Doug Casey on Medications and Massacres

Recently: Doug Casey’s Current View of the World

L: Doug, we’ve been hearing a lot about this image of the president shooting a shotgun circulating on the Internet. In the wake of the Connecticut massacre and multiple other shootings that have occupied the headlines of late, it’s quite striking. There have been so many murders involving guns in the news lately, it’s starting to look like a bloody wave of copycat activity. Or maybe, as the Greater Depression deepens, more and more people are just going to go nuts, making this a taste of things to come… What do you think?

Doug: Either of those things could be true. Both may well be; but the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about is that so many of these murderers – the vast majority, actually – turn out to be under some form of psychiatric care and on meds. What’s really needed is a deep and thorough review of psychological and psychiatric practices in the US, with strict examination of the correlation between various medications and subsequent violent behavior.

Popular drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Ritalin, and literally hundreds of others have very serious side effects. Shrinks are in the custom of prescribing them as an answer to the moral problems that everyone has to confront. These drugs don’t resolve moral dilemmas; they disguise them and confuse the issue. I find it interesting that random mass murders were never an issue up until the last 20 years or so – roughly coincidental with a substantial portion of the US population, especially kids, being put on meds for all kinds of imaginary psychological disorders… things that used to be considered just part of life. I suggest readers look into the views of Peter Breggin, M.D., an old friend of mine who’s done an immense amount of work in the area for years.

L: We need more laws regulating shrinks, not guns?

Doug: I’m not in favor of laws regulating either, but yes, people are confusing the means of violence with the cause of violence. We need to have an honest and unbiased look at what makes people turn murderous. If we don’t, the massacres will continue, just using different weapons.

L: I agree, of course. Gun-Free Zones are really Vulnerable Victim Zones. But it’s very hard to even discuss this issue with people rationally these days. Pro-gun people don’t need convincing, and anti-gun people are beyond convincing. In the wake of so many little children being shot, just making the attempt makes it seem like I should be sporting horns and carrying a pitchfork – a deadly assault pitchfork, of course.

Doug: Yes, public discourse on the topic has become quite degraded and irrational; it no longer seems possible to have a polite and rational discussion about why these things happen. Now it’s nothing more than an argument about how drastic various types of gun controls and other people controls should be. It’s another sign of the unraveling social fabric of the United State that was once America. I was reading something Michael Moore said – I hate to quote Moore, because absolutely everything he says on every subject except one is dead wrong –

L: Wait – stop the presses! Doug Casey agrees with Michael Moore on something?

Doug: I don’t want to be against anything just because Moore is for it. Words speak for themselves; to discredit them because you don’t like the speaker is a variation of the classic ad hominem fallacy. I happen to agree with his anti-foreign-war stance; he could be channeling me on that subject, from what I’ve read. But that’s the only thing I agree with him about, as far as I know.

If I cared what the public thought, I wouldn’t even mention that, however, since the public seems to react robotically when you push certain hot buttons. One guy accused me of being a raving socialist because I mentioned that I agreed with the sentiment of the title of the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten – after saying I hadn’t read the book, just liked its title. He illogically jumped several conclusions, upon hearing the mention of a book he didn’t think he liked, but probably never read. Randites do that when they hear the philosopher Kant mentioned. It’s odd how reactive people are. The public doesn’t reason; it emotes and reacts. It makes me quite sympathetic to Cornelius Vanderbilt when he said “The public be damned.” That’s certainly true when it comes to gun control.

At any rate, in an article he wrote called Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns, Moore dismisses the entire case for guns as being: “… because too many white people are afraid of black people. Period.” In this article he asserts that people – white people – want to have guns because they are racists.

L: The mind boggles. How could anyone say such a thing with a straight face? Black people own guns. I’ve seen stats that show more gun ownership among white people in the US, but a lot of black people own them, and that’s after many decades of Jim Crow laws and other discrimination discouraged, or prohibited, them from owning guns. It’s easier to keep folks down if they can’t defend themselves.

Doug: It’s an incredibly stupid statement – and completely wrong. He’s a knave as well as a fool. Guns have been called “the great equalizer” precisely because they give the little guy, the weak guy, the poor guy, the means to resist crime and oppression by those who happen to be stronger or more trained in the art of war.

It’s disgusting how the argument is now just about ridiculous details, like how many rounds a magazine can hold. The argument should be about principle: either a man has a right to defend himself or he doesn’t. Historically, only slaves are denied weapons.

L: Only a gun can give a 100-pound female the ability to stop a 200-pound male attacker.

Doug: Exactly. So predictably, the Obama administration’s move to limit gun ownership is not just the wrong thing to do, but the opposite of the right thing. Blaming the tool instead of looking into the causes of violence only ensures more violence.

L: And disarming the people only ensures more tyranny.

Doug: Well, it sure makes the tyrant’s job easier. Stalin, Hitler, Mao – they all pushed for what people call gun-control legislation today. It was a prelude to gun confiscation, and we all know where that led. It will happen here too – not that I expect armed resistance from US citizens should a genuine tyranny arise. To start with, probably only 15% of the households in the country even own a gun – at least beyond a .22, a shotgun, or a little pocket pistol. Gun owners are a tiny minority. And they’re very law abiding, so they’ll do as they’re told. No way is someone going to defend his right to self-defense when a SWAT team has his family in its crosshairs.

A good part of the problem is that Americans seem to think the right to be armed depends on the Second Amendment. It doesn’t. Laws and constitutions are changed and/or disregarded all the time. The right to be armed is part of being a free human being. People who want others to defend them are worms. Unfortunately that includes about 98% of the people on this sorry planet.

But it’s worse than that. Boobus americanus thinks the police and the army both can and will protect him. They can’t and won’t. It’s critical to remember that military and paramilitary organizations are loyal first to their comrades and then to their employers. You are really just an afterthought. And worse yet, most of these guys have an extra Y chromosome. They’re basically the last ones I want to see with guns – much less a legal monopoly on them.

But back to the photo of Obama firing the shotgun; it looks completely staged and phony to me. I think it’ll backfire on him.

L: You think that was PR? Why would he bother? His constituency doesn’t want to see him with guns, and his opposition will never vote for him, no matter what he says or does. What good could it possibly do him?

Doug: It’s pure politics, like that famously idiotic picture of Michael Dukakis in a tank. He’s trying to position himself as being reasonable; guns are okay for sporting purposes like shooting clay pigeons, but tighter controls are necessary to keep them out of the hands of criminals and lunatics. But look at the photo – his stance is all wrong. The gun is too high on his shoulder, and he’s leaning back. He looks like he’s never touched a gun in his life, let alone fired one with hefty recoil. It’s a completely ridiculous and insincere PR stunt.

L: Let’s hope the photo will come back to haunt him.

Doug: [Chuckles] Indeed. On a related note, the news just came out of this record-holding sniper Chris Kyle being shot to death in Texas. He was apparently killed by a friend of his who is a Marine suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. If that’s true, it’s almost certain that the killer was on some kind of psychiatric drug.

L: The point about psychiatric treatment that you started with.

Doug: Yes. But to be honest, I have to say that I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Kyle. His record reportedly documents about 160 official kills, but I’ve heard he claims the number was really around 250.

L: “Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror…”

Doug: Kill hundreds, while wearing a uniform, and you’re a hero. Yes. It’s beyond belief to think that every single one of those people he killed was an enemy soldier – let alone always his intended target and with no collateral deaths. How can you even tell who someone is when his face is obscured by a turban – especially at such distances as a world-class sniper shoots?

L: If he’s wearing a headscarf, he must be bad?

Doug: Evidently, to some. The guy was clearly an obedient, programmed, and thoughtless servant of the state, trained to kill on command. He liked to say he was “defending his country,” but that is shamefully disingenuous. It’s a lie, actually. In fact, he was killing people in their own country, people who were trying to defeat alien invaders and their collaborators. I’m sorry his kids won’t have their father around, but the world is probably better off without him.

L: Do you think this whole gun thing is coming to a head?

D: It’s interesting how recent events have galvanized the pro-gun movement, even though it’s quite small. It’s not like it was when I was a kid, and everybody had a gun or at least wanted one. Nobody thought anything about using guns. Now they’re on everyone’s minds. The Second Amendment seems to be the last shred of the Constitution that serious people are actually willing to fight for – even though the rest of the Constitution is a dead letter. People have given up their right to due process, to refuse search and seizure, to trial by a jury of their peers – even free speech is only allowed in so-called free-speech zones if a powerful enough politician is in town.

L: Ah, you heard about the Utah Sheriffs’ Association’s refusal to comply with unconstitutional gun laws? Seems to me that the Second Amendment being the last bastion of freedom is no accident; it is, by its nature, the one right you can’t trample on without meeting armed resistance.

Doug: Well, they say the Second Amendment is the one needed to defend the rest. But the rest are all gone now, so maybe it doesn’t matter. It’s both ironic and perverse. How can you defend America if it no longer exists? But there seem to be a few million people who say they are willing to fight this one and are equipped to do so. But if serious laws are passed, local sheriffs will roll over like tired old dogs, and the state will crush anyone who resists like a bug. Everyone is being preprogrammed to believe there are home-grown terrorists everywhere – “see something, say something.” The outcome is preordained to be ugly.

The smartest thing someone can do is bury a few favorites and a whole bunch of ammo someplace where it can’t be found. You don’t want to be defenseless if things degenerate to the world of The Road Warrior. That’s like a 50-to-1 longshot, but being caught unprepared would be very bad. Almost anything, both good and bad, is possible in today’s world.

L: Hm. It’s easy to talk tough about prying guns from cold, dead fingers, but how many people would actually man the barricades?

Doug: Almost zero. The average US tax slave is too well fed, to content with what’s on reality TV. They are unfree but don’t even know it. Pretty much like the cattle on my ranch. Les Misrables they are not.

L: Not yet, anyway.

Doug: Yes. It’s coming. But I’ll go ahead and go on record saying that the proper amount of gun control laws is zero.

L: Proper gun control is being able to hit your intended target.

Doug: For sure. That’s why automatic weapons aren’t good for much other than suppressive fire in a military operation or providing unrealistic action in movies. Yet 99% of Americans think they should be illegal, which has essentially been the case since 1934. They’ll cave in on everything else like they did then. Like people all over the world have done. I think absolutely everything should be legal. If you treat people like irresponsible children, that’s the way they’ll tend to act. They get the idea of “safety first,” not freedom, and that the authorities should protect them, ingrained in their psyches from very early on.

L: Well, as you said at the start, none of this actually contradicts the two possibilities I started with. I’m sure you’re right that there’s a problem with the way psychological problems are treated, especially the medicalization of counterproductive thought patterns. But that doesn’t mean the instant infamy of recent mass murderers hasn’t propelled people on the edge to engage in copycat grabs at fame, even if it’s negative fame. And the deeper we get into the Greater Depression, the more desperate acts I suspect we’ll see.

Doug: Right; all the more reason to take steps to defend yourself – starting with removing yourself from harm’s way.

L: As Mr. Miagi said, “Best way block punch, Daniel-San, is no be there.”

Doug: Exactly. For me, that means spending most of my time in rural Argentina, where the weather is nice, you can ride your horse 100 miles in any direction, and the wine is fantastic. In fact, we’re having a big party in about a month, so I invite everyone reading this to come and see for themselves what I’m building in Cafayate. But different strokes for different folks. No one needs to do what I’m doing, but they definitely need to something to spread their political risk beyond a single jurisdiction, if they have not yet done so. It’s the single most important thing I can recommend today.

L: Very well then. Words to the wise.

Doug: Let’s just hope people listen and decide to stop thinking like medieval serfs.

L: Indeed. On that note, I understand the book version of our past conversations published by Laissez Faire Books is selling well.

Doug: Yes, I’m very pleased with the book and look forward to the next volume, which will be more financially oriented. By the way, I think that publishing Socratic dialogues, especially unblinking and uncensored ones like ours, is very important. The world of ideas has become stale and in desperate need for innovation, even upheaval. That’s why I’m excited about the Laissez Faire Club. It is infusing a great body of radical ideas with the energy of a commercial service. The model is new, creative, and astonishingly productive. I’m a member of the Club, and I encourage our readers to join as well. It’s the place to find the future of serious ideas in the grand liberal/libertarian tradition. Everyone should join it – now, before they forget.

L: Noted. Okay, thanks for another interesting conversation.

Doug: My pleasure, as always.