• Mental Healthcare and the "Hysterical Woman"

    We've all heard it before. "All women are crazy!", "She must be on her period." For generations there has existed the stereotype of the hysterical woman. A person born with internal genitalia who is consequently unable to calmly and rationally maneuver the day to day difficulties of life.

May 22, 2016

Libertarianism Simply Doesn't Work, and The Party Won't Ever Change

An old acquaintance of mine from college is a delegate for the Libertarian Party this election season, and with the Libertarian Party's National Convention happening on the 27th to the 30th, they are considering changes to their platform, so in preparation for the convention, he posed a question to his non-Libertarian Party associates, with the intent to build the party into a more mainstream option.

What type of platform changes could lead you to being more likely to support a Libertarian in the general election? Or being more supportive of the party and movement in general? Please, nothing Libertarians can't get behind as a whole, such as liberal economics."

As expected, all of the responses that were given to him were things that the Libertarian Party cannot get behind as a whole, but this is of course due to having a huge asterisk in the stated inquiry. If a party is struggling to break into a mainstream presence and is looking for platform changes in order to do so, requiring the suggestions to not deviate away from the majority of the party's current base is going to make your inquiry both fruitless and pointless.

The Libertarian Party is in an almost unique position where it has a lot of weak support; their positions on civil liberties are pretty sound, from their support of the gay community to marijuana legalisation. For these reasons and their view on foreign wars, they have good millennial support. Funnily enough, these are also the positions that are most touted by members of the party when they're trying to recruit interest in the party.

You don't often hear Libertarians promoting their economic ideas when trying to build interest from undecided and undeclared voters because they run the risk of sounding like an extremist fringe. You see, as far as their economic policies go, they only appeal to a few certain demographics, and those demographics are already voting Libertarian or are members of the Republican Party's Libertarian voting wing.


Mark Rosenfelder describes them as being the "un-Communism"

Arguably, the Libertarian Party's main defining political ideology is that of the free market and the gold standard. In simplest terms, the free market is a hypothetical concept that economies work best when there is no government intervention or regulation, and that the prices of goods and services are determined by their need by consumers, rather than a regulated market where the government controls the forces of supply and demand as well as introducing and enforcing regulations including environmental and public safety, anti-discrimination, labor laws, taxation, and anti-trust laws which prevent monopolies.

This insistence on the free market should be alarming to those who don't already subscribe to the idea of the free market, and for good reason.

In order for capitalism to function at its most basic level, you need workers. You may have employers, but the workers are the backbone of any product or service that is on the market. As it comes with being a worker or an employee, you need to be paid for your work, because why else would you be there, since basic necessities to survive such as food, water, and a home to live in must be purchased. There would be no labor laws or regulation on the safety of the workers; these things would be determined by the employer, it is argued, and if you're not okay with the employer's practices, "you can leave".

Of course, as history shows, employers were perfectly fine with employing young children and were eager to ignore safety in order to increase their profit. Additionally, sometimes workers can't just leave and find a better job. Certainly workers couldn't readily do so before the implementation of the 8-hour working day when working hours ranged from 11 all the way up to 16 hours a day due to the Industrial Revolution. As history also shows, and which continues to this day, if you just so happened to be anything other than a white male, you would be paid less for your labor.

Labor laws are things we take for granted.

These free market fundamentalist Libertarians claim to hate corporatism and that the free market would solve these problems by virtue of the integrity of the employer, meaning that those who are unfair to their workers and clients would see their businesses fail, but history and even contemporary events show that we don't care what kinds of conditions are in place, so long as we can get high quality products and services for the lowest price. Indeed, despite the want for a market where competition keeps prices down, the free market would allow monopolies to exist, which leaves no competition to keep prices down.

If the Libertarian Party were serious about making changes to their platform in order to be more appealing to those who aren't already inside of their base, they would have to make changes to their core platform. However, these changes would then remove what it means to be of the American strain of libertarianism, as the introduction of Democratic policies would make them fiscally liberal, and the introduction of Republican policies would make them socially conservative.

In addition, since the Libertarian Party wants to abolish the state only at the civic and market levels, if they were to extend that to abolishing the state at the capitalist level, they would be no different than the various schools of anarchism, of which they believe are too liberal. Of course, anarchists wouldn't even want them, since they know that libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism are just anarchism for rich people.

The Libertarian Party espouses an extreme form of capitalism, and any talk of them being serious about changing their platform in order to be more appealing to mainstream voters is simply laughable due to the fact that they will only be unwilling to do so.

author Änicka Carlson
About Tighe

Tighe is a mental health board member and secular activist in Greater St. Louis. In his free time, he is often playing his guitars or volunteering with local organisations.


February 24, 2016

Mental Health Care and the “Hysterical Woman"

We've all heard it before. "All women are crazy!", "She must be on her period", "Calm down sweetie, no one wants to deal with a hysterical woman".   For generations there has existed the stereotype of the hysterical woman. A person born with internal genitalia who is consequently unable to calmly and rationally maneuver the day to day difficulties of life.

Female Hysteria

       Stereotypes of impaired mental capacities among historically repressed demographics are not uncommon. During the civil rights movement, many claimed that people of color were inherently violent, And even today, many homophobes have been known to make the argument that gay, lesbian, and transgender people are more likely to ignore personal boundaries or lack of consent because that's "just how they are". Many attempts at defending bigoted ideologies begin with the phrase, " It's in their nature.  "

Therein lies the basis for nearly every discriminatory belief held towards another demographic.

  Now, of course there has been no scientific evidence to support the theory that certain demographics will behave in certain ways based on biology alone. And of course changing society's perception of a group of people is always difficult, particularly when that perception is overwhelmingly negative.

     However, if women make up roughly 50 percent of the global population, why does this particular view point of women being insane continue to not only exist, but flourish?  A significant portion of supporters of the hysterical woman concept seem to exist among the female population themselves. While speaking with my own female friends during the pre-writing process, over half seemed to be of the opinion that women are usually less psychologically stable than men. When asked how they learned this concept, many replied with something along the lines of "I'm not sure, it just seems to be something that people always say", followed by an anecdote of their boyfriend, father, or brother telling them that they are crazy.

      As irritating as this thought processes is towards any woman who would rather have her thoughts and opinions taken seriously, this mindset is also incredibly harmful to women who are actually mentally ill. When an entire group of people is branded with the derogatory label "Crazy", it makes it incredibly difficult for members of the group to assess their own needs in regards to their mental health. According to the World Health Organization, "Communication between health workers and women patients is extremely authoritarian in many countries, making a woman's disclosure of psychological and emotional distress difficult, and often stigmatized. When women dare to disclose their problems, many health workers tend to have gender biases which lead them to either over-treat or under-treat women."

      The World Health Organization also reports a trend of physicians having a gender bias towards patients with depression. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, (or other mild to moderate mental illnesses), and more likely to be prescribed mood altering drugs when compared to their male counterparts.

      Now, you may be wondering why I am choosing this topic for my first entry here at The Unholy American. My own personal experience seeking treatment for severe obsessive compulsive disorder has led me here. After my initial diagnosis as a child, I was not treated for my symptoms until fourteen years later. I had developed an eating disorder during that time, and the reason why very few of my classmates or teachers had noticed my obsessive calorie counting, compulsive hand washing, and constant panic attacks, was because "all women are crazy". To this day, I am still attempting to repair the damage that has been inflicted on my body, as a result of my own illness running rampant throughout my brain.

So if ever you find yourself, dear member of society, in such a position as to label all women as crazy, remember this; Across the world, there are millions of women--of all ages and walks of life-- who are fighting with their own brains. For every moment of every day. And every reinforcement of the "hysterical woman" concept reduces their chance of getting the help that they so desperately need. Besides, there are plenty of ways to invalidate someone's opinions. You just have to take the time to come up with a better argument, rather than relying on a superficial aspect of your opponent, such as gender.

"Gender and Women's Mental Health." WHO. World Health Organization, n.d. Web. 24 Feb 2016.

author Änicka Carlson
About Änicka

Änicka is a 21 year old college student residing in northern Arizona. She can typically be found practicing, listening to film scores, or glaring menacingly at an improperly cited research paper (that might or might not be her own work).


December 1, 2015

Why I Returned to the Atheist Community

In 2013, I wrote an article called "Why I Left the Atheist Community". In it, I expressed contempt for both the "Atheism Plus" and the "anti-Atheism Plus" crowds, how I was refusing to participate in conferences, and how I was hesitant to consider joining any atheist groups.

The article quickly became one of my most read pieces, and a few months later after it had gained considerable traction, Salon and The Friendly Atheist published articles about why they are and aren't leaving the atheist community, respectively. Such timing was coincidental, but I found it amusing.

Prior to "Why I Left the Atheist Community," I wrote "Why I Don't Go To Sceptic Conferences", and in that too, I wrote about my frustration with "Atheism Plus" and the infighting that was occurring in the atheist community. It was a precursor, of sorts.

It's nearly 2016, and I feel it's time to give both articles a follow-up.

In January of 2014, I created an account on Facebook where I parodied Jesus, claiming to be the satirical return of Christ, but with the addition of him being a douchebro with a dash of sexy. I wrote a lot of terrible one-liners and had the character put into some interesting situations to the delight of the audience I had before the account was inevitably banned 6 months later.

bro jesus screenshot
For example

My only regrets are that I didn't take more screenshots of my brilliance, and that I didn't keep a back-up of my used and unused comedy material before my computer was accidentally wiped.

Occasionally I would break character and give interactions of my life outside of the account, one instance in particular being when I was working in the print and graphic design industry and was having to print a bulk order of pro-life, pro-family campaign fliers for a local political candidate. It was through this instance that one of my disciples following the account learned that we both lived in the same city, and we kept each other as unmet friends.

It was a few months later, in July, that she again contacted me, insisting that I join her for food and drinks with her friends in the "O'Fallon Freethinkers" group.

May 15, 2015

Why It's Tricky to Support Draw Muhammad Contests

Okay! So I've been holding back on talking about this too much, because it's definitely a polarising issue, and honestly hardly anybody even knows who the organisation that held the event are, much less do they really care.

But it's definitely a topic that I find fascinating.

By now, all, or at the very least most of us, have heard about the shooting in Garland, Texas over a "Draw the Prophet Muhammad" contest. Thankfully, the attempted terrorists didn't hurt anybody and as other people have observed, two potential terrorists have been eliminated.

One may argue that that was the goal of the event in addition to exercising the freedom of speech (which yes, does include the right to be offensive). But see, I don't see it that way.

The Muslims are coming!

The organisation that held the contest are known by two names: The "American Freedom Defense Initiative", who's claimed goals are to protect the right to religious worship and the right of freedom of speech, and "Stop Islamification of America", who's stated goal should be obvious based on their name alone. For simplicity, I will refer to the organisation as the "AFDI" for the rest of this article.

The last time the AFDI entered the public's conversation was in 2010 when their president and co-founder, conservative activist and blogger Pamela Geller dubbed the Park51 community building the "Ground Zero Mosque" and staged protests with her organisation. The AFDI were at the front of the misinformation regarding the community building.

Despite 2010 being the last time they gained national public attention, they have accumulated a laundry list of controversy ever since. In 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center proclaimed the AFDI, SIOA, SION, and Geller's blog "Atlas Shrugs" as hate groups due to their constant anti-Muslim propaganda in the New York area.

American Freedom Defense Initiative Advertisement

In addition, Geller herself is considered by the Southern Poverty Law Center as being part of the inner circle of the anti-Muslim movement in America, has been invited to speak at a German neo-fascist rally, and supports the English Defence League, a British anti-Muslim hate group who purposely try to provoke violent response.

May 1, 2015

What is Loyalty Day?

For most of the world, today is International Workers Day, or May Day. The US too will celebrate this day, but not officially, as our Labor Day is held the first Monday of September. Instead, the US celebrates a holiday known as "Loyalty Day".

If you're somebody like me who doesn't pay attention to Presidential proclamations or live in a community that celebrates this holiday with parades, then you may not be familiar with this holiday, or even aware of its existence.

So what is Loyalty Day, where did it come from and why is it celebrated on the same date as May Day?

As you might imagine, Loyalty Day has its origins in the Red Scare. Originally celebrated as "Americanization Day" in 1921, the date was chosen to counter the May 1st celebration of the Russian Revolution and replace it with a day celebrating and promoting American patriotism and affirming loyalty to the United States.

Celebration of Workers of the Whole World

During the Second Red Scare, "Americanization Day" was celebrated and renamed to "Loyalty Day" by President Eisenhower on May 1st, 1955, just days after Congress recognised the holiday, and then in 1958 was made an official reoccuring holiday.

Is Loyalty Day really an important holiday?

The case could be made that today, Loyalty Day isn't that important, but is just a relic of our fear and fight against communism. At the time of its introduction, the holiday would have been a beneficial tool to convince your friends and government that you were indeed not a communist. Of course, not celebrating Loyalty Day and flying the US Flag during this holiday could have made your neighbors and friends think you were sympathetic to communism, and as we all learned in school, was practically social suicide.

America Under Communism Propaganda

Why is Labor Day in September?

For several years before the introduction of International Worker's Day, the CLU of New York and other trade unions celebrated their own worker's holiday on the date that would later become Labor Day. President Grover Cleveland was concerned that by commemorating International Workers Day, he would be associating Labor Day with the socialist and anarchist movements.

Why haven't we moved US Labor Day to May 1st like the rest of the world?

Loyalty Day is one of the many pesky things born during the scare of communism that we can't seem to rid ourselves from. Much like our decision to begin adding God to our paper money, motto, and pledge, Loyalty Day is an item of nationalism showing our opposition to communism. Loyalty Day isn't a major US holiday, at least in the way that it's overshadowed by May Day and her large parades.

May Day Workers of the World Unite

Even with the Cold War over, we still don't like communism; we still have tensions with Cuba and China and have increasing tensions with North Korea. A patriotic person could make the argument that moving our Labor Day to the same date as International Workers Day would be a literal replacement of Loyalty Day, and would show us as weak to the communist nations who we just barely tolerate. An extreme viewpoint could be made that we'd be endorsing communism.

Despite our unwillingness to either move Labor Day to the same date as International Workers Day or to make May Day/IWD a US recognised federal holiday, there will be parades, there will be marches, and there will be other ways that American citizens will celebrate this holiday.

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author Tighe Craven About Tiger
Tiger is a 23 year old college student, activist, and professional living in the Saint Louis metro area. When he's not being apathetic to the idea of God or writing about atheism, he is serving a presidential term for a mental health organisation and a board membership of another, does public speaking about mental illness and disability, and is a photographer and a bassist.
You can read more about what he does on his website, tigercraven.com

January 1, 2015

The Glamorization of Mental Illness

Jacob Barnett is a 16 year old physics student currently enrolled in Waterloo, Ontario's Perimeter Institute as a doctoral student and when he was 13, he co-authored a research paper on physics. Jacob, according to his mother, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. His gifts in the world of physics, his autism, and his young age, makes him a child prodigy and an autistic savant.

For many people, their first encounter with a person with autism, and a person as an autistic savant, was realised in the 1988 film "Rain Man", with Dustin Hoffman playing the role of Raymond Babbitt, an autistic savant who was based off of the real life savant Kim Peek, who in contrast to Babbitt's autism, had FG Syndrome.

Rain Man movie poster
Wikipedia/United Artists

Unfortunately, "Rain Man" has contributed to the misconception that all people with autism have extraordinary skills and intelligence that are near or at genius level, when in fact, such occurrences are estimated to affect only one in ten million individuals.

Due to the lack of common education about disabilities and mental illness, we form these misconceptions about mental health and disabilities, autism not being the only victim, but definitely a sensationalised trend.

September 20, 2014

GMOs: The Way of the Future

I am in favour of GMOs. I anticipate that they are the way of the future, namely, the way we will keep up with feeding our ever growing population; to genetically alter our crops so that they yield more. Genetically altering crops wouldn't just consist of increasing the amount of seed you can get, but also important things like making the crops resistant to diseases that could potentially wipe out the crop in international markets, just like what was happening to the papaya in Hawaii during the 1990s.
GMOs Genetically Modified Organism

More importantly, I am in favour of GMOs because I have more trust in science than I do in loony wackjob conspiracies. I will always have more trust in somebody who works in the field than somebody with a liberal arts degree who just read an article on HuffPo, or someone who's just being trendy.

It is still a relatively young science, so it only makes sense for people to have questions and concerns, such as if it's really as healthy as organic non-gmo produce. With businesses being at the heart of agricultural biotechnology, it makes sense to question the safety of these futuristic foods, and it's even encouraged to question the companies based on business practices.

What we shouldn't be in favour of is deliberately spreading misinformation in order to damage a company, a product, or a science, which is actually what the majority of people are doing under the guise of "being a skeptic". If you fervently defend the overwhelming majority of scientists who declare that global warming is a dangerous thing that is happening right now, but then under your next breath use the same logic that your global warming denialist opponents were just using to attack GMOs, then there is something wrong with your skepticism.

scientific consensus on GMOs
"But there's no scientific consensus!"

If you want to have an organic "Monsanto-free" garden, then please be my guest. I happen to think that more people, especially young adults, should get into gardening; I even have strong opinions on lawns, that being that grass lawns are a waste of space and should instead be gardens to supply food.

But claiming that a company or a science is evil just because you're scared of things you don't understand is stupid, and claiming conspiracy theories like "they're trying to take control of the world's food source" is ludicrous.

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author Tiger Craven About Tiger
Tiger is a 22 year old college student, activist, and professional living in the Saint Louis metro area. When he's not being apathetic to the idea of God or writing about atheism, he is serving a presidential term for a mental health organisation and a board membership of another, does public speaking about mental illness and disability, and is a photographer and a bassist.