Monday, December 14, 2015

Freudianism and Irresponsibility

A second major liability of Freud’s theory has been its promotion of irresponsibility.  This evolved logically from the belief that individuals are governed by powerful unconscious forces, arising from early childhood experiences, which thereby usurp their freedom of action.  It has led, in the words of one writer, to the “golden age of exoneration. . . . Almost nobody can really be held accountable. . . .  Bonnie and Clyde came along too soon.  Nowadays they could settle for a year at the Betty Ford Clinic as victims of compulsive bank-robbing addiction.”

It is the areas of child rearing and criminal behavior in which Freudian theory has had the most profound effect and in  which traditional concepts of responsibility have been challenged.   In the Freudian scheme, men and women are seen increasingly as puppets of their psyches governed primarily by the edicts of their egos.  The corollary of “don’t blame me” is “blame my parents,” expressed clearly from the earliest days of the Freudian movement, as in this 1926 rendition:

Mental hygienist are stressing one great point, namely, that in most cases of nervousness, in many cases of delinquency, in some cases of insanity, and almost all cases of child behavior or conduct disorders, the trail leads inevitably and directly back to the home and the parents. [Emphasis in the original.]

In the Freudian schema, mother, father, family, social circumstances, and culture become the causal agents for whatever is wrong.  The ripple of personal irresponsibility spreads slowly outward to cover ever-greater areas until the very terms “good” and “bad” seem to no longer have meaning.

E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., "Freudian Fraud: the Malignant Effect of Freud's Theory on American Thought and Culture," p.249

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