Bruce Levine: The Rebel Yell
Pacifying the population by listing anti-authoritarianism as a mental illness
Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Clinical psychologist Bruce Levine is the author of Common Sense Rebellion and Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic. He regularly deals with “anti-authoritarian” clients who would be diagnosed by the health care authorities as suffering from “oppositional defiant disorder” or ADHD, and helps them to deal with adjusting to their societal, work or school environment without rebelling in a self-destructive manner.
In a psychiatric context, Levine explains how successful political movements like the American Revolution and the more recent populist uprising are historically led by people who have individual self-respect, something very much lacking in today’s society, as well as collective confidence and trust in one another. “When you’re living in a society that breaks people’s self-respect and breaks their bonds of trust with one another, it makes it very difficult to have any kind of democratic revolutionary movement,” remarks Levine.
Levine identifies the process of “learned helplessness” as one of the primary factors that has led to society feeling broken, demoralized, hopeless and defeated. He cites an experiment involving dogs where both groups of animals were subjected to electro-shocks, wherein one group of dogs was able to stop the electro-shocks and the other was not. The dogs not able to stop the shocks moved into passivity and depression, and even when presented with the opportunity to escape did not even try to take it because they had learned helplessness. Levine compares this to national elections, where people vote for either Democrats or Republicans but still end up with the same consequences, or don’t vote whatsoever but still end up with the same consequences. “That’s learned helplessness,” explains Levine, “No matter what you do you’re going to get that same degree of pain.”
Levine compares the apathy and the lack of demonstrations against the 2000 election fraud controversy in the U.S. to similar examples in Mexico in Iran, where millions of people protest even though in doing so they are risking their lives. He identifies debt as a central contributor to people’s apathy and how populations are broken. Unlike previous generations, every young person who leaves education is now saddled with an average of $20,000 of debt, and so are petrified of losing their job or having their benefits taken away, thus are far less likely to go out and protest against the system that holds them in bondage.
Three other major factors that have broken an entire generation of young people are the influence of television, the education system, and the mental health profession. Because kids spend all their spare time watching TV and playing video games, they are losing their interest in reading, points out Levine, the perfect cocktail for an authoritarian regime that needs helpless, dumbed-down victims who will tolerate any amount of intellectual and political disengagement. In turn, by forcing children to read books they are not interested in, schools discourage kids from becoming individual readers and restrict their capacity for critical thinking.
School is an authoritarian pacifier, states Levine, while television also teaches young people that the only way to get entertained is through some authority. Meanwhile, kids who rebel become victims of the mental health industry, an inter-personal police force where the pacifying weapons are medication and drugging. Any form of individualistic behavior is increasingly being characterized as aberrant, warns Levine, as part of the process of suppressing a general rebellion against the status quo, as the list of mental disorders listed by the American Psychiatric Association grows and grows with each re-issue of the DSM Manual, which is the bible for the mental health industry.
Levine explains how prior to 1980, there was no “oppositional defiance disorder” listed in the DSM Manual, and how psychiatric conditions listed in the manual are for the most part added for cultural and political reasons, not for genuine health concerns. As we have documented, the process of identifying those who question authority as mentally ill is rooted in some of the most brutal authoritarian regimes in history. Critics of the state were branded mentally ill and sent to psikhushkas – mental hospitals – in the former Soviet Union.
Speaking on the subject of the most common mental illness – depression – Levine notes how the condition was very rare as recently as 25 years ago, but that since an industry grew up around bombarding people with medication, over-prescription of depression became a very lucrative business, with normal human behavior being medicalized as a form of depression. However, perhaps the major reason for skyrocketing rates of depression is the cultural shift towards social isolation, lack of support and lack of community, with around 25 per cent of Americans now living alone and 25 per cent also saying that they now have no confidants whatsoever in their life whom they can trust and receive empathy from, a figure up from just 10 per cent in 1980.