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Thus spake Jen Psaki with complete certainty regarding the medical profession’s administering of “gender affirming treatment.” Our medical profession says it is “best practice” and who is she to question our medical profession when it may even save lives? “Science” the all knowing and all powerful force that bestows knowledge upon our leaders to guide them in caring for their subjects has decreed that the outcomes of this affirmation are nearly always beneficial. So yes we should ramp up our efforts to give hormones to children and later mutilate them. Nature clearly has gotten sex assignment wrong in up to 10% of children. Bad nature. Sloppy nature. All seeing, all knowing and all benevolent Science through its high priests will FIFY.
Now, where have I heard this type of thing before? Oh, yes, that’s right: the heady excitement when the frontal lobotomy was introduced in the 1930s. Schizophrenia, depression, violent behavior, or behavioral problems in general? Just disconnect those frontal lobes and patients will become docile and happy. The American physicians Walter Fremont and James Watts brought the surgery over from Europe where it was invented (and its inventor, Egas Moniz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1949). They decided that having to perform the operation under anesthesia by a surgeon in an operating room deprived too many people of its benefits, so they perfected a procedure whereby you basically stuck a spatula through the eye socket and hammered a spike into the brain on an outpatient basis. Problem solved! They went all around the country performing it on people, many of whom did not consent to it. But even if they did, they weren’t consenting to a barbaric medical procedure but a life free from their demons. Why wouldn’t you consent?
In fairness to the physicians who supported lobotomies, they didn’t have good treatment options in the days before anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs. Also, in fairness, it was opposed by many physicians even from the start-the Soviet Union of all places banned it as inhumane – but their voices were drowned out for a long time. Eventually, disillusionment set in and the new drugs started coming on the market. The practice was discontinued but not before 20,000 were performed in the US alone. More on women than men. As noted in a recent article:
“It appears however that much of the controversy of lobotomies did not arise from what appeared to be a barbaric procedure to calm the moody, psychotic, or ill-behaved but rather the ‘over willingness’ of many physicians to perform this procedure without reservations.” (emphasis mine).
Yes, some people benefitted in the short term. Only apparently no one bothered to look what happened in the long term until it was too late. As one British neurosurgeon said: “It reflected very bad medicine, bad science, because it was clear the patients who were subjected to this procedure were never followed up properly….If you saw the patient after the operation they’d seem alright, they’d walk and talk and say ‘thank you, doctor,'” he observes. “The fact they were totally ruined as social human beings probably didn’t count.”
Some famous people were subjected to it, e.g., the sisters of JFK and Tennessee Williams, and it didn’t end well in either case. But what about the children? According to Wikipedia, lobotomy was used in Japan mostly on children with behavioral problems. Some children didn’t even know it had been performed on them. Howard Dully was diagnosed by Freeman as having schizophrenia, although other physicians did not agree, and was given a lobotomy at age 12 with permission from his parents. He had a hard life after that, including incarceration, homelessness, and alcoholism, although eventually he became sober, got a college degree, and held a job. He started to research what happened to him as a child and found out about his lobotomy. He wrote a book about it in 2003 and was interviewed by PBS and lauded by the NY Times and all the usual suspects who now accept uncritically “gender affirming care”. The last chapter of his book should be cautionary but apparently isn’t with that crowd: “In the last section of the memoir, entitled “One Last Word”, Dully compared his lobotomy to young children today who are diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder without a second opinion, and are subsequently medicated with powerful medications” –Wikipedia I have a feeling if he had written that statement today he might have added “gender affirming care.”
We all agree now that it was a tragic era in medical history, but it only happened once. Actually, no. I will write in length another day about America’s sad and tragic love affair with forced sterilization in the first half of the 20th century. Over 60,000 people-many poor, minorities, immigrants- were forcibly sterilized without the need for informed consent. The eugenics movement in the US actually was the inspiration for Nazi Germany. Ah, those right-wing white supremacists — that’s why we need to root them out now, right? Only it wasn’t those right-wing white supremacists. It was our progressive elite- in our top universities, our scientific societies, our corporations, our charitable foundations (Rockefeller and Carnegie), and the highest echelons of government (Edwin Black, War against the Weak).
And our medical profession?
“Most clinicians acted with benevolent intentions but often crossed ethical lines when they recommended sterilization to patients, especially poor women of color who did not request them. In an era when informed consent was a topic of conversation among clinicians but not standard practice, thousands of Black, Latina, and Native American women entered public hospitals to give birth and were sterilized after delivery without their informed consent.”
Now you might say that was still in the early part of the 20th century. Now we know better. Now we take oaths, and have Institutional Review Boards who keep this abuse from happening. We have informed consent. Then again, I just saw a documentary about the false accusations of child abuse and satanic rituals in the 1980s and 1990s that destroyed families and lives based on the largely discredited theory of repressed memories, referred to by Harvard Professor Richard McNally as “the worst catastrophe to befall the mental health field since the lobotomy era.” Who were its practitioners? Clinical psychologists.
The lessons that these follies teach is that science and the medical profession often think too highly of themselves when it comes to treatments that mess with the core of what makes us human or what makes us viable living beings. They go all in, quickly expanding controversial and highly destructive treatments well beyond the narrow and tragic cases where there might be some justification for trying extreme measures. They don’t consider the long-term consequences or even wait to find out. They force thousands of people too vulnerable to consent to be guinea pigs in their experiments. Why?
As Edwin Black says in his book War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race:
Again I ask, how did this happen in a progressive society? After reviewing thousands upon thousands of pages of documentation, and pondering the question day and night for nearly two years, I realize it comes down to just one word. More than self-validation and self-certification of the elite, more than just power and influence joining forces with prejudice, it was the corrupter of us all: it was arrogance.
And I would add ate, the Greek word for blind folly.
And that is what I am seeing again with this insistence that we alone of all sexual animals of the earth somehow have our sex merely “assigned” at birth; we have to wait and see what we really are and then can choose to correct nature’s error. Arrogance and ate. Once again, the “smartest” people in the room are driving this folly, in our universities, our scientific societies, our charitable organizations, our medical organizations, our corporations, and the upper echelons of our government. I do not think it will end any better than our irrational exuberance with lobotomies and sterilization. Hormones are powerful forces on our anatomy and physiology. We have little idea of what happens long term when you decide to stop them and change the program. We have little idea of what happens to babies that will be carried by people who are subjecting them to large amounts of testosterone. The voices of dissent once again cry out but they are being drowned out by idiots designing cheerful emojis of so-called pregnant men. And when it goes wrong we will look back and cluck our tongues and wonder how it could happen at all. But for the victims of this irrational exuberance, like the victims of other medical follies, it will be too late.Published in