Ethics Hero: Popehat’s Ken White


I can’t really say Ken White is a friend. We have never met, though we have spoken on the phone. I sent him a copy of my book. He has cited my posts and I have (often) cited his; we have disagreed and argued. I think he’s still ticked off at me for asserting here that well off, smart, educated professionals (like him) who argue for drug legalization share responsibility for the fates of the poor, uneducated or not so smart people who ruin their lives using the junk because the elite have proclaimed that the laws are foolish. (I still believe that, by the way, more today than ever.)

Ken also advised me wisely when I was being threatened with a lawsuit. I am eternally grateful for his kindness. We share a profession and the avocation of blogging, as well as a professional interest in ethics. We are both fervent believers in the First Amendment, but Ken is a true warrior on the front lines, while I just occasionally submit a dispatch from the battlefield. We both adopted children from overseas, and have some similarly warped strains to our humor. One thing I do not share with Ken is clinical depression, thank goodness. He suffers from it, I don’t.

Depression has long been a constant in my life, however. My mother experienced it; two of my cousins committed suicide while in its grip. My son has bouts of clinical depression. Many of my closest and most cherished friends are clinically depressed, and I once served on an NIMH committee with the assignment of finding ways to educate the public about clinical depression and its dangers. I can’t say the committee accomplished much, other than convincing me that this was a far, far greater public health issue, affecting may millions of Americans and their families, than I ever suspected.

Ken has just written an important,candid, brave post about the illness as he undergoes treatment for a particularly serious episode. He is among the most talented bloggers on the planet, and when he chooses to write on a subject that he really cares about, there is no one better. Despite all of his marvelous, illuminating essays on law, ethics, the Constitution and current events, I doubt that he has ever written anything that will accomplish more good than this essay. It is a gift, not only to those, like Ken, who must live with depression, but also those who lack understanding about what the clinically depressed must endure, and overcome.

Blogging is distinct from writing for websites. The blogger is obligated to reach beyond the bounds of formal communication and reveal the personality, character, quirks, eccentricities, warts. loves and biases of the author, or there’s really no point in having a blog at all. What Ken has achieved in this post meets the highest aspiration of blogging; not gratuitous, narcissistic revelation, but bold and selfless insights earned from personal  pain and intense experience, published for the enlightenment, inspiration and benefit of others.

Read it here.

There is someone you will want to send the link to, perhaps many. On behalf of all who read it, thanks, Ken.

And feel better.

3 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: Popehat’s Ken White

  1. Linked Ken’s post to my workplace c/o Training Coordinator, heard back in minutes: it will be put to good use, thanks.

  2. As a retired psychologist (and a cognitive behaviorist, to boot) I can tell you that these posts, both yours and Ken’s, are long overdue. I have lost two people to clinical depression, sadly, both at the most dangerous time for them…as they started getting better. One was in a State funny farm (just as legit as looney bin) and went to extraordinary lengths to commit suicide, the other was at home, and managed to elude her husbands supervision for just that minute. To this day, I still feel that had I been just a little bit better at my job, they would still be alive. Thanks, Jack for your post, and to Ken White for his.

  3. Thanks for posting this. It’s a subject that hits close to home for me; after reading it I felt better, and felt like I had learned something too.

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