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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Katherine Kersten's Korner

Today's kolumn, like many, is about a subject that Kersten does not have any expertise in: namely, the field of psychiatry. However, this hasn't stopped her yet, and today will be no exception!

Wingnuttia Level: Objective Fact Rejection Disorder

Kersten is not a doctor, so her kolumn really doesn't do anything to shed light on the issue of mental illness. The hook is a recent news article about how road rage is indicative of something called Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Not being a doctor myself, I really can't say anything about this disorder, its pervasiveness, its treatment, its existence, anything. Like many conservatives, though, Kersten sees it as a bunch of baloney, an excuse to ignore the only thing that matters: personal responsibility.

Mental illness is still stigmatized in this country, and a lot of this stigma does come from conservatives. To them, a person's attitude and behavior begin and end with personal responsibility. Alcoholism? Depression? Anorexia? Nothing but weakness; the solution is to simply buck up and start acting like a man. I've seen many conservatives simply say outright that they don't think depression even exists until they see it manifest itself in a family member, and only then do they realize that there is more to the brain's function than personal responsibility. As an aside, I do have to commend Republican Jim Ramstad for not falling into this trap, and being a big supporter of mental health treatment parity. But I digress.

Kersten's kolumn goes down the road that has been trod so many times before. Intermitten Explosive Disorder is an excuse to turn everybody into a crackpot, so everybody can be medicated. Doctors are just inventing things out of whole cloth. And so on. While the prevalence of medication is something that people can be concerned about, it is hardly limited to medication for mental health isuses. I think I see a lot more TV commercials for E.D. than anything else.

In any case, Kersten just doesn't have anything to add to this debate. Why does the Star Tribune print this stuff? Are we next going to hear her thoughts on String Theory?

And as for what I do when people act like idiots on the road, I ignore it. I do some pretty strange things when I am driving by Minnesota standards, like using my turn signals, letting people merge, and using the left lane for passing only. When I see people who don't understand how to drive and are mad about it, it's not worth it to get mad back.


At 10:56 AM, June 13, 2006, Blogger Dave Zarkin said...

Who pays Krackpot Kathy to write the Star Tribune column, McClatchy or American Enterprise Institute Republican PAC? I figure it's McClatchy so I only buy the Pioneer Press. She definitely stepped over the line when she attacked that bastion of conservatism the Methodist Church.


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