Pacifying the population by listing anti-authoritarianism as a mental illness
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.
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