The Demons of Late Modernity 4

by Bill the Butcher

“Evil lurks at the margins of society.” –Mary Douglas

“In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined.” –Thomas Szasz

In contrast to the Greco-Roman religions which understood “daimons” as inferior deities of nature, whether good or evil, early Rabbinic Jewish literature considered all demons evil, as the offspring of angels marrying mortal women; others suggest demons are the lost souls of a pre-Adamic race who inhabited the former world; and others believe demons are “fallen angels.”

Flavius Josephus, a first-century Jew and friend of the Romans, described demons as “spirits of the wicked that enter into men.” This particular description of the demon would later converge with the concept of the “fallen angel” and find its way into Christianity. “Demonic possession” is the idea that a human is taken over by a demon and consequently rendered incapable of exercising the Will to Goodness, thus the belief in the necessity of exorcism to cast the demon out.

In our late modern world, the language of “the wicked” has been replaced by a language more suitable to the scientific age. Today, human social difficulties are viewed as dangerous mental demons which haunt the homogeneity of virtuous universalist society. The ability to diagnose people as “mentally ill” has become a way to control deviant behavior by labeling particular social problems as symptoms of pathology and strapping said patients to a bed or sequestering them. As the therapeutic universalist state has replaced the monotheistic church as the dominant moral authority of the West, the mental health industry serves as the primary instrumental of social control to keep non conformists on the path to universal Goodness.

Under the new language, no human is bad; we’re just sick. Some people suffer from unfortunate mental demons that if caught early, can be expelled through scientific forms of exorcism (electroshock therapy, pharmaceutical treatment, group therapy, etc.). For instance, “conservatism” is often depicted as a “mild form of insanity” — “birthers,” “truthers” and “conspiracy theorists” suffer from “paranoia” or “midlife crises,” according to The Washington Post. Psychiatrists are debating whether “racism” should be considered a mental illness, suggesting Propranolol, a drug to treat high blood pressure and abnormal heart rate, could “cure implicit bias,” or “the form of racism that can even occur in people ‘with a sincere belief in equality.'” Homophobia, another demon to liberal society, has become a mental illness as seen in the case of Cardinal O’Brien who, apparently, has been diagnosed as suffering from “inverted homophobia.”

Of course, the psychiatric community is backed by the American Psychiatric Association which maintains a monopoly on definitions of mental illness. From here, nearly any individual who rejects liberal international society or who internalizes shame or loss of financial and social status can be classified as possessing a “mental disorder.” Whether mental illness is actually a metabolic or neurological disease “like any other physical illness” is beside the point; the therapeutic state’s power to involuntarily hospitalize individuals and the psychiatric monopoly control of psychotropic medications is enough to terrify any rebel or outsider. If liberals and feminists had their way, legions of hell raising, non conforming rebels would be diagnosed as “mentally ill” and castrated into conformity at the hands of a female nurse in white uniform.

Similar to Christians, the liberal’s struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the inner demons and oppositional forces that darken liberal society. These mental demons disrupt the course of liberal society and interfere in much of what illiberal men think and do. In place of traditional Christianity’s propensity to demonize foreign mythologies, the idea of “mental illness” has been co-opted to demonize all foreign or contrary ideologies in the interest of spreading and propagating progressive global capitalism. Not to mention of the fact that the lucrative marriage between psychiatry and pharmaceutical companies has created a multi-billion dollar drug market by creating and naming more and more demons, for instance, children throwing temper tantrums may be considered a “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder,” daydreaming is “ADHD,” shyness is “social anxiety,” suspicion is “paranoid personality disorder,” home sickness is “separation anxiety,” and so forth.

The message is clear. The liberal state is a secular mental church whose scientific tyranny has only just begun. Those who fail to march in lockstep with “truth,” “justice,” “equality,” and “progress” are generally good people under demonic possession — who need “professional help.” In the old days, they called the priest for that; today, they call the psychiatrist — the man with the book of demons.

4 comments

  1. Excellent work. I entirely agree. I wonder what Nietzsche would think about the language of the new church. In a way, with his emphasis on “health,” Nietzsche’s philosophy might have influenced the new priests in subtle ways. Yet, their view of life is entirely incommensurable with “Live Dangerously.” Thoughts?

  2. North America is obsessed with labeling and diagnosing. When something is labeled it can be categorized and marketed to the people. They just want to make sure the nation is mentally subdued, and those that have something to say are silenced by devaluing that persons credentials whether they be mental or tangible.

    The church is all about negating life. Forfeit this life for one better. What a shame. What if christianity was a celebration of this life! What then would our country be like?

  3. Camille Paglia says that the “daimon” was a sub-race of Greek diety that was both good and bad. “Daimon” became “demon” in Christianity via the Old Testament. The screw turned and tightenned.

    Paglia’s specialty is art. She scorns utopian doctrine that demonizes the daimon. This is acceptable when she critiques European Christianity and apalling when she critiques its secular humanist successor. Paglia dares to suggest that left-wing humanism is a foe of free expression. Political-correctness drives her mad. It burns her for two reasons. 1)She believes in the imperfectability of man and society. 2)She believes that the individual artist has a Nietzschean privilege to be independant from group morality in the pursuit of superhuman stuff.

    Paglia channels Carl Schmitt’s critique of the Western Liberal Democracy. She knows that demonizing the Far Right as outside the boundaries of The Family of Man is like demonizing the Jewish infidels and, even more ruthlessly, the gentile heretics as outside the boundaries of the Roman Catholic fold. First you damn the diabolical misfits in the name of an unquestionably great ideal to be achieved in a misty future. Then you destroy the beasts.

    The stealth way to destroy the beasts is to affect to help them. To affect to save them from themselves. It suits the moral pretensions of an “enlightenned” society while padding the purse of Big Pharma. The regime becomes a closed circle with yin-therapuetic and yang-enforcement sides. All that remains are advances in scale, vigilence, tech and internal self-reference ad nauseum. Still, I can’t totally demonize the system because it has remnants of daimon. The ghost in the machine can be good and bad. I hate to admit it as a Traditionalist, but recenty I met a guy who graduated from high-school, following a special ed cirriculum, with a 1.7 grade average. With the help of Ritalin and a sturdy wife, he graduated from nursing school with a 3.3 average. He said, “The drug saved my life.”

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