Friday, 22 December 2017

Calling terrorism 'mental illness' helps no one but the status quo

Shane Patton, Victoria’s acting police commissioner, described the driver as a 32-year-old Australian citizen of Afghan descent. He was known to the authorities and had a history of criminal assault and drug abuse, according to Mr Patton, who said the man was being treated for a mental illness.”
Of course he is.

The first thing the state does in 2017 when referring to terror attacks in the West is to apply “mental illness” as far and as wide as possible on the perpetrator/s. Exhibit A – the latest Melbourne attack. Put down your copy of “Alt-Right for Dummies,” this has nothing to do with politics. Far from being a euphemism to avoid “bringing hate” on Muslims, the construction sets up a framework that religious belief, in general, is equivalent to mental illness. 

The first level is that this fits my thesis that the real enemy of progressives is not Islam at all, but the traditional white Christians in their homelands. You can read about that elsewhere on this site.

But more important than even this, calling it mental illness creates a default assumption that the problem (whatever it is) cannot be solved by individual action or existential power. Instead, the moment some aberrant human action is named in the DSM as an illness, the responsibility (re: power) to “fix” the problem is transferred to only the State. It sets up the frame that even the deepest parts of our million-year-old brains, such as religious tendencies and superstition and pattern-seeking, are not actually genetic but entirely malleable. This idea is at the core of the Genesis story about Cain’s deviation, which is also the Puritan/progressive Christian narrative: humans can be perfected.

If the nature of reality (god) does not exist, then there is no such thing as the “natural.” And since there is no greater good than the greatest good, and progressives know what that greatest good looks like, then any level of sacrifice is worth attaining that moment. Up to and including genocide. Cain didn’t kill Abel because he couldn’t warp the world into the way he wanted it to be, Cain murdered his brother because Abel was a constant reminder that Cain was inadequate. Cain was only pretending to have worked hard, so having to see Abel walk around was the narcissistic injury – the identity of victim that Cain constructed for himself  (just to stay sane!) was threatened with exposure. The result is rage. The result is always rage.

Calling terror attacks “mental illness” reinforces the Christian idea that everyone has teleological access – and therefore should be guided – to the so-called “universal” humanity. Since it is a fact humans are just blank slates, if you stroke Muslims the right way they’ll eventually come around to the West’s way of society – as defined by progressives, of course. Everything is riding on this assumption, this religious belief, in equality.

Yet it pays to be suspicious whenever you see the word "society," because psychiatry is in the room. People with fundamental religious belief rarely break the law so it can't be punished, and there's no God so morals are debatable (i.e. inconsequential). Therefore, it must be a disease, an illness. That way other people don't want to catch it. Psychiatric treatment of constructed diseases isn't about fixing the problem, it's always about regression to the mean and status quo (salaryman and Christmas shopper). 

The point isn't so that the patient gets better – no one cares about him – but so that everyone else watching understands what he did is a result of mental illness, so don't get any ideas. Stay in line. Those who stay in line will see their actions as not mentally ill (”socially acceptable”). Which means they can be told to do anything the system doesn't refer to as "mentally ill." See Milgram's experiments.

But then a driver in Melbourne acts in the way society’s media arm has always promised is available to everyone – self-fulfilment, existential power, freedom of choice. So, what should be the response when his choice doesn’t trend in the required direction? It's not “wrong” because God is dead, (even as the Islamists are adamant the action was morally right). All that’s left for the system to do is shame it and deliver sober pronouncements of “mental illness.”

At this point, you might be tempted to question whether the SUV driver is actually mentally ill. But you've taken the bait and put your energy into debating the form of the question. It isn’t about him, nor about whether he has a mental illness, and it certainly isn’t about the existence of mental illness. If you say he isn’t a religious nut, it just means there are religious nuts and maybe you'll start thinking if you’re one.

The point of treatment isn't to help the patient, but to give the system the power to decide what's an illness and what isn't. That's what Marshall McLuhan meant by saying the medium is the message (TV is how you know truth, not from other sources, like your friend, or the church). When behaviours are a disease, people lose and systems win. The benefit is being able to call something "mentally ill" without needing to take any responsibility for its creation. And yet clearly something is broken because this isn’t the first time a truck has ploughed into people, and it won’t be the last. Now, what does the system do?

There's only one thing it can do: say Muslims and religious people don't know better, that they're broken people from broken homes or broken countries...that they're not real people. You'd think someone would want to help, educate or elevate them, but the system doesn't want to "treat" religious nutters, it only wants to "diagnose" them as a warning for everyone else. In other words, the system sacrifices them. They're expendable. The goal is the universalisation of progressive ethics, morality and society.

So it is absolutely vital that you – those who saw the vehicle attack and especially those who didn't – know that the driver is “mentally ill" (=bad) because then it’s not the system's fault, so don't get any ideas. Mental illness and shame obscure the matter of guilt: it sets aside the question of right or wrong in favour of socially acceptable or not socially acceptable. You are expendable. The system wins. 

The only thing that matters is the status quo.

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