PSYCHOLOGY IN THE COURTROOM

The use of psychology or psychiatry in the courtroom has increased over the last two decades so much so that it might easily be considered a modern secular substitute for the practice of religious purification.

We now have the substitution of psychological interpretation for punitive action.

The use of both psychiatry and psychology to exculpate might reasonably be viewed as regressive rather than a progressive development.

This is particularly true in the light of the primitive state of medical, knowledge about the workings of the brain and mind.

If one accepts the broad concept of psychological factors that may diminish individual accountability, there is no intrinsic reason why a terrorist who believes that he is gunning down a perceived enemy is any less or more disturbed in a clinical sense than the person who 'guns down' an unfaithful lover.

Both psychiatry and psychology in the courtroom tends to focus the attention of the judge and jury on the defendant's state of mind rather than on his or her actions, an approach that tends to diminish accountability

A notice displayed in a Texas court room highlights the cynicism displayed by many:-

When a psychiatrist or psychologist testifies during

a defendant's competency hearing, the psychiatrist

or psychologist shall wear a cone shaped hat that is

not less than two feet tall. The surface of the hat

shall be imprinted with stars and lightning bolts.

Additionally, the psychiatrist or psychologist shall

be required to don a white beard that is not less

than eighteen inches in length and shall punctuate

crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing the

air with a wand .

Whenever a psychiatrist or psychologist provides

expert testimony regarding the defendant's

competency, the bailiff shall dim the courtroom

lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong.

The discipline of psychology would argue that retribution is both useless and damaging in therapy, this is no doubt true because after all law and therapy pursues different goals.

For the psychologist it may be vital to know why a man beats his wife and children as an act of revenge against his parents who once abused him.

For those whose role it is to end the violence - the police and the Criminal Justice System, an understanding of the symbolic psychological dimensions are irrelevant.

It would be like a man who has killed his parents and seeks mercy and understanding on the grounds that he's an orphan.

In a libertarian society, psychology and psychiatry cannot and should not be expected to serve as a mechanism for behavioural control.

CHARLES HANSON

May 2000

Charles Hanson

The trend within the discipline of criminology has been to search for a methodological and ideological update of liberal thinking.

The cry should not be for a new criminology as a distinct body of knowledge that promises equality within the framework of mechanisation or the state.

The recent trend has been to latch on to authoritarian marxist principles for meaning and survival, as political and economic elites have historically done, but this only suggests the desperation of criminologists to avoid the choices that have to be made.

If anything we should be defining a different world without criminology or the science of punishment in which the hierarchical institutions of the state are dissolved.

By assuming definitions of crime within the framework of law by insisting on legal assumptions as sacred, criminologists comply in the concealment and distortion of reality of social harms inflicted by persons with power. The world is full of strife, war, misery, injustice, poverty, crime, exploitation along with rulers, governors and humiliators of the downtrodden. Specific persons pose serious threats to our freedoms because they wish to use each and everyone of us instruments of their freedoms. They surround us with their language, concepts, theories, ideas and meanings. In the process they construct powerful hierarchies and institutions to control manage and teach ideas, legitimising their acts to create docile legally conditioned animals. They teach and coerce us into their values and make it in each person's interest to uphold the political economy which benefits them only.

It is not the social harms punishable by law which cause the greatest in the world. It is the lawful harms, those unpunishable crimes justified and protected by law, the state and the ruling elites that fill the earth with misery, want, strife, conflict, slaughter and destruction. War and the health of the state is the misery most obviously produced and the most cleverly concealed.

Liberal criminology has become a 'gatekeeper' for state domains of control, the value assumptions of hierarchical authority, of centralised controls and a safety valve and temperature gauge in the limits on how far the state can go.

The liberal writings of the various sociologists, criminologists and psychologists are given much attention in criminology which is indicative of the continued fascination with power, control and the models of the mechanical world. Their thinking is that man is the centre of the universe, but that they are the centre of man. They prescribe what is good and acceptable and how the world and life processes should be managed.

To remain part of the 'status quo' and the academic scene requires at its least submission to a shearing of consciousness, that is tantamount to a shearing of ones humanity, to stand by and observe is to participate, passivity is activity, passivity is assent.

If social scientists have emerged as the market researchers for the state, criminologists, sociologists and psychologists have become the locksmiths, they provide as do all other branches of the social sciences the rationale for the maintenance of the state and its control of its dissidents, but they shield the eyes and close the noses of people to the destruction of themselves as people. They prefer to spend their time on researching shoplifting, parking - meter fraud, offending behaviour in general and the dubious interventions which they promote with gusto than the struggles of humanity.

Historically it is not surprising to find statements about justice reflecting the ideology of the state, of law and the existing economic order. The just were always the state.

In the context of the liberal state, the 'black-bag' magicians issue forth no statements about the qualit so called 'scientists' of human nature have posed themselves as minor idols ( mandarins ) and breathe the uneven breath of the saint who considers himself beyond humanity. To them human experiences that do not meet standards of certainty and cannot be measured by the dubious methodology of the social sciences are abandoned as irrationalities. In so doing these 'experts' of life continue to defoil the natural living world, they also defoil the minds and tongues of its human inhabitants. They control language about what is real, coin and fit words for the kaleidoscope of illusions they design, thus we live in a culture in which people have no sense of their position.

Criminologists especially among the social scientists continue to demonstrate an outright rejection, at least a reluctance to believe that the methodology of science can be viewed in the context of ideology. They believe as if law and state are absolutes and the impeccable foundations of the correct world, receiving authority by way of some absolute divine right.

Though criminologists have been concerned with social relationships, social organisation and disintegration, the underlying philosophy of thought has been essentially the same as that of he physical sciences, people are seen as 'out there', as objects, things that can be viewed and reviewed as under a microscope, dissected, labelled and stuck back together. They demonstrate little questioning of the sources of authority that dictate who is to be observed and controlled. They continue to assume the benevolence of the cloak of rationality, observation and policy to define the sick, the criminal and the withering members of the world. In so doing they hang out shingles advertising their messianic nature, their secret priesthood to save and restore for the right price those whom their research and policies set up.

In becoming more vociferous about their authority and 'mandarin' status they have begun to lose their 'flock', to be without convinced believers, they have become beyond belief, beyond the human, in exchange for becoming a source of ideological comfort for the stomping elite.

Many social scientists still see the world of social problems to be the world before their 'scientific' legally corrected and state corrected eyes. For continued membership of the elite class, these mandarins, the 'do-gooders'. the reformists pay their dues by mitigating the guilt of the elites, by providing scientific rationale for the destruction of various scapegoat groups. Given people to look at without an historical relative view of law and illegality, social scientists see 'abnormalities' as conflicts residing within the soul, the person rather than within the ideas, values, interests and authority of the powerful and crime as one form of resistance to these ideas, interests and persons.

What behaviour the criminal law cannot contain within its domain to hunt out the pathological, institutionalised psychiatry, psychology and social work in its sheepish submission to positivistic modes of thinking, will seal tight.

Those who seek meaning for their personal lives are the first to be acted upon, those who retreat, 'bail out' or rebel and for whom no community exists become ready victims of the one forced reality of the state.

The problems of justice have always been a problem of 'people management, responded to in the form of a well regulated 'stable' and a humanitarian system of criminal justice under existing existing economic and political arrangements. Some communities now become managed like some farms with the influx of the do-gooder, social worker, 'out-reach ' worker, community workers, sociologists and psychologists who seek to measure conflicts and the shifting of resources but always within the rule structure of the game warden.

Even the notion of the therapeutic state has evolved historically through humanitarian motivation, though this motivation may have been involved, it was certainly accompanied by control motives and policies of recognised safety valve effects.

The judiciary which is an integral part of the drama requires some attention. With its black robes ( priests of the state ) , enforced deference, demanding linguistic superiority and unintelligible jargon, the judiciary cloaks the basis of law and the reality of equity in myths of fairness, the show never stops.

The very processes of law are designed such that the processed person is ignorant of the process and required to have others act on his or her behalf in a language that is incomprehensible. These processes are carried out in a series of legal, psychological, medical and sociological invasions of the person. The processes of law reduces humanity, objectify persons as cases to be disposed of , sold to the highest bidder of diversion or to penal programmes. What human alienation might have existed, the legal processes completes, destroying belief on oneself.

Apologists for the criminal processes - the 'Howard League for Penal Reform', the 'Prison Reform Trust', the 'National Association for the care and Re-settlement of Offenders' and 'Inquest' present defences for the necessity and continuation of law - 'the rule of law'.

In their reification, such bodies hide the fact that law is one instrument by which men have attempted to resolve the question of authority. They hide the fact that the rule of law is rule by men often through violence coercion, brutality, isolation and punishment.

The analysers do not analyse the roots of grievances, inequality, injustice and abuses or the reasons why we have become a 'suing society'.

To believe that justice can be culled from bureaucratic red-tape processes in which the actors have no human stake in the processes is to believe in slavery, defend the sources of injustice and to promote the continuation of the slave plantation.

According to the social science ideology, each person is determined by forces of which he or she is unaware of. As a consequence, he or she is not responsible for his or her actions, the offensive act signifies ( is a symptom ) that the actor is sick, unbalanced, unsocialized or chromosomically deviant. The actor is a criminal, his or her whole being is criminal, he or she is different than others and therefore unequal, a part of the world that needs re-ordering. Conflicts must be resolved scientifically by experts who understand the malaise of the criminal, they can 'treat' the criminal into compliance and obedience through castration, lobotomy, psychological intervention ( brainwashing ) and when all else fails by lethal injection or the hangmans noose. The criminal needs to be re-educated, to be bureaucratically processed, medically or scientifically judged different and where necessary contained and isolated until he or she thinks, feels and acts 'correctly'.

Though science and law are conflicting ideologies especially regarding the issues of responsibility, volition and state benevolence, they are as equally serviceable to those in power. Both focus on the individual through symbolic deterrent processing or treatment, both uphold the superiority of the 'experts' judicial or scientific and both postulate one-reality consensual view of the world. Neither question the current political-economic-social order, rather both owe their presence and allegiance to serve, to maintain the present order.

The whole of society has come to take on the properties of a 'total institution' best characterised as an asylum. The state has become the 'protector', the 'parent', the 'teacher' and the 'punisher'. The 'nanny state' and its squads have reduced the individual to total property, the tool - the inert extension of the machine of the state.

If you seek positions of power or that of intervention on behalf of elites or power structures, to be a decision maker or to make a career of directing others you are part of the corruption of the state in its oppression. To make a life activity of exercising power is to perpetuate a malevolent state of human affairs.

If you are seeking positions of power or decision making for others, it is you that become criminal, inspecting, bossing, registering, ordering, rehabilitating, paroling, spying, informing or executing places one firmly within the pattern of power holder.

The misery, hunger, wars and strife far surpass the harm of common theft, that the former are intentionally clothed in myth aggravates the harm of the acts themselves.

Punishment, retribution, deterrence and protection are concepts logically consistent with imposed authority and loss of human dignity. They are bye-words for ceremonies of enslavement in a society in which slavery is cherished. Treatment, re-education, therapy and behaviour modification are concepts logically consistent with state scientism, the up-dated technology of bureaucratic control.

In the past those who posed a normative threat to localised religious ruling elites were designated as sinners, witches or heretics and met with whippings, brandings, banishment even death. Those who posed a threat in the early capitalist state alliance were designated as criminal and imprisoned where they were subject to economic exploitation. In current times, those posing a threat to the welfare-scientific states are likely to be designated as mentally ill, socially disordered or even as victims.

Those who refuse to accept the conditions of the welfare state megamachine are sifted, sorted and designated until they reach the components of the paper by which they are processed, in other words social lobotomomization.

Since the late 19th century there has been an increase in the number of people criminalized and sent to penal 'dustbins' and 'warehouses'. large expenditures are required to maintain the flow, necessitating an expansion of prison building programmes. Prison overcrowding, idleness and the potential threat of riot and disturbance with consequential lack of control have caused the power structure to seek ways to ease the pressures whilst at the same time retaining the symbolic values of criminalizing members of the 'dangerous class', hence probation, community service, parole and electronic tagging.

Within the social sciences the ideology of determinism was taking hold, its proponents held that each person was propelled by forces - economic, psychological, anthropological or physiological all of which he or she were unaware of human kind was not capable of exercising free-will, man was determined, the individual as a consequence was not responsible for his or her acts or character. Punishment or confinement was inappropriate, deterrence foolhardy, fixed sentences were counter-productive to the reduction of crime. The individual must be diagnosed scientifically and a cure prescribed. Indeterminate sentences were required to protect societies and bring about a cure, the actor becomes the focus not the act, the criminal was invented because of ones behaviour, thoughts or mental-health attitudes, states were symptomatic of the person's essence, illness. The criminal now is not a human person committing an irrational act but rather someone different - criminal ( determined and different ) or pathological, the criminal is not a person with an alternative or authentic morality or reality, he is undersocialized and in need of treatment.

Social structure, social change, human diversity, similarity and human need now takes precedence over duty as the basis of society.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, therapists and counsellors and other sundry 'treatment experts' have now entered the prison and juvenile 'fortresses', criminals now have to be studied, each one's unique and different characteristics must be located and rooted out, lawyers in feeding off this approach now employ the various differences to crime on behalf of their clients, pathology, mental incompetence, insanity, the weather, age, gender to the extremes of whether the defendant 'victim' was breast fed as a child.

Understanding the criminal mind has become a rich industry in recent years. The so called 'experts' have cast themselves as interpreters of 'monster's minds', occasionally even casting the criminal as a victim of one sort or another but invariably complicating rather than simplifying the matter., If taken seriously the result of such pseudo-science and history will be moral mayhem.

Individual treatment programmes have never been fully practised and rarely if ever showed results except at Auschwitz.

Locating he pathology in the community rather than in the individual has lead to numerous attempts to correct and control the criminal and drug sub-culture. Out-reach and street-gang detached worker programmes which focus on the local community does deter certain specific persons from lives of crime or drug abuse but it will never alone dam the flood gates of its production.

There is a move within the Criminal Justice System towards de-institutionalisation and an ideology of de-criminalization and diversion in search for alternative management stratagems. De- institutionalization means closing the gates of the 'fortress' prison in favour of therapeutic communities and community based sentencing. The reasoning implies that the community must get involved, that members of the community are responsible, that the community must participate in the control of its problem persons, that the offender must be integrated into the local community.

This decentralisation of institutional diversion presents the appearance of local control ( more mythology ) but is also a movement towards the welfare state.

Such programmes are institutionalisation, its form ( reform ) is worse because it makes the problem ( control ) less stark.

Small residentially based prisons or institutions ( hostels, half-way houses ) which improve the living conditions of its captives take the appearance if not the heart out of the 'fortressed ' reality of elite control.

The fact is that among the persons to be deinstitutionalized few could return to the community. They do not control the substance of law, their schools, their economies, the police, or the social structures. For them the community represents one more piece of baggage of the elites programmes. One cannot be integrated into a community when community does not exist, but this is the ever increasing language of the welfare state.

The structure is not changed, only the managerial mode. The other strategy is behaviour or mind control through the use of dubious pseudo-scientific psychological practices.

The great fear is that the potential for social harm has no limit, who controls, treats, conditions and demolishes whom ? how and why ?

Can we all become subject to behaviour modification and all in effect be indeterminately sentenced ?

To all those who have explored, there have been no successful correctional programmes yet they have all been successful in retaining a pool of persons for processing.

One cannot participate in the therapeutic state without realising that persons with the greatest sense of sociability are resolutely criminalised or submitted to the therapy.

The history of deviance designates and state responses has reflected the modes believed to be best to secure obedience's and control. The designates and responses have also reflected the historically and geographically specific economic and social conditions of the time. Sinners, criminals, the mentally ill and the poor ( surplus ) have been responded to with banishment, brandings, prisons, factories, asylums and lobotomies and in the process welfare consumtive worthlessness.

For the new mandarins, the Blairites, the liberals and the 'centre left' concern for human liberty and the ideals of a just society are to be treated with scorn, taken as naive, primitive impracticable and utopian. Technological managerial ideologies and the authority based economic hierarchies they protect dismiss all concerns for liberty and justice and any non-hierarchical forms of society.

Today the state has succeeded in meddling in every aspect of our lives. From the cradle to the grave it strangles us in its arms, pursues us at every step, it appears on every street corner, it imposes on us, holds us, harasses us, it regulates over all our actions and in the process accumulates mountains of laws in which the shrewdest of lawyer is lost. It creates an army of employees, an evil band who have only one religion - control, manipulation and an easy buck. For social workers, probation officers, community workers, counsellors, psychologists who ' hook up' with any political party, they do so in order to be guaranteed maximum appointments for a minimum of work.

Within the order of the new mandarins, justice is transformed into universalistic treatment, equality is uniformity, the mandarins pervert their 'proficiency' in managing people and societies into a justification for doing so.

Those who administer or scientifically manage the lives of many are now servants of the ruling elite by the very nature their work, if they are not in fact the elite.

Those most concerned about social problems are not quite at one with themselves in their desire to change them, solving social problems would necessitate a change in the organisational mores from which they arise.

The humanitarian for all his allegiances to the humanitarian mores, the drug counsellor seeking to divert the drug and substance abuser, the social worker the underprivileged and the probation officer the offender remain members of our society and as such is under its organisational mores. They wish to improve the conditions of victims but not interfere with the structures which create them. Until they give up their allegiance to the organisational mores and in some cases run squarely against them they must continue to treat symptoms without removing the causes.

No one loses by giving verbal expression to humanitarianism, the 'do-gooder' is perfectly adept at this, but many would lose by putting humanitarianism into practice and certainly someone would lose by any conceivable reform.

Significant reforms within the prison system have not always come about by liberal intervention. In many cases reform has come about as a 'knee-jerk' response from the realisation that some prisoners are now more articulate, more socially and politically conscious and seek to by-pass the status quo in exposing their control and being that loss of control is their defeat they resort to compromises.

Other changes have resulted from the direct action of those who sought not reform or structural changes but an overhaul, it was not reformist in content, rather it was revolutionary in practice - Strangeways, Parkhurst, Hull, Dartmoor and Whitemoor !

Prisons have always been run by the consent of its inhabitants, do-gooders and reformists keep them 'in check' on behalf of the state, only those selected by the state are indeed allowed to enter our prisons, control must be maintained.

These people survive because of the 'safety valve' they operate on behalf of the state and the Prison Service to the extent that they are funded directly or indirectly by state operated organs, amongst them the Howard League for Penal Reform, The Prison Reform Trust, The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, The National Association of Prison Visitors and various other charitable status agencies.

Organisations like the Preservation for the Rights of Prisoners founded by Dick Pooley on the exercise at Dartmoor prison, The League of Human Rights Observance founded in Parkhurst Prison and Radical Alternatives to Prison were all inspired by prisoners themselves and were always outside the sphere of the influence of 'do-gooders' probation officers etc. The prisoners active involvement presented a revolutionary approach and found expression through such organisations, protests within prisons for a time mounted and certainly PROP became the focus of concern to the Home Office and indeed the do-gooders for they were bereft of control, these individuals wanted to believe that only they had the special skills and insights to articulate prisoners grievances, it never occurred to them that like the state appointed Boards of Visitors to prisons, they were merely seen as a safety valve and at times that valve was to blow.

Their self assumed monopoly on prison reform and manipulation had revealed them to be totally worthless at the crucial time, they became empty vessels.

Today we have The Revolutionary Communist Group and the Anarchist Black Cross who campaign for what they view as prisoners of the state, neither pull any punches and are always ready to expose abuses and denial of human rights, even the organisation of protests and limited financial assistance to prisoners.

Prisoners cannot rely on the do-gooders or indeed those self-assumed or self-appointed egocentric prisoners who assume such roles because of the benefit of being more articulate than their fellow 'cons', you do not negotiate from a position of weakness or from the surrender to the pseudo-reformists.

Today with this in mind and with the various government reports in recent years which do no more than show disaffection within the penal system, a new method of control has been introduced - The Incentive and Enhanced Privilege Scheme, the carrot and the stick to keep prisoners 'in line', to set prisoner against prisoner, a divisive mechanism based more on psychological intervention, but we hear little from the 'reformers' on the subject of the proposals to incarcerate those individuals considered dangerous irrespective of whether they have committed an offence or not, where does it stop? who is dangerous and who decides ? indeed what is being dangerous ?

After a thousand years of the right to jury trial that looks now set to end as does the shifting of the burden of innocence in specific cases and sentences become longer, and the prison building programme being extended to accommodate even more prisoners, where are the 'do gooders' ?

In the final analysis, control by the elites will always remain intact and who really cares about that ?

June 2OOO

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PREDICTING DANGEROUSNESS - THE FLAWS

CHARLES HANSON

 

As those of us who are serving sentences of 4 years or over will at some stage be considered for Discretionary Conditional Release or as more commonly known parole when predictions of risk and dangerousness will be assessed it might be worth examining some of the issues involved.

The Risk of Reconviction or ROR model as it is known is at the hub of all decisions to release or not.

Devised by academics working within the Home Office, the model is based on mathematical formula which measures the variables of previous and present offence details, social class, age, gender, age first convicted, social problems for example drugs or alcohol, employment history and time in last job, number of associates, previous breaches of parole, probation, supervision or bail, times between each prison sentence, whether single married or divorced and even whether living alone or with parents etc. the variables appear to be unlimited.

It is calculated that against each factor a score can be applied that when measured overall can determine risk, but how accurate is the method? for there does exist the critics who argue that the whole area of risk prediction is flawed and unreliable.

The critics argue that a dangerous person is not a psychological entity nor is dangerousness a scientific or medical concept, neither is it necessarily associated with mental illness.

The notion of a 'dangerous person' as one with a propensity to inflict harm is empty of meaning until it is given social content.

There are considerable difficulties in defining dangerousness satisfactorily for legal purposes. The greater problem is in selecting dangerous offenders although psychologists and indeed the probation service continually strive to do just that through the often use of dubious methods.

The literature on predicting dangerousness is amassing all the time and yet no one has come up with a valid and accurate method of assessment, models of past behaviour seem certain to continue to be the criteria in assessing future risk irrespective of the outcome of any behaviour or psychological programmes.

PROFESSOR NORVAL MORRIS states :- "Since we cannot make reliable predictions of dangerous behaviour, considerations of justice forbid us to confine people against their wishes in the name of public safety for longer periods than we can justify on other grounds".

What is a dangerous person ? "No such entity exists in the nosology of psychiatry" remarks H.L. KOZOL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COCOZZA AND STEADMAN in a 1976 study reported that those evaluated by psychiatrists as being dangerous were no more so than those evaluated as safe. Two first hand studies undertaken at institutions for the diagnosis and treatment of dangerous offenders in the U.S.A. ( Maryland ) I973, KOZOL concerned legally sane offenders. A number of inmates were released against the advice of clinical staff and followed up for a period of five years in one case and three years in another.

The assessments were thorough involving psychiatrists, psychologists, social, workers, law enforcement agencies etc. Half to two thirds of the judgements of dangerousness that were put to the test were NOT borne out by subsequent harmful behaviour on the part of the offender concerned.

MONAHAN ( 1973 AND 1977 ) in referring to this states:-

" Even under favourable conditions, the risk of unnecessary detention is likely to be considerable, and on the evidence of KOZOL it is likely to be at least 50% and may be as much as 66% even when the offenders concerned have had records of serious crime accompanied by violence and the assessments have been carefully made ".

IF MOST PEOPLE DO NOT COMMIT SERIOUS CRIME IT IS FAR EASIER TO BE WRONG THAN RIGHT IF YOU PREDICT THAT SOMEONE WILL DO SO HOWEVER CAREFULLY YOU MAKE THE ASSESSMENT OF HIS CHARACTER AND CIRCUMSTANCES.

The prevailing tendency for the courts and executive authorities ( the Home Secretary ) to defer to psychiatrists and indeed psychologists should be checked, given that each side will use 'expert testimony' to promote their case without the benefit of being objective. the adversial system of justice in the U.K. virtually compels the expert to be partisan for the side that callppear to stand up to scrutiny.

Protection of the public is a function of the Criminal Justice System but the technique at its disposal is punishment justly related to PAST CONDUCT.

Predictive judgements of future conduct are out of place in sytems of natural justice.

They are highly inaccurate but even if they could be made as accurate as judgements of past conduct are required to be they would not be acceptable, for preventetive confinement pre-empts a mans future course of actions.

Once preventative measures are permitted against dangerous offenders the way is open in principle to the extension of measures to non-offenders.

A difficulty in predicting dangerousness is that a man must forfeit his right to be presumed innocent before his right to be proved harmless can be brought into question.

The right to punish for past wrong-doing is a pre-condition of the right to prevent

future wrong-doing.

Though all penal and other assessments rely on the distinction between serious and other harm, the concept of seriousness is necessarily ambiguous in this connection for it has a moral as well as a factual dimension referring as it does to the wrongfullness of acts as well as to the injuriousness of their consequences.

In 'Sentencing in a Rational Society' ( 1972 ) PROFESSOR N.D. WALKER recommended cutting out the ambiguity by abandoning the concept.

There is agreement in many quarters that the cost in resources and human suffering of imprisonment for any purpose is high, there is more reluctance to use it for the purpose of punishment for the harms people have actually done, we must be even more reluctant to use it to prevent them causing harm in the future.

Nowhere in the English statute books in dealing with penalties that can be imposed by the courts on convicted offenders is there any mention of, or meaning assigned to the two words 'dangerous' or 'dangerousness'.

We have to distinguish between the persistent or nuisance offender and those deemed 'dangerous'. Persistence refers to the past, dangerousness to the future. Persistence in offending can undoubtedly provide some evidence of 'dangerousness', morally however to deny human change is to deny human existence.

None of the legislative attempts have provided any substantive criteria for establishing who is a 'dangerous' offender, certainly there is NO such offence as being 'an enemy of society'

The concept of 'dangerousness' in English criminal justice is elusive. It is not used with any precision, and the nature of the risk to which it refers is never defined in terms to make it contestable.

JEAN FLOUD ( 1981 ) proposes that any court or body who receives reports from psychiatrists, psychologists, probation officers or social workers should provide for the defence or applicant to call their own 'expert' witnesses to make an assessment contestable and for reasons to be given for the imposition of a sentence of imprisonment or the grounds of refusal to release.

The idea of 'dangerousness' is often taken for granted, it is so often defined so as to be unhelpfully imprecise, circular, misguided or irrelevant for practical penological purposes. Moreover it raises anxiety and is therefore particularly open to abuse.

COCOZZ AND STEADMAN ( 1976 ) claimed that psychiatrists under pressure assume to be experts in diagnosing 'dangerousness' to meet the expectations of society. Psychiatrists they claim pose as scientists but practice magic in the sense that through claiming 'special knowledge and being granted 'expert' status in law they make assessments of dangerousness which rely on empirically untested beliefs and represent an effort at control of the 'potentially harmful'.

In any case they have been allowed to exceed their powers, they represent an excellent example of professionals like psychologists, probation officers and social workers who have exceeded their so called 'expertise' and for whom society's confidence in their ability is empirically unjustified.

There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that as matters stand, psychiatrists, psychologists, probation officers, the Parole Board and other bodies are on average at best as likely to be wrong as right in thinking that the offenders they report on and decide to detain as 'dangerous' would actually do further harm if left at large or released.

 

June 2000

FEMINISM AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

CHARLES HANSON

Now over 45 years since the last woman was hanged in Britain, there are now moves to re-open the case of that woman - Ruth Ellis.

This has nothing to do with innocence or guilt, but merely whether in the light of current fashionable feminist thinking Ellis had the right to pick up a gun and seek out her lover David Blakely and thereon pump bullet after bullet into him and in the process injure an innocent passer-by and put the general public at risk.

The facts about Ellis's background are clear, a failed marriage, abortions and instability compounded by alcohol abuse, she was employed as a night club hostess which in the 1950s was a euphemism for a prostitute.

Ellis was attracted to both the night club life and the sex for sale industry, lifestyles where relationships are often reduced to the lowest primitive form, that was her choice.

Women who choose such a path, elect to follow such 'careers' and all that it entails must accept the quite apparent exploitation, brutality and the volatile sub-culture by which it is surrounded.

We are not referring here to women who are held in bondage or slavery, or those who are coerced into the way of life, the facts are that Ruth Ellis made choices and in her case quite unfavourable and devastating ones.

We now hear that Ellis was suffering from what is now known as 'battered wife syndrome' something not raised at her trial because it appears that current thinking is that this so called 'syndrome' excuses all types of unacceptable and anti-social behaviour

in male-female relationships, a husband who raises his voice to his wife is in danger of being labelled an 'abuser'.

In the case of domestic violence, the feminist industry have come up with explanations for the aggression and violence of some women, even where a killing by a female has been the consequence.

I am not buying any of this neatly packaged liberal 'tripe', moreover I cannot accept the reasoning of these often 'men -hating' feminists.

Since the 1980s and with some very high profile campaigns, we have seen women being freed by the courts, even where a jury have convicted them of murdering their husband or those with whom they were cohabitating, there is also a trend by feminists to treat such women as 'icons' to the cause not of female equality but female supremacy.

There also appears to be a legitimacy in some quarters for violence by women on men, and at the most extreme the notion that this is 'pay back' time.

Domestic violence and abuse is never acceptable no matter who the perpetrator is, whether it be male or female and there is a serious flaw in the feminist approach to the issues.

It seems that the current view is that women who kill their husband or cohabitee should not be held responsible for their actions, this of course implies that such women lack free-will to consider their actions, that they are merely simple and inadequate women.

The same argument does not appear to extend to men who kill even though they may well have suffered abuse themselves from the female victim, but hardly anyone is immune from relationship abuses, male or female, young or old.

Yet men who kill in similar circumstances as perhaps Ruth Ellis, did will have great difficulty in the courts of advancing the same defences. It seems that men just do not get attacked, struck by a saucepan, scratched, kicked or slapped or suffer verbal abuse from obsessively jealous wives , and of course men are never threatened in divorce or separation proceedings that they will never see their children again and often have to experience seeing their children either used as pawns by the mother as a way of retribution against him or as a means to settle old scores.

For sure, men will not find the same understanding from the courts in matters of child custody or residence as it is now known by, many will have to pursue the mothers though the courts repeatedly and of course it is always assumed that the mother is the one best placed to raise children.

Right across the legal arena men are severely discriminated against and it does seem that the term 'domestic violence' has become the 'Achilles heel' for many men even where does not exist a shred of evidence to such abuses.

Women are afforded the luxury of never having to prove their claims beyond a reasonable doubt or even so much within the bounds of probability that abuse does exist or existed, once claimed, once said by the female, it's as if it was fact and the male will be forever labelled an 'abuser'

Ruth Ellis committed the worst form of abuse when she deprived her two children of a mother, their interests it seems were relegated to the lower division of her perceptions of love.

For her children the stigma of their mother being the last woman to be hanged will remain with them until the day they die.

For their mother it was all over with on that day over 45 years ago when she went to the scaffold.

Our ideas on the role of men and women have changed somewhat since then, we now live in an era where there is a tendency to seek out reasons, sometimes excuses for failure, pseudo - scientific theories have sprouted that has the effect of reducing the most culpable of us to being viewed as victims ourselves.

In the case of Ruth Ellis, the feminists are beginning to achieve the very thing that they seek to undermine, that men are the more stable of the human species.

They have created the myth that women are intrinsically unstable and this instability will in some women become more prominent at a certain part of the month, no such excuses are of course available to men.

Different people deal with abuse in different ways, but unlike Ruth Ellis where it can be legitimately claimed that she brought a lot of grief on herself by choice, people do not resort to pumping bullet after bullet into their abuser, it does seem such these people lack the capacity to know where the 'front door' is.

Should we believe that some women ( like some men ) really cannot help themselves and that we should make allowances for them. Men who kill their abuser are never treated in the same way as women who shout to the roofs of abuse, certainly they are never treated as icons by other men, they are expected to take responsibility for their actions, abused women it seems cannot and should therefore be treated differently.

In 1999 the women's rights organisation Refuge ran a campaign drawing attention to the plight of 'battered women', in doing so they presented Sheryl Gascoigne, the ex-wife of footballer Paul Gascoigne as a high profile victim of such abuse

Here we have a woman who has a tendency to over-rate herself in more ways than one

in that she over-values and over-estimates her own status.

What she did as a leading light in the 1999 campaign was to demonstrate that there are women willing to exploit the issue of domestic violence.

As part of her campaign she was interviewed by on national TV by journalist Martin

Bashir.

She presented herself as a weak 'poor me' victim, with all the tears that would have done credit to a West End theatrical, one could not help but think that the whole thing was carefully stage managed. But what are the facts ?

There is no doubt that her husband Paul was an abuser, certainly his drinking habits were common knowledge and without doubt he represents all that is worst in any husband, indeed any man, vulgarity a bully and what some commentators describe as a bit of a 'dim wit'. It is easy to see how such a man would be given to abusing women.

Sheryl on the other hand seeks to present herself as a 'sensible person' one who had the guts to speak out.

Yet she waited till AFTER she had received the 1.5 million divorce settlement, yes she was sensible to the extent that she tolerated the alleged abuses, having the guts to speak out was a very well timed affair.

Telling Bashir that the abuse started soon after she met Paul should be of no surprise to those who know him, strangely she went on to marry him. Even when living in Italy as Paul played for the club Lazio, there was according to Sheryl systematic abuse, but she stayed on instead of taking the two children and herself to the airport and flying home to the family four bedroom home in Hertfordshire, a home over which Paul had no financial control.

Sheryl wasn't the semi-literate woman trapped in a rut on some run-down local council housing estate trying to get through the day with worries over an abusive husband, the needs of the children, worries over money and living on state benefits..

Apart from what financial considerations came into play, might not her remaining with Paul be attributed to the new and fashionable explanation of guilt, shame and low self-esteem and all the rest of the gobbledegook and psychobabble. ?

I think not, for she not only married the man who had been violent to her, a person she claims she was terrified of, but went on to have 2 children with him.

Telling Bashir that the abuse started just months into her relationship with Gascoigne raises some very serious questions about why she stayed, moreover why she waited to go public only after the divorce settlement.

Certainly by speaking out before could have hurt Paul and the football world which protected him. She could have also protected herself by leaving him and perhaps getting a job to help support the children..

But she didn't, terrified as she was, she preferred to stay with multi-millionaire Paul in their big house, with the kids at private school and enough gold credit cards to allow

herself to maintain the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed.

When the feminists ask why Sheryl stayed so long in an abusive relationship they need to ask what she was getting out of it, and the truth is she got quite a lot out of it and certainly a lot more than the 'fat lip' she endured for so long.

No one had ever heard of her until she became involved with Paul Gascoigne and had she not gone on to marry him and have children it is highly likely that she wouldn't now be living in a 750,000 house. Neither would she have the lifestyle, the holidays, the champagne or the designer clothes that most people can only dream about.

No doubt she has been damaged, but I would argue that she seemed to bring so much on herself.

She would have been a lot less damaged both physically and mentally had she walked away from Paul and the limelight years ago, but like some women sh4e knew which side her 'bread was buttered' on, she is not representative of those women trapped in a poverty cycle who find it difficult to escape, to some extent Sheryl is a manipulator who chose in a calculated way to reveal the so called 'hell' she suffered and to do so at the most convienient time.

Perhaps because of Paul and the limelight, she has been used by the feminists, discussing the life of herself and her children so publicly, so much for protecting the children from the alleged 'horrors' of the past and so much for 'moving on'.

No Sheryl in many respects you are a bit of a 'fake', either you are weak and susceptible to being used and abused or you are a very cunning woman..

In December 1999 we saw another 'cause celebre' this time in Italy where Milena Quaglini Fogli who had been sentence to 14 years imprisonment for killing her husband had been freed to a mere house arrest.

Milena was another victim of abuse or so we would have believe, so much so that the feminist movement fell over themselves campaigning for her to the point of holding her up as an icon.

Within weeks of her release she had killed again, further investigations showed that she had killed another live in lover three years before the killing which had resulted in the 14 year sentence.

Her reasons ?

It appeared that all three men wanted to have sex with her, my understanding of relationships is that this is normal behaviour, couples do have sex, but in rejecting it does one kill the other.

There might yet be some explanations for her behaviour for all three killings, even excuses, a syndrome perhaps, the wrong time of the month, did they all perhaps raise their voices to her.

Feminism as the orthodoxy that it's become is not based on concepts of fairness, justice or social solidarity, it is not even about equality but more about female supremacy and a hostility towards men in general.

There exists the doctrine that men oppress women, that men are predatory and violent, threatening women and children with rape or assault. Feminists argue most crimes are committed by men, that men use violence to threaten and control.

We have the more radical of feminists who argue that marriage is slavery and that the institution of marriage and family life exposes women to male violence, but what are the facts behind such claims

We hear of the issues of domestic violence and tend to view it as being synonymous with violent men and 'battered women' but this is only one side of the story.
The other side is the extent of women's violence against both men and children. That though is a story that almost every official body in Britain and the U.S.A. has successfully suppressed.

There are now dozens of studies which show that women are as equally as violent as men in the home and in many cases even more so. Unlike feminist research which tends to focus solely on women, these other studies examine both male and female violence, they are therefore more balanced and without a political or social agenda.

They are also more reliable indicators than official statistics which can be distorted by factors affecting the reporting rate, for example, women using the mechanism of violence or abuse claims in child custody cases in an attempt to thwart claims by the father to custody of the children.

A 1994 British Study by Michelle Carrado and others interviewed 1,800 men AND women with heterosexual partners. Some 11% of men but only 5% of the women said that their current partner had committed acts of violence towards them.

Five per-cent of men reported two or more acts of violence against them in a current relationship compared with only 1% of women. A further 10% of men but 11% of women said that they had committed one of these violent acts.

Study after study shows that women are not merely violent in self-defence but strike the first blow in about half their disputes.

The American social scientists Murray Strauss and Richard Gelles reported from two national surveys that husbands and wives assaulted each other at approximately equal rates, with women engaging in minor acts of violence more frequently. Elsewhere they found more wives than husbands more severely violent towards their spouses.

There is now considerable evidence that women instigate and initiate severe violence more frequently than men.

A survey of I.,O37 adults born between I972 and I973 in New Zealand found that over I8 per cent of young women had perpetrated severe physical violence against their partners compared with 5 per c cent of young men. Three times more women than men said that they had kicked or bitten their partners or hit them with their fist or an object.

The idea that women are never violent, never the instigators is demolished by the evidence about lesbians. According to Claire Renzetti, violence in lesbian relationships occur with the same frequency as in heterosexual relationships. It is true that most women who are victims of violence suffer domestic violence. Yet the British Crime Survey reported that nearly one third of the victims of domestic violence were men and that nearly half of these were attacked by women.

Women who murder violent husbands may be treated more lieniently because they were provoked, yet men faced with similar provocation are hardly granted the same understanding, provocation it appears is a feminine issue.

Given the greater strength of men it is a wonder why any woman would want to instigate or engage in violence towards them, the fact is that men do hold back.

John Archer the psychologist has noted that among female college students 29 per cent admitted instigating an assault on a male partner. Half of these women said that they had no fear of retaliation since men could easily defend themselves and they did not see their own aggression as being a problem.

Archer went on to remark that there is an apparent restraint by many men and that the norm of men not hitting women encourages many women to engage in violence. Archer further argued that male aggression was a default value associated with patriarchal structures and when these are over-ridden by modern liberal values and by the emancipation of women female violence increases.

Women have become more independent of men, they have also become more violent towards them.

The Home Office Research study I9I of January I999 demonstrated that domestic violence was not a male disease. Based on the I996 British Crime Survey in which over IO,OOO men and women were interviewed, the survey reported that I5 per cent of men and 23 per cent of women had been victims of domestic violence, however over a I2 month period, 4.2 per cent and 4.2 per cent reported that they had been assaulted by a current or former partner, women separated from their partners were most likely to be victims.

The public reaction to the Home Office Research was almost complete silence. The government as is the Cabinet Office Women's Unit are hell bent on presenting domestic violence as being of the accepted scenario, that of the male being the aggressor and the woman as the victim. This is not only unfair to men' but unjustified when the facts demonstrate an entirely different picture.

What the feminists, the politically correct and indeed the government fail to tell the public and certainly dont want them to know, is that most violence against children is committed by their mothers and not by the childs father.

A study by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children a few years ago revealed that the natural mothers and not the fathers were most frequently the perpetrators of physical injury, abuse and neglect. This is not surprising since mothers have much more daily contact with the children than their fathers do.

The Women's Unit of the Cabinet Office also fails to mention the different figures available for violence in marriage or in cohabitation. It didn't suit their purpose or political correctness that the risk of violence increases significantly for unmarried couples. The Home Office study observed that marital separation was a key risk factor .

The research further revealed that only I2.6 in every I,OOO married women are victims of violence compared with 43.9 in every I,.OOO 'never married' women and 66.5 in every I,.OOO divorced or separated women. As husbands are replaced by lovers or partners, violence against women increases, marriage it seems is a strong safety factor for women.

Yet this is not said, instead the opposite usually feminist view is fostered that typically violence against women takes place within marriage.

In November I998, the same Women's Unit announced a new initiative. Children were urged to report violence against their mothers and sisters. There was no mention of abuse against fathers. Shouting at mum can now result in a child dragging his or her father into a situation where he may well become answerable to social workers and all kinds of 'do-gooder' politically correct individuals who would already have pre-conceived ideas on what occurred and who is responsible. Imagine a child being torn between mum and dad, the consequences of a child who in a sudden moment of panic resorts to involving those 'we know best' type who have the potential to cause immense damage to the family.

A disagreement, a shouting match might only be a passing phase, not to the feminists and fashionable social workers though, the father will be pre-judged and the evidence of the child which need not be up to proof or of any believable quality will be enough to label dad.

It is true that most crime is committed by men, it does not follow that most men commit crime, yet this seems to be the false conclusion which has been drawn. The evidence suggests that both men and women are capable of aggression and violence, but that violent men like violent women are not typical of their sex.

Studies in the U.S.A. into juvenile delinquency and the gang sub-culture shows that many 'all girl' gangs of New York and Los Angeles are as equally as violent as their male counterparts whom they will even battle with. These girl gangs are involved in everything from murder to drug dealing and prostitution. Indeed many prostitutes no longer find it necessary to have a male pimp, girl gangs have moved into the area of controlling them also, these female pimps are neither afraid of violence or to 'dishing' it out.

The balance has tipped too far in the wrong direction to the point that like a black person who uses the 'race ticket' to exploit his or her own shortcomings, some women will protest on the ticket of domestic violence and abuse where clearly none exists.

In November 1999 in three different courts of different parts of England women were convicted of wasting police time.

Widely reported in the press each of these women had claimed to have been raped. One of the women had made repeated allegations against different men, what a field day the feminists had until these claims were shown to be the hoaxes they were.

Where women do get raped, no effort must be spared in apprehending the offender and where convicted, should face the full might of the Criminal Justice System. We have to be careful here, for there may be other reasons why some women take it upon themselves to resort to such claims, such an allegation is a powerful weapon in the hands of a vindictive, unbalanced, emotionally disturbed or an obsessive or jealous woman, such weapons of course do not appear in the male's armoury.

What is to be made of the feminist argument that women are capable of bringing up a child alone without the intervention of the father ?

In 1999 the charity Young Voice published a report - 'Leading Lads' which surveyed 1,3500 young men. The conclusions to the report showed that where there had been a 'dad deficit' or low father involvement as much as 35 per cent of young men had at some stage come to the attention of the Criminal Justice System compared to the 18 per cent where there had been a significant father involvement.

Highly involved fathers did emerge as one factor in the general well-being of male children.

Researchers found that a caring, emotionally available father seems to protect boys against depression or suicide thoughts,

Yet so many divorced or separated fathers are alienated and marginalized when it comes to their children. Court Welfare Officers tend too much to focus upon the mother and her needs providing a 'ready ear' for the mother's complaints and grievances. Fathers often feel so left out, and contact with their their children becomes such an 'uphill' struggle that many abandon contact altogether and move on, with the various agencies 'chasing' him for money to support the abandoned children.

It does seem that men have the most to lose through divorce and separation and there will be little support for him.

Many staff in the 'support agencies feel that working with men gets in the way of the work with women. Health Visitors often find that part of working with women is providing a listening ear to the woman or helping her to manage 'her' man. No attention is paid to the husband or partner apart from the financial considerations of support and maintenance. These agencies need to show that men are more than just a 'walking wallet'

Fathers now make up a large part of socially excluded groups which is a profound indictment of a society geared towards supposed equality.

To many women a child is merely an accessory and fashionable to have, other women do not appear to feel that they have fulfilled their womanhood until they have a child, whilst some see having a child as being a route to certain advantages.

As a society, we have trivialised the needs of children, single people and gay couples are now considered as being appropriate and worthy to adopt children, never mind the interests of the child or the stigma that child may face as he or she grows older. The scientific intervention in planting eggs and sperm in surrogate mothers to enable gay people and those previously deemed to be unsuitable to adopt children has almost reduced maternity and paternity to supermarket shopping. The idea that a woman can be implanted by anonymous donors without the necessity of having a relationship has severe implications for the child who will not only have a fatherless future but will never know their identity of the father.

What does one say to a child in later life who may wish to know his or her father ?

Preparing a child for that is fraught with danger, emotional disturbance and the feeling of perhaps being some kind of freak, and all because a fertile female wanted in her own selfish way simply to have child with no strings attached.

Yet the role of some women in society continues to wreak devastation for both men and children.

Women now openly boast of their involvement in adultery. In almost all cultures, adultery has always been subject to strict social and legal sanctions. This was because it was rightly held to be lethal to a marriage. Marriage was the cement that bound families together and families were the building blocks of society's values.

Pick up any woman's magazine, even teenage girl publications and there you will find staring you straight in the face such headings as " my affair with my neighbour " and how adultery and extra marital activity is now something that is widely ignored.

The 'agony aunt' columns are full of inadequate women seeking advice over matters that would have previously been concealed even from friends, now there appears to be some perverse enjoyment in making it public knowledge.

I cannot imagine the kind of people who are attracted to such type of pathetic drivel, neither am I impressed by those wanting advice or counselling because of self-made

dilemmas.

Stigma it now seems is taboo, there is an absolute prohibition against hurting people's feelings by implying that there is something to be disapproved of in their chosen way of life. This has caused a moral paralysis. Fear of giving offence has left people so reluctant to criticise irresponsibility, that irresponsible behaviour has itself been re-defined as blameless, even heroic.

What some women tend to forget is that men commit themselves to a woman not in return for sex but exclusive sex. If it is not exclusive why should men bother to stick around.?

It is always taken for granted that a child is best placed with the mother in the event of divorce or parental separation, but why should a society, heading for a supposedly equality of rights and duties make this assumption.

Henry Biller a Professor of psychology and author of the ' Father Factor ' drew the conclusion that fathers make better single parents than mothers although it was women who were given custody of children in 90 per cent of divorce cases.

Studies in the U.S.A. suggests that children brought up by only their mothers were four times more likely to drop out of school, become delinquent or commit suicide than those children brought up by lone fathers.

Research is beginning to show that this is a more important factor than poverty in determining a child's outcome.

One study found that 80 per cent of pre-school children admitted to psychiatric hospitals came from single mother homes. Only 3 per cent were from single father homes although only about 15 per cent of children live with their father.

Professor Biller said that " delinquency is three to four times more frequent amongst children in the sole care of their mother, we are talking of drug abuse, criminal behaviour, school drop-out and unmarried pregnancy ".

He goes on to say that " Paternal deprivation is much more of a problem than maternal deprivation ".

Another academic Richard Warshak, professor of psychology suggests that boys suffer harmful effects of being brought up without a father. He said :-

" There is no reason to believe that mothers have the monopoly on competence at bringing up children, fathers can do just as well, and in some cases better ".

The author Warren Farrell, the only man to have been elected three times to the National Organisation of Women in New York but now a critic of feminism describes the idea that women make better parents as a 'myth. He goes on to say " Fathers have a real ability to set boundaries, but mothers concentrate on nurturing fear of conflict with the child becomes their downfall.

As late as November 1999 a study by the Institute of Education concluded that children who attended nurseries that employed men as well as women have a more balanced view of the 'real; world' and benefit from learning early in life that men are just as capable of caring for them as are women.

For feminists who seek to reinforce the isolation and marginalization of men and to use their sexual gender as an excuse for all kinds of actions even murder and in misleading the public has I believed caused many men to believe less in equality and take on a more assertive posture.

With women's organisations in nearly all communities, many that seek to undermine the role of men, similar organisations for men have been created, Families Need Fathers, Fathers Direct, Mankind and other less publicised ones, it seems some men are now going on the offensive to challenge the new and fashionable thinking of the women's rights lobby.

The proposed legislation of 'no fault' divorce laws in seeking to terminate a marriage and remove the acrimony usually associated with divorce may be a step in the right direction but the implications are that a marriage and family life is further cheapened.

It does little to remedy the inequalities that are festering in which fathers and men in general are increasingly becoming victims of the 'new age' thinking.

 

CHARLES HANSON

April 2000

 

THE LOONIES AND PARASITES WHO PROFIT FROM GRIEF

 

Within hours of any disaster you can almost guarantee that the presence of counsellors will be

made known, they will descend on any situation that they perceive will require their ' expert ' help in coping with grief as in the case of the 1993 minibus crash on the M40 which killed a number of schoolchildren from Hagley Roman Catholic School on their way back from a concert in London, their classrooms were crawling with counsellors. They were even there before the school gates opened, though the crash had only happened in the early hours of the morning. The local council despatched a team of ten. Others came crawling out of the woodwork from miles around. " We are going through the classes one by one. We are not just here for today, or this week, or this month, or this year " their leader promised. In other words these unfortunate children were never going to be allowed to forget their sorrow.

Leaflets were distributed to pupils, teachers friends and relatives telling them how they were expected to grieve. It makes you wonder how we coped before these expert busybodies and parasites were thrust upon us all, for parasites they are exploiting the grief of others for personal financial gain. I'd have thought that a tight - knit Roman Catholic Community would be better equipped than most to cope with such a trauma - especially with the support of families and the church.

Why should they need para- counselling squads of Guardian readers to give them a shoulder to cry on?

People have been coping with grief for centuries, each and everyone of us will experience bereavement at some time in our lives and have been doing so without recourse to psycho-babble.

The British are renowned for their stoicism, their stiff upper lip. It is one of the characteristics which distinguishes us from the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth of the Southern Europeans and the whirling dervishes. Where would we have been during the Blitz, if every time a bomb dropped it had been attended to not by fire-fighters, the police and ambulance services but by hundreds of men and women in scruffy duffel coats urging all and sundry to let it all out, to get in touch with our feelings and to understand ourselves, Hitler wouldn't have needed to prepare for invasion, he could merely have flown in as if on a day trip with the help of counsellors who had prepared us all.

Where would our armed forces be if everytime a soldier was shot his comrades had to sit down for a fortnight with a counsellor?

Death and its aftermath are part of the human condition. We grieve, we remember, we forget. That is the deal. We have managed quite nicely up to now thank you very much. Children, in particular are adept at handling tragedy, their youth and lack of self-pity helps them quickly to overcome adversity and the loss of a close friend. What the children of Hagley Roman Catholic School needed was to hug each other, to cry, to grieve in private with their friends and families not be hounded by the big business interests of counselling in some public display.

But goulish counsellors have a vested interest in making sure the bereaved are not allowed to forget. They want to keep reminding them of their trauma. Perhaps they take a warped pleasure in immersing themselves in the despair and grief of others. Of course if people were allowed to grieve in private, there would be no need for counsellors on twenty - five grand a year plus. What we are seeing is another exercise in job creation for otherwise unemployable members of the polytechnocracy, equipped with worthless degrees and diplomas in sociology and psychology. Indeed the Diploma in Social Work is not even recognised in Europe and John Hutton M. P. is so concerned at the low status of the caring professions given that as much as 80 per cent of those engaged in the industry have no formal qualifications whatsoever that he seeks to upgrade study to university level.

Just how do these experts operate?

It goes something like this. Someone sits down one day and identifies a need. Conferences are held at the taxpayers expense, called things like Combating The Grief Syndrome ( everything these days is labelled a syndrome, even running for the bus ). Seminars are held in four-star hotels and college campuses with the usual ration of cheap red wine and vol-au-vents and shagging, they are conducted by insane American academics still recovering from the acid they took at Woodstock.

They spend three hours talking complete bollocks to an impressionable audience drawn from the outreach department of the local council, bogus figures are produced, based on a study in some outback village that no one has ever heard of to prove that grief is a major problem and a threat to public health and costs every man woman and child in the country 10,000 a year in lost days and work and medicine. The only way to counteract this growing problem, which will have reached epidemic proportions in five years time is to establish a nationwide network of professional counsellors on call twenty four hours a day. Within weeks, the office space has been allocated, the job ads are placed in the Guardian and the company cars have been ordered. The next time there is a car crash in Lincoln a man with a beard accompanied by a female with cropped hair and Doctor Martens boots and both wearing well worn and battered duffel coats neither with any qualifications or at least none of any worth will turn up from something called the Professional Institute Of Grief Counselling having already appeared on national T.V insisting that unless more resources are allocated to counselling immediately, millions will die, the earth will catch fire there will be a plague of boils on your arse and whatever takes their fancy and all in the name of dubious and nonsense theories developed around pints of real ale, by those who seek to change the shape of the world and in so doing be paid for it as well.

So what happen next? the council has a department of two dozen counsellors making a bloody nuisance of themselves, racing the fire brigade to rescue some cat up a tree and console the owner.

Counselling is just another manifestation of the belief that the state knows best. and that all problems have an emotional or psychological root cause and cure.

It also convinces people that they need take no responsibility for their own welfare and that someone or something else is always to blame. Of course all this needs expensive professional help.

Counselling has infiltrated the heart of everything around us, it is now on the menu in police stations for police officers who have been traumatised after a day directing traffic, to soldiers who might be told they are going on active service and will miss their wife and children. the British Association of Counselling is recruiting at the rate of over 300 a month, in fact there are more counsellors now than there are priests. In addition, according to the Social affairs Institute there are over a further 40,000 people dispensing full-time guidance and counselling. And the tax-payer is picking up the bill. The Government is to blame.

Back in 1990 it allowed GPs through local authorities to claim up to 70% of the costs of hiring counsellors to work in their practices. Ministers believed that if all the malingerers and lead-swingers who clutter up doctors' surgeries could be palmed off with a counselling session for ten minutes, then great savings could be made. Of course, it doesn't ever work like that. Once counsellors had their foot in the door, they multiplied like rabbits- daily identifying new illnesses and 'needs' to be served. An essentially passive, responsive role inevitably became the aggressive 'pro-active' one - leading to the obscene haste and scale of the response to the Hagley School mini-bus case. The decision to pay for counselling out of the already stretched NHS set a dangerous precedent. Instead of medicine and diagnosis patients are now offered consolation, placebo and untested theory. It amounts to giving the lonely and disturbed a friend. Is that what the NHS is supposed to be about. Isn't that what youth clubs, Dateline, and Darby and Joan clubs for ? Consider for a moment what just some academics have had to say about counselling :-

"Professional counselling is largely a waste of time and does more to boost the ego of the counsellor than help the victim, the profession is a best useless, at worst destructive creating a nation of victims in order to boost their flagging careers in the medical profession."

Yvonne McEwan - Trauma Expert addressing the 1997 European Trauma Conference in London.

"The demand for psychotherapy keeps pace with the supply and at times one has the uneasy feeling that the supply may be creating the demand."

Jerome Frank - Persuasion and Healing . 1991.

"There is no positive evidence supporting the efficacy of professional psychology. There are anecdotes, there is plausibility's, there are common beliefs, yes! but there is no good evidence."

Robert Dawes. House of Cards. 1994

"Most therapists I suspect have been rather traumatised by the research literature, the lack of hard evidence that any form of therapy really does any good in the way it is supposed to is something to set the seeds of panic sprouting in those who have no obvious alternative way of making a living."

David Smail. Taking Care, An Alternative to Therapy. I987.

While counselling poses as a profession, you need no special qualifications to set up in the business. A few letter headed sheets of paper, some business cards an impressive looking diploma run off on any PC and a brass plaque on your door and your off all ready to charge anything between 15 and 50 an hour and clients will believe anything they are told because after all you have the status of an expert ( even if it is self-assumed ).

There is good evidence from some quarters to suggest that a lot of the counselling and therapy on offer can actually be positively harmful. What good can it do to keep forcing a child to relive constantly there most horrific incidents of his life?

Everyone it seems now needs counselling. TV news reports regularly begin with the words " Teams of counsellors are standing by ... to deal with policemen and firemen attending motorway pile-ups, house fires, plane crashes etc. I'm sorry, but if police and fire officers need to cry on the shoulders of a Guardian reader in a duffle coat every time they have to clear up something they are paid for, then they shouldn't be in the job in the first place. If they're a bit upset they can have a chat with their sergeant or chaplain. There is another sinister aspect to all this.

Once psychological harm has been established a case for compensation often follows. So the taxpayer ends up paying to identify a need which doesn't exist, paying for someone to treat it and then paying compensation to the ' victim '.

Counselling is a classic displacement activity. In the same way doctors are using counselling to get rid of problems, so chief constables are using them as a substitute for catching criminals.

Back in 1994 my home was broken into, I suspected that it was just another bit of aggravation from my ex-wife, I reported it to the police but did they care? of course they didn't, apart from the incident being considered domestic which they spent no time in ascertaining, the police where I lived patrol about as regularly as French onion sellers or knife-grinders. I was however offered Victims Support, someone to talk to if I needed it. quite frankly all I wanted was the return of property that was stolen. I later received a letter from Victims Support actually offering me counselling and support, was there something wrong with me then ?

If the powers that be are to do something they should get on and do it, not sit around talking about it and this is all that counselling amounts to, it is a patronising activity that that often has the effect of demeaning the individual, something likely to reduce the person into thinking in a " poor me " way.

Where does it all stop? intrusions are made into the family telling us all how to live, love, work and play. We are told how to raise our children in many cases by those who have never had the experience of bringing children into the world and with homosexuals and lesbians being rife in the caring industry as if they have some special insight into family life this really is the icing on the cake and shows just how arrogant these so called experts and Messiahs are.

Everyone's getting in on the act. Everyone in the public sector that is. You don't get much of this nonsense in the private sector.

Naturally when it comes to wasting tax payers money, the BBC is right in there grabbing its bit. This politically correct lunatic body which has taken over one of our national institutions even offered stress counselling to staff involved in the D-Day coverage anniversary of some time ago. The D-Day co-ordinator ( why are they always called co-ordinators? ), says " Programme making can be harrowing".

As one old soldier commented " They should try it with bullets ." Can you imagine what it would have been like had the BBC been running D-Day for real?

We're going in now sir.

Not yet Carruthers. The Sappers haven't finished with the wheelchair access on Omaha beach.

Wheelchair access sir?

Yes Carruthers for the differently abled members of the Royal Marines.

Who's in the advanced guard sir?

We're sending in a team of outreach co-ordinators to try to negotiate with the Germans. We've decided to try counselling before we send in the Paras.

The Parachute Regiment sir?

No the Paraplegic Support Unit. They're coming over from Omaha beach once the council have been to adapt the latrines.

What happened to the heavy artillery sir?

On strike I'm afraid. They're demanding parity with the Lesbian Resource Unit.

And the Infantry?

They're on a racism awareness course at Sandhurst for when our lads meet the Germans.

How are we going to slow a German counter-attack without the big guns?

Traffic calming, Carruthers. We're building humps on the other side of those sand dunes. Roger before we do have I ever told you how dammed attractive I find you? If we get out of this alive, will you marry me?

Oh yes sir, just think of all the things we can buy with our 75 honeymoon voucher.

OK luvvies, that's a wrap. Everyone report to the stress counsellor.

You think I'm joking, in February 1995 Michael Portillo the employment secretary was coming under fire from militant disabled groups for trying to exempt the services from the full impact of the Disability Bill. He wanted the armed forces, the police, the fire service and prison service excluded on the grounds that these jobs are only suitable for people with a full complement of physical and mental disabilities. this was described as blatant discrimination, a court challenge was threatened.

We as a country have adapted all this nonsense in part from the United States, the cranks capital of the world. An advertisement once appeared in the U.S. Forestry and Fisheries journal inviting the mentally challenged to apply, what do they mean by mentally challenged? someone who isn't the full ticket or the criminally insane?

If the crank campaigns of the world succeed we will have to employ blind pilots, one-legged firemen and wheelchair - bound paratroopers, every department of every public service will have to take its quota of one legged black, single mother lesbians and we will end up with the criminally insane running the Lifeboat Service, God help us.

You think this is ridiculous? it's already starting to happen. you couldn't make this up could you ?

CHARLES HANSON

NOVEMBER 2000

PSYCHOLOGY OR RELIGION ?

In dealing with the issues of psychology and equating it with religion, I would argue that both go against and openly defy our natural behaviour and instincts.

I doubt that these areas of travesties of human understanding and rationalism would really like to se me in the ' God-like state '.

Oh no ! rather to see me reflected in a mirror image of their own inadequacies, poor them !.

Without the drive force of truth which instigates a fulfilling conclusion, then the truth of my own opinions, observations and conclusions are relegated to the waste bin.

Yet I attempt to interpret the world around me in a crystal clear way, the conclusions being the product of my own life experience and truths, but my honesty has no validity for the psychologist or religious freak, who seek to interpret their truths based on dubious theories and irrationalisms.

By going along with the mindbenders - prison psychologists and probation officers i find myself in a Catch 22 situation placing the proverbial noose around my own neck.

I maintain the strength to carry on as long as my personal honour and truths don't end up drowned out of a sea of existence in a sea of liberal ' cry baby ' spew, maintaining my integrity is paramount.

It is only that individual who has lost belief in himself, his own pride of goodness, his own pride of being and his own honour who is dangerous.

Because after that, it doesn't matter what he does to anyone, including himself.

I have been labelled as 'manipulative', why, am I too sincere, too honest ?

Is it because I am considered to be intelligent and rational and therefore able to see right through the new religion called psychology and challenge it ?

Is it because I am honest enough to present myself in my own personal truths which throw the mindbenders into a panic requiring a solution ? a label.

But aren't the real manipulators the very people whom seek to bring about changes in other people's personalities ? those who attempt to restructure people's minds and the way in which they perceive the world which brings resistance to the brainwashing and the games employed by the Messiahs.

This creates confusion for the masters, for I now represent a threat, a danger, not to the public as they would argue but to those who fail to re-programme my mind which represents a failure on their part, invoking doubts about their pompous assessments, their expertise all of course based on a self assumption of having superior abilities to mine.

" How do we contain this disaster ? "

"Wait, I have the answer " cries one, " we assess him as being manipulative ".

" But wait a minute aren't we the manipulators "

" Oh I never thought of that said the most intelligent member of the group " a psychologist with a meaningless string of dubious letters after his name.

" It doesn't matter, remember he's a convicted murderer, he has to pay the price and we are part of that price, his never ending nightmare, we label him as we think fit ".

" The things we murder such as free- will, individuality, self-assertion and inherent truths we do so with the full blessing of the Prison Service bosses, it is government sanctioned, it was valid in Stalin's Russia where those who did not like the 'glorious' Soviet system were subject to detention in psychiatric hospitals where they underwent coerced therapy another term for involuntary treatment or as we know it to be brainwashing. We in the West were sympathetic, we called such resistors dissidents, but now we have our own to practice on and it's completely legal " .

" Let us be thankful that the death penalty was abolished, otherwise instead of sitting around devising schemes to mess up somebody's life in order to justify our jobs we would be standing in the dole queue " argued the dimmest of the group but the only one to make sense.

" I'll tell you what " said another, it might be a lot easier than dealing with this bastard.

I am therefore their insoluble problem, perhaps their worst nightmare and in so being am labelled accordingly.

 

CHARLES HANSON

November 2000

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PUNITIVE DETERRENCE OR REFORM

 

CHARLES HANSON

 

It seems likely that in the public's mind and certainly in the judiciary's mind that psychiatry and psychology have replaced religious instruction as the remedy for the rehabilitation of prisoners.

It would be a very eccentric judge who today justified a prison sentence on the grounds that he was giving the offender a chance to repent of his or her sins under the expert and devoted guidance of a prison chaplain.

Yet until the 1950s religion played a big part in the approach to dealing with offenders in prison with compulsory church attendance and the wide availability of bibles as a priority over decent library facilities. The prison chaplain was seen as the medium in which offending behaviour might be addressed.

Visiting prisoners in the segregation unit undergoing bread and water punishment something abolished in the late 1960s, walking the condemned to the scaffold, interfering in the personal lives of prisoners and being relied on to report back to the authorities with information on prisoners, the chaplain was indeed in a position of considerable influence.

For sure most chaplains condoned the use of capital and corporal punishment, seeing it as a mechanism of control and repentance.

Nowadays psychology has replaced the religious ethos in prison though ironically there may be a better chance of curing individual criminals of their criminality through the incolculation of religious faith than of psychology because of its inherent coercive nature.

It is so easy to deride psychology if only because the discipline has so many and widely divergent theories and dogmas that psychologists are so easily given to deriding each other.

Imprisonment as a religious experiment failed as we have seen, and the psychological experiment seems set to fail likewise if for no other reason than of its manipulative and coercive nature, a repeat of past religious indoctrination.

A prison may be regarded as a sort of hospital for social misfits.

For sure when a doctor orders a patient to bed for a week he is making as both parties understand perfectly well an educated guess.

That is to say that if the patient recovers before the week is over he will be allowed to get up, if he or she doesn't recover within the prescribed period they will have to stay where they are.

In any hospital it would be bad practice to discharge a patient into the larger world knowing full well that they were going to collapse as soon as they got there, while keeping other patients confined long after the need to do so and a continued stay could only be debilitating, yet that is what prisons achieve.

A judicial sentence is not a guess in this sense and it seems to me that as prison is an instrument of punishment and retribution and not primarily concerned with reform or treatment it would be an optimistic judge who imposed a sentence of imprisonment for reform or treatment purposes.

If the reformative model is the key to rehabilitation, it strikes me that to succeed that the indeterminate sentence is imperative.

As things now stand prisoners are detained and for no longer than the criminal courts have ordered.

I would argue that there does come a time when a prisoner is capable of reaching

an acceptable level in their ' training ' when it might be considered inadvisable to detain him or her further.

The Parole Board to an extent serves the function of a re-sentencing power to order or recommend the release of the appropriate prisoners, however the whole structure and procedures for parole are flawed.

The board can maintain that a prisoner sentenced to 3 years imprisonment may reach an acceptable level to justify release after 18 months whereas a person sentenced to 30 years cannot possibly reach his peak until he has served 15 years.

The system is flawed because of that. In the second place it leaves the judiciary free to defeat its own object by passing proportionately longer sentences.

Finally the Parole Board however it may be constituted and especially if it's politically vulnerable as it is since the Home Secretary in many cases and especially so with long termers and lifers makes their final decision is not and cannot be solely concerned with the question of fitness for freedom.

It is hypocricy and ' muddle-headedness ' to claim that imprisonment is a reformative institution when in fact it's an instrument of punishment at the disposal of the courts.

In principle a curative response to crime and criminals is irreconcilable with a punitive response.

When a judge uses the words ' menace to society ' and imposes a 10 year sentence he is not meaning that the offender will be cured of his criminality at the expiration of the term and it doesn't evidently concern him that on release the offender is likely to be a worse ' menace ' than ever.

It would of course be ludicrous to imagine that a judge is capable of making a reliable prognosis of rehabilitating anyone.

Prison as a punishment inevitably becomes less severe as time goes on and cannot in any case be made severe enough to fulfil its presumptive potentiality as a general deterrence, there is no need to retrace all the ground that has been covered in proof of this, though if we didn't have what already exists there may possibly be more murderers robbers and thieves.

We still lack knowledge in how punitive the courts should be or what the minimum of punishment is required.

Within the prison system at present we have the psychological approach which presupposes that prisoners are not in prison for punishment. there are two in-built limitations of this approach notwithstanding the religious type coercion and indoctrination.

One is the want of any guarantee against premature discharge of the prisoner, the other is the danger that if criminals are locked up together and allowed to associate they will become worse, the idea that an infected carrier of a disease can quickly spread the virus can be equally applied to criminal ideas in the prison setting.

The obvious conclusion is that no prisoner anyway will want to remain in prison on the expiration of his sentence to take advantage of any of the ' wonderful cures or programmes ' offered by prison psychologists.

The indeterminate sentence would remove the first of those limitations.

Holland has been at the forefront of preventive type detention with what is known as the ' double track ' system.

Those sentenced to imprisonment and that includes all types of sentence including life imprisonment may be transferred on the expiration of their sentence to one of two clinic type institutions for an indefinite term and only released upon a favourable prognosis, their punishment served they now fall into the hands of ' the shrinks '.

The institutions cater for all types of offender from the socially inadequate, the rapist and arsonist to the murderer.

This mechanism is an attempt to compromise between deterrent and preventive aims in a setting custodial as it is which is distinct from a prison.

In conclusion identification must be a matter of scientific research and not some hunch which so much of psychology relies on.

THE RIGHTS OF THE MAJORITY SHOVED ASIDE

CHARLES HANSON

 

The politicians of this country and especially the ' bleeding heart ' liberals promote their version of what they call democracy.

We are lead to believe that democracy is the will of` the majority, yet this is no more than a false prophet masquerading as a defender of the rights of that so called majority. The minority liberal elements determine what is democracy.

Politicians are quick to defend their version of democracy, but if you happen to be Jorg Haider of the Austrian Freedom Party you will be outlawed because of your

' undemocratic ' policies, never mind that you may have been legally and democratically voted into office. The liberals will only accept their version of freedom, whilst of course paying homage to the pseudo democratic regimes and dictators that abound. If you are a genocidal manic dictator in favour with the liberals you might even be funded by the British government, never mind that you will squander it on a luxury lifestyle whilst your subjects starve to death.

Democracy at home means that the will of the majority is shoved aside to accomodate the needs of minorities, however offensive it might be to ' the man in the street '

We have also arrived at the stage where ' mumbo jumbo ' ' psycho babble ' and

what is termed ' socio speak ' has created a whole new language which assumes that those using it are experts on all matters concerned with the individual and the interests of the few.

In recent times these liberal influences have sought to undermine the wishes of the majority within the Labour Party where talk of ' grass roots ' really means the interests of the few. How sad the whole business has become can be seen no better than in the decisions taken in May 1999 by the R.S.P.C.A. The Canine Defence League and a bunch of sad and sorry pseudo intellectuals who called on the publishers of that old children's favourite Just William to sanitise future stories about the character.

It appears that William in his old form was not an acceptable ' role model ' for modern day kids. Of course William was always a bit of a ruffian but no more than portrayed in the in many modern day TV programmes and videos and certainly William was never really into drugs, under-age sex, or joy riding, occupations enjoyed by so many of the kids of today.

Homosexuality is the in-thing with the liberals, the worry is that they may yet make it compulsory.

Kids nursery rhymes Ba Ba Black Sheep and Jack and Jill have come under attack because they are deemed to be inappropriate, sexist and politically incorrect.

Of course the likes of President Clinton can engage in ' inappropriate ' behaviour as he called it and partake now and again in sexist behaviour, but we have to excuse his conduct because the liberals tell us so, their 'darling ' cannot be challenged except by the more morally intact.

What stands out with the ' politically correct ' is an unthinkable determination to impose their own feelings, inadequacies and visions on other people, without any real respect for them or their powers of discrimination.

The BBC has to drop the 'British ' from its title in case it offends minority groups. This smacks of dictatorship in its worst form and lack of democratic will of the majority who are never consulted.

We now have to learn to live without the prefix to dates of B.C. and A.D. and instead use C.E. and B.C.E. - Common Era and Before the Common Era, but why ? simply because to use the old terms might give offence to minority religions.

This country has been Christian for many hundreds of years and although I myself am a non believer, I am not offended by the old style, this country is still overwhelmingly Christian in all kinds of subtle and pervasive ways and perhaps like many whose roots do lie in this country seek to retain our identity also.

Even if B.C. and A.D. does offend some people, so what,! the ethnic minorities make up but 6 per cent of the entire population the remaining 94 per cent can hardly be expected to abandon a 2,000 year old tradition for a very small fraction of that 6 per cent.

Yet the liberals think we should, and in many other walks of life similar sacrifices are expected of the majority, it does seem rather hypocritical to talk about the importance of cultural roots and identity yet be seen to be apologising for the majority.

It's as if these liberals enjoy their own feelings of guilt and expect us to feel likewise.

Large numbers of people who are as innocent of racism as anyone can hope to be congratulated themselves with relish on their admission of communal guilt and institutional guilt at that after the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry and by doing showed that there is some perverse enjoyment in all this nonsense.

It was as if people actually preferred to bemoan the ' entrenched racism ' of our entire culture, everyone fell over themselves to join in, nurses, teachers, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, and all in a fit of unmistakable silliness.

If one is able to grasp the language of these ' experts ' we can re-invent ourselves

though not always in a complimentary way.

Excessive emotion is a lie.

To be selective in condemning a group or an individual is emotionally false.

To want to appear better than others is corrupting.

To couldn't care less about others or indeed oneself is to be dishonest or neurotic, or being disloyal to ones own kind. Basic definitions have changed, words and expressions have been imposed upon us by these trendy, ' bleeding heart ' liberal ' politically correct '.

The most simplest of descriptions are seen as offensive, to be blind which tells us about a persons handicap now becomes ' visually challenged '

An anti-social person now displays challenging behaviour.

Words like sexist and racist have become overworked and over-used to the extent that we now have KGB type spies in the community who seek out those whose views are ' inappropriate '.

Homosexuality once considered deviant behaviour is now an OK thing and woe betide you if you even dare to make adverse comments about such people, the shoe will then be on the other foot, it will be you that is considered deviant and in some quarters sick to as much as raise the issue, the new name for such deviancy is homophobia.

I would be delighted to know what is gay about being a homosexual, for I see mostly a sad sorry bunch who to many seem obsessed with themselves, and who in trying to appear normal are in effect drawing attention to themselves as being different

To prefer the company of the members of ones own race and to pursue its interests, is to the liberals unacceptable if you happen to be white but expected of you if you are one of the ethnic minorities.

To want to further white race interests will bring you a heap of abuse and at the least criticism, you will forever be known as a racist as though racist behaviour is

a phenomenon of white people, who just happen to be the majority of this country.

It hasn't yet dawned on the liberals that racism is very much the way of life for many of the ethnic minorities who expect, demand and promote their own culture to the detriment of the indigenous population, indeed in their quest for equality they well and truly set themselves by apart by saying 'we are different'.

The new word for those who prefer the company of those of their own race and culture is xenophobia, but is that not precisely what many of the ethnic minorities practice where the provision of facilities and amenities are promoted to the disadvantage of the white community ? It is highly unlikely that you would find in any community a social club exclusively for white people funded by local government, you would certainly not find advice centres for white people paid for out of taxpayers money, any demands for such considerations would be deemed racist and warrant the attention of the 'thought police' Yet politicians fall over themselves to squander your money to provide such facilities for the ethnic minorities.

Xenophobia is considered by the liberals to be a sickness in need of therapy or treatment, if the truth be known the majority of people in this country would fit the bill.

Marriage appears to be frowned upon and considered to be abnormal in liberal circles, the new word 'partner' has crept in, it is no longer about boyfriend and girlfriend, husband or wife but a business like relationship, who works, who stays at home. who gets what, who is entitled to what, who has what rights and the talk of roles.

It is unbecoming now for a woman to stay at home looking after the children or doing what women for centuries have done, they will be deemed by the feminists to be 'slaves' and unpaid workers, for the male to stay at home and carry out the same duties is more acceptable he will be considered one of the 'new breed' indeed

a 'new man' Most of these feminists and liberals are not in the business of promoting equality, for them the argument is about female supremacy.

The availability of drugs, abortion, homosexuality, the high numbers of suicides, divorces, drug and alcohol dependencies continues to rise and in its wake the formation of the 'nanny state' or the 'dependency culture'.

These are purely mechanisms put in place by the very ones who created the problems in the first place, the 'bleeding heart' liberals.

We can sign up for counselling and avail ourselves of the services of those who profit from misery. This is now the alternative to the old community and family spirit and caring ethos which the 'do gooders' have destroyed.

We are truly inundated with 'busybody' individuals who assume to hold the solutions to all lifes problems and to be a ready ear to all and sundry including the socially inadequate. Be prepared for a whole new language and presumptuous jargon like interact. denial, rejection, challenging, the list is endless.

Let us consider what some experts have had to say on the matter.

Psychiatrist Dr Martin Deahl after completing a study of peacekeeping troops in

Bosnia concluded that counselling after traumatic events can be harmful and moreover recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the same whether the troops received counselling or not.

Sociologist, Dr Frank Furedi stated that counselling has created a damaging culture of dependency.

A study at Vanderbilt University concluded that over 6 per cent of psychotherapists admitted that their patients showed a lasting deterioration which was directly attributable to therapy.

In many respects counselling and those who administer therapy is ethically bankrupt and practiced by over-zealous and ignorant people who are merely feeding their own egos. This was the view of Professor Yvonne Young at a European Trauma Conference who went on to say that counselling and therapy does more to line the pockets of the unscrupulous and boost their egos than it does to help the victim.

Dr David Smith a speaker at the Evolution and Psychotherapy Conference, London 1999 was quite clear when he claimed that " all psychotherapists have an evolved tendency to unconsciously deceive and exploit their patients ".

What we know is that anyone can claim to be a counsellor or therapist, taxi drivers, paedophile, junkie even a murderer, all one merely needs to do is to affix a plaque to your front door and put yourself in ' Yellow Pages '.

We are surrounded by a vast army of such individuals, grief counsellors, stress counsellors, bereavement counsellors, sexual counsellors, post traumatic stress counsellors, Aids counsellors drugs counsellors and even pet counsellors, who is kidding who ? have we as individuals become so naive ? so easily 'conned' or really so dependant ?

So called 'professional bodies' claim that to be a successful therapist or counsellor

one should undergo counselling themselves first, therapists to undergo therapy, this it is claimed helps the expert to become a 'well adjusted' person ( where are such people ? ) before they are unleashed onto the public.

In the final analysis it is arguable whether wisdom can be taught.

These experts are likely to tell us that feelings are triggered by thoughts, change the thought and it will change the feeling, what 'mumbo-jumbo' and 'psychobabble',

All such counselling and therapy from Gestalt to Freudian to transpersonal are after all only theories. None of its so called successes are supported by hard and concrete evidence. When individuals do recover, it never occurs to the so called 'experts' that the 'patient' would have recovered in time anyway, that most neurosis go away eventually untreated.

The language of the liberals, the 'mindbenders', and the sociology 'freaks' forms very much of what we have come to know as political correctness. It is the new religion with its own messiahs, through all of this we can all become a victim of one kind or another, we can all exhibit the 'poor me' syndrome, the icons and role models of today are not the ones who final analysis, too much freedom, too much talk of rights and too much of the " I know what is best for you " has left us weakened, the results are, conditions which are detrimental to both moral values and a true community spirit.

..

 

SELF INTEREST - THE NEW FASHION

People have only the vaguest idea what it is to lead an ethical life. They understand ethics as a system of rules forbidding us to do things. They do not grasp it as a basis for thinking about how we live.

These people live largely self-interested lives not because they are born selfish but because alternatives seem awkward embarrassing or just plain pointless, they cannot see any way of making an impact on the world and if they could why should they bother ? short of religious conversion they see nothing to live for except the pursuit of their own material self- interest self gratification and a hedonism that is so very much the current fashion in society.

A million people doing something that shows concern for others isn't news, a celebrity doing the rounds of women and drugs is, indeed, so is a rooftop sniper.

The rich and famous are often keen to be associated with a charitable cause and to be seen doing the occasional 'slumming', and whilst those who patronise such causes are more than able to spare the odd few thousand pounds, they often take the credit when it comes down to the public raising the much needed funds, I suspect that in many cases the ego of these celebrities is far greater than their talent. Even the aristocracy are not immune from 'paying penance' once in a while, though I can hardly believe that they are burdened with guilt or shame after having visited the 'down and outs' they return to the luxury of their stately homes for a good scrub in the bath followed by mint chocolates and liqueurs, " spare some change mister ".

Princess Diana glorified in her own carefully stage managed publicity, it was fine to be seen visiting the mine-fields of some African outback patting the heads of legless children, it was quite a different matter when she was photographed leaving an exclusive health club and publicity photographs showed her cellulite, at least she had legs. Here was a woman who had the kind of lifestyle most people can only dream about, most people have more to worry about than a few stretch marks, more often than not, is how far they can stretch their incomes.

This self-interest and obsession with oneself has raised the sickness above all other ills as we enter the 21st century, there is no subject that fascinates us more than ourselves, we are often prepared to go public with it.

On our TVs we are bombarded with those who seek to tell the whole world about themselves, programmes such as the Jerry Springer show, Kilroy, Riki Lake, Jenny Jones, Ophrah Winnfrey, Montel Williams have become premium entertainment, providing platforms for people to talk about themselves and an opportunity to humiliate others, notably so called loved ones, " you know I love you and care about you " just before the confession begins and a sad voyeuristic audience takes delight in the in the humiliation. well it's good to know one is loved. No subject is too great or too small " how I slept with my sisters husband, " " I am having an affair with my mother-in-law and I'm afraid my wife will find out, " what sad pathetic creatures that they have to air such weaknesses on national TV, what could be more humiliating, more demeaning and yet there is an almost tacit acceptance of the lifestyles of such individuals.

We are no longer guarded or embarrassed to discuss ourselves laying bare our innermost thoughts, we will talk about that which would have caused any audience in the past to cringe, not so now, adultery, homosexuality, drug abuse, schoolgirl pregnancies, the whole gamut of a sick society is laid bare and we are only too ready to exploit that. The Jerry Springer show with its high viewing audience and a worldwide market must rate as the saddest show on TV, with equally sad people and a voyeuristic studio audience standing by to jeer, clap, laugh or sneer and paying a God like homage and reverence to the master of Ceremonies - " Jerry, Jerry, Jerry."

All of this demonstrates just how far down the line we have gone in the perpetuation of the self and in the process limiting the range of possible ways of living that seems to be worthy and worth taking seriously. no wonder people find it so easy to communicate with the ' experts ' like counsellors and therapists, is nothing sacred anymore, is nothing personal, can we not find a way to be interested in something other than ourselves.

The obsession with the self is seen in no better an example than how we pass on teachings to our children in a world focused upon the self . In fact so many parents are wrapped up in the trivialities of life that they have little space to accommodate the needs of others including their own children. Kids running riot on the streets, truanting from school, drug misuse, cravings for the latest fashions, all activities to suit the self.

The breaild minders, but financial incentives are no substitute for a mother's and father's affection. In the absence of anything better there is a lot to be said for encouraging parents to be less selfish and to take responsibility for the welfare of their children and in so doing instil in them a responsibility to the whole group and less emphasis of the current fashion of needs, wants, entitlements, rights and the self.

Many people think that if their lives are not fulfilling something must be missing, that

there is something wrong with them and they therefore need help, many turn to therapy where they can engage in talking about themselves, they no longer have a mind of their own, such people instead of looking inwards would do better looking outwards.

The excessive focus on the self is a condition often found in conjuction with a superficial subjectivism about values that effectively disqualifies the therapist from wholeheartedly taking on an ethical stand, the therapeutic self is then defined by its own wants and satisfactions.

The question " Is this right or wrong " becomes " Is this going to work for me . " Individuals must answer it in the light of their own wants, thus the inability to see the value of any purpose beyond the self or any morality a characteristic that the therapist shares with the client.

Everything is reduced to the internal view of the self with nothing else to live for.

Obsession with the self has been the characteristic psychological error of the past few decades. I do not deny that problems of the self are vitally important, the error consists in seeking answers to those problems by focusing on oneself,, the mistake is akin to being dedicated at an early age to write ones autobiography and then spend the rest of ones life being obsessed by it, so obsessed that you did nothing else, what would there be to write about ?

Similarly if one was to invest all of ones time and energy to ' finding yourself ' by looking inward, the self you find would lack substance, it would be an empty self, many who spend their lives doing so find that their lives have been diminished.

There is also of course the one outstanding feature that condemns us all to a kind of servitude - the dependency on others, the inability to think for oneself, the abdication of a sense of responsibility, " I HAVE to see my counsellor ", " I'm in therapy " to the most malignant of all ills " I have needs ".

There may be many reasons why people become self-obsessed, of the solutions in therapy many are simply unhappy and have come to believe that the fault must lie in their own head, others in pursuit of happiness make the mistake known as the 'paradox of hedonism.

The hedonist is dedicated to self satisfaction and the search for pleasure, a pleasure rarely found.

The aimlessness of the drugs, alcohol, sex and violent culture accompanied by all the trappings of the consumer and materialist society reduces its disciples to the therapists couch in their search for fulfilment, the easy answers are always attractive to those who have yet to think for themselves.

There is a need for a commitment to a cause larger than oneself if one is to find genuine self-esteem and lasting happiness.

 

CHARLES HANSON

November 2000