I just read Laurence Dodds’ Daily Telegraph opinion piece in which he describes a stereotypical “conspiracy theorist’s” reaction to the recent discovery of what might be a section of the lost MH370 passenger jet. Dodds’ lay psychoanalysis concludes that conspiracy theorists are too psychologically damaged to mindlessly accept any sensible official account of the cause of the plane’s still unexplained disappearance.

Dodds’ claim is embarrassingly illogical on its face, since it anticipates the reaction of a non-existent homogenous group of people who, he assumes, will disbelieve a non-existent explanation of an unknown event. But that won’t bother Dodds, because his article isn’t written to persuade, rather, it’s written to reinforce a very specific and dangerous institutional lie: that only a mentally ill person would ever question their government’s actions and motives.

The institutionalization of Dodds’ lie, which kicks the legs out from under a free and democratic society, is evident in the politicization of what laughingly passes for mental health care these days, a profession that increasingly invokes the nebulous, catch-all diagnoses of so-called “personality disorders”.


Signs of antisocial personality disorder

A person with antisocial personality disorder may:


* exploit, manipulate or violate the rights of others

* lack concern, regret or remorse about other people’s distress

* behave irresponsibly and show disregard for normal social behaviour

* have difficulty sustaining long-term relationships

* be unable to control their anger

* lack guilt, or not learn from their mistakes

* blame others for problems in their lives

* repeatedly break the law


The “sign” that immediately jars is:

* behave irresponsibly and show disregard for normal social behaviour

The apparently reasonable act of “disregarding” the “normal social behaviour” of, say, slavery, or of refusing women the right to vote, or of accepting unsupported government accounts of major events, such as 9/11, 7/7 and Sandy Hook, is now officially a sign of mental illness. The association of political dissent with mental illness is dangerous. Take the case of single mum, Melanie Shaw, for example.

Shaw was conveniently declared mentally ill because she blew the whistle on the long-term and brutal sexual and other abuse of children, including suicides and possible murder, she witnessed while under the “care” of a state-controlled children’s home. Many of the children from the same children’s home have since stepped forward to confirm her claims, and, in some cases, have received settlements.

Shaw is by no means the first dissenter to be falsely labeled mentally ill to shut them up. Mankind has a long and rich history of strategically politicizing mental health, from before Galileo to today’s CIA rendition and torture:


Psychiatric incarceration of mentally healthy people [such as happened in China and the USSR] is uniformly understood to be a particularly pernicious form of repression, because it uses the powerful modalities of medicine as tools of punishment, and it compounds a deep affront to human rights with deception and fraud. Doctors who allow themselves to be used in this way (certainly as collaborators, but even as victims of intimidation) betray the trust of society and breach their most basic ethical obligations as professionals.


Political Abuse of Psychiatry in the Soviet Union and in China: Complexities and Controversies; Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law: 30:136–44, 2002

Sadly, today’s so-called mental health professionals shamelessly collude with corrupt governments in all manner of obscene ways to conceal state crimes of all kinds, from simple deception, to torture, to murder:


According to Sidley Austin, another motive for APA’s lead role in crafting the “ethics policy” that allowed continued enhanced torture techniques was that “APA wanted to positively influence DOD regarding this policy so that psychologists would be included to the maximum degree possible, and psychologists would not lose the lead role to psychiatrists…” and “that APA would be rewarded with a very prominent role for psychologists in this new policy.”

The politicization of mental illness diagnoses is undeniable when it occurs on a grand scale, as in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and China. Less evident, though, is the accumulation of smaller incidents of work-a-day politicization of diagnoses, such as in Dodds’ dishonest, gruesome and offensive opinion piece.

I firmly believe that a democratically engaged society should not have to strain under the dead weight of Flat Earthers, such as Dodds: if the Prime Minister announced that the Earth is flat, Dodds would immediately label the rest of us insane flat-Earth deniers, or ignorant Orbists. This would be in keeping with the same “normal social behaviour” that allows us to fail to question the need to bomb Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction we knew didn’t exist, to not care to know how a group of “terrorists” could take a cancelled train from Luton to London to plant bombs, and to honestly believe every word the government tells us, and that, and particularly that, if we don’t have anything to hide, then we don’t need protection from government overreach.

At the risk of flaunting whatever personality disorder I might be suffering from, I’d like to ask the mentally healthy Flat Earthers, such as Dodds, a question:

How do you suppose the conspiracy theorists who penned the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, the US Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States managed to do so prior to the invention of personality disorders, the Internet, and tin foil?

Feel free to get back to me as soon as your government has told you what to say.


Photo by Tim Sheerman-Chase

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