The New Fascists Among Us, Part II: The American Medical Association

The tweet above is the smoking gun that proves the attitude toward freedom of thought, opinion and expression in the American Medical Association, a group that most Americans believe is dedicated to the area of expertise of its members: health and medicine. The tell-tale words of the fascist are right there: “harmful podcast and tweet,” because words that challenge the required orthodoxy must not be allowed, and “We are taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” meaning intimidation, punishment, indoctrination, and censorship. These are the tools of those who fear free speech, and who demand compliance with mandated beliefs.

Once the damning tweet was exposed by, among others, Campus Reform, the American Medical Association took it down. There is no reason to do this unless the group realizes that it reveals too much. This tweet, however remains:

That tweet exposes the AMA for what it is: a political ally of an ambitious rights-repressive regime, and an organization that is abusing its perceived authority and the public trust. As with a similar recent proclamation by the CDC, firearms and the Second Amendment are not the proper concern of the AMA. Using the power of a collective professional organization to lobby publicly or privately for restrictions on American rights unrelated to medicine is an abuse of power and a misrepresentation. (The American Bar Association, and many, many others, engage in the same insidious mission creep. It is why I refuse to belong to the ABA.)

In past posts on this topic, I have noted that if my doctor started questioning me about whether there is a firearm in my home (there is), I would a) end the discussion, b) leave the office and c) find a new doctor, just as I would if he quizzed me about how fast I drove or what kind of dog I owned. Physicians are authoritarian by nature, and I suppose it is to be expected that they would gravitate toward totalitarian government and its methods. Expected, I say, but not tolerated or excused, at least by me.

Nobody else should tolerate or excuse it either.

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Making Sure Your Shrink Has Only Your Needs in Mind

Psychiatry and psychoanalysis were supposed to transform humanity for the better by allow us to understand what makes us happy, sad and crazy and to control it, rather than to let it control us. But after a century that witnessed  Woody Allen undergoing intense treatment for decades that resulted in his marrying his step-daughter (and feeling darn good about it!), the profession is increasingly resorts to a shrug and a prescription. The good news is that many of the new drugs seem to do the job a lot better than Dr. Freud’s couch; the bad is that psychiatrists are often conflicted by their financial ties to drug companies.

Writing in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institutes of Health, states that American psychiatrists need to reform a “culture of influence” that has been nurtured by too many goodies offered to doctors by pharmaceutical companies and happily accepted, including big ticket items like research grants, trips, fees for writing friendly journal articles and entertainment, and smaller trinkets like coffee mugs. Continue reading