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Australia as a therapeutic state

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An important but underappreciated phenomenon is that of the “therapeutic state”. Broadly speaking, this describes the state and arms of the elite like the media and the academy – what Curtin Yarvin calls The Cathedral – acting in concert to manipulate public opinion towards their desired ends.

It’s gaslighting at a meta level – and it’s taking place in Australia right now as the managerial class uses “gender-based violence” as a distraction to avoid discussing the failings of liberalism, multiculturalism, and mass immigration.

What the therapeutic state wants is to dampen inconvenient aspects of human nature, and/or divert them towards politically-expedience.

This manifests in a number of ways. To take one example, our innate parochial proclivities – as seen in kin-preference, asabiyyah and xenophobia (“fear of the foreign”) – are discredited via a political, educational and media apparatus that esteems diversity at every turn.

Another is the attitude towards masculinity. The male nature – expressed in physicality, possessiveness and chivalry – is deemed undesirable under a regime that views manliness as outdated and which claims men and women are equal in every regard.

Scores of other examples abound. Anything from the now-obligatory diversity training, to the compulsion to state one’s pronouns and believe in the lie that is transgenderism are examples of therapeutic managerialism.

The chief populariser of this notion is Paul Gottfried. Following the initial work of James Burnham and his managerial regime; and more recently Christopher Lasch and Thomas Szasz, the man who coined the phrase “the therapeutic state”, Gottfried develops this idea in After Liberalism and Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt.

In the latter book, Gottfried is especially excoriating towards what he rightly sees as the overreach of our therapeutic regimes.

In his view, our left-leaning states have engaged in vast programs of “behaviour modification” and social engineering since the 1960s. Inter alia, this has involved the denigration of homogeneity and tradition, and the commendation of liberal cosmopolitanism.

This is done via methods that include the usual reductio ad Hitlerum; the constant guilty reminders of historical ills like slavery and segregation; and via a media and taste-making class that slant everything toward the left. Shows like the ABC’s Q+A, with five cheery left-liberals and a sole despised conservative, are a perfect example of this at work.

What annoys Gottfried the most, though, is how any form of non-liberal thought is viewed as not just misguided but pathological. If one swims against the liberal current one is not only wrong but mentally ill.

As Neema Parvini puts it in Populist Delusion:

“Gottfried is rightly perturbed at the implications of treating ‘dissent as a form of mental illness’ which requires psychiatric remedy”.

An example of which we saw in Britain when police officers and a mental-health nurse were sent to a man’s home for comments he’d made on social media.

Per Parvini, what further irks Gottfried is how our managerial overlords have used fields like psychology and psychiatry to enable an “expert class whose role was to regulate, alter, and normalise behaviour to conform to the requirements of managerialism”. A key part of this, as noted, is the stigmatising of unfashionable facts and the medicalising of normal parts of the human condition.

As Gottfried, citing Szasz, observes: “If people believe that health values justify coercion, but that moral and political do not, those who wish to coerce others will tend to enlarge category of health values at the expense of moral values”.

In other words, if you have doubts about transgenderism or demographic diversity you are not just morally wrong but due some form of medical intervention. A trend we see in the rise of puberty blockers and “gender dysphoria”; in “neurodivergence” and ADHD; and in other examples like footballers being suspended and forced to attend “Pride Training” for on-field “slurs”.

I note all this in relation to the response to a pair of recent events. The first was the stabbing rampage in Bondi which saw six dead and a dozen injured. The perpetrator was 40-year-old Queenslander Joel Cauchi. A man with a history of homelessness, drug use and mental illness.

The second was another stabbing in Sydney, this time in suburban Wakeley just two days later. In this case, Orthodox bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was struck by an alleged 16-year-old Islamist offender. The event, which was livestreamed, shows the boy repeatedly stabbing the bishop, muttering “Allahu Akbar” and other words in Arabic, and gloating about it afterwards.

What is instructive though is that the reaction to these events confirms the existence of our own therapeutic state. Simply stating that the boy was motivated by Islamic ideology and acted accordingly – as hundreds of other cases, from Salman Rushdie abroad to the Lindt Café siege at home, attest – was overwhelmingly avoided by our elite in favour of a more conciliatory stance.

This was apparent in a number of ways. One of the most obvious was the predictable media obfuscation. Another was the elevation of mental illness as a catch-all for these and other events. Instead of noting that – like the current plague of pro-Palestine protests and 1,400 years of history – the boy was influenced by Islamic ideology, “mental health” was invoked instead.

The Guardian provides a case in point. In lieu of highlighting the influence of Islamism, the outlet predictably stated that the offender had shown “behaviour consistent with mental illness or intellectual disability.” In other words, this incident is to be viewed as an aberration and not part of any broader problems or patterns. If that wasn’t enough, it and similar articles implied the Bishop deserved his fate as this “bigoted priest”had “criticised Islam and other religions”.

If it wasn’t mental health that caused this, it must have been misogyny. An all-pervasive hatred of women was also trotted out as the key driver of these and similar occasions. And in a stunning act of hubris, this was done in full knowledge of the fact the Wakeley event involved almost no women by a managerial class that sought to confuse and conflate these events in the public mind.

While it is true that there has been a recent spate of attacks on women, and that the Bondi killer did disproportionately target females, the main function of this ascription of misogyny is to keep our elites from having to address more intractable issues like the state of Islam in Australia or the fiasco that is our mass immigration program.

Again, the liberal media proves our point. Indeed, journalist Mark Kenny adopts a prototypical stance. Ignoring facts like Australia being the “11th best country in the world to be a woman”, Kenny offers us a predictable tirade.

Australia, he states, is filled with “appalling levels of male-on-female violence”; our men are “involuntary celibates”; and our women live in fear of blokes like the Bondi attacker, “whose volcanic misogyny was so severe he even stabbed a female infant”.

This is delusional.

Australia offers some of the best educational and employment outcomes for women in the world. We have among the lowest domestic violence rates on the planet – especially in comparison to the countries that Kenny and other liberals want us to source our migrants from. The notion, too, that the Bondi offender would deliberately seek out female over male babies to attack is absurd.

What all this is, though, is yet more evidence of Gottfried’s therapeutic state.

What we are witnessing is an attempt by our elites to rein in the forces they have unleashed under decades of mass immigration, liberalism and multiculturalism.

We see this in Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s battles with X chairman Elon Musk around censorship of the internet.

We see it in the appointment of our E-Safety Commissioner. We see it in the global battle around disinformation. And we see it in the supposedly spontaneous protests that have arisen around women’s safety. A key example of which we saw a few years ago in Britain with their implementation of “controlled spontaneity“.

All this is evidence of therapeutic managerialism and how it’s used by our elites to prevent the liberal-cosmopolitan project from foundering on the rocks of underlying reality.

Whether this succeeds or not remains to be seen. Human nature and the historical experience of multi-ethnic societies only really functioning in empires is reason enough to be sceptical.

In the meantime, however, what we appear to be experiencing is a transformation from life in a therapeutic state to life in an authoritarian one.

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