David Healy: Shipwreck of the Singular

Barry Blackwell’s response to Donald Klein’s reply to Blackwell’s comment on Klein’s comment


         I thank Don Klein for suggesting we need to dig deeper to get at the roots of our contemporary professional discontent to achieve any prospect for scientific improvement in the current toxic Zeitgeist.

       Social change in a civilized society and Republic like ours must come via the political process, not armed revolution. Under our Constitution this means finding a delicate balance between the benefits and drawbacks of capitalism and socialism.

       Beginning in the mid-20th century Congress began to abandon civilized debate and compromise that led to rational consensus. Money was at the root of this evil. More than 600 lobbyists, paid for by Big Pharma and corporate giants, given permission by the Supreme Court, donated unrestricted amounts (often in secret) to political parties.  In Congress millionaires flourished and ideology moved to the extreme left and right

       As  told in my essay on corporate corruption in the psychopharmacology industry (Blackwell 2016), the eight years of Republican rule under Reagan, beginning in 1980, set the stage for legislative changes that included information transfer from academia to industry, a weakened FDA and, more importantly, an era of corporate greed, income disparity and addiction to money. Medicine morphed from a profession concerned for the welfare of patients to a business with customers ruled by caveat emptor.

       Included was the absurd contention by industry that health care costs could be constrained by market competition like clothes, cars, food and cosmetics. Even those who believe in heaven will pay whatever it takes to remain alive on earth.

       Universal health care is not irrelevant but just one symptom of political gridlock in a prevailing Zeitgeist where greed is ubiquitous. Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

       Our current President is a symptom of deep seated despair over a broken political system and incompetent politicians. His manifest ability to make matters worse, not better, is creating a surge of political candidates whose diversity and ideologies offer hope of change for the better.

       So let’s stop whining, vote wisely and move Congress to a middle ground where fertile soil can foster science that is free from corruption. 


Blackwell B, Corporate corruption in the psychopharmaceutical industry. inhn.org.controversies. September 1, 2016.


August 1, 2019