CALLING ‘EM CRAZY FOR FUN AND (MOSTLY) PROFIT

28 01 2008

In this story from Alternet, clinical psychologist Bruce Levine writes about the medicalization of teenage rebellion, to the great profit of the pharmaceutical industry.  One thing he doesn’t specifically mention, but that certainly falls under this rubric, is the medicalization of recreational drug use.  “Marijuana-caused  admissions to treatment programs are skyrocketing,” the drug warriors shreik.  “It’s a dangerous drug!”  How disingenuous–courts are mandating drug treatment for people without regard for whether the problem is psychological or legal…this is a question that needs to get cleared up if we are going to have any kind of universal health care.  I don’t want it if it means universal pee tests!  But I digress…

In every generation there will be authoritarians. There will also be the “bohemian bourgeois” who may enjoy anti-authoritarian books, music, and movies but don’t act on them. And there will be genuine anti-authoritarians, who are so pained by exploitive hierarchies that they take action. Only occasionally in American history do these genuine anti-authoritarians actually take effective direct action that inspires others to successfully revolt, but every once in a while a Tom Paine comes along. So authoritarians take no chances, and the state-corporate partnership criminalizes anti-authoritarianism, pathologizes it, markets drugs to “cure” it and financially intimidates those who might buck the system.

It would certainly be a dream of Big Pharma and those who favor an authoritarian society if every would-be Tom Paine — or Crazy Horse, Tecumseh, Emma Goldman or Malcolm X — were diagnosed as a youngster with mental illness and quieted with a lifelong regimen of chill pills. The question is: Has this dream become reality?

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