Bruce Levine Blog

Vital Ignored Truths in Milgram’s Obedience to Authority Studies

October 25th, 2018

Psychologist Stanley Milgram (1933–1984) was deeply affected by Nazi atrocities, so when his early 1960s research on Americans revealed an unexpectedly high rate of obedience to authority commanding subjects to commit cruel actions, this very much troubled him. Milgram’s studies revealed other truths—not as widely known—that are crucial to fighting authoritarianism. One ignored finding is […]

Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” Shows Democrats’ Complicity in Electing Trump

October 13th, 2018

Unlike the standard Michael Moore film that is replete with cheap shots and lurid tangents aimed at hooking and pleasing his choir, Moore cuts back on candy for his Trump-hating fans in Fahrenheit 11/9 and instead provides them with much-needed political truths. The substance of Fahrenheit 11/9 challenges his fans to go beyond their easy […]

When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid

September 19th, 2018

Bernie Sanders, in his thirties, wrote and directed the documentary Eugene V. Debs: Trade Unionist, Socialist, Revolutionary (1979), and a picture of Debs is on Sanders’s office wall. But the arc of Sanders’s polit­­ical career has moved in the opposite direction from the arc of his hero. Debs moved from polite dissent to courageously resisting […]

“Don’t Be Stupid, Be a Smarty”: Why Anti-Authoritarian Doctors Are So Rare

August 16th, 2018

“Don’t be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Nazi Party” is an intentionally obnoxious line from the hilarious “Springtime for Hitler” in Mel Brook’s The Producers. Not hilarious is the reality that doctors in Nazi Germany were “smarties” in Brook’s sardonic sense, as they joined the Nazi SS in a far higher proportion […]

Politics and Psychiatry—Brave New Book on the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up

July 18th, 2018

Despite increased spending on mental health treatment, mental illness disability and suicide rates have skyrocketed. “Perhaps more disturbingly,” notes clinical psychologist Noël Hunter, “recent evidence has demonstrated that as contact with psychiatric intervention increases, so too does completed suicide, suggesting the possibility that the current mental health system may be creating the very problems it […]

Another Reason Young Americans Don’t Revolt Against Being Screwed

June 14th, 2018

“8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance” was originally published in 2011, then republished on several Internet sites, and has become one of my most viewed articles. The eight reasons include: student-loan debt; various pacifying effects of standard schooling; the psychopathologizing and medicating of noncompliance; surveillance; television; and fundamentalist […]

Hopeless But Not Broken: From George Carlin to Adderall Protest Music

May 2nd, 2018

George Carlin, in his book Brain Droppings, told us that his motto had come to be: “Fuck Hope.” In his autobiography Last Words, Carlin recalled, “The election of Ronald Reagan might’ve been the beginning of my giving up on my species. Because it was absurd.” We can only imagine how Carlin, who died in 2008, […]

School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks

March 16th, 2018

I have never spoken with a school shooter, but I’ve talked with many teenage boys and young men who—though behaviorally nonviolent themselves—emotionally connect with the anger, alienation, and hopelessness of school shooters. Regardless of whether they received poor or excellent grades, these teenage boys and young men all tell me that high school was an […]

Mental Illness Weaponry and Shrink Hypocrisy about Abolishing Stigma

January 26th, 2018

I am a mental health professional, a clinical psychologist, which is not quite as bad as being a psychiatrist but still nothing to brag about. Hypocrisy in U.S. mental health professional policy abounds damn near as much as in U.S. foreign policy. Among psychiatrists and psychologists, there is no more politically correct promulgation than the […]

The Electrical Abuse of Women—Does Anyone Care?

December 22nd, 2017

Many Americans are unaware that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)—more commonly known as electroshock—continues to be widely utilized by U.S. psychiatry. In the current issue of the journal Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, psychologist John Read and co-author Chelsea Arnold note, “The archetypal ECT recipient remains, as it has for decades, a distressed woman more than 50 […]