Politics in America
Part 11: The Deteriorated Relationship Between Men and Women (Continued)
by Robert L. Kocher
A woman who gets hurt very profoundly in the betrayal of a first love or sexual affair will often turn her anger and bitterness against her values. This will often include associated political values. She may react against her values and attempt to destroy them because their lack of fulfillment and the man’s rejection of them are causing her pain. Also, her values and needs make her vulnerable. If she can force herself not to believe in anything or can crush those values out, then she becomes safe from the pain of having that belief betrayed. This combination of motivations sometimes results in a rampage of philosophically suicidal sexual activity in an attempt to degrade values and crush them out. Many afflicted women go on a self-protective rampage of hostility toward sexual or emotional values in any form. It is often channeled into political and social movements.
While these phenomena are characteristic of people who have acquired a mistrust and anger from any source, such as poor childhood backgrounds, they are an inherent dynamic resulting from permissive sexuality. Many theorists who are in favor of permissive sexuality are prepared to attribute such phenomena entirely to childrearing backgrounds, but one sees it develop in people from sound and loving backgrounds. In fact, the phenomena are often worse in people from healthy backgrounds because such people are initially so very trusting and vulnerable that their reactions are almost catastrophic.
Although there aren’t serious discussions of this in sex education courses or graduate level clinical psychology courses, any smart bartender or night club manager has seen the personality changes and behavioral patterns described here thousands of times. An acquaintance of mine gave up a $600,000 per year night club partnership because it made him sick to see it happen.
It might be added that some, or perhaps much, of this often began with sophomoric arrogant life style and morality experiments. Before the experiment was completed, participants woke up to find themselves in a morbid psychological condition which was not supposed to be part of the experiment, but was an inherent consequence of the activity. Many of these flings took women places where they didn’t think they were going, and it’s a one-way trip.
Another characteristic which started developing to a much greater extent in the new sexual value system was love phobia. When a woman gets disposed of and hurt, she often stays away from subsequent men she could love with any depth rather than take the chance of being hurt profoundly again. Men she could love may raise her anxiety to intolerable levels, so that she runs from them and the potentially profound pain they represent. She dates, and may marry, only people who are exploitive or with whom she is fundamentally incompatible because such people haven’t the potential to hurt her profoundly.
There is an tangential dynamic which occurs here. Such women will often look at the cold emotional sterility of male psychopaths as at type of invulnerable strength—which they envy because such emotional invulnerability would make the woman invulnerable to emotional pain. When they seek what this type of “strength” what they don’t understand is that they are involving themselves with someone who can, and will, cut their guts out with no conscience.
In a sexually permissive life style, women increasingly select bad men, sterile relationships, or emotional sterility, subconsciously, as a form of emotional protection. Such relationships have become supported by a complex of collateral psychopathology and rationalizations which induce a progressive psychological deterioration. These relationships, and the collateral psychopathology surrounding them, have become socially institutionalized and in their warped condition liberated women vehemently defend them and the life style made up of them.
Love phobia has become extended or interwoven into a militant determination not to get suckered in and profoundly hurt again, together within a coordinate rejection of social institutions such as marriage which represent the possibility of getting suckered once more.
This phobia, often merged with an element of hostility, is often encoded in an abstract grandiose language. The language is finely tuned in such a way as to deny the phobic condition and deny the contributing elements of the underlying condition, while portraying an illusion of omnipotent invulnerability and changing the appearance of the issue. Consequently, what are heard are abstract proclamations such as, “—today’s women are no longer the property of men—.” Granted, this statement brings up some interesting philosophical and constitutional issues, but these issues are not the real issues. The real issue which has been encoded is fear of being hurt and fear of love relationships. Often, there is as much anger and hatred as fear.
In terms of psychological dynamics, property is a substitute word meaning emotional bonding and trust. By substituting the word property for the term emotional bonding, a number of tactics and forms of denial are implemented. An abstract pseudo-issue is devised which can be interposed as psychological distance between themselves and men—and between them and the truth. Focusing upon the pseudo-issue implements an exclusionary focus away from the real issue of personal fears and vulnerability. It’s much less humiliating to express supposed anger over an abstract philosophical/legal issue and to trumpet grandiose proclamations than to admit simple fear and pain. Hiding behind the combination of emotional distance from men, anger, and abstract dialogue also contributes to emotional safety and a narcissistic sense of omnipotence characteristic of recent generations. Furthermore, these same women have often made their own contribution, which they would like to deny, to the unpleasant state of affairs.
Admission of pain, fear and humiliation should not be an intimidating defense. But, as such, rather than deal with the situation honestly, many women have elected to employ the superficially more imposing tactic of psychological defense mechanisms. They choose the psychological defense of denying vulnerability and hiding in the safety of distancing abstract issues or contests and other manipulations—allowing them to portray themselves as militant invulnerable omnipotent Amazons. Therefore, many women issue militant New Woman Super-Women proclamations about the priority of careers, about independence, about self-development, about commitment to the human potential movement, about having to complete the task of learning to be themselves and so on in such a way to interpose these issues between themselves and vulnerable relationships with men. These obscure the real issue of fear.
Motive and Misdirection
The interpretation of events is debatable. Whether a person is running from something or to something is a matter of verbal interpretation. A person who is running from something can cover it up by claiming to be pursuing something else. In moving from point A to point B, it can be argued that a person is going to point B for purposes of pursuing point B. On the other hand, the running toward point B or the supposed pursuit of point B may in fact represent a fleeing from point A. Thus, hypothetical self-development can be a device enabling someone to avoid self-commitment and the possibility of being hurt. Similarly, with the other priorities in list of New Woman proclamations.
The women who engage in this monologue have synthesized and assumed an air of superiority over other women and just about anybody else. It is arbitrarily proclaimed that independent career women are developing themselves, while women devoted to family life are not. Whether or where this hypothetical self-development and learning-to-be-themselves actually occurs as is being proclaimed by the arbitrary decrees read in the trendy magazines or heard on TV talk shows is doubtful. The supposed development these women are demonstrating is less than awesome and consists mostly of unsupported grandiose proclamations. The reality of the attendant life style is not as impressive as the descriptions and pictures. In fact, the reality is a living hell. However, this hell has been a carefully kept secret.
The unfortunate thing is that when women divert the dialogue to these diversionary issues in avoidance of emotional commitment and intimacy, the real and important issues between themselves and men aren’t, and never will be, addressed or corrected. More likely, things become worse. They set themselves up for a pattern of cold exploitive relationships both on the individual level and by contributing to an emotionally cold social psychology. In portraying themselves as invulnerable, they provide implicit permission for marauding calloused men to take them and other women at their word and treat them without feeling. Sexually exploitive men feed into these grandiose arguments in such a way as to allow them to use women and avoid commitments. When a woman proclaims that the first priority of today’s New Woman is self-development, etc, etc., and that commitments and marriage would be an interference, it enables the local hit-and-run artists to use her in bed for a while, then move on so as not to interfere with her self-development. If the truth were known, these men were planning to move on, anyway. But, their hit-and-run operations are provided with a degree of legitimacy and respectability by women within the context of this pattern.
These proclamations ensure that this is the only type of relationship she’s going to have, because no man in his right mind who is interested in a serious, committed relationship is going to involve himself with a woman who shows little inclination or capacity for such a relationship. The women in question immediately devise the distorted interpretation of claiming that this reluctance means men are intimidated by intelligent self-developed women. This self-serving interpretation allows them to, once again, believe liberated women are intimidating omnipotent all-controlling Amazons. The reality of the possibility that it’s not wise to become involved with them because they are emotional porcupines becomes lost in the verbal smoke screen.
In order to become involved with such a woman a man must be running a hit-and-run operation, or must be desperate, or must be a masochist. Having restricted herself to hit-and-run operations is not going to result in a decrease in fear and mistrust for the woman. Concurrently, these patterns contribute to a broad deterioration in the cultural patterns between men and women. Men have good reason to mistrust a woman who engages in this dishonesty and to mistrust women in general as this dishonesty has become more prevalent among women.
“Independence”—or Fear of Involvement?
Arguing from a pathological frame of reference, liberated” women have won every argument and won every battle for more than 30 years, but have lost the war. With each argument won, they continue to dig their hole a little deeper.
On the level of objective reality, women had, and have, legitimate reason for fear. The cultural institutionalization of demands for disposable emotional involvement is painful and crippling. In the initial stages of the sexual revolution when these demands were primarily made upon women, they paid the price. At later stages in the sexual revolution when the same demands were worked upon men by angry emotionally sterilized women, men paid a similar price.
Love phobia, fear of involvement, (which has been relabeled “independence”) is one of the reasons for the emergence of a significant social pattern in which a number of single women preferred to date and have affairs primarily with married men. The fact the men were married introduced an inherent self-protective barrier in the seriousness of the relationship or the depth of involvement. Because he was married, there were no idealistic hopes involved which could be dashed and broken to hurt her profoundly. These relationships often emotionally backfire on women after six months. More of them say they can handle it than actually can handle it. They only handle it at the initial stages of the relationship. At some point they may begin to want more out of situations which they initially designed to be protectively distant, and find themselves trapped.
As an almost amusing side reality, some single men in Washington, D. C., during the 1970s would buy and wear wedding rings because it seemed to be the only way they could get dates.
There is a complicated parallel pattern which develops as a consequence of love phobia and is seen in both men and women on the subconscious level. In an attempt to manipulate and control their anxiety reactions, they may choose inappropriate people for relationships, sometimes figuring to make changes and improvements in those people over time to make whoever it is acceptable. The personal improvements and increase in levels of attractiveness will supposedly take place in a series of successive steps, so that the small increases in attractiveness or involvement will produce both a sense of control over the situation and manageable amounts of fear. This is one of a variety of reasons we see people who have a pattern of looking for other people to rescue. The pattern dovetails with a psychological mechanism called reversal formation and other processes which will be described. There is also the aspect that the person who is rescued is dependent and this dependency provides the rescuer a security and measure of control of the situation. The rescue attempts are usually doomed to failure and the life pattern is both compulsive and turbulent.
A proportion of people have taken to the practice of dating other people who are inappropriate and untrustworthy as a method of precluding the anxiety and pain of developing trust or closeness and having it betrayed. By preemptive betrayal of themselves through engaging in inappropriate or destructive relationships, they have a warped sense of control and invulnerability in their lives which precludes betrayal by others. Self-betrayal provides immunity to outside betrayal. Preemptive self-betrayal reduces anxiety over uncertainty over whether eventual betrayal will occur.
Many women just said, “never again”, and have remained single. They practice emotional celibacy although they may engage in sex and may even appear to be hyper-sexual for reasons that will be explained later. (This is the original Safe Sex—sex without depth of emotional involvement, so as to prevent possibility of profound emotional pain.). According to an October 1986 New Woman magazine poll, 41 percent of single women were not looking for a steady relationship with a man. Of those that were in steady relationships, statistics, some of which will be reviewed later, indicate many were relationships of convenience without emotional involvement or commitment. The type of empty relationship shown in the first half of the Diane Keaton film “Baby Boom” had become a cultural norm. The film struck a little too close to home to be funny and didn’t do as well as some Keaton films do.
Many people eventually become prisoners of themselves in their successful emotional self-protection.
More will be said about other consequences. For now, let it suffice to say the new system of sexual values was producing morbid personality changes in women. Young women were becoming as hard as hookers because they were living like hookers and being treated as hookers. Many young women who began as trusting, soft, warm, sensitive, loving creatures were converted into lonely, depressed, cold, mistrusting, angry, jaded shells—and the single world was, and still is, filled with them. A number of women were becoming angry to the point of being warped and vicious. They would snarl at men. When they said, “No! Never again,” however unconsciously or subconsciously, they meant it. They developed a strong fear, hostility, and avoidance of close committed relationships with men that became the major self-protective thrust in their lives. Men developed similar patterns.
For this reason, the 1992 Republican mention of family values elicited a volcano of snarls of fear and rage among this group of people—and they are one of the largest voting blocks in the country during a period when the number of never-married people aged 30-40 tripled between 1970 and 1994, and the number of angry divorced people was astronomical. Anything that even remotely supported healthy family or heterosexual relationships was a focal point of attack by a wrathful army.
Sex As a Form of Rape
A proportion of women in the women’s movement, according to constant public pronouncements, now believe any form of sexual relationship with a man, in or out of marriage or with consent, is a form of rape. They probably do feel as though they have been violated. They have merged the distinction between physical violation and purely betrayal/emotional violation. While the clouding of this distinction is understandable within a generalized feeling of mistrust and betrayal, it precludes resolution of the issues.
In 1980s a crusade against child sexual abuse became a fashionable cause with radio psychologist Dr. Susan Forward as a leading advocate of the movement. However, there has been little serious concern shown toward sexual abuse of adult women in America or in the mental health professions—abuse which has been called liberation. It has been more destructive to women and social institutions than has child sexual abuse. Women who have been abused as children have it bad enough. However, any opportunities for optimism are destroyed and morbidity is compounded by the institutionalization of adult sexual abuse of women. The mental health professions in this country have not only been criminally negligent regarding sexual abuse of adult women, they have been in collusion with adult female sexual abuse.
It is characteristic of human nature that one issue or confrontation often represents, or is a sublimation of, another life-issue or an indirect expression of another issue. In a pathological culture where sexual exploitation of women has been labeled liberation, or sexual freedom and the words liberation or freedom are not to be questioned, confronting sexual exploitation has been effectively prohibited. Women have further immobilized themselves by choosing psychological distancing defenses of emotionally sterile liberated values and life styles which, although distancing them from engaging in close emotional relationships in which they could get hurt, institutionalize the sexual usury of women. They are put in the position of not being able to protest a situation in which they are principle architects of their psychological inversion.
The sexual exploitation of children bears enough resemblance to the sexual exploitation of adult women to represent the emotional degradation adult women were experiencing—and to release their anger over that issue. At the same time, there is enough superficial difference between the two situations to allow women safety in expression of their anger without being accused of having “hang-ups” or being old fashioned or being unliberated. As a consequence, the situation of child sexual exploitation thus became a vehicle for indirect expression of sublimated repressed anger from adult exploitation. This is an instance where a displacement of anger may have a clearly socially beneficial effect. The movement seems to have died down in recent years while a movement toward liberalized adult sexual activity with children seems to be developing.
However, the embarrassing question should be brought up as to whether it is a foreseeable expectation that adoption of a clearly unprincipled and irresponsible adult morality, and a cultural instability, would eventually be generalized to the treatment of children by adults. There is no reason to expect that, after a time lag, adults will treat children with any greater morality or much less callousness than the way adults are treating each other. The intellectual and moral erosion, confusion, and weakness of adults which has become institutionalized in American society allows for the mistreatment of children and certainly contributes to children’s confusion. This brings up an issue of moral culpability that most liberal adults refuse to face.
One Things Leads to Another
A decade ago, the Washington, D. C. area was rocked by the trial concerning a 41-year-old male Boy Scout leader who engaged in sex with a 12-year-old boy. The boy’s father was a homosexual or bisexual or something of that order. The boy’s mother was also in bed with the scout leader. Beyond that, the situation becomes even uglier.
Presumably, in the pluralistic society for which contemporary borderline psychotic liberalism is striving, the boy’s father has a right to have his sexual preferences and life style. The mother has a right to her life style and value system. The scout leader has a right to his life style and momentary sexual preferences. The boy is the secondary casualty of their values, pathology and agenda—many of which have been highly touted for years.
But, the boy’s treatment is a logical extension of the values and treatment the adults responsible for his well-being have established in their interactions with each other. There is no reason to expect his youth would become an arbitrary boundary protecting him from their warped values. (In fact, it is no longer politically or socially acceptable to refer to them as warped. They are alternatives or pluralisms.) Nor is there any reason to believe that as pathological standards of behavior for adults become more acceptable, that there will not be a progressive erosion in the gradient of their lack of acceptability when applied to children. At what point does the argument change from the interpretation that the child is being sexually abused, to the alternative argument that the kid is simply precocious and should not be arbitrarily excluded from engaging in activities which have become acceptable between liberated adults? After having been judged precocious enough to enter into adult relationships, at what point does any child simply become fair game? At what point, as adults continue to desensitize any moral conscience through rationalization, does that desensitization produce desensitization toward child sexual abuse?
If gay artist Robert Mapplethorpe’s graphic photographs exposing the genitalia of children are palmed off as art and acceptable “freedom of expression,” does it not erode the concept that there are definite boundaries of sexual privacy and protection of children which are absolutely not to be transgressed? In a sane society, should that boundary take precedence over freedom of expression, over artistic freedom, or anything else? We don’t have a sane society. We have a borderline-psychotic liberalism.
Conflict of Law and Freedom of Speech
In legal scholarship there is an area of study called conflict of law. Within the complexity of law it is recognized that unlimited extension of one legal principle may come into conflict with extension of another legal principle. These conceptual conflicts must be resolved and intended reasonable application of principle, and precedences, must be established. The constitution does not mention freedom of expression. It mentions freedom of speech. Freedom of expression, if it were guaranteed, and freedom of speech, are not unlimited rights. They are concepts which conflict with other legal concepts and which may, if improperly employed, result in serious unjust damages to individuals or society. While the legal system, and particularly the constitution, must guard the citizen against injustice, injury, unjust damages, and wrongs from government, in a free and just society the citizen must be protected from wrongs and imposed unjust damages from all quarters. To replace imposition of objectionable wrongs from government with free imposition imposed by other elements of society is to replace one form of tyranny and oppression with another.
There are those who would attempt to improperly extend the principles used to protect man from government in such a way as license themselves to impose damages upon members of society. These boundaries must be recognized and established. There was implicit recognition of this throughout most of the first 200 years of American history. For this reason, the right to free speech was never absolute, nor was it meant to be absolute. There existed recognized and uncontested restrictions upon free speech in the forms of libel and slander or in restrictions against shouting fire in a crowded theater to assure people of certain rights, and the same freedom from imposition of unjust damages in relationships with their fellow beings that they should have with government.
The important term in the above paragraph is “uncontested.” The absence of serious contest over a sustained period establishes de facto legal precedent in the sense of validating a principle or law as an implicit operating premise. In other words, original intent is established or ratified by recognized judicial practice at the time, as well as what was lived. That is, if an initial principle of law or behavior existed for a period and there was a substantial condition of collateral law built upon it, then the principle was ratified.
The unifying principle of comprehensive justice in a free society is not only protection from government, but protection of the citizen from wanton or irresponsible imposition of, or subservience to, wrongs and damages from any source. The free citizen needs the right to protection from excesses and imposed damages from government, to protection from wrongful damage of his fellow man acting through government, and to protection from wrongful damage from his fellow man acting independently of government. Denial of citizen rights in any of these three areas is to produce a condition of ultimate tyranny and intolerability.
To guarantee the citizen his full spectrum and balance of rights, there were limitations on freedom of speech. It was an implicit legal assumption confirmed by repeated judicial process that the right of free speech was primarily intentioned toward providing the citizen the right to criticize government without punishment.
(It’s also one of the reasons why judges used to sit in to listen to class discussions between myself and the professor in the days when I used to take law courses for my own enjoyment.)
As there are conflicts of law, there are also conflicts of value(s) within a culture in which choices must be made in terms of health within that culture. The protection of children is one element that should be a seriously recognized precedence within these frameworks.
The Undermining of Children
Unfortunately, in recent years this entire conceptual framework has been replaced by a movement toward infantile empty destructive rebellion that has worked its way into the judicial system.
According to the Center Against Sexual Abuse (http://www.syspac.com/~casa/stats.htm, 602-254-6400), 38 percent of girls are sexually abused before the age of 18, 16 percent of boys are sexually abused before the age of 18, and 25 percent percent of women are raped at some time in their lives. This was as of 1994. Make your own judgments.
The programming and undermining of children is often more subtle than has been discussed so far.
In the 1980s, a group of media psychologist emerged which flooded the country over the radio talk show networks. These were radio programs which allowed people to phone in to talk about problems over the air. Most of those psychologists were women. Many of them were divorced and/or single for reasons that become clear after listening to them. And, if you read between the lines, making the most rudimentary inferences, you might have been led to the conclusion some of them were engaging, unsuccessfully, in sexually liberated types of relationships. The advice they gave tended to support the liberated sexual value system, and a good argument can be made that they were rationalizing their own past and/or present behavior. As an example, one of them was advising 15-year-old girls who called in reporting the difficulties they are experiencing in being pressured to have sexual intercourse. The advice given was that you shouldn’t be sexual just because your friends tell you to be sexual, but only when you feel you are ready to be sexual.
For practical purposes, excluding the meaningless condition of reference to her friends, that means a 15-year-old girl should engage in sex when she feels like engaging in sex. The advice certainly doesn’t exclude engaging in sex. It’s clear that the decision of engaging in sex is to be made on the basis of subjective feeling at the moment. The advice boils down to 1960s hippie talk which is engineered to exclude real consequences and exclude the reality of the new sexual value system. Feeling you’re ready to be sexual with somebody, wanting to be sexual, feeling like being sexual has little to do with whether a person should be sexual. It is not a wise reason to engage in sex. In the non-hippie real world, it’s the long term consequences which determine whether or not a person should be sexual.
A 15-year-old girl has no business in bed with anybody because of the emotional and physical consequences. At best, a 15-year-old girl making decisions on the basis of what she feels, is making decisions which have long term consequences on the basis of immature and transient values which will change substantially in the next three years and probably astronomically in the next five. (For instance, the same boy who is an obsession at 14 or 15 may hold no interest for her three years later when she has developed a more mature intellect and sense of values. It doesn’t feel that way, and she will protest that truth at the time. However, it will come to pass. That is why parents must be in charge instead of 14 or 15-year-olds being in charge.)
Sex and Maturity
Perhaps an explanation of certain aspects of sexuality is in order to explain this point. Sexuality is an organically-based process which produces a burst of desires and impulses at the onset of puberty and which takes place regardless of intellectual development. For a period of time, sexual impulses are at a more advanced level of development than is intellectual development. Or it could be said a person’s collateral maturity lags behind sexual development for some time and a developmental period is required for collateral intellectual and emotional maturity to catch up to, and integrate with, sexual maturity. During this period substantial collateral development should be emphasized and should occur in terms of life experiences, in capacity for responsibility, in self-discipline and in growth of personal values of a non-sexual nature. When these are developed, there is a transfer or channeling of this growth into sexual values and sexuality. A person should first develop a personality, then integrate that personality into sexuality. This supports a person’s sexual growth—and self-confidence. It allows for the development of wisdom. People do not learn about sexual maturity from sexual activity at age 15, but from personal development in other areas. Without personal development in these collateral areas, people are not adequately equipped to make decisions about sexuality—or about anything else including choice of a marriage partner. A basic set of sound values is necessary to make a wise choice and form a basis for attraction in a marriage partner. People are marrying other people and are hopping into beds with other people who are not suitable for anything worth while. They are doing it because they don’t have any values to be used in evaluation and they are consequently unable to make evaluations.
Trial and error sexual activity is no substitute for collateral personality growth and personality support. In most cases trial and error sex only burdens participants with the destructive consequences of trial and error sex. Sexual activity should not be engaged in before collateral maturity is substantially developed. If such activity is engaged in before collateral growth takes place, it is at the expense of collateral growth, resulting in a stunted shallow system of sexuality and sexual values.
Premature sexual activity concurrent with deficient collateral development has been one of the causes of people viewing each other as sex objects and other problems. If two people are at a stage of development, or at an arrested stage of development, so that they have no maturity, values or personal substance, there is no way for them to relate to each other on the basis of substance. As undeveloped personalities, they are unable to engage in anything but infatuation and sexual infatuation. They have insufficient levels of substance development to look for substance and appreciate substance in another person. Nor can they offer anyone else any substance. They are unable to be anything but sex objects. The prevalence of this condition is one of the reasons people are attempting to make sex do too much in America. It’s all they have and are capable of. This has been particularly true in a culture where in recent years 21 and even now 50-year-old people are struggling to attain what was once a 12-year-old level of maturity. For confirmation reference the Clinton White House.
American culture has become fixated at the pre-substance level of sexuality. Many people are in such an arrested state of development that if they met anybody of any substance, it would put them in so far over their head that it would be impossible or they would drive the other person away.
All of this should be taught in psychology graduate school and should be emphasized in sex education courses, but it isn’t. It seems to be a more carefully hidden secret than the plans for making nuclear weapons. The consequences of keeping it a secret have been more destructive to this culture than an attack with nuclear weapons.
Collateral to this, we forbid people to drive automobiles before the age of 16 and are thinking about raising the age to 18 because we know below that age people haven’t the maturity to be able to handle them and don’t have the maturity to realize the consequences of their behavior. Hence, the results of driving automobiles at an early age are destructive.
However, in a strange inconsistency, in today’s liberal culture, it is considered sufficient to certify one as mentally unbalanced if one suggests sexual activity should be discouraged among the young, although sex requires substantially more maturity than driving an automobile and there are destructive consequences.
Counselling as Self-Justification
None of this was the real concern of the above psychologist. Her primary concern was another agenda. She was still slyly selling and defending her stance, and in all probability, activities, from the run-amok spoiled kid culture and values of the late 1960s and early 70s.
The psychologist who gave the advice was a superannuated resentful spoiled teenager who wants what she wants and isn’t worried about consequences. In her world, behavior is determined by egocentric feelings, not consequences. My primary impression of this her is one of charming shallowness skipping through life, dabbling in experiences and emotions, which is one of the reasons she is single. She lacks the genuine emotional depth or the maturity to be able to understand the complex aspects of sexuality or human relationships of any lasting depth.
In the middle-to-late 1970s, I visited the graduate school and the psychological clinic at a major university. The walls were plastered with marijuana posters and other counter-cultural symbols. I later attended a men’s consciousness-raising and therapy group conducted by a departmental staff member. The men were supposed to be able to bring up whatever problems or concerns that were bothering them. The therapist dominated the group and was only interested in hearing talk about problems which suited him. It became obvious during the session that his thesis was that the competitive emphasis of the workplace was putting unnecessary severe strain on men, which was the root of male problems, and this was the only thing he was prepared to hear. He was the only one who believed it and wanted to talk about it.
One poor soul in the group finally got up the courage to speak and his eyes filled with tears as he told about how he loved a girl, but his roommate had taken her and was now sleeping with her three nights a week in their dormitory room. The therapist shut him off and wouldn’t let him talk about it, saying someone else should talk.
A little later the therapist went into a countercultural tirade about how he didn’t see why if it were Thursday and a man decided he didn’t want to work that day, he shouldn’t be required to show up for work but, instead, should be able to do whatever it was he wanted. I pointed out that if you were a physician, you couldn’t arbitrarily walk off and leave your patient to die without necessary medical treatment. If you’re a plumber, you can’t walk off arbitrarily, letting people’s houses fill up with water. You can’t decide to walk off an assembly line leaving that day’s output of trucks without wheels. Men had real-world responsibilities which were not convenient. The therapist lost his temper and called an end to the session.
This has been the problem for many years. Both practitioners and training institutions in the mental/sociological professions have implemented and perpetuate extensive countercultural values and theorizing. What has evolved is more a political movement than a spectrum of mental health professions—or a countercultural political movement masquerading as, and being channeled through, mental health professions. Many people in the fields of psychology, psychiatry and allied professions have gone into the fields for pathological, if not subversive, reasons. They are resentful and hostile to the real adult world. They went into the fields with the aim of trying to cure adults and the world of bringing up responsibility and reality-testing. They are attempting to subvert the credibility of realistic adult thinking by attacking it with distorted prejudicial psychological labeling administered under a psychological authoritarianism.
The doctrine which has evolved is, since everything is supposedly relative and there are no absolutes, adherence to inconvenient reality is a stubborn psychological problem or perceptual problem. Under proper treatment, a person can be made to lose his or her rigidity so as to find alternatives to reality acceptable. What is desired is construction of a subjective world where reality imposes no inconvenient rules and anything is possible. Anything someone doesn’t want to do or recognize, regardless of realistic necessity, need not be done or recognized.
Time after time in the last 35 years when finding myself in disagreement with mental health professionals, I have suddenly found myself facing a bland smile and a: “Perhaps we should explore your feelings about this.” The undermining and insulting implicit arrogant assumption is that the only possible basis for disagreement with them stems from misperception which is impelled by some irrational feelings. We have but to uncover these irrational feelings whereupon the rigid error in my ways will become apparent and I will come not to disagree with whoever it is on anything. The error is always mine and the exploration of feelings is always to be of my feelings. Rationality or responsibility is definitely not to be explored.
My shortly forthcoming wrath at this attempt to psychologically undermine me is usually interpreted as proof of intractable irrationality.
Reality vs. Feelings
However, that over which we are disagreeing is not a subjective matter of personal feelings. What we are dealing with is a reality problem which is rigid because reality is rigid and reality is not arbitrary. Moreover, what we are inevitably dealing with, or rather attempting not to deal with, is an aspect of reality that somebody else doesn’t want to face, whether it has to do with drugs, or sexuality, or concrete responsibility. It eventually boils down to a contest of wills where they claim I can’t deal with feelings and I counter they can’t deal with reality.
Some time in the 80s I had occasion to deal with a 42- year-old man triumphantly explaining how successful his six-year psychotherapy treatment had been. His therapist was apparently also triumphant. Not only were he and his therapist triumphant over his splendid new insights, but he recommended psychotherapy for everyone. In fact, he said he would not enter into a relationship with a woman unless she had completed a course of treatment in psychotherapy.
He said he and the lucky girl should be engaging in sex by the end of the third date or there was something wrong with her. He said his “relationships” lasted an average of two-and-one-half months. He allowed that this was the general average length of time “relationships” last and, hence, he was doing respectably well. Being in the middle of this statistical norm was evidence of his sincerity in engaging in relationships. These two-and-one-half-month jobs were the real thing, not shallow fly-by-night situations.
So it was a prerequisite for the woman to undergo five years of psychotherapy to be suitable for this two-and-one-half month achievement. If she had the same kind of therapist he did, it may very well have prepared her for that kind of relationship. It wouldn’t be very surprising if after three or four such relationships she found herself needing another five years of psychotherapy.
The point is, given the level of reality of the institutions training mental health professionals in this country and the level of reality or responsibility in the people they have been graduating, there’s not going to be much help. The situation is not only a disgrace, it’s dangerous.
Time and time again, I have had mental health professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists, tell me personally or state publicly that only ten percent of them are any good. It’s become a cliche in the profession. The ten percent any one of them is speaking about is that ten percent who agree with whoever it is making the statement. On the whole, the situation with mental health professionals has become a major contributing factor to personal and cultural psychopathology.
The Revenge of the Disaffected
The mental health professions are in danger of becoming almost entirely little more than a countercultural political movement or a coalition of disaffected who seek to cultivate and misuse the authority of psychological diagnostics as a bludgeon against those who disagree with them. Those with certifications in psychology or psychiatry are in an authoritative position to rewrite diagnoses of themselves and to stay messed up with authority—and some have pursued certifications in the field for that reason. Some of those who are regularly in the media are immature and/or nuts and are dangerous.
One issue [May 2, 1996?] of the Washington Post issue bannered an article saying “Sexual activity among U. S. Teenagers Declines for the First Time since 1970.” 1970 was the first year such figures were collected. The article referred to government figures released from 1995. At that time 51 percent of girls were sexually active at age seventeen, and 76 percent by age 19. These figures were down 5 percent from 1990, and about equal to 1985. Before that there was a complex progression.
These girls are exactly what many elements of society, including their predecessors who did the same thing, want them to be and are doing what those same elements want them to do. It was triumphantly celebrated that more of these girls were using contraceptives. There has been a blackout on the reality that pregnancy is far from the only problem in any of this. While with the passage of time, and evolution of adjustment to the pattern, there has been varying amounts of resignation to compromise, the reality is that for more than 30 years the system, if you want to call it that, has been producing women who have been relationshiped, bedded, screwed, occasionally getting pregnant, pushed out the door, aborted, traded for someone else, relationshiped again, and so forth until a number of them became little more than angry unstable lunatics by age 24 —as uncomfortable as it makes many people feel to hear it. In other similar cases, women have acquired a feeling of drab resignation in their lives.
As we shall see, this was to have a profound effect on American culture and politics. There would be a steady supply of new recruits to fill in the ranks of the army of madness.
More next time.