They’ll Pathologize and Medicate the Resistance They Surveil

What might happen to you if you resist?

What if you said, “Taking on a load of debt in order to participate in normal economic life is foolish! I won’t do it and neither should anyone else!”? What if you said, “Creating an artificial disaster in inner city schools and then blaming it on the unions or the parents instead of the leaders who made the value judgments is wrong! I won’t stand for it, neither should anyone else!”? What might happen?

A lot might happen, and you are probably well-trained to fear it, by now. Here are two more techniques the powers-that-be are using to erode our desire and capacity to resist. You might want to note them.

For one thing, they might outlaw, pychopathologize or medicate your noncompliance. 

Ronald Reagan believed that under the Constitution the President has the inherent authority, as the commander in chief, to direct a military intelligence agency (such as the NSA) to intercept enemy communications during wartime or when necessary to protect the national security. The authoritarian snowball got rolling and got even larger when it proceeded into the snowdrift of Bush’s perpetual war on terror and Obama’s threat of a

Ever-growing psych bible

Ever-growing psych bible

drone to follow the surveillance trail. At the same time Americans elected the increasingly authoritarian Reagan, an increasingly authoritarian American Psychiatric Association added to their diagnostic bible (then the DSM-III) some newly-described mental disorders for children and teenagers. The “disorders” focused on disorder, such as the increasingly popular “oppositional defiant disorder” (ODD). The official symptoms of ODD include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules,” “often argues with adults,” and “often deliberately does things to annoy other people.”

Had he lived in our era, Jesus probably would be medicated in a secret prison rather than publicly crucified. As one of His followers, you should consider what it means that our Bible says things like:

“Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2-4).

Talk about oppositional and defiant! It is at least annoying to denounce the “god of this age” and it is probably against some homeland security regulation to suggest that a citizen should “renounce secret and shameful ways!”

The general population believes in the DSM, even though they’ve never seen one. Science is god and Big Pharma builds suburban temples like Merck just north of Philly to develop devotees to their vision of wholeness. Drug company revenues climbed more than $200 billion between 1995 and 2010. For every dollar spent on research $19 goes toward promotion and marketing. Heavily tranquilizing antipsychotic drugs (e.g. Zyprexa and Risperdal) are now the highest grossing class of medication in the United States ($16 billion in 2010). A major reason for this explosion in sales, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010, is that many children receiving antipsychotic drugs have nonpsychotic diagnoses such as ODD or some other “disruptive disorder” (this especially true of Medicaid-covered pediatric patients).

The government has created an omnipresence that must be obeyed. The medical establishment has backed it up with diagnoses and a vision of normality. Pharmaceutical companies produce the meds to make children compliant. Christians might like to specialize, like Paul, in saying things that begin with, “On the contrary…”

For another thing, they might drown you in the surveillance of your noncompliance

Everyone thinks surveillance is normal now. We can even spell it. The neighbors along Broad St. are talking about how the police want them to coordinate the cameras on their businesses so no one will be out of sight for very long, if ever. Here’s Mayor Nutter trying to appear “on top of” the matter (see what he says about cameras at about the 3-minute mark).

The fear of being surveilled makes a population easier to control. The National Security Agency (NSA) has received publicity for monitoring American citizen’s email and phone conversations, but we’re over that. Employer surveillance has become increasingly common in the United States and people accept it. It is small wonder that young

Click for more amazement

Click for more amazement

Americans have become increasingly acquiescent to corporatocracy surveillance because, beginning at a young age, surveillance is routine in their lives. Parents routinely check websites for their kid’s latest test grades and completed assignments, and just like employers, they monitor their children’s computers and Facebook pages. Some parents use GPS to track the kids’ whereabouts, and other parents have video cameras in their homes. These days it is not unusual to find that young people lack the confidence to pull off a party when their parents are out of town! How much confidence could they have to pull off a resistance movement below the radar of the authorities?

The Christians are in the same condition. You’d think they were still waiting for Jesus to rise from the dead. Before they met him alive after his crucifixion, the first disciples were locked in a room for fear the authorities would find them:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  (John 20:19).

I think many of the Christians I know are afraid of being psychopathologized just like the rest of the population and are definitely afraid of what the powers that be know about them. They are locked up for fear of the leaders, or just afraid of the unseen forces they sense all around them that are determined to keep them quiet and compliant. But the risen Jesus can still get in the room, despite the authorities and the fear they engender:

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:21).

From what we know of the first disciples, they received the Spirit even though they were afraid and doubtful. Will the young disciples of today do the same? I keep wondering if the next generation, in general, is already lost to their subjugation. Is resistance dead? I hope that is not true of the Christians, at least. If someone calls us crazy or criminal for following Jesus, that is a good thing. Let them see all they need to see. May we be found by every camera doing what Jesus would do.

Further voices and my previous posts:

Again, thanks to Bruce E. Levine published in alternet.org

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About Rod White

Pastor for Circle of Hope. Graduate of Fuller Seminary, PhD in MFT from Eastern University.
This entry was posted in Theological Help and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to They’ll Pathologize and Medicate the Resistance They Surveil

  1. Hi Rod, I recently got involved with the Mad Pride/Radical Mental Health Movement. I am trying to put together a group that will help Quakers non-violently respond to and value neurodiversity. Your piece here speaks to me and we seem to have similar concerns. If COH ever wanted to form a pro-neurodiversity/radical mental health/mad pride group, please let me know . I would be very interested in working with COH people on that. Maybe it could be a Quaker Committee/COH compassion team hybrid. Blessings, Kitt

  2. Jonny Rashid says:

    These posts are great. Thank you Rod. It’s frustrating to me that the powers that be seem to also encourage people to resist radical Christianity too. I always keep reminding myself that Jesus is leading the greatest mutiny ever, and my resistance should never be to Him and what’s He’s doing on earth.

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