Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Conspiracy Theory as a Personality Disorder?

By Kerry Bolton

Foreign Policy Journal

John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower at Camp David, April 22, 1961 (John F. Kennedy Library)

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While psychiatry as a means of repressing political dissent was well-known for its use the USSR, this occurred no less and perhaps more so in the West, and particularly in the USA. While the case of Ezra Pound is comparatively well-known now, not so recognized is that during the Kennedy era in particular there were efforts to silence critics through psychiatry. The cases of General Edwin Walker, Fredrick Seelig, and Lucille Miller might come to mind.

As related by Seelig, the treatment meted out to political dissidents in psychiatric wards and institutions could be hellish. Over the past few decades however, such techniques against dissent have become passé, in favor of more subtle methods of social control. While the groundwork was laid during the 1940s by President Franklin Roosevelt calling dissidents to his regime the “lunatic fringe,” this became a theme for the social sciences, the seminal study of which is The Authoritarian Personality by Theodor Adorno et al. This Zionist-funded study established an “F” scale in which respondents were tested for latent “Fascism.” The extent depended on their attitudes towards hitherto what was regarded as traditionally normative values, such as affection for parents and the family, the latter in particular regarded by these social scientists as the seed-bed of “Fascism.”

While social mores have been established to make dissidents pariahs, to impose a soft totalitarianism of the Huxleyan Brave New World variety, social scientists remain occupied with creating new approaches for the continuing de-legitimizing of dissident opinions. Among the primary targets are those who have in recent years been termed “conspiracists.” The term is used to induce a pavlonian reflex in nullifying dissident views on a range of subjects, like the words “racist, “fascist,” “sexist,” etc. Any hint of “conspiracism” in a paper is also sufficient to prevent it from even reaching the initial stage of peer review if submitted to a supposedly academic journal, where one might expect a range of views to be debated.

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