Psychiatric association disavows Bandy Lee’s arm-chair diagnoses of Trump

Earlier this week, I reported on the questionable remarks to the media and members of Congress by Bandy Lee, a Yale psychiatrist who raised doubts Donald Trump’s mental fitness to serve as President. Lee also edited a book that included essays from 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts making the same argument.

In that article, I asked whether the American Psychiatric Association was going to address this situation, seeing that a member of theirs was using her profession as a cover for a soft coup.

Fortunately, the answer came swift and strong.

As the Washington Examiner reports:

The American Psychiatric Association urged members of its profession to uphold its decades-long principle that psychiatrists should never offer diagnostic opinions about people they haven’t personally examined, in light of President Trump’s impending medical exam and questions about his mental fitness.

“We at the APA call for an end to psychiatrists providing professional opinions in the media about public figures whom they have not examined, whether it be on cable news appearances, books, or in social media,” the group wrote. “Arm-chair psychiatry or the use of psychiatry as a political tool is the misuse of psychiatry and is unacceptable and unethical.”

The rebuke came Tuesday as politicians and members of the media were ratcheting up their rhetoric about Trump’s mental health. Earlier in the day, Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle unveiled legislation that would require presidential candidates to have a medical exam and publicly disclose the results before the general election. Joe Scarborough also has said on his MSNBC program “Morning Joe” that Trump has dementia, and more than a dozen lawmakers have discussed Trump with a Yale University psychiatrist who said that Trump was “going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.” The psychiatrist, Dr. Brandy Lee, who has not examined Trump, edited The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, which includes testimonials from 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts.

But the association reminded its members that one of its core principles, known as the “Goldwater Rule,” has been in place since 1973 and states that psychiatrists should not publicly issue medical opinions about people they haven’t personally examined in a medical context.

“The Goldwater Rule … makes it unethical for a psychiatrist to render a professional opinion to the media about a public figure unless the psychiatrist has examined the person and has proper authorization to provide the statement,” Dr. Saul Levin, the group’s CEO and medical director, said in a statement. “APA stands behind this rule.”

While the APA’s statement didn’t call out Lee specifically, it is abundantly clear that the organization had Lee in mind. Further, Lee did not need to be reminded of the Goldwater Rule. CNN raised it with Lee, who came up with vague rationalizations to justify raising doubts about Trump’s mental capacity.

Interestingly, Trump addressed this issue head on by letting cameras into a meeting discussing immigration policy. As Politico reports:

For nearly an hour Tuesday, President Donald Trump presided over an unusually public negotiating session on the subject of immigration, running the meeting while TV cameras rolled in an apparent effort to knock down reports that he is less than a fully capable commander-in-chief.

Surrounded by 25 lawmakers inside the Cabinet Room, Trump held court over the meeting, alternately inviting Democrats and Republicans — by name — to address the bipartisan group. He ran point for 55 minutes over a relatively free-flowing discussion between lawmakers about the future of the DACA program, border security and the possibility of immigration reform.

This was a brilliant move. What better way for him to show whether he is mentally fit by opening up a meeting to show him at work.

In any event, it is encouraging to see the psychiatry profession decide to not get dragged into a soft coup.

Whether the media and other politicos decide to drop this idiotic issue is another question entirely.

I’ll take the under.

The post Psychiatric association disavows Bandy Lee’s arm-chair diagnoses of Trump appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool – Psychiatric association disavows Bandy Lee’s arm-chair diagnoses of Trump

The Economist makes stuff up on states rights

states rights

It’s certainly understandable when foreigners don’t understand the different roles between the federal and state governments under the U.S. Constitution, especially when few Americans understand it themselves. However, perhaps charity isn’t the best attitude when dealing with a foreign magazine that really should know better.

For example, The Economist‘s latest issue includes an editorial about California’s new law liberalizing marijuana use. Unfortunately, the magazine’s understanding of states rights is simply a mess.

State activism is often confused with an argument that sounds similar but is fundamentally different. To many American ears, the notion that states should do their own thing has an echo of secession, the “states’ rights” defence of slavery made before the civil war and the resistance to federal civil-rights laws in the 1960s. To be clear: states do not have an innate right to resist federal laws, which is why California’s position on immigration enforcement, which comes close to non-compliance with the federal government, is mistaken. The federal government does often need to step in on questions of fundamental importance, such as who can vote in elections.

But in many areas, particularly in social policy, it makes sense for the states to have plenty of leeway. When mistakes are made, as they inevitably will be, the damage is limited to the state or city that did the experimenting. When new laws do succeed, they can be copied across the country.

What is absent from The Economist‘s analysis is any understanding about where the respective scopes of the federal and state governments.

In essence, the activities of the federal government under the Constitution is limited to Article 1, Section 8, which, according to Brion McClanahan, is essentially focused on common defense and commerce. States are otherwise free to address any issues outside of that scope. That would also include immigration. As McClanahan writes:

You see, immigration was long considered a State issue. Jefferson said as much in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. A State like Texas could, at least according to the original Constitution, build its own wall and craft its own strict rules on immigration and state citizenship. That includes voting. The Constitution is clear that States determine who can vote as long as the distinction is not made on the basis of race, sex, age over 18, and the requirement of a poll tax. They can prohibit aliens from voting.

In other words, whether the state can act on a particular issue has nothing to do with the sensitive feelings of those who don’t know American history, and everything to do whether the state has the legal authority to do so. A state has every right to “resist federal laws”, especially when they overstep the rights of its citizens. All the American civil war proved was that the North was military and economically more capable of overcoming the South’s desire to secede from the Union. Force does not negate an argument. States today have as much a right to nullify unconstitutional federal law, or secede from the United States, as they did when the Constitution was ratified in 1788.

The Economist clearly demonstrated that it understands none of this, notwithstanding its support for California’s liberalized pot laws. Unfortunately, given my previous rants about the magazine, this is not a surprise in the slightest.

The post The Economist makes stuff up on states rights appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool – The Economist makes stuff up on states rights

Despite government and industry pressure, Indians prefer cash to digital money

In November 2016, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned the use of the country’s two largest bills, the 500 rupee (worth approx. $7.50) and the 1,000 rupee notes. People were allowed to exchange those notes into 500 and 2,000 rupee bills, but only at designated locations, and within a very limited amount of time.

According to the New York Times, the purpose of the ban was to “expose and penalize people holding huge amounts of cash they could not account for, primarily money on which taxes have not been paid.” However, the ban struck widespread panic among everyday Indians.

As Carmen Dorobăț writes in Mises Wire:

[T]he rupee ban has managed only to create chaos and desperation for millions of Indian citizens. They were left with no money to buy basic amenities, and saw their dearly earned savings being wiped out overnight. They queued in front of the banks and rushed to their ATMs, scrambling to exchange the worthless banknotes in the brief window of opportunity provided. Both banks and ATMs ran out of money, as India’s printing presses rushed to keep up by printing new lower-denomination currency.

But many Indians are so sick of corruption that they are willing, albeit grudgingly, to bear these hardships if the move should end it. They don’t know that it won’t: the move did little more than temporarily inconvenience the large money launderers and tax evaders, who have already found loopholes allowing them to profit from and minimize the effects of the government’s move—and that is a good thing.

India’s move to restrict the use of cash appears to be part of a larger war on cash by governments, primarily so that they can enhance their ability to track taxable income.

However, that doesn’t mean such measures will work. To get a sense of how effectiveness of India’s rapid ban was, all one has to do is read the New York Times‘s recent article on the matter. In short, despite the government’s actions, Indians still prefer using cash for they day-to-day purchases:

Signs and banners for Paytm, India’s biggest digital payments service, festoon Pooran Singh’s cellphone shop, where people drop in all day to add data or talk time to their prepaid phones.

Yet few of these people actually use Paytm at the store, which straddles two dusty streets in this sleepy north Indian city in which tractors jostle with cows for space on the narrow roads.

“People recharge in cash,” Mr. Singh said, after a young man handed him 20 rupees, about 32 cents, to top up his mother’s phone.

The scene in Mr. Singh’s shop underscores a persistent reality of India’s economy: People prefer cash for most routine transactions, despite intensive efforts by the government and global technology companies to lure them onto digital platforms.

India’s reluctance to give up paper money poses challenges for the firms that are vying to offer electronic payments, including local players like Paytm, which has received financing from the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and American tech companies, like FacebookGoogle and PayPal.

Indeed, it is encouraging to see everyday Indians figure out ways to determine how best to pay for their needs, regardless of what the government says. India’s lack of success ought to give other governments pause when evaluating whether to enact similar measures.

Unfortunately, given the desperate need of governments to find new ways to find tax money, it is unrealistic to expect them to give up anytime soon.

The post Despite government and industry pressure, Indians prefer cash to digital money appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool – Despite government and industry pressure, Indians prefer cash to digital money

Denver to subsidize low-income residents in high-end apartments

DenverThe Wall Street Journal reports on the Gordian Knot of Stupid that is Denver’s plan to subsidize low-income residents who rent luxury apartments in the city.

Denver has a plan for its glut of sparkling new, high-end rental apartments with amenities like gyms, roof decks and sometimes even pet spas: It will use them to house teachers, medical technicians and others who can’t afford the city’s soaring rents.

Under a program to be unveiled later this month, the city, along with employers and charitable foundations, will pay the difference between what a lower-income resident can afford and the market rent of an apartment.

Like other cities across the country, Denver is grappling with a shortage of affordable housing for middle-class workers. “Instead of having these units sit vacant, if we can create opportunities to help some of our employees, our residents get into those units, that’s an immediate response,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

What a great idea. Rather than allowing the market to punish developers who built too many units, which would help far more people than whatever plan the city implements, Denver will use taxpayer money to give to families who wouldn’t have had the resources to rent such apartments in the first place.

While the city is selling this as a way to help lower-income families get affordable housing, it is really the developers who made bad business decisions who will get bailed out.

While there is a severe affordable housing problem in cities across the U.S. However, there are many actions cities could take, including loosening zoning and building requirements, that don’t require taxpayer money. And let’s not forget the Federal Reserve’s role in creating money, which makes it that much more challenging for those with fixed incomes to maintain their standards of living.

In the meantime, don’t be surprised if more cities implement similarly idiotic schemes like this one.



The post Denver to subsidize low-income residents in high-end apartments appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool – Denver to subsidize low-income residents in high-end apartments

New York Times highlights secession efforts in Mexico

The New York Times published a fascinating article today, in which it documents how towns or cities across Mexico have begun seceding from larger political entities in an effort to address the violence that has swept the nation due to the drug wars.

The article begins with discussing how avocado farmers in the village of Tancítaro have formed militias to protect them from both drug cartels and the Mexican state, to the point where it “has effectively become an independent city-state.”

Tancítaro represents a quiet but telling trend in Mexico, where a handful of towns and cities are effectively seceding, partly or in whole. These are acts of desperation, revealing the degree to which Mexico’s police and politicians are seen as part of the threat.

Visit three such enclaves — Tancítaro; Monterrey, a rich commercial city; and Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, just outside the capital — and you will find a pattern. Each is a haven of relative safety amid violence, suggesting that their diagnosis of the problem was correct. But their gains are fragile and have come at significant cost.

They are exceptions that prove the rule: Mexico’s crisis manifests as violence, but it is rooted in the corruption and weakness of the state.

The cities have addressed the violence differently. While Tancítaro farmers have formed militias that report directly to them, Monterrey’s business elite took over efforts to reform the police and judiciary, and Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl’s police chief has undertaken the herculean task of reforming the local police by himself. However, in each of these cases, reform efforts took place outside of the state structure, which is viewed by many Mexicans as, at best, inefficient, and at worst, in bed with the drug cartels.

The fact that one of America’s elite newspapers is reporting this story is indicative of the increasingly weakened condition of the state.

One wonders if this will be the first of many stories of secession efforts that will be reported in 2018.

The post New York Times highlights secession efforts in Mexico appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool – New York Times highlights secession efforts in Mexico

LA Times writes a puff piece about local Satanists


I’ve never understood why anyone would want to worship Satan. After all, if he is real, why would anyone want to worship a created being, any created being, rather than the Creator himself?

Sounds like the picture perfect example of a losing proposition.

Nevertheless, for as long as Christ has been away from this earth since his Ascension, so too have there been people who have sought the presumably wise guidance of the ultimate fallen angel.

Moving forward to today, I suppose it should be no surprise at all that Los Angeles has been and continues to be a haven for the unorthodox, including those who hail the angel of light.

What may be surprising is to find the Los Angeles Times write about Satanists as positively as it did today:

In November, in the candlelit basement of a house just above the Silver Lake Reservoir, Alexandra James walked over to an altar where her husband, Zachary, waited near a bleached human skull, teeth locked in eternal rictus. From the altar, she lifted a sword and drew points across his chest while a circle of onlookers watched solemnly (well, a few giggled too). An organist played eerie minor key chords and Alexandra turned to face the group.

“On this altar we consecrate swords to direct the fire of our unholy will,” she said. “A human skull, symbol of death. The great mother Lilith created us all, and will destroy us all.”

“Hail Satan! Hail Satan! Hail Satan!” The group chanted back.

The Jameses had planned the ritual as the climax of a low-key house party that included a dozen or so friends associated with ritual magic — artists, writers, rock musicians who freely mingle occult vocabularies (Satanist, coven, witches), none taken too literally. But a bigger moment came a few hours later when word circulated that Charles Manson had died. Far from mourning a man whose crimes burned satanic imagery into the American mainstream, everyone cracked beers in celebration and jammed on psych rock tunes. Bonnie Bloomgarden, the singer for the band Death Valley Girls, joked that Manson’s spirit would be reincarnated as a small dog, and that she’d probably accidentally adopt it.

It was a great night for a heterodox generation of new self-described Satanists who are upending old “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Helter Skelter” stereotypes in service of radical politics, feminist aesthetics and community unity in the divisive time of Trump.

What better indication that we live in troubled times when Satanists point to Trump and say, “See? We’re not nearly as bad as him.”

The article meanders between describing contemporary Satanists as those who appear to be following it as a fashion statement, and how they differ from “orthodox” practices.

If satanic rituals of old were centered on smashing Christian orthodoxy and middle American propriety — or, more basely, taking drugs and getting laid — this form of Satanism explicitly uses a huge range of ideas to give shape to the inchoate rage felt by so many — especially women and other marginalized groups.

These new converts believe that when confronted with so much chaos, one way to make sense of it is to conjure it themselves.

“If you don’t give people some sense of magic and community, you get the Proud Boys,” Alexandra said, referring to the fraternal neo-fascist group created by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes. Zachary agreed: “People like the Proud Boys have their own social clubs, and that’s black magic. Instead of running away from that, we need to find better ways of organizing ourselves.

“In these times,” he added, “a lot of people want to not feel helpless. And Lucifer was the original rebel angel.”

And yet Satanists never ask what happened to him as a result.

The article also delves deeply into how local artists have turned to Satanism.

Even among the merely Satan-curious, the imagery seems to be popping up all over art, film and music.

The Jameses’ group — not officially affiliated with any one strain of Satanism — is loosely based around their doo-wop band Twin Temple, which sounds like the Marvelettes if that group had pined after the blessings of Baphomet instead of the boy next door. They got their start playing shows for the music-activist collective Play Like a Girl. Dressed in uniforms of black leather and lace, the couple made quite a striking duo on the town, and soon enough others wanted in on their scene.

“They were these barfly regulars with a Gomez/Morticia Addams vibe. We would riff on all things weird,” said Brent Smith, a novelist who met them at the rock bar Harvard & Stone. He sees their rituals as less of a religion and more of a structure for community and making art.

“It’s hard enough inspiring people in L.A. to congregate,” Smith said. “But there’s also real philosophy there, and the means to apply it. Rituals keep you accountable to the work you’re doing. Satanism doesn’t require ideology, and it’s ideology that so often kills writing.”

On Halloween, much of the group gathered in the basement of the Hollywood bar Black Rabbit Rose, where a who’s who of modern occultists gathered for rituals, rock shows and talks from the scene’s demimonde elite.

Avant-garde director Kenneth Anger (whose “Lucifer Rising” is a favorite of Satanists and starred eventual Manson family murderer Bobby Beausoleil) took questions from fans like Matt Skiba, the Blink-182 guitarist and Satanist. Noise musician and prominent Satanist Boyd Rice interviewed Karla LaVey (daughter of Anton LaVey) about war stories from the scene’s midcentury heyday. Glenn Danzig, founder of the horror-punk band the Misfits (who recently sold out the Forum for a reunion show), gabbed with fans in the VIP suite and showed off an archive of rare last-days-of-Jayne Mansfield photographs alongside the Lethal Amounts gallery owner Danny Fuentes, who organized the party and often hosts exhibits of transgressive occult-y art.

At the witching hour, Twin Temple performed a full set, capped with a ritual during which it performed an anti-baptism of its coven-mate, the young film director Kansas Bowling. Blood-smeared and stripped down to nearly “sky-clad,” as they put it, Bowling was offered up in service to the goddess Lilith as an avenging angel for crimes against women.

“Some of these men, like Harvey Weinstein, are finally being held accountable for their crimes,” Alexandra yelled at the crowd. “What do you think, shall we burn him at the stake? Or shall we drown him and see if he floats?” The crowd erupted in cheers for both.

How confused one must be to turn to Satan to obtain any sense of justice?
What times we live in.
St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.



The post LA Times writes a puff piece about local Satanists appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool – LA Times writes a puff piece about local Satanists

Yale psychologist is giving Congress cover to declare Trump mentally unfit

Bandy Lee
Bandy X. Lee

CNN reports that:

A dozen lawmakers from the House and Senate received a briefing from Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy X. Lee on Capitol Hill in early December about President Donald Trump‘s fitness to be president — and Lee has been asked to speak with additional lawmakers, worried about the President’s mental state, later this month.

Lee is editor of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, which, according to Politico, includes testimonials from 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts assessing the president’s level of “dangerousness”.

In the Politico article, Lee is quoted as having been surprised by Congressional interest in her findings.

“One senator said that it was the meeting he most looked forward to in 11 years,” Lee recalled. “Their level of concern about the president’s dangerousness was surprisingly high.”

Lee confirmed to CNN her meetings with members of Congress on the issue:

“Lawmakers were saying they have been very concerned about this, the President’s dangerousness, the dangers that his mental instability poses on the nation,” Lee told CNN in a phone interview Thursday, “They know the concern is universal among Democrats, but it really depends on Republicans, they said. Some knew of Republicans that were concerned, maybe equally concerned, but whether they would act on those concerns was their worry.”

Interestingly, CNN asked Lee whether her public comments were consistent with the professional standards of a psychologist:

Lee’s public comments are highly unusual given protocols from medical professional organizations — including the 37,000-member American Psychiatric Association — banning psychiatrists from diagnosing patients without a formal examination. Under recent guidance from the APA, it is “fine for a psychiatrist to share their expertise about psychiatric issues in general,” but “member psychiatrists should not give professional opinions about the mental state of someone they have not personally evaluated,” according to an APA blog post. When asked by CNN about Lee’s comments, the APA referred them to this guidance. …
Lee made it clear that she is not in a position to diagnose the President, or any public figure, from afar. But she said that it is incumbent on medical professionals to intervene in instances where there is a danger to an individual or the public. She argues that signs the President has exhibited have risen to that level of danger.
Lee also claims that neither her research nor her statements are politically motivated.
“I am uninterested in partisan politics, I have never registered for a political party,” she said. “Ideology doesn’t interest me.”
Lee is either a terrible liar or extraordinarily naive. Given the fact that she is a psychologist at one of the nation’s leading universities, it would be reasonable to not consider naïvité as a viable possibility. Besides, to characterize any interest by politicians in identifying any way to remove Trump from power, given what has happened over the past eighteen months, as “surprisingly high” beggars belief.
It ought to be abundantly clear to see what Lee is doing. She, and the other 27 “mental health professionals” in the book she edited, are working to provide interested members of Congress sufficient rationale so as to remove Trump from power because he is mentally unfit to serve, as allowed under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
However, how she is doing it is clearly unethical. She is pretending to make a professional judgement (remember, this is based on her research, not her political opinion) about Trump’s mental fitness to serve as President. Absent Trump allowing Lee to meet with and examine him, Lee has no basis to do this. Any arguments she may make about Trump’s mental fitness is irrelevant. The only reason she is making these statements is to provide Congress intellectual cover to remove him from office.
Regardless of what one thinks about Trump, the Democratic (and perhaps Republican) establishment are playing an extremely dangerous game in working to use extra-legal methods to remove a duly-elected president from office, and Lee is helping them. At the very least, she should apologize for her participation in such a nasty process.
Additionally, the American Psychiatric Association has a huge problem on its hands. We have at least one example of a member attempting to use her authority as a psychiatrist to rationalize a clearly political move to remove Trump as president. How will it respond to this abuse?
Time will tell.

The post Yale psychologist is giving Congress cover to declare Trump mentally unfit appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool – Yale psychologist is giving Congress cover to declare Trump mentally unfit

The academy’s demonization of white Americans continues

Whether one calls it cultural Marxism, intersectionality, or some nasty combination of the two, universities continue to publish material that lazily argue that white Americans create toxic conditions that need to be confronted and eliminated.

Don’t be polite. That’s racist.

For example, Robert Wenzel points to a Wall Street Journal article that discusses an effort to combat civility because it “is a manifestation of white patriarchy”. In the article, Steve Salerno writes that two University of Northern Iowa professors are spearheading this campaign because “civility within higher education is a racialized, rather than universal, norm.”

[T]heir core contention is twofold: One, that civility, as currently practiced in America, is a white construct. Two, that in a campus setting, the “woke” white student’s endeavor to avoid microaggressions against black peers is itself a microaggression—a form of noblesse oblige whereby white students are in fact patronizing students of color. Not only that, but by treating black students with common courtesy and expecting the same in return, white students elide black grievances, bypassing the “race talk” that is supposed to occur in preamble to all other conversations. Got it?

It is bad enough that someone came up with this idiotic theory. It also appears that it has been put into practice.

Something similar is happening in collegiate debate, where historically high standards of decorum are under siege as manifestations of white patriarchal thinking. So are the factual and logical proofs that debaters are normally expected to offer in arguing their case. Some participants are challenging the format, goals and ground rules of debate itself, in some cases refusing even to stick to the topic at hand.

Again the driving theory is that all conversations must begin by addressing race. As one top black debater, Elijah J. Smith, writes, debate must, before all else, “acknowledge the reality of the oppressed.” He resists the attempt on the part of white debaters to “distance the conversation from the material reality that black debaters are forced to deal with every day.”

Mr. Smith and his think-alikes seek to transform debate into an ersatz course in Black Studies. In a major 2014 debate finals, two Towson University students sidestepped the nominal resolution, which had to do with restricting a president’s war powers, in order to argue that war “should not be waged against n—as.” Two other students decided that rather than debate aspects of U.S. policy in the Mideast, they’d discuss how the common practices of the debate community itself perpetuate racism. Other recent debates involving black participants have devolved into original rap music.

A few debates have featured profane outbursts and even the hurling of furniture. In one memorable case, when the clock ran out on a student during the championship round, he yelled, “F— the time!”

The “existential crisis” of white Christians

Meanwhile, an Morgan State University associate professor claims that white Christians are experiencing an “existential crisis” due to the declining religiosity of white America.

According to Campus Reform:

Darrius Hills, who teaches African American religion at MSU, claimed in the journal Black Theology that white Christians have lost their “spiritual centre” and are collectively facing an “existential crisis” that has led them to turn to Donald Trump for help “ameliorating these racial and religious anxieties.”

Before criticizing Hills’s thesis, it is important to note there is an element of truth within it. Princeton economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case published a report finding that from 1999 to 2014, not only has the death rate for middle-aged white Americans been increasing, the cause of that increase is due primarily to suicide and afflictions stemming from substance abuse. The mortality rate is most pronounced among those with no more than a high school education. To Dr. Deaton, the only phenomena comparable to these “deaths of despair” is the AIDS epidemic.

When one considers the de-industrialization of the United States over the past 30 years, particularly in flyover country, it shouldn’t be a surprise that one consequence would be despair among those who lost previously stable jobs. Trump clearly tapped into that frustration, and helped him win the White House.

However, the leap in Hills’s thesis occurs in the presumption that white Americans voted for Trump to ameliorate “racial and religious anxieties”.

Although the research makes no mention of any interviews or focus groups with white Christians—a common feature of qualitative research—Hills nonetheless contends that white religious people are in a perpetual state of despair.

“It is a perpetual despair that results from the acknowledgment and the realization of personal, social, and political reconfiguration and its impact upon the hierarchical positionality of White communities,” he asserts.

Interpreted through the lens of critical race theory [which will be discussed below – Mr. Fool], Hills argues that white American males are uniquely discontented in the current year, claiming that they have feelings of “aggrieved entitlement” because of the rising minority population in America, and have therefore “proven to be eager and willing theological bedfellows.”

Hills adds that white Christian support for Donald Trump “raises disturbing questions about the nature and mission of evangelical Christian thought as it pertains to racial and religious reconciliation,” calling the current “racial divide” among white Christians a “continuation of [Christianity’s] socio-religious platforms since the eighteenth century.”

For those wondering what “critical race theory” is, according to the UCLA School of Public Affairs’s Critical Race Theory website:

[Critical Race Theory] recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color. CRT also rejects the traditions of liberalism and meritocracy. Legal discourse says that the law is neutral and colorblind, however, CRT challenges this legal “truth” by examining liberalism and meritocracy as a vehicle for self-interest, power, and privilege.  CRT also recognizes that liberalism and meritocracy are often stories heard from those with wealth, power, and privilege. These stories paint a false picture of meritocracy; everyone who works hard can attain wealth, power, and privilege while ignoring the systemic inequalities that institutional racism provides.

In other words, the “scholar” (hee hee hee) does not need to find a specific person do anything specifically to argue that a racist act occurred. He or she merely assumes that racism exists, and that any institution that perpetuates it must be destroyed. Full stop.

In fact, “Professor” Willis co-authored an article with Tommy Curry, a Texas A&M “professor” who argued in a podcast that “in order to be liberated, some white people may have to die.”

It is simply astounding that universities not only publish such mad gibberish, but hire people to write it. If this continues, it will only be a matter of time before the reputation of the academy, as far as the liberal arts are concerned, evaporates.

In the meantime, it appears that Americans will be forced to suffer through such idiocy.

The post The academy’s demonization of white Americans continues appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool – The academy’s demonization of white Americans continues

Psychologists shouldn’t ignore the soul


David Rosmarin, director of the Spirituality and Mental Health Program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., wrote an important opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal about the need for the psychology profession to address the spiritual needs of their patients.

After providing background into how his early patients at a psychiatric hospital asked if he could talk to them about their spiritual lives (a topic on which he felt unqualified to speak), and making a case that spirituality influences how someone thinks, Rosmarin discussed why psychologists haven’t addressed spiritual matters in the past:

Even though Sigmund Freud’s work is largely discredited, his classification of religious belief as “neurosis” reflected a deep antipathy toward anything that hinted at the metaphysical. Patients who professed religious beliefs were viewed as ill or immature. Having a spiritual perspective was considered a pathological problem to be targeted in the course of treatment.

In my career I haven’t encountered much explicit antipathy toward religion. Yet Freud’s perspectives still have lingering effects: Psychiatrists remain the least religious of all physicians. Clinicians tend to disregard spirituality in the provision of services. I was taught in graduate school to leave God at the threshold of the therapy room.

The result is a chasm between practitioners and patients. In 2015, I published a study that found 58% of patients at my hospital reported significant interest in discussing spirituality with their clinicians. Such discussions can be medically useful, as they help patients to engage more in the treatment process. Further, in another report, belief in God was associated with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms during treatment.

Rosmarin finds this chasm to be anything but helpful to patients:

Ignoring spirituality in some cases feels like a form of malpractice. Recently a patient came to me with tears in her eyes and described how she felt angry at God for cursing her with a severe mood disorder. But she also longed for spiritual solace and connection and was even angrier at the field of psychiatry for not giving her a venue to address spiritual concerns.

Fortunately, McLean has created the Spirituality and Mental Health Program to serve the spiritual needs of its patients.

I have two general, if related, observations on Dr. Rosmarin’s essay.

First, McLean’s program is certainly a step in the right direction. In an increasingly secular culture, it is not in the least bit surprising that people in general, and those who suffer from psychological neuroses in particular, are struggling to make sense of their lives. And it appears that millennials, who have grown up in this culture, appear to be suffering the most.

What secular culture does not understand is that metaphysics is an essential component of our worldview. It is impossible for humans to completely grasp reality, so we must worship something in order for the world to make any sense to us. Otherwise, the world appears to us as nothing but chaos. A psychologist ignoring how a patient addresses spirituality is akin to a car mechanic that never pays attention to the tires.

Second, Rosmarin’s insights about Freud echo what Jung wrote back in the 1930s; namely, that Freud (and Jonathan Adler) developed psychological theories that leave out, in Jung’s words, “the psyche, and is suited to people who believe that they have no spiritual needs or aspirations.” In his essay “Psychotherapists or the Clergy“, Jung wrote about the interplay between mind and spirit:

A psycho-neurosis must be understood as the suffering of a human being who has not discovered what life means for him. But all creativeness in the realm of the spirit as well as every psychic advance of man arises from a state of mental suffering, and it is spiritual stagnation, psychic sterility, which causes this state.

Jung later argues that psychologists and clergy have two distinct yet complementary roles in helping a suffering patient: the psychologist to address neuroses, and the priest to address spiritual suffering. McLean’s new program appears to correctly identify that patients need help in both.

However, as the church’s importance in society has declined, it is an open question whether the clergy are in a position to address the barren spiritual state of their respective flocks.

Hopefully, this will be an issue that church, temple, and mosque can help with over time.

In the meantime, it is extremely encouraging to see the psychological community take preliminary steps to help patients heal both their mind and spirit.

The post Psychologists shouldn’t ignore the soul appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool – Psychologists shouldn’t ignore the soul

Houthi rebels kill ex-Yemeni president Saleh


I was planning on analyzing The Economist’s latest cover story, which analyzes the humanitarian tragedy in Yemen. However, today’s news of Houthi rebels killing ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh is a shocking development:

IT WAS an unceremonious end for an Arab leader who had dominated his country for decades. On December 4th Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s former dictator, was killed outside the capital Sana’a, which has been paralysed by a week of fighting. A video circulated online showed his bloodied body wrapped in a blanket, surrounded by militiamen. State television called the former president “the leader of the traitors”. His death is likely to escalate a three-year civil war that has laid waste to the country. It was also a microcosm of Yemen’s complexity: Mr Saleh was killed by former foes who had become allies, only to become enemies again.

As The Economist discusses above, an already-complex war has become even more so.

The implications of this murder on the plight of Yemenis, who have been suffering from starvation and cholera, could be staggering. If Daniel Larison is correct, an already-intolerable humanitarian crisis could become far, far worse:

The fighting in the capital over the weekend was already very destructive and caused many civilian casualties, and further fighting between the factions there will be even more devastating. If the breakdown of the Houthi-Saleh alliance prompts a coalition assault on the capital, the loss of life could be great. The humanitarian situation in the country continues to grow more dire as the coalition blockade deprives the population of essential food, fuel, and medicine. The civilian population needs a complete halt to the fighting now more than ever, but unfortunately that seems unlikely to follow these events.

Please pray for the poor souls suffering in Yemen.

The post Houthi rebels kill ex-Yemeni president Saleh appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool – Houthi rebels kill ex-Yemeni president Saleh