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This is Not Professional Advice
And we are not their doctors
I am not a doctor, a lawyer, or an accountant.
One may be advised to say that, when you’re giving advice that touches on weighty matters that people usually consult credentialed professionals for, to make sure no one can sue you for giving advice that gets them in trouble if they follow it.
If someone is a doctor, lawyer, or accountant, giving advice in public, sometimes they make the point that they are not your doctor, your lawyer, or your accountant, and their general comments are not meant to be taken as contracted professional advice for your particular situation they don’t know the details of.
However, I don’t need any professional qualification to observe the laws and customs of my society and take note of things that also aren’t the kind of professional advice people ought to make weighty decisions on the basis of.
This occurred to me recently after I read on X about the German Bundestag’s debate over whether to refuse to acknowledge sex self-identification for the purposes of military conscription.
That is, they’re talking about making a hard exemption to a law change that would allow the mass falsification of public records and official identity documents.
In the US, our government has gone all-in on public record falsification. They’ve done this on the basis of claims that it would constitute discrimination because, something, something, something, lifesaving health care.
What is the medical emergency? It’s always a claim to suicidality or other self harm tendencies.
I’ve never seen an argument for letting trans-identified people do whatever they want, whenever they want, at all times, and force others to play along, that didn’t reference suicidality.
First off, suicidal people aren’t ordinarily allowed in the military.
The military is not an institution whose primary purpose is providing mental health care to extremely unwell individuals who are full of despair and see no point to continuing their own lives.
‘Hi, you’re here for suicidal despair mitigation? Very good. The weapons locker is on the left, the missile silos are down the road a bit.’
Military commissioning is not a medical outpatient service. You don’t call 9-11 for a medical emergency and ask to be treated at West Point or an Army recruiting office.
Second, making suicide threats is a different thing than the kind of severe depression that ordinarily accompanies suicidality. Most depressives are full of shame about their condition, and have a hard time even telling anyone to ask for help.
Here are some things I know about ordinary treatment for depression, and its place within our institutions.
I’ve never seen anyone propose permanent regimes of legally enforced public lying as a treatment for severe depression.
I’ve never seen it said that allowing an unwell person to order others to agree with them all the time, backed by the full force of the law, was an effective treatment for depression or suicidality.
Given that police already have such formal authority, and also that their likeliest cause of death is suicide, I think we can rule out giving people the power to order others around as a treatment for severe depression.
Police are also not mental health care providers, even if they may be called when mental health situations escalate to threats of harm.
Lies on government forms aren’t a proven, or even tested, treatment for depression, as far as I know.
Virtually no one who works in a standard public school in the US is qualified to diagnose or treat suicidality, or to provide outpatient care for depression or other psychiatric conditions that may come with a risk of suicide.
Internet strangers and chat forums are not trusted sources of diagnosis for depression or other, ordinary psychiatric conditions that are not treated as civil rights-eligible identities.
The local Department of Motor Vehicles office is not a site of emergency care for acute suicidal thoughts, and neither is the local State Department or Postal Service office that issues passports.
Dangerous, cross-sex hormone cocktails that cause premature aging, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and psychiatric symptoms that can range from even worse depression to unpredictable fits of rage aren’t offered as ordinary treatments for severe depression.
In general, persons suffering depression are encouraged to do things that improve their health, stamina, and fitness levels, to reduce mood-draining aches and pains, and increase their sense of personal mobility and self actualization. Giving oneself old age as a coming-of-age present is very much out of line with the usual standard of proven self care.
Ordinarily depressed persons, a description that applies for at least part of their lives to something like a fifth of the US population, are not encouraged or even permitted to demand psychiatric outpatient care from their coworkers, fellow students, public officials, retail store employees, law enforcement, or random members of the general public.
This is in part because we understand that one’s coworkers, fellow students, public officials, retail store employees, law enforcement, and random members of the public, generally aren’t doctors. Even if they happen to also be doctors, they are not your doctor, and they are neither qualified nor obliged to assist others with chronic mental health difficulties.
As Stephanie Davies-Arai recently pointed out, asking children to participate in the therapy of others is developmentally inappropriate adultification of children, and a violation of the duty of care towards children.
Surgery is generally right out for treating ordinary depression and suicidality. That was the case from the end of the lobotomy era, right up until the time that a few cranks decided to dust off the old eugenicist practice of coring out the sex organs of social misfits they couldn’t figure out how to help, or found personally distasteful.
Coring out the genitalia or reproductive endocrine system is not generally recognized as a treatment for depression.
Circling back to our initial topic of military service, missing organs is generally a bar to military recruitment. Why that ordinary guardrail ensuring the common good health of participants in a high-stress, physically demanding profession, should be lifted as a presumed mental health care support for people who shouldn’t need such supports, I can’t fathom.
Most modern jobs don’t have much in the way of physical strength requirements, but some legitimately do. The legal concept of rational discrimination, also known as a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ), was introduced to allow institutions like fire and rescue, and the actual military, to have fitness requirements that are going to exclude most people, most of the time. Sensible people are fine with that.
Again, the military is not a hospital for active duty service members, who are supposed to be in excellent physical condition and mentally stable, not requiring much more medical care than routine checkups.
Third, what about the suicide threats? Let’s get back to those.
Suicide threats are abusive manipulation, most commonly found in cases of domestic violence. Suicide threats are a form of coercive control, and their presence may indicate that the issuer of the threat is prepared to act out in a dangerous way.
The idea that suicide threats should become the major governing civil rights and policy platform of democratic societies is as deranged as any abusive husband telling his wife she can’t leave or he’ll kill himself, and then she’ll be sorry.
Making suicide threats an easy trigger for forcing governments to override common sense and ordinary best practices is as self-defeating as allowing terrorists to hijack a plane and insist on running entire countries from an airport tarmac on the basis of demands issued over the bodies of their hostages.
It’s important for people to see that this is what’s happening.
Gender ideologues have demanded that our entire government and all our institutions be run as a mental outpatient service, or even as suicide crisis care, for some people’s distress over their sexed bodies.
This is an unreasonable demand on the grounds that the rest of us are probably not doctors, we are almost certainly not their doctors, and also that exerting coercive control over others to ease mental distress is not a human right.
How do we determine who are the class of persons who have the right to on-demand lay psychiatric care from everyone around them, as compared to ordinary people who don’t have that right? It’s a ridiculous question, and it’s embarrassing it has to be asked.
I can’t give anyone professional advice on how to respond to people making suicide threats that upend every common behavioral or legal safeguard that we have.
I can just say, I used to be married to someone whose coercive control sometimes included making threats against his own life, and I had to find the strength to leave.
He’s still alive, my mind is free, and I wish that also for everyone.
Don’t be ruled by your own fears and worst impulses. Don’t be ruled by the fears and worst impulses of others. In the strength to resist that darkness in the heart of every person is the freedom that makes life sweet, and no advice from anyone will ever be its equal.
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