Bruce Levine Blog

Thomas Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry

June 14th, 2019

Beyond Common Sense, most Americans know little about Thomas Paine (1737-1809). Few know that at the end of Paine’s life, he had become a pariah in U.S. society, and for many years after his death, he was either ignored or excoriated—the price he paid for The Age of Reason and its disparagement of religious institutions, […]

Lou Reed: That Which Does Not Kill Us Can Radicalize Us

May 3rd, 2019

While not as well-known as “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Perfect Day,” and not one of the classics he wrote for the Velvet Underground (such as “Heroin” and “I’ll Be Your Mirror”), Lou Reed’s “Kill Your Sons,” about his electroconvulsive “therapy” (ECT) as a 17-year-old, gives voice to an event that majorly radicalized him […]

Why “Middle-Grounders” May Be As Dangerous As APA Presidents

April 9th, 2019

I just can’t take seriously anyone who presumes that the middle ground is always the voice of reason and the path to truth and justice. Thus, for quite some time, I’ve thought that it not worth my time to react to psychotherapist Gary Greenberg, psychiatrist Allen Frances, and others who try to convince me of […]

Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left

March 22nd, 2019

Many self-identified liberals are far more than “ten degrees to the right of center” with regard to psychiatry. With the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, and then even more so following 9/11 in 2001, the United States has swung so far to the right that many self-identified liberals embrace, often unwittingly, a right-wing view in many aspects of society, including psychiatry.

Who Becomes An Anti-Authoritarian?

March 15th, 2019

Lyndon Johnson famously proclaimed his requirements for an appointee: “I want him to kiss my ass in Macy’s window at high noon and tell me it smells like roses.” Johnson and his ass-kissers were authoritarians. Authoritarian is routinely defined as “favoring blind submission to authority.” Authoritarians with power demand unquestioning obedience from those with lower […]

Why Many Doctors Are Authoritarians—and Harmful

February 28th, 2019

For several years, I have thought it important to illuminate the authoritarian nature of mental health professionals—especially those who have not rebelled in any way against their professional socialization. In this article, I will summarize a compelling analysis from the Journal of Medical Ethics on the variables in “contemporary medical culture” that produce doctors who […]

“Heavy Drinking” and the NYT’s Offensive Obit on Herbert Fingarette

February 21st, 2019

Toward the end of 2018, the New York Times published a lengthy obituary with the headline: “Herbert Fingarette, Contrarian Philosopher on Alcoholism, Dies at 97.” By labeling Fingarette as a mere contrarian philosopher and by otherwise subtly demeaning him, the NYT cozied up to the $35 billion per year addiction-treatment industry. The reality is that […]