Post-traumatic embitterment disorder

The American Psychiatric Association is considering labeling bitterness as a mental illness:

Having floated “Apathy Disorder” as a trial balloon, to see if it might garner enough support for inclusion in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the world’s diagnostic bible of mental illnesses, the organization has generated untold amounts of publicity and incredulity this week by debating at its convention whether bitterness should become a bona fide mental disorder.

Bitterness is “so common and so deeply destructive,” writes Shari Roan at the Los Angeles Times, “that some psychiatrists are urging it be identified as a mental illness under the name post-traumatic embitterment disorder.” “The disorder is modeled after post-traumatic stress disorder,” she continues, “because it too is a response to a trauma that endures. People with PTSD are left fearful and anxious. Embittered people are left seething for revenge.”

This particular post on the Psychology Today website rejects the idea, saying that bitterness is justified (wait for it) by the Bush administration. But depression is also justified sometimes. What the APA wants to do, apparently, is medicalize moral and spiritual struggles. I’m curious what the treatment for post-traumatic embitterment disorder would be. How will psychiatrists get bitter people to forgive those who trespassed against them? Medication?

Aliens in a strange land

Anthony Sacramone at Strange Herring gets serious, issuing a manifesto, of a sort. Read it all at the link, but here are excerpts:

The time is coming when Christians of all stripes must consider what it means to be a nation within a nation, alien residents, not in a secular culture but in a culture actively hostile to its most deeply cherished beliefs and values. The time is coming when Christians are going to have to come to terms with being an alternative culture within the larger one. And that is going to mean giving greater attention to their schools and hospitals. . . .

For too long Christians assumed that this was a Christian nation, filled with likeminded people who would, despite Hollywood and the mainstream media and a few academics on the margins, would ultimately see their values prevail, due to the much advertised American exceptionalism. Time to reconsider. Time to stop being so complacent. The barbarians are not at the gate — they’re in the house.

This is not a call for a retreat into the woods, for ratcheting up the paranoia or building bomb shelters or stocking up on guns. That’s an admission of defeat, that the God we worship is not greater than the principalities and powers of this world.

It is a call for a celebration of, and respect for, life — new life, elderly life, disabled and handicapped life — and a call for the repristination of our hospitals and schools and libraries and elder-care facilities. We can no longer take for granted that the secular institutions will support our beliefs and values. On the contrary: We must assume they are immersed in a worldview that puts the Naked Personal Will at the center of everything. Narcissism is the prevailing ethos, and that which does not reflect back its own image will be marginalized if not destroyed.

Many non-Catholics are looking to Catholics right now because they have a history of creating such an alternate culture in this country. In the late 19th century, when public schools in big cities began putting sound citizenship at the forefront of its pedagogic agenda, it was with an eye toward de-Catholicizing recent immigrants. And so Catholics resisted by constructing their own schools, hospitals, nursing homes. They created institutions that would preserve and transmit their beliefs and their culture from generation to generation.

Other denominations did as well: Lutherans have their parochials schools and Presbyterians and Methodists built their hospitals and colleges. But do these institutions still see their Christian roots as their ongoing source of life, or have they paved over their living foundation and replaced the stained glass with mirror images of their secular counterparts in order to appeal to a broader swathe of the population just to keep their doors open?

We must also keep in mind another part of Catholic history: The historical counterparts of those people I playfully call barbarians were once upon a time converted. And the contempory variety still may be. We must keep that in mind always. They too are made in the image of God. Their lives are also threatened by the rising tide of irrationalism and nihilism. The Church, in all its institutional manifestations, must be seen as the ark of salvation, a real refuge, an authentic alternative, and not just a kitschy knockoff of worldly diversions.

What would this look like, I wonder? We have schools, homeschools, and colleges. While it’s true that many Christian schools just imitate the secularist curriculum with a little religion thrown in (which is often undone by the rest of the courses), classical Christian education has made a comeback–including here at Patrick Henry College– and is beating the secularists in their own terms, namely, academically. Founding hospitals is a good idea, though the prospect of socialized medicine, which may require performing abortions is making existing Catholic hospitals think they may have to close their doors. Fundamentalists have and are trying to establish parallel cultural institutions (businesses, media, a music industry), but that hasn’t gone too well. But maybe that just needs to be done better, emulating classical culture rather than the pop culture.

One thing I know we need to focus on: Rebuilding the culture requires rebuilding the foundation of every culture, the family. Whatever the state does to the institution of marriage, Christians need to build solid, happy, permanent marriages among themselves. Whatever the pop culture does to mess up children, Christian parents need to raise solid, happy, growing children.

Notice that this all, including converting the barbarians, requires recovering the doctrine of vocation!

Health care reform and end-of-life care

Tevi Troy reports on what President Obama told the New York Times about his health care proposals and end of life care:

He tells the story of his grandmother, who got an expensive hip replacement, then died two weeks later. President Obama says he “would have paid for that hip replacement just because she’s my grandmother.” At the same time, however, he notes that “whether, sort of in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question.” Furthermore, he recognizes that Americans don’t want to hear that we will not provide expensive late-stage care, a la England. As the president puts it, “If somebody told me that my grandmother couldn’t have a hip replacement, and she had to lie there in misery in the waning days of her life — that would be pretty upsetting.”

His answer to this question, however, is also somewhat upsetting — and not just because he calls denying care to the terminally ill “very difficult” and “upsetting,” but never “something we won’t do.” He says that “there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place.” And not only will this be difficult, he claims, but he has trouble imagining “the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance.” It is unclear what this group will look like, but the notion of some empyrean body, developed outside the normal political channels, making health-care decisions for the country, is a notion that makes me very, very nervous.

Does it make you nervous? Won’t state-controlled, state-dispensed health care open the door for such cost-saving measures as euthanasia?

The Hippocratic oath gets in the way

Betsy McCaughey tells how an administration health care planner thinks the Hippocratic Oath is getting in the way:

Patients count on their doctor to do whatever is possible to treat their illness. That is the promise doctors make by taking the Hippocratic Oath.

But President Obama’s advisers are looking to save money by interfering with that oath and controlling your doctor’s decisions.

Ezekiel Emanuel sees the Hippocratic Oath as one factor driving “overuse” of medical care. He is a policy adviser in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and a brother of Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff.

Dr. Emanuel argues that “peer recognition goes to the most thorough and aggressive physicians.” He has lamented that doctors regard the “Hippocratic Oath’s admonition to ‘use my power to help the patient to the best of my ability and judgment’ as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others.”

Of course, that is what patients hope their doctor will do.

But President Barack Obama is pledging to rein in the nation’s health care spending. The framework for influencing your doctor’s decisions was included in the stimulus package, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The legislation sets a goal that every individual’s treatments will be recorded by computer, and your doctor will be guided by electronically delivered protocols on “appropriate” and “cost-effective” care.

HT: Strange Herring

Egypt’s pig farmers

As one of our commenters said, Egypt’s pig farmers are all Christians, swine being unclean for Muslims. The swine flu scare is being used as a pretext to harm Christians, as Egypt is demanding that all pigs be destroyed, even though the disease is not spread from contact with the animals (much less from eating pork, as some people are imagining). Those Christians are protesting, to the point of rioting. From Egyptian farmers protest mandatory swine slaughter –

Most Egyptian pig farmers are Coptic Christians, a group that makes up about 10 percent of the 80 million people in the mostly Muslim nation. Coptic Christians do not observe the Muslim ban on eating pork, and historically they have coexisted peacefully with the Muslim majority in Egypt.

The farmers also work in the garbage industry and use their daily collections to feed their herds, which number about 300,000 animals in the country.

A flu by any other name

More fun with language.
U.S. officials want ‘swine’ out of flu name

U.S. pork producers are finding that the name of the virus spreading from Mexico is affecting their business, prompting U.S. officials to argue for changing the name from swine flu.

At a news briefing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack took pains to repeatedly refer to the flu as the “H1N1 virus.”

“This is not a food-borne illness, virus. It is not correct to refer to it as swine flu because really that’s not what this is about,” Vilsack said.

Israel has already rejected the name swine flu, and opted to call it “Mexico flu.” Jewish dietary laws forbid eating pork.

The Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health also objected to the name, saying the virus contains avian and human components and no pig so far has been found ill with the disease.

And there is growing sentiment in the farm sector to call it the North American virus — although disease expert Anthony Fauci told a Senate hearing the “swine flu” designation reflected scientific naming protocol.

Why would Israel object to the name? Does it want the disease to be kosher? The world, though, should realize this strain of swine flu doesn’t come from swine or from eating pork. Egypt doesn’t need to slaughter all of its pigs.