Addiction Is Not a Disease

From Theodore Dalrymple:

There are cheap lies and expensive lies, and the lie that addiction is a disease just like any other will prove to be costly. It is the lie upon which Washington has based its proposed directive that insurance policies should cover addiction and mental disorders in the same way as they cover physical disease. The government might as well decriminalize fraud while it is at it.

The evidence that addiction is not a disease like any other is compelling, overwhelming, and obvious. It has also been available for a long time. The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s definition of addiction as a “chronic, relapsing brain disease” is about as scientific as the advertising claims for Coca-Cola. In fact, it had its origin as a funding appeal to Congress.

To take only one point among many: most addicts who give up do so without any medical assistance—and most addicts do give up. Moreover, they do so at an early age. The proximate cause of their abstinence is their decision to be abstinent. No one can decide not to have rheumatoid arthritis, say, or colon cancer. Sufferers from those diseases can decide to cooperate or not with treatment, but that is another matter entirely. Therefore, there is a category difference between addiction and real disease.

The pretense that a non-disease is a disease may actually hinder people from deciding to behave better: they will instead wait for their medical savior, as Estragon waits for Godot. Whether this hope is justified or not, the pretense will certainly involve much public expense, just as would fitting out an expedition to discover unicorns somewhere in the world.

To treat addicts as people to whom something has happened rather than as people who have decided to do something is to infantilize them. It is another small step in the transformation of the population into wards of government. Far from being generous and understanding, the government’s directive is a thinly disguised grab for power.

It is the same, perhaps worse, with mental disorders. It is by now notorious that the definitions of mental disorder are so loose that everyone has one, or more than one. They have spread like cars and washing machines. Nothing is easier to fake than mental disorder, especially where it is diagnosed by checklist; and where financial incentives are in place, fakery will flourish. Unfortunately, people playing a role come to live that role if they play it long enough. As my friend, Colin Brewer, a psychiatrist, brilliantly put it, misery rises to meet the means available for its alleviation.

Genuine mental illness exists, but it takes severe judgment to distinguish it from that which is merely reflexive in nature, such as whiplash injury, which scarcely exists in countries whose legal systems allow no compensation for it. (It’s the lawyers who should be sued, not the people who run into the back of cars.) The government’s proposed policy is therefore a charter for everything from human weakness to outright fraud. This, of course, is what some politicians hanker for, a people without powers of decision for themselves, a people without resilience: for then, they need the politicians to save them.

Source

Advertisements

Merry Christmas

The Nativity

The Nativity

“For many of us, sadly, the spirit of Christmas is “hurry”. And yet, eventually, the hour comes when the rushing ends and the race against the calendar mercifully comes to a close. It is only now perhaps that we truly recognize the spirit of Christmas. It is not a matter of days or weeks, but of centuries – nearly twenty of them now since that holy night in Bethlehem. Regarded in this manner, the pre-Christmas rush may do us greater service than we realize. With all its temporal confusion, it may just help us to see that by contrast, Christmas itself is eternal.”
Burton Hillis

The VA Censors Christmas Cards

Much like a prison, the Veterans Administration of North Texas has censored Christmas cards donated from students to veterans in a VA hospital in Dallas. Only instead of searching for actual contraband, the VA, in it’s continuing effort to infantilize veterans, searched for what it considers contraband: religious reference.

From KDFW:

They thought it was a kind holiday gesture, but dozens of Prosper students didn’t get to deliver the Christmas cards they made for local veterans because of a VA policy against specific religious cards and phrasing.

The cards are still in North Texas, and the writers are disappointed their thank you’s won’t be seen by the people they were intended for.

“I’m hoping that it might make their day because their family might live far away, and they might not have somebody to celebrate Christmas with and I’d like them to know they’ve not been forgotten and somebody wanted to say thank you,” said fourth grader Gracie Brown.

Gracie and her brother, Luke, put a lot of thought and effort into their Christmas cards.

“It includes ‘Merry Christmas,’ and when you open it up, it says ‘Thank you for your service’ and the American flag,” said Luke.

Fifty-two students at Grace Academy in Prosper spent Friday making the cards they planned to hand deliver to bedridden veterans at the VA hospital in Dallas Monday morning.

When Gracie and Luke’s mom, Andrea, found out they wouldn’t be able to, she was outraged.

“This wasn’t the country I grew up in, when you couldn’t say ‘Merry Christmas,’ you couldn’t say ‘God bless you’ or reference any scripture,” she said.

The cards were the idea of Susan Chapman, a math teacher at Grace Academy. She’s married to a veteran and volunteers with the American Legion and other veterans’ organizations.

“It really didn’t occur to me there would be a problem with distributing Christmas cards,” said Chapman.

She didn’t find out about the VA’s holiday card policy until she called Monday morning to arrange details for the cards’ delivery.

“I told him my students made cards, we’d like to bring them down for the veterans,” said Chapman. “And he said, ‘That’s great. We’re thrilled to have them, except the only thing is, we can’t accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘God bless you’ or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.'”

An official with the VA later clarified the policy, which is in the Veterans Health Administration handbook, by stating the following:

“In order to be respectful of our Veterans religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by Chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. After the review is complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card donation. The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care System. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding.”

“I don’t know what their definition of appropriate is,” said Chapman.

Parents say as disappointing as this experience was for their children, they’re more heartbroken for the veterans.

“They couldn’t believe the people that these people they wanted to honor weren’t going to get the chance to see what they had done,” said Andrea.

The cards will not be thrown away — they are being shipped to Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio and to a private facility for veterans in Louisiana.

Source

Politically Correct Reality

From Jonah Goldberg:

So rednecks need to be politically correct now?

Wait, before the National Association of Rednecked Persons attacks me, let me be clear that I don’t mean “redneck” as an insult. Indeed, Redneck Pride has been on the rise ever since Jeff Foxworthy got rich informing people they “might be a redneck.”

(Some clues: if your school fight song was “Dueling Banjos”; if you’ve ever raked leaves in your kitchen; if your boat hasn’t left your driveway for 15 years; if birds are attracted to your beard, etc.)

Redneck reality shows have been all the rage: Rocket City Rednecks, My Big Redneck Vacation, Hillbilly Handfishin’ and, of course, Swamp People.

But the gold standard is Duck Dynasty, which follows the Robertsons, a family that struck it rich selling duck calls. It’s like a real-life version of The Beverly Hillbillies. All of the men look like they stepped out of the Hatfield–McCoy conflict to smoke a corncob pipe.

What all of these — and countless other — reality shows have in common is their shock value. And guess what? Sometimes the shock is manufactured. If the cameras weren’t on, the silicone life forms on the various Real Housewives shows probably wouldn’t be throwing wine in each other’s faces as much as they do. TLC’s awful reality show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo tries its hardest to turn an uncouth Southern white family with a children’s beauty-pageant fixation into the sort of genetic and cultural horror show that sparked the progressives to advocate eugenics. And everyone everywhere mugs for the camera.

But here’s a twist. Phil Robertson (who — shhh! — has a master’s degree from Louisiana Tech) gave an interview to GQ in which he said that, as a Christian, he has problems with homosexuality. He got a bit too detailed with his anatomical analysis. But his real sin was calling homosexuality a sin comparable with bestiality.

In response, A&E has suspended him from the reality show about his own family. That right there should give you a sense of how real this reality show is. If it’s about the family, some producer in New York can’t decide who’s in or out of the family. If NBC News decided it simply didn’t like the Republican party anymore (not altogether implausible), it could decide not to report on the GOP. But it would stop being a news organization in the process. Instead, it would be producing a kind of “reality show” for which it makes up its own version of reality (like Top Chef or MSNBC).

Sarah Palin jumped into the fray. “Free speech is an endangered species,” she warned on her Facebook page. “Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the ‘Duck Dynasty’ patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”

Well, yes and no. There are no constitutional free-speech rights involved when a private entertainment network decides to cut a character from a fake reality show. A&E has free-speech rights, too. Everyone has a right to an opinion, and everyone has a right to an opinion about that opinion.

But Palin’s not entirely wrong either. Liberals love free expression so long as you freely express things they agree with. Particularly when it comes to homosexuality, there’s zero tolerance for dissent of any kind.

Now, I don’t agree with Robertson’s take on homosexuality. Heck, I don’t even like duck hunting. But I also don’t care. What I object to is the insinuation that I have to.

And what I find absolutely ridiculous is the feigned shock that an avatar of the redneck renaissance might actually have politically incorrect or just plain religiously orthodox views on homosexuality. Seriously, who called for the fainting couch when they read his interview in GQ?

Duck Dynasty has been a huge ratings success, receiving fawning coverage from the elite media. Much of the coverage has also been incredibly condescending, like aristocrats in Victorian London having a grand time inviting a Zulu tribesman to dinner. Everyone says, “Look at the funny rednecks,” until Robertson says something that you would absolutely expect to hear from a guy who plays a redneck on TV. Then suddenly everyone is scandalized? Please. Isn’t the whole point of these shows to demonstrate that there are lots of different kinds of people out there? Isn’t that a good thing? Lord knows, there’s no lack of reality shows about gays.

Maybe the best way to avoid such problems in the future is to demand that all reality-show casts be made up of professional actors. That way, reality will never disappoint us.

Source

Too Much Reality for A&E

Gay author and blogger Andrew Sullivan had this to say about A&E’s suspension of Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty for having the wrong opinion regarding gays:

Robertson is a character in a reality show. He’s not a spokesman for A&E any more than some soul-sucking social x-ray from the Real Housewives series is a spokeswoman for Bravo. Is he being fired for being out of character? Nah. He’s being fired for staying in character – a character A&E have nurtured and promoted and benefited from. Turning around and demanding a Duck Dynasty star suddenly become the equivalent of a Rachel Maddow guest is preposterous and unfair.

What Phil Robertson has given A&E is a dose of redneck reality. Why on earth would they fire him for giving some more?

Source

Government by Mere Mortals

From Mark Steyn:

Not everyone at the Mandela jamboree was doing selfies with the Danish pastry. One reader passed along this photograph: No sign of Barack buddy David Cameron, but here are three of the Queen’s other prime ministers – Australia’s Tony Abbott, Canada’s Stephen Harper, New Zealand’s John Key – having a working lunch ahead of the memorial service. All three are conservatives, and, while there are many who’d like a bit more red meat with respect to this or that, every single one of them is well to the right of President Obama. Come to think of it, their respective leftie (Liberal/Labour) predecessors (Julia Gillard, Paul Martin, Helen Clark) were also to the right of President Obama. For a supposed “right of center” nation, it is striking how at odds with its allies America is.

But what I like about the photo is its ordinariness, right down to the restaurant decor, the wall print of wine bottles, and the spare chair. The Obama cult doesn’t seem to allow for anything so low-key – see, for example, this absurd scene from the US Embassy in London. After five years under the klieg lights of Obama glamor, there’s something to be said for being governed by non-messiahs.

Source

Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Deus Benedicat animarum eorum

Charlotte Bacon
Daniel Barden
Olivia Engel
Josephine Gay
Dylan Hockley
Madeleine Hsu
Catherine Hubbard
Chase Kowalski
Jesse Lewis
Ana Marquez-Greene
James Mattioli
Grace McDonnell
Emilie Parker
Jack Pinto
Noah Pozner
Caroline Previdi
Jessica Rekos
Avielle Richman
Benjamin Wheeler
Allison Wyatt

Rachel D’Avino
Dawn Hochsprung
Anne Marie Murphy
Lauren Rousseau
Mary Sherlach
Victoria Leigh Soto

Nancy Lanza