what’s at fault, is inside the millions of victims.  No one has an inalienable right to endurability.  Depression is the only dread disease of which many of the causes seem sacrosanct.  Caring about social problems is so passé, so 1960s, even caring about our rampant depression.  The Missing Question is, “But what about the fact that these social norms accept helplessness that provably leads to an unnaturally gargantuan rate of depression?  A true awareness of how unnatural are both this and what causes it, would be the ultimate

Manic-Depressive Illness, Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, by Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin and Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, says, in its chapter on personality differences, “Character has been defined as ‘personality evaluated’—that aspect of an individual which bears a moral stamp and reflects the person’s integrative and organizing functions.  The concept of character is employed less frequently in the United States than in Europe, although it is often used interchangeably with that of personality.”  Actually, the word character is used plenty in the United States, whether it be in comments on depression or from the likes of Pat Buchanan and Frank Buchman, to pass judgment on how integrated and organized are traumatized people.  After all, such judgments aren’t moralisticSomeone absolutely has to provide our society’s homeostasis, since things simply have to remain integrated and organized.

Seeing rampant depression as either millions of very consequential character defects or millions of very consequential biological defects, has become our conditioned reflex, as if the magnitude of this social problem could just be brushed aside.  No matter how much one can prove that this is a social problem, we’ll just keep ignoring this, since not ignoring it would seem too pessimistic, alienated, etc.  As Blaming the Victim said back in 1971, “Now no one in his right mind would quarrel with the assertion that social problems are present in abundance and are readily identifiable....  The problems are there, and there in great quantities.  They make us uneasy.  Added together, these disturbing signs reflect inequality and a puzzlingly high level of unalleviated distress in America totally inconsistent with our proclaimed ideals...,” “[Social problems] become social problems only by being so considered. In Seeley’s words, ‘naming it as a problem, after naming it as a problem,’” and, “The social problem of mental disease has been viewed as a collection of individual cases of deviance, persons who—through unusual hereditary taint, or exceptional distortion of character—have become unfit for normal activities.”  On the website for Christopher Pittman is a Pfizer document from 1983 that concluded, “Pt. began to verbalize feelings of killing other people, and then himself,” but if those who have faith in science could find enough sophistry to make depressive disorders affecting 34,000,000 American adults seem to be among the diseases that sometimes just happen, then the faithful would have even less difficulty holding that that one bad report is just a happenstance.

This is all very systematic.  As the Philadelphia Grand Jury report on their Archdiocese’s enabling of pedo-priests put it,

Of course, it’s very easy to figure that this rampant depression is just one of many realities that we must deal with, so if we truly do care about this then that’s just our own whiny and deviant opinion, until we remember that:

and that depressive disorders affecting 34,000,000 American adults, is quite a lot of be immersed in!  In the light of this rampant depression, most of our conflicts look different.  Yet in order to seem to have an adequate character, one would have to make the same assumptions about the conflicts in this society, that one would make about conflicts in a society with a normal rate of depression, such as, “Oh, well, that’s just one of those imperfections that are inherent to life and human nature, so something’s wrong with me if I don’t deal with it well enough.”  Right now, it may seem only natural to respond to one’s own society’s having rampant depression, by figuring that the millions affected had better take antidepressants and/or learn to think right.  Yet a society could take to that sort of “solution” for only so long, especially since, if the socially-sanctioned causes aren’t addressed, they could only get worse.

In fact, probably anthropologists could find out how the conformists of each different kind of society that has rampant depression, anxiety disorders, etc., would fill in the blank in the following: “Oh well, we’re just going to have to accept what causes our rampant devastation; that’s ________.”  In modern Western societies this would be “life” and/or “human nature,” though rampant devastation obviously isn’t a natural part of life.  In theocracies, this would be “God’s will,” though obviously God wouldn’t want rampant devastation.  In Communist countries, that would be blamed on pretty much whatever suits them.  And, in the end, conformists’ faith in their attributing the causes to what they attribute them to, wouldn’t depend on coercion from the thought police or inquisitions.  If you don’t accept what life, human nature, God’s will, etc. are, then something is very wrong with you.  That’s all that conformity needs, even conformity to rampant devastation.  And in societies with rampant devastation, conformity to these expectations that we choose to be well-adjusted is so crucial, that halfway measures (or even 9/10 measures) will avail us nothing.  Deviants, on the other hand, could seriously question their own societies’ rampant depression.  Since destruction is all too easy, truly responsible people would reject anything that significantly contributes to rampant devastation, no matter how strongly their cultural norms say that accepting it is responsible and rejecting it is irresponsible.  NOTHING CAN LIMIT HOW MUCH ALL THIS COULD AFFECT YOU.

 

 

Malignant Sadness, the Anatomy of Depression, by Lewis Wolpert, says, “A recent report, Global Burden of Disease, published by the World Health Organisation, states that depression was the fourth most important health problem in the developing world in 1990 (accounting for about 3 per cent of the total burden of illness) and predicts that it will be the number one health problem in the developing world in 2020 (accounting for about 6 per cent of the total burden).  Over the same period the annual number of suicides will increase from 593,000 to 995,000 in the developing world.”

 

And, of course “character flaw” means the kind that depressed people might seem to have, untermensch character flaws that are hard to disprove, rather than the übermensch character flaws of those who cause the traumas that cause the excessive depression.  The stronger you are, the more likely you are to have what’s exciting, pro-freedom, übermensch, red-blooded, self-reliant, etc., on your side.  It seems that we must fear the untermenschen and their victim-power, and mustn’t fear the übermenschen and their freedoms.

Those who believe in any tenets, had internalized them.  Therefore, if you dislike their tenets, they’d react as if you’re bigoted against them, or hold to some other evil ideology.  When Western feminists protest the restrictions that Saudi women must live with, those who believe in the tenets that say that this is good, would likely tell those feminists, “Don’t tell us what’s right for us!”  And if those outside of the USA were to protest what leads to such an unnaturally high rate of depression, those who are depressed would likely believe in the tenets that say that what causes the rampant depression is pro-freedom, so they’d likely say, “Don’t tell us what’s right for us!”

It seems that the helplessness that causes our rampant depression, is just some of the inevitable imperfections of life and/or human nature.

Someday, we should have a good idea of at least approximately how much of this depression really is inevitable, because some people will have endogenous depressions no matter how much their lives are free of the threats of helplessness, and some helplessness will always happen, both because of inevitable human imperfection, and because of bad luck that had nothing to do with human choices.  Then, we’ll know how much of the depression is contingent on human choices.  Then, the big question will be, “On a scale of one to ten, how seriously do you think that we should take this excessive depression?”  Multiply that number by ten, and that would be the percentage of these preventable depressions, that the person who answered the question would think should be prevented, and not by correcting the potential victims, such as by giving them anti-depressant medication, training them to have positive outlooks, etc.

This could seem pro-freedom, since:

 

 

Since helpless isn’t tyranny, expecting people to serenely accept whatever they can’t change, even in a society with rampant depression, could still seem very pro-freedom.  In fact, this could seem necessary for freedom, since the only other alternative would be not to take care of your own problems well enough, to try to control others (including those who’d qualify as “sinful”), etc.

Sure, to give one’s opinion on how much unnecessary depression is too much, would have the quality of the following, from Dr. Thomas A. Harris’ I’m OK—You’re OK, “This is reminiscent of an editorial that appeared in the Kansas City Star referring to a certain public official who declared that there were too many minors in the beer taverns.  Stated the editorial: ‘He says there are too many minors in the beer taverns, but as usual he fails to point out how many minors would be about right,’” except that our culture does hold sacred some of the freedoms or at least excuses that allow some of the behavior that contributes to the rampant depression, whereas our culture certainly doesn’t hold sacred the freedom of some minors to go to taverns.  Even in extreme cases, such as when commitment-phobic men insist that their wives or girlfriends are trying to “trap” them, the implication is that the women are bad since they’re treading on the men’s sacred freedoms.  As I’m OK—You’re OK might put it, the women could seem to be childishly and parentally playing the “It’s All You” headgame, etc.  (As you may have noticed, the sort of situation in which you’re most likely to see someone being accused of playing the “It’s All You” headgame, is where one person really does have all of the moral responsibility for a problem, and recognizing that others also have an indirect and/or ambiguous responsibility would minimize that judgmental moral responsibility.)

As of right now, you should be able to understand this in principle, that if the number you’d give would be on the low side, that would mean that you really don’t take that massive agony seriously enough, but if the number would be on the high side, your cultural norms would label you as controlling, repressive, manipulative, and otherwise dangerously untermensch.  The answer to that question would say a lot more than would simply telling the 34,000,000 American adults affected by depressive disorders, “Get treatment, and that should take care of your problem!”  A big theme of fascism, including Nazism, is,

meaning that since human nature is inherently WILLFUL, when even those impacted by what contributes to our rampant depression, assertively and strongly stand up for their own rights, it could seem that naturally they’d want to believe that they’re entitled to better.

The ladies’ auxiliaries of Twelve-Step groups, those for addicts’ friends and loved-ones such as Al-Anon, were set up specifically for the purpose of using Twelve-Step groups’ transcendent spirituality to cope with whatever problems the addicts may cause them.  Three of the comics on the 1968-1974 AA (actually, Al-Anon) comics website:

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(For more on this comic and how it applies to everyone, click here.)

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“I do not want the peace that passeth understanding.  I want the understanding which bringeth peace.”—Helen Keller

 

 

This series of comics includes Jane’s husband getting violent at home,

and giving her a black eye.  After she sees their kids getting violent, she thinks, “I just can’t take anymore!”  When she goes to an Al-Anon meeting, one member tells her, “Welcome.  We were lonely and troubled, too.  We can understand as few can,” and another tells her, “You can be happy even if your husband doesn’t stop drinking.”  When she goes home, as she reads a pamphlet titled “Living with an Alcoholic,” and looks very beleaguered, she thinks, “Those women are so happy.  Maybe if I do what they say, I can be like them.”  As Nixon would have put it, she’s not a quitter.  In the modern version of this she would have gotten a divorce, but she’d still show Nixonian backbone, in that even if she and her kids faced “the feminization of poverty,” she’d continue to courageously change what she could and serenely accept whatever she’d be helpless to change.  This same worldview would also be adopted by groups for anyone considered codependent, where it wouldn’t matter in the slightest whether or not the problem partner is so diseased that he could plead not guilty by reason of insanity, only that the innocent partner absolutely can’t change his actions, and absolutely can change her own reactions.  You mustn’t really care about “the elephant in the living room” if you can’t change the elephant.  If you think that that’s revolting, then that would be very unserene, discouraging, etc.  Regarding whatever are your everyday realities, these must be your everyday coping skills.

Just imagine what it would look like if cognitive therapy gave equal time to re-engineering any aspect of human nature that might give us problems:

Of course, the law doesn’t treat addicts as if they’re completely not guilty by reason of insanity, and even when she’s dealing with people who aren’t addicted to anything, she’d still have to stop blaming others and look at herself, since she absolutely can’t change others’ actions and absolutely can change her own reactions.  One could say that that provides a good deal of pragmatic benefits, which those horribly hurt by others very much need.  On the other hand, that’s certainly very insensitive and trivializing.  Then again, a “positive outlook,” and “good coping skills,” aren’t sensitive about problems, do trivialize them, etc.

 

 

According to the Al-Anon formula for self-help, the fact that the person who has the problem, would simply be held response-able for dealing with it by courageously changing what he could and serenely accepting what he couldn’t, would be a fait accompli.  Paul Gilbert’s Depression, the Evolution of Powerlessness says that across cultures, “Supportive caring environments with low levels of social threat and which provide a sense of belonging and worth tend to produce happier individuals than environments in which social structures are fragmented and disorganised, cannot provide a sense of belonging and where relationships are marked by suspicion and hostility.”  To socially pressure such unambiguous victims to correct any inadequacies they may have in dealing with their own problems, could qualify as chaotic fragmented disorganized suspicious and hostile, or as supportive caring and uplifting.  Such unconditional self-empowerment would benefit them, and would have enough respect for them not to coddle them.  Everyone wants to believe that they’re right, but the question of who was able to achieve what, is objective.

Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect, Understanding How Good People Turn Evil quotes the Senate Intelligence Committee as concluding, “[Intelligence Community] personnel involved in the Iraq WMD issue demonstrated several aspects of groupthink: examining few alternatives, selective gathering of information, pressure to conform within the group or withhold criticism, and collective rationalization.”  Meetings for anyone who could possibly be considered “codependent,” would have to operate along the lines of groupthink.  Few alternatives would be pragmatic for them in dealing with their problem partners, and these are the only alternatives that could be seriously considered.  The only information that would be taken into account, would be what would support the pragmatism.  These groups would pressure people to conform to, “Courageously change what you can, and serenely accept what you can’t.”  (Without this, “self-help groups” would be an oxymoron.)  You dare not criticize this, even when, in groups like that, it means, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it.”  This must include collective rationalization.  The extent to which all of this is morally bankrupt, should be obvious.  Since Dubya is a recovering addict, this worldview may have been what inspired his self-righteously gutsy anti-intellectualism.

A big contribution that the AA/Al-Anon school of psychology made to self-help, is that people accept “life on life’s terms.”  For Jane, “life on life’s terms” would include marriage to an alkie.  Of course, if she instead chose the liberated women’s option, and joined the feminization of poverty, then that would be “life on life’s terms” for her.  Plenty of saints have become saints by undergoing a lot less.  Saint Rita, a fairly major saint who still has plenty of medallions and artwork done of her though she was born in 1381, is a patron saint of “lost causes,” probably because she had an aggressively impossible husband, before he was murdered and she became a nun who had pretty ordinary virtues.  Of course, the message from patriarchal religion is that women in situations like this should endure them with fortitude, but those using common sense could see just how destructive this “Pray for your lost cause, and have faith,” mentality, as well as the selfish behavior it must endure, really are.

Those who are poor because they took oaths of poverty aren’t going to feel helpless because of it, especially if they’re successful leaders in efforts to help the poor.  Those who became saints, are those who succeeded on a big scale.

As Dr. Thomas A. Harris wrote in the preface of his I’m OK—You’re OK, “To many people [psychiatry] is like a blind man in dark room looking for a black cat that isn’t there,” but Al-Anon-style psychology-psychiatry, Gelassenheit, neo-Buddhism (which self-disciplines the yin but not the yang, “Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” so could also be called Yang Buddhism), is productive, does produce contrived serenity courage and self-responsibility, whereas telling addicts’ family members, “You’re OK, even if his addiction really bothers you,” wouldn’t.

So this “better, happier person” stuff was inculcated to her, by the heroes of self-help.  I’ve never heard anyone call this sort of inculcation “extremist,” and it really is literally the same as when those around us tell us that no matter what your problem is, you should courageously change what you can and serenely accept what you can’t.  In essence, it’s, “Gee, I wonder if Jane, and others who are that much at the mercy of others, would simply be held response-able for courageously changing what they can and serenely accepting what they can’t.”

The CARL SAGAN’S BALONEY DETECTION KIT webpage includes, in its list of “Common fallacies of logic and rhetoric,” “Argument from adverse consequences (putting pressure on the decision maker by pointing out dire consequences of an ‘unfavourable’ decision).”  That’s pretty much the entire logic behind expecting everyone, including addicts’ friends and loved ones, to simply courageously changing what they can and serenely accept what they can’t, including hardship and/or others’ sinfulness ad infinitum.  After all, if addicts’ friends and loved ones don’t do this, then their inadequate serenity and courage would be very self-defeating, dysfunctional.

This list also includes, “Excluded middle - considering only the two extremes in a range of possibilities (making the ‘other side’ look worse than it really is).”  Just imagine the response that Jane would get from proponents of the Serenity Prayer school of psychology, if she told them, “I realize the overreacting isn’t a good idea, so I’ll try to find out what constitutes a normal and natural reaction to an alcoholic husband, and limit myself to that,” or, “Sure, I’ll have to accept normal human imperfection, but not alcoholic imperfection,” or even, “Let’s compromise as to what you’ll simply expect me to deal with.  I’ll have to deal with less than what you’d expect, that I deal with whatever realities the alkie caused that I’m helpless to change, but more than I’d like to deal with.”  That would be very unpragmatic and unrealistic for her.

At the top of that webpage is a list of basic rules of scientific inquiry, such as, “Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view,” and, “Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours.”  Just imagine the response that Jane would get if she said, “Niebuhr’s magnum opus was a two-book set titled The Nature and Destiny of Man.  A main topic of these books is that naturally everyone wants to believe that what he believes is right, and that plenty of major belief systems consist of what people self-righteously want to believe is right.  Sure, you truly believe that I have a have weak character, am resentful, manipulative, etc., yet you, like everyone else, believe what you want to.  Those with addictive personalities, especially, would want to believe in this sort of amoralism, that’s actually pretty self-righteous, since it treats those who disagree as if they have untermensch defects of character.  Therefore, you really should include points of view that are different from what you want to believe, and tell the addictive personalities who came up with this school of psychology, not to get overly attached to it just because it’s theirs.  At the very least, let’s compromise, between what they’d want us to believe, and what I’d want to believe.”

And many AA slogans ridicule those who don’t have what Niebuhr (disapprovingly) called “Buddhistic” spirituality like this.  (Yet I could make the following guarantee: The very same all-American types who’d be the first to condemn Buddhistic spirituality as alien, extinguishing people’s autonomy and selfhood, brainwashing, etc., would also be the first to practice what Buddhism calls “mindfulness” when they’re in situations that contribute to our rampant depression.  It isn’t possible to get any more vapid than,“Serenely accept everything that happens to you in a society with rampant depression, that you’re helpless to change.”  After all, their chances of coping with them would be a lot higher if they chose to contrive a serene acceptance of whatever they’re helpless to change, than if they drew their own honest conclusions about it.)

Ironically, Niebuhr in The Nature and Destiny of Man, in the subchapter, “The Sin of Pride,” wrote, “Descartes, Hegel, Kant, and Comte, to mention only a few moderns, were so certain of the finality of their thought that they have become fair sport for any wayfaring cynic,” and, “There will be psychiatric techniques which pretend to overcome all the anxieties of human existence and therefore all its corruptions.”  The ultimate fair sport for any wayfaring cynic, moral relativist, etc., has got to be our culture’s victim-blaming conception of “personal responsibility,” that so loves the expectation that no matter how much your problem involves hardship, others’ sinfulness, etc., of course you’ll take care of yourself, deal with your own problem, etc., by courageously changing what you can and serenely accepting what you can’t.  If you don’t, you’d seem to be having a “pity party,” playing ignominiously cunning manipulative tricks,

etc.

Yes, that pamphlet that she’s reading, which she got from her first Al-Anon meeting, is titled “Living with an Alcoholic.”  Learning how to live happily with an alcoholic, is what would constitute self-help for her, since that’s the reality that she must deal with.  After all, unconditional coping skills are:

The Nature and Destiny of Man includes, in the chapter “Having, and Not Having, the Truth,” “But the weakness in the modern position is also quite apparent.  Either it achieves toleration by taking an irresponsible attitude towards ultimate issues; or it insinuates new and false ultimates into views of life which are ostensibly merely provisional and pragmatic.”  Yet as you could see in the above Al-Anon comics, an attitude of, “Courageously change what you can, and serenely accept what you can’t,” leads to both an irresponsible toleration regarding ultimate issues and new ultimates going into views of life which are ostensibly pragmatic.  After all, for ephemeral banal and pragmatic reasons, you absolutely must be well-adjusted, even if the realities that you must adjust to, tolerate, are profoundly sinful.  “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” isn’t just a matter of, “Oh, well, life isn’t perfect.”

Many regard as typical of authoritarian ethos, the following, from Mao’s Little Red Book: “Some comrades are different; they leave ease and comfort to others and take the heavy loads themselves; they are the first to bear hardships, the last to enjoy comforts.  They are good comrades.  We should all learn from their communist spirit.”  But at least those who take the heavy loads themselves, are taking a known quantity.  If on the other hand, a writer wrote that the good personally responsible person courageously changed whatever aspects of his travails he could and serenely accepted whatever he couldn’t, even if this meant hardship and/or others’ sinfulness ad infinitum, that wouldn’t be a known quantity.

Soon after, the Little Red Book says, “They [Communists] must grasp the principle of subordinating the needs of the part to the needs of the whole.”  You could bet that Americans who don’t accept the above definition of personal responsibility, also, would seem not to be subordinating the needs of a part to the needs of the whole, would seem to be burdening others with their own self-obsessions, resentments, manipulative machinations, etc.

On my Standard Rationales for Victim Correction as a Panacea webpage, I list the standard rationales that I’ve run across, numbered so that when you hear them applied to a certain situation, you could respond by saying, “Oh, yeah, right, that’s standard rationale #7...”  The rationales given to Jane for why she simply must take response-ability for dealing with her own problems, are pretty much all the rationales, especially: #1 But This Would Benefit You!, #2 STRENGTH of Character, #4 Some Imperfection Must Be Tolerated; Some Mustn’t Be, #5 Schopenhauer’s Idea of Manipulation, and #6 Women’s Responsibilities.

As the ads for antidepressants say, no matter what caused your depression, “This could be your time for change,” meaning not change in your external problems in the material world, but a change to inner peace despite them.  No doubt the groups like Al-Anon, that accept antidepressant medication, would have the same attitude toward them, that even if you live in a society with rampant depression, of course you’re supposed to just change what you can (your brain chemistry through drugs), and accept what you can’t (whatever caused your depression).  This is the sort of attitude that the subchapter on codependency, of Susan Faludi’s Backlash, describes as shaping the conjectural victim-blaming that’s central to the idea of codependency, “First published in 1985, Norwood’s book on female ‘relationship addiction’ became the guiding light to more than 20 million readers....  Like so many therapists in the decade, Norwood had an opportunity to observe up close the increasing toll of emotional and sexual violence against women.  She puzzled over the evidence of millions of women suffering verbal and physical abuse from husbands and lovers.  Yet, in the end, she proposed an explanation that entirely ignored the social dimensions of these developments and turned the problem inward.”  Those who live with addicts, in a society with rampant depression, etc., are simply supposed to learn to be better, happier people, since if they did so, they’d benefit.  This logic, also, would include pretty much all of those standard rationales for victim correction as a panacea.

No matter how much others really are to blame, you can’t get self-empowerment by blaming others.  Addicts’ wives are expected to stop blaming others and look at themselves, and realize that they can’t change the drinking but can change their own reactions to it so they react to the drinking by spending time out of the house.  In this milieu, with that sort of self-efficacious personal responsibility, a belief that the real problem is inside of the victims, where they could change it, would constitute necessary optimism.  In fact, the relationships that are considered “codependent” aren’t limited to those in which the person who causes the problems can simply attribute them to any disease.  Yet the innocent partners must still figure that they absolutely can’t change their actions, absolutely can change their own reactions.  This is exactly the definition of “personal responsibility” that a society following Ayn Rand’s philosophy would require, since taking response-ability for one’s own welfare is always what’s objective, and preferably we’d have faith that the victims really are the ones who are at fault, so blaming them and getting their supposed untermensch machinations under control is justice.  If, no matter what happened to anyone in such a society, he stopped blaming others and started looking at himself, even if his victimization was as unambiguous as what alkies’ kids suffer from, then that society could keep functioning.

And, of course, if you care about the rampant depression, you’d seem to be BAD: resentful, defeatist, manipulative, blaming, controlling, etc.  This would probably be put across in very NICE terms, as if those who say such things are just trying to HELP you, make you more well-adjusted and confident.

 

And, naturally, this means...

 

 

Certainly you could imagine what would happen if you told one of those who figured that naturally you’re simply supposed to adjust to the norms that cause our rampant depression, by saying, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.  Sure, for depressive disorders to affect about 34,000,000 American adults is a very serious social problem, but in order to fit in, you’ve got to minimize the problems around your somewhat.  Therefore, I’ll treat this as if it were just a moderately severe social problem.”  After all, if you could care somewhat, then that would make you somewhat discouraged, maladjusted, thinking like a victim, etc.  If we didn’t just keep ignoring this, then we’d be caring about something this huge, but only some of the time.

The “seven propaganda devices” that the Institute for Propaganda Analysis observed in the 1930s being used by those such as fascist Father Charles Coughlin, which were then described in The Fine Art of Propaganda in 1939, were: Name Calling, Glittering Generality, Transfer, Testimonial, Plain Folks, Card Stacking, and Band Wagon.  That’s exactly what you’d expect to hear from today’s attack-politician-style pundits.  The above comics about Jane might look as if this philosophy only seeks to give her self-empowerment.  Yet when people don’t go along with such expectations and are therefore treated as if they’re choosing to be weak for “fun” and/or profit, they’d therefore be accordingly labeled and called names, and treated as if they’re: not living up to “glittering” and overgeneralized words such as self-help self-reliance self-empowerment better and happier, adopting the same ethos as those who try to control and tyrannize others in the name of “what is morally right,” taking the side of the intellectualists against the plain folk, not getting on the anti-intellectualist and pro-plain-folk bandwagon, not listening to all those testimonials of those who live with addicts and have found, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it” to have improved their coping skills, and refusing to accept what seems to be “right,” though it seems to be right only because just the right sophistry was stacked together to make it seem right.

With such a conception of personal responsibility and character flaws, it’s no wonder that our norms would likely respond to the sort of destructive behavior that comes from Hyperthymic Personality Disorder, “tend to be rash and show poor judgement,” as if we must accept his judgment as to what’s right for him, mustn’t try to repress his feelings, etc., but those hurt by it absolutely must take care of their own problems, including having survival skills that would know the signs that someone could have destructive tendencies.  Those who insist that you minimize others’ destructive behavior since then you’d be more well-adjusted, would also insist that rashness and poor judgment constitute mistakes, not a personality disorder.   While “cherchez la femme,” look for the woman, had meant to suspect her since she’s the one who traditional moralism would morally condemn, now “look for the woman” would mean that since she’s the powerless one, for her to solve her own problems by correcting herself would mean: self-help, self-efficacy, self-empowerment, self-reliance, self-responsibility, self-motivation, anti-moralism, etc.

The Fine Art of Propaganda clearly suggests that the best antidote to propaganda is to ask questions concerning what would be the real, practical effects of what the propaganda is trying to cast in a good light.  For example, telling people that “personal responsibility for one’s own welfare” means courageously changing what one can and serenely accepting whatever one can’t, even when this means, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” could be painted as a failsafe formula for unconditional coping skills.  Yet all you’d have to do is ask about the effects of that sort of moral bankruptcy, and this could set you free.  Questions are the ultimate form of thinking for yourself.  (However, those who have a stolid definition of manipulation, such as Schopenhauer’s “The concept of good is divided into two subspecies, that of the directly present satisfaction of the will in each case, and that of its merely indirect satisfaction concerning the future, in other words, the agreeable and the useful.  The concept of the opposite, so long as we are speaking of beings without knowledge, is expressed by the word bad, more rarely and abstractly by the word evil, which therefore denotes everything that is not agreeable to the striving of the will in each case,” would have to believe that for the untermenschen to think for themselves sincerely, is manipulative!)

 

A book central to the morality of the Reagan era was Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind, which is against moral relativism.  Its introduction, with its own title, “Our Virtue,” begins,

There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.  If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students’ reaction: they will be uncomprehending.  That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as though he were calling into question 2 + 2 = 4.  These are things you don’t think about.

Yet Reaganomics requires that moral relativism goes one step further, where moral relativism becomes amoral absolutism.  One must be realistic and well-adjusted.  The only virtue that really seems to matter, is the Virtue of Forgiveness.  Despite all the implications that such right-wing concepts as “victimology” and “victimhood” condemn only those who are playing the victim role as manipulative machinations, Reaganomics couldn’t function unless everyone was assumed to have an open ended response-ability for their own welfare, even when that means, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it.”  If people didn’t simply deal with their own problems by courageously changing what they could and serenely accepting what they couldn’t, then probably most of those who could seem guilty of “victimology” and “victimhood,” would seem to be legitimate victims.  Not only that, awareness of being victimized would discourage and dishearten people.  As Martin Seligman, the pioneering cognitive therapist who first proved learned helplessness, wrote about talk about racism, “Such talk has its gravest impact on just those people facing the biggest difficulties in their day-to-day lives,” and about situations where racism actually does exist, “Rather I want us to rethink something more innocent than the truth—the form of the explanation that first occurs to [some hypothetical Blacks] and its consequences. For we can choose whom and what we habitually blame and what theories we push....  In fact, there is only one segment of America that now has a true stake in pushing racism, the system, and White people as the overriding explanation of the problems of African-Americans.  Those who want violent revolution.”

So the weak seem as obligated to have a morally bankrupt outlook toward what’s done to them, as Jane the alkie’s wife does.  The Words Universe webpage on the word “bankruptcy” defines it in the sense of “moral bankruptcy,” as, “a state of complete lack of some abstract property; ‘spiritual bankruptcy’; ‘moral bankruptcy’; ‘intellectual bankruptcy’.”  If those hurt by their spouses’ bad characters looked at their own problems in terms of, “I can’t afford to care about any abstractions that wouldn’t do me any good, including spiritual moral or intellectual ones,” without even thinking about it, then they could handle their own problems the most effectively and pragmatically.  The whole idea is to close one’s own mind to any questions other than, “Can I change this, and if so, how could I do it as expeditiously as possible?  If I can’t, how could I adjust to it as serenely as possible?”  If, instead, those in our society felt uneasy about blaming the victims, just imagine how many of our problems wouldn’t be solved by those who have the most reliable motivation to solve them effectively!  No matter how you blame victims, just because you blame them doesn’t mean that they have to feel guilty or insulted or overpowered, etc.

Intercultural studies have consistently found that depressed people who’ve lived in developed areas outside of the modern West have tended to feel paranoid, but modern Westerners, whether depressed or not, tend to figure that even if someone did “get you,” that would mean only that you lost the battle so you’re a loser.  When Jane is at her Al-Anon meeting, when non-whites have optimism inculcated to them, when women with any problem caused by men get self-help advice, etc., there is one thing they could be absolutely certain of: the bottom line will almost always be that it doesn’t really matter who has what moral responsibility.  If those with problems like this didn’t simply take care of themselves, Reaganomics couldn’t work.  If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the teachers’ reaction: they will be uncomprehending.  It would seem that of course what matters is how much self-empowerment each victim or potential victim could get, not how put-upon he is, who’s to blame, etc.  That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, since it seems that of course if the victims assertively and firmly stand up for their rights, this WILLFULNESS is untermensch, mollycoddle, whiny, naïve, moralistic, self-righteous, self-pitying, melodramatic, manipulative, maladjusted, self-serving, negativistic, ultimately self-defeating, etc., while bucking up and taking care of one’s own problem irrespective of who has what moral responsibility for it, seems red-blooded, self-respecting, objective, realistic, mature, pro-freedom, etc.  Doubting this would actually be calling into question: (your problem) + (the reliable motivation that you have to solve it as well as possible) = (your problem being solved, which is what you need).  It would seem good if Jane had an attitude of, “Now I know he will stop when he’s ready.  In the meantime, Al-Anon has taught me to be a better, happier person,” “I should simply change the things I can, meaning myself, and accept the things I can’t, meaning everyone else,” and, “I’ve stopped blaming others, and I’m looking at myself!” without even thinking about it.

If this conditioned reflex should ever stop, and those around us could finally see this social problem for what it is, they’d have to look back at our current acceptance of our rampant depression, and think,

 But wait.  There’s more...

 Go To the Next Page, which Tells of How Easily this Impaired Aggressive Behavior Could Look Like Slightly Excessively Normal Human Imperfection.

 

 

 

 


 
   
 

 

 

 

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   Home Page

    About Us, Introduction

   About Us, the Summary

   About Us, Index

   My Story

    To The [Abuse] Survivors ♥♥♥♥♥

   Men Dying for Love

  On Doping

  “Oh, Yeah?” Upbeat Echoes from the First Great Stock Market Crash

    Victim Correction as a Panacea, the Summary

(Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3)

     Cancer Victims Corrected Too

   Victim Correction as a Panacea

   Documentation On the Social Problem of Unnaturally Rampant Depression

   Standard Rationales for Victim Correction as a Panacea

   Schopenhauer on Predators

   Emphasis on Victim-Self-Blaming

  Darwinist Lehman Brothers’ INSIDE Sales Tips

  Darwinist Lehman Brothers’ INSIDE Introduction to Management Book

  Out of the Same Mold as the Great Crash of 2008

   Message for Intellectuals in the Islamic World

   Candace Newmaker’s Experience

  Breaking Important Confidences for Your Own Good

    A Glimpse Into the Soul of Victim Correction

   Cigarette Industry and Victim Correction

  Niebuhr’s Ideas on Our Nature and Destiny

   Herbal Experiences for Women

   Some Ideas for Rapport

   Hotlinks