The Righteous Generosity that Denies Personal Responsibility

In the Library of Law and Liberty, Dalrymple points to an editorial in the British Medical Journal suggesting that wariness of the mentally ill is based on unjust prejudice:

The central error that in my opinion leads the authors to insinuate this untruth is a very common and damaging one: the elision of what happens to you with what you do. No doubt there is a continuum between these two poles, which is what makes the ascription of personal responsibility often difficult and full of ambiguity (thank goodness, for otherwise life would be dull and uninteresting, and literature redundant); but this is not, or ought not to be, to deny the difference between what happens to you and what you do, unless all judgement of what lies on continua, which is to say practically all judgement, is to be abandoned. Schizophrenia is at the ‘what happens to you’ end of the continuum, while so-called substance misuse disorder is much nearer the ‘what you do’ end.

35 thoughts on “The Righteous Generosity that Denies Personal Responsibility

  1. Louise

    ‘In the Library of Law and Liberty, Dalrymple points to an editorial in the British Medical Journal suggesting that wariness of the mentally ill is based on unjust prejudice.’

    No it isn’t, the editorial is entitled “Risk of people with mental illnesses dying by homicide.”

    Reply
  2. Clinton Post author

    Right on cue.

    “In the first paragraph of the editorial we read the following:

    Popular media reporting portrays mental illness as posing a threat to the safety of others, and these continual stigmatizing portrayals make the violent victimization of an already marginalized section of society more likely.

    …the implication is that the media are misleading the public, that then reacts by ‘stigmatizing,’ or being unreasonably wary of, people with psychiatric disorders, especially those of a more obvious and unmistakable kind.”

    Reply
  3. Louise

    So why then, Doctor Daniels, did you and your colleagues stand by and let the Major administration (when you were working as a consultant psychiatrist in Birmingham in the British Midlands) implement the Care in the Community Policy? Is there any evidence that you and your colleagues took any collective action to stop it?

    Personal responsibility?

    Whatever!

    Reply
  4. Fred

    You are certainly a prime argument against care in the community, Louise. I think we’d all be better off if you were confined somewhere safe with a blunt pencil and a sheet of paper upon which to compose more of your terrible, self-indulgent poetry.

    I’m not sure what you have against Dalrymple.

    Is it that he has a voice and no-one cares about yours? (I suspect not even your neighbours in Cambridge are interested in your thoughts, after all.)

    Is it that he is (relatively) wealthy, and enjoys his life, while you, the proverbial church mouse, must stand with your nose pressed against the world’s window?

    Or did he treat you once, and not give into your demands for whatever it was that you thought, in your uneducated and ill informed way, you needed?

    Who knows? Or cares? I’m sure he’s not even aware of you and your weird, needy, stalking behaviour.

    At bottom, you are nothing more than a sad, lonely, irrelevant bore – an utter nobody who wants to be somebody and knows she never will.

    But carry on with your barking mad, obsessive nonsense – it entertains me, that’s for sure! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Louise

    ‘But carry on with your barking mad, obsessive nonsense – it entertains me, that’s for sure!’

    The feeling, my dear, is entirely mutual.

    I hate to break this to you but not everybody is obliged to admire the same people as you do. Or are you just another ‘nodding dog’?

    Now, would you care to deal with the issue I raised or even with the issues he has raised?

    (By the by, Dalrymple is highly unlikely to be ‘rich’. He was with the NHS for a decade and a half. The public sector may be generous but there are limits.)

    Reply
    1. Fred

      Who used the word ‘rich’? I said ‘relatively wealthy’ – relative, that is, to you.

      Anyway.

      What is it that you have against him?

      To hate someone as much as you clearly do him is very odd, you know. Are you taking your medication (genuine question)?

      Reply
      1. Jaxon

        I’m actually surprised that there are many, many more people with prominent hate agendas against Dalrymple.

        I almost, strangely, admire Louise’s persistence… she is at least, sort of, engaging with what must be tormenting her in a way, I hope, that will have a more positive outcome in the future.

        Reply
          1. Louise

            Since when was challenging a public figure’s misrepresentation of the facts a ‘hate agenda’? If you read my original post you will find I asked a very reasonable question only to be greeted by a disjointed attack on my character (which at one point implies that I have no right to question the good doctor because he is ‘wealthier’ than I am. What’s THAT about?) which can basically be summarised as ‘Theodore has spoken, the case is closed.’

            Excellent way of shutting down debate though. Accuse someone of having a ‘hate agenda’. Isn’t that what ‘hate speech laws’ are all about?

          2. Jaxon

            Seems I can’t reply to your response, below, Louise, so I’ll do it here.
            Firstly, after having made above comment regarding prominent hate agendas it did occur to me that that was perhaps too much of an assumption about your issues with Dalrymple (I don’t know though, there may well be considerable hate and bitterness motivating you).

            My main point still stands, about people having prominent hate agendas – I believe a lot of people should frankly feel very ashamed and guilty for reasons, I think, that Dalrymple explains best. But knowing what I do about people, a great many of the many, many will resort, at least initially, to hate projection.

            When you say, if you read my original post, did you mean this:

            ‘In the Library of Law and Liberty, Dalrymple points to an editorial in the British Medical Journal suggesting that wariness of the mentally ill is based on unjust prejudice.’

            No it isn’t, the editorial is entitled “Risk of people with mental illnesses dying by homicide.”

            I confess, I just don’t get it… what are you on about? Maybe I’m a bit thick or something.

          3. Jaxon

            I mean I think I get how reply works, not what you were talking about… oh dear… time to move on.

  6. Louise

    This is what one of the good doctor’s ‘fans’ has to say about ‘modern psychiatry’:

    ‘Anna, modern psychiatry takes third place to 1) the Hippie Council, aka the Judas Council, aka the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65, and 2) television.’

    You admire the man but you belittle the way he chooses to make his living. Not a terribly logical stance.

    Reply
    1. Jaxon

      Hi Louise
      Out of interest, is there such a thing as a good psychiatrist in your opinion? And if so why; give some examples of ‘good’ practice.

      Reply
      1. Louise

        Someone with a basic grasp of medical ethics.

        Although nowadays I prefer to have a word with my priest. Something the good doctor might even approve of.

        Reply
    2. Jane

      It’s perfectly logical. I admire his writing, not his psychiatry – in which I have little or no interest.

      But I think you are missing the point anyway. He doesn’t have a great deal of faith in much of psychiatry, either.

      There are some people who are mentally ill – you seem to be one – and lots of people who claim to be so in order to escape responsibility for their actions.

      A lot of psychiatrists connive in this, and treat sane people as though they are not. Dalrymple does (or did) not.

      For this you despise him, which is odd – given that the fakers divert resources away from real mental patients such as yourself.

      He’s actually on your side, but ironically your paranoia stops you seeing that.

      Reply
      1. Louise

        Apologies for my tardiness.

        I appreciate that you admire the good doctor but does that mean that no one is permitted to address the issues he raises or question him in any way? That’s a rather solipsistic worldview you have there.

        May I suggest that you reread the good doctor’s op ed piece. It has nothing to do with ‘fakers’ (horrid Americanisation there). And then go on to read the original BMJ piece upon which it was based. (If you don’t have access just email me). And then we can have a good old debate about the facts.

        Remember: Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

        Reply
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  8. Jaxon

    I suspect Dalrymple might soon have something to say about this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Anatomy-Violence-Biological-Roots/dp/0307378845
    if he hasn’t already.
    I daresay it has some very interesting and perhaps worthwhile insights. I dipped into it very briefly… to me, perhaps the strongest indicator of a society’s moral condition, these days especially, is its attitude toward pornography (sexual relations more generally… I know, you knew) so I looked in the index for pornography which led me to pages 302 -305 or thereabouts.

    Very scant attention to this problem according to my very scant attention to the book which suggests to me that Raine has largely failed.
    He discussed ‘free will’, I wonder, what difference would it make if every time sociologists, philosophers etc spoke of free will, omitted the ‘free’ and discussed only ‘will’?

    Anyway, I’ve quoted it before and I’ll quote it again

    “The West case revealed how easily, in the anonymity of the modern urban environment, and in the midst of crowds, people may disappear; and how such disappearances are made all the easier by a collective refusal—in the name of individual liberty—of parents to take responsibility for their children, of neighbors to notice what is happening around them, of anyone to brave the mockery of libertines in the defense of some standard of decency. And the various public agencies—the police, the schools, the social services, the hospitals—proved no substitute for the personal concern that families were once supposed to have provided, but that, in a permissive climate in which tolerance all too often shades into indifference, many provide no longer. The failure of these agencies was not accidental, but inherent in their nature as bureaucracies: the state is not, and never will be, a substitute for an old-fashioned Mum and Dad.”

    Reply
  9. Louise

    Jaxon,

    I was referring to the original article: the one that appeared in the BMJ itself. I’m not sure how many people have access to it.

    HTH.

    Reply
  10. Colin

    Louise, I’m going to ask you something and I hope you don’t take offence at the question, the wording, the tone, etc. This is a genuine question.

    What is your problem with Theodore Dalrymple?

    I ask because it seems that every time I check this blog, there’s a new comment from you that criticises him and his fans. You’re persistent – but you’re not clear. So, why is it that you don’t like him? Or what is it that you have against him?

    Obviously I’m not suggesting that everybody HAS to love Dalrymple and that, if they don’t, it’s a freak occurence. I’m just curious as to why you have taken such a thorough, and persistent, disliking to the man and his works.

    Reply
    1. Gavin

      Louise, can you just answer the question here? It was very clearly put.

      Did Dalrymple treat you as a patient? Or, are you upset because you think he wrote about you, albeit without revealing your identity (you seem to have done this yourself!)? Do you believe someone suffered because of some kind of policy where Dalrymple worked?

      If so, these grievances can be taken up elsewhere and you can seek further professional help. Posting all this stuff probably isn’t getting to the root of the issue and helping you, and you could even be regarded as a stalker and as a potential risk.

      Reply
      1. Louise

        Gavin,

        I’m sure Colin is quite capable of answering for himself and is also quite capable of making use of a search engine (unless of course…)

        ‘If so, these grievances can be taken up elsewhere and you can seek further professional help. Posting all this stuff probably isn’t getting to the root of the issue and helping you, and you could even be regarded as a stalker and as a potential risk.’

        You’re kidding, right? A risk to whom? I think someone’s imagination has been working overtime. Maybe you can work some of it off on the ‘Endgame’ thread.

        Reply
    2. Colin

      Louise,

      The Endgame thread is pretty good. Fantastical perhaps, but at least those of us writing it had the guts to be clear about our meaning.

      Re. searching your blog, I have previously done so but unfortunately emerged none the wiser.

      Could you just state clearly and coldly, here and now, for the avoidance of any doubt or misunderstanding, what it is that you have against Theodore Dalrymple?

      I hope you do help me to understand why it is that, not only on this blog but also in comment threads to his articles on various websites, you pop up to half-castigate him without ever coming clean about precisely why. I just want to understand.

      All the best,
      Colin.

      Reply
      1. Louise

        Look, ‘Colin’ let’s be logical about this. Given your pathological obsession with ‘social status’ (which you share with the good doctor) you probably aren’t going to take anything I say terribly seriously so I’ll refer you to one of the good doctor’s colleagues:

        ‘Coming from a doctor’s pen it all has a certain shock value. But there is something sinister about a physician presenting in this way people to whom he has a duty of care. It is both exploitative and unremitting in its harshness. It is a perfect paranoid position: reason surrounded by feckless scrounging, short-termism, and greed. But is it not all a fabrication that panders to those who have the responsibility to change things from being what they are but choose not to do so? And do his patients know what he thinks of them?—PAUL BOWDEN, *consultant forensic psychiatrist*, Maudsley Hospital, London’

        http://rielouise.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/found-in-the-bowels-of-the-bmj/

        By the by, I don’t think Paul Bowden is a muslim, a feminist or a ‘leftist’. I could be wrong though. You’re the expert on that sort of thing.

        Reply
        1. Gavin

          Louise, can you summarise your problem with Dalrymple in your own words rather than somebody else’s?

          But I think we know what the problem is now.

          I’m sure (though this is something Bowden seems not to understand) that when he wrote about his patients Dalrymple did not do so out of malice, but rather the opposite. I’m sure he was careful to preserve anonymity and just trying to help everyone understand what goes on in his world, and the mistakes people make. If you don’t/didn’t like his style you can find another doctor who might be able to help you to feel better. But first you’ll have to try to get over this vendetta. It must be terrible to feel like you’re drowning.

          Reply
          1. Louise

            I think Bowden has the measure of the good doctor. As do most of his other colleagues. Dalrymple was a whistleblower who took his whistle and blew it on another continent. Finding it difficult to see how that helps.

        2. Colin

          > Look, ‘Colin’ let’s be logical about this.

          Look, Louise, let’s not use sarcastic apostrophes for people’s names, okay? It’s insulting.

          > Given your pathological obsession with ‘social status’”… you probably aren’t going to take anything I say terribly seriously

          Oh, that’s not true. I take seriously the views of everyone, no matter how low down the social scale they might be. And I don’t think you’re that far down it, anyway.

          > so I’ll refer you to one of the good doctor’s colleagues:

          Oh, come on, Louise! You’re just dodging again! However, I suppose what you’ve done could be interpreted as getting someone else to do the talking because it’s too painful for you to do the talking yourself. In which case, I surmise that your issue with Theodore Dalrymple has one of these three origins:

          1. You are a former patient of TD. Either he summarised your story in one of his articles, or you live in fear that he might.
          2. You’ve never been a patient of TD but, as a good Samaritan figure, have taken upon yourself the plight of his former patients whose stories he uses in his articles
          3. You have an entirely random obsession with TD and have hit upon Bowden’s criticism of him as a justification for your obsession. Possibly you resent psychiatrists in general for personal reasons and TD seemed as good a target as any other.

          Now then, which of the three is it? Coldly and honestly, remember, once and for all. Don’t be scared; I’m not going to bully you. I just want to understand.

          > By the by, I don’t think Paul Bowden is a muslim, a feminist or a ‘leftist’. I could be wrong though. You’re the expert on that sort of thing.

          Indeed, I have written a lot about those subjects. It’s good to write about a variety of things. 😉

          Reply
          1. Louise

            You can surmise whatever you like, my dear. I have no control over what you choose to ‘surmise’. Nor do I particularly care.

            Talking of ‘rudeness’ what do you make of this: “But carry on with your barking mad, obsessive nonsense – it entertains me, that’s for sure”. This is your idea of “politeness”?

            What is the British Helsinki Human Rights Group?

          2. Colin

            > You can surmise whatever you like, my dear. I have no control over what you choose to ‘surmise’. Nor do I particularly care.

            So is this an admission that you are not going to reveal what your problem with TD actually is? Rather disappointing. Still, I’ll ask you again some time in the future; maybe you’ll be more comfortable talking about it then instead of making endless oblique swipes at TD’s professionalism.

            FWIW, I can understand the point-of-view that TD shouldn’t be using his former patients as material for articles. It’s a view that, expressed clearly, makes sense and can be reasoned with. I disagree with it though, because I don’t think there’s any harm as long as he makes sure the people cannot be identified by what he writes about them. It would be ridiculous to expect a learned man NOT to make use of his experiences and the information and wisdom that he gathers from his work. (Expecting this of all writers and authors would mean that they never wrote a single word, in fact.)

            > Talking of ‘rudeness’ what do you make of this: “But carry on with your barking mad, obsessive nonsense – it entertains me, that’s for sure”. This is your idea of “politeness”?

            That was posted by someone called Fred, not by me. I agree that it is decidedly impolite. I would suggest that Fred watch his language, but I would also suggest that you question why people like Fred get irritated by you. Fred didn’t just say that randomly. He said it because you constantly criticise TD without ever coming clean about why you’re doing it, and also because, when people defend him, you frequently patronise them and talk down to them. You use passive aggressive tactics to wind people up. How would YOU respond to somebody behaving like that?

            > I think Bowden has the measure of the good doctor. As do most of his other colleagues.

            Have other of TD’s colleagues written things like this about him?

            > Dalrymple was a whistleblower who took his whistle and blew it on another continent. Finding it difficult to see how that helps.

            It helps because he, like Charles Dickens, is painting a picture of his society and the dysfunction that it promotes. That is TD’s goal and it is the reason that (lots of) his readers read his articles. They’re not reading it for some sick voyeuristic pleasure. I’m also not sure what you mean by “blew it on another continent”. America? Well, he has written in American publications but he’s also written in British ones, and in any case it makes little difference in the Internet age.

            > What is the British Helsinki Human Rights Group?

            I have no idea and I’ve never heard of it!

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