[TBC: Although we avoid politics, the Christine Blasey Ford narrative does reveal the role of psychology in bringing confusion, delusion, and fraud to modern culture.]
Enough, or too much. Christine Ford…expects America to believe she needed a second front door for her Palo Alto home because, more than three decades after Judge Brett Kavanaugh allegedly tried to rape her, she was still feeling “claustrophobic.” Although, as she said, the two front doors are not, alas, “aesthetically pleasing,” at least the professor felt [safe.]
For what a singular fraud is Christine Ford. To begin, as Thomas Lipscomb has shown, she probably lied about the actual purpose of the second front door. And though she is not a licensed psychologist, Ford tried to use her “psychological expertise” to make people think her memory is infallible. “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter,” she put it with unintended comedy.
But as I wrote in a recent article for American Thinker: “As with perception itself, so with the memory it reflects: it is common to unwittingly believe things because they suit one's interests, selectively interpreting both the past and the present to that egoistic end. This is true whether one is an ‘expert’ or not. It would be the grossest naïveté, then, to believe that Ford, because of her training, is not prone to the general human errors, biases, and delusions.”
According to Ford, it was during a 2012 “couple’s therapy session” that she remembered being groped by Kavanaugh, an act which, if it did occur, hardly constitutes a rape attempt. The incident returned to her in the form of “a repressed memory.” The trouble with this sort of thing, as with so much of psychology, is that it’s altogether speculative: admitting of no justification, it can’t be disproved either. We must allow that it could be true, but still, why believe it?
As one might expect, Ford’s “scholarship” attests to her interest and background in junk science. In May of 2008, the Journal of Clinical Psychology published “Meditation With Yoga, Group Therapy With Hypnosis, and Psychoeducation for Long-Term Depressed Mood: A Randomized Pilot Trial,” co-authored by Ford and a number of academics. The paper discusses how to use “therapeutic techniques,” including hypnosis, to alleviate depression, to “assist in the retrieval of important memories,” and to “create artificial situations” that will aid “treatment.”
Ford et al. cite Herbert Spiegel’s and David Spiegel’s 2004 book, Trance and Treatment. Say the authors: “All hypnosis is really self-hypnosis,” so “therapists are only tapping into their patients’ natural ability to enter trance state.” But alas, “patients are highly suggestible and easily subject to memory contamination.” Since therapists cannot know whether they are “only tapping into” anything with certainty, this method raises serious epistemic and ethical questions. For instance, a patient having entered into a “trance state,” how can one distinguish between what is remembered, whether accurately or not, and what a patient comes to believe owing to a therapist’s suggestion?
Indeed, as the retired psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple demonstrates in his superb book, Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality (2015), psychology does far more harm than good, allowing people to use all sorts of external forces to evade responsibility for their own behavior. Ford’s “scholarship” seems typical of this terrible phenomenon. Social “scientists” like Ford are able to fool the public with the appearance of scientific legitimacy and intellectual sophistication. Meanwhile, much of what they do is ethically dubious, and from an intellectual standpoint, hardly more credible than astrology. Again, how can we be sure a “repressed memory” is accurate? It’s impossible.
Nor did Ford have any scruples about exploiting the paternalism which, by benefiting women, benefits the species itself. In The Sociopath Next Door (2005), psychologist Martha Stout wrote: “After listening for almost twenty-five years to the stories my patients tell me about sociopaths who have invaded and injured their lives, when I am asked, “How can I tell whom not to trust?” the answer I give usually surprises people. The natural expectation is that I will describe some sinister-sounding detail of behavior or snippet of body language or threatening use of language that is the subtle giveaway. Instead, I take people aback by assuring them that the tip-off is none of these things, for none of these things is reliably present. Rather, the best clue is, of all things, the pity play. The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.”
(Christopher DeGroot, “Christine Ford: A Singular Fraud,” FrontPageMag Online, October 9, 2018)