Orgonomist blog author Richard Schwartzman, D.O. has been a practicing psychiatrist and psychiatric orgone therapist for more than 35 years.
In a post titled “The Government vs Raw Milk“, he explores the parallels between the “mentality” of FDA officials who presided over the imprisonment and destruction of orgone pioneer Wilhelm Reich, and the mindset behind the forces currently arrayed against raw milk. Here’s an excerpt from that post:
“….No one argues the assertion that pasteurization was an enormous advance for public health, or that it remains valuable. However, healthy cows raised in a clean environment don’t produce contaminated milk, and refrigeration keeps it fresh. Today’s dairy farmers who produce unpasteurized milk take pride in their clean facilities and in their first-rate healthy cows, certified free of disease.
Following Mr. Gumpert’s lecture, I had the opportunity to speak from the audience about the similarity between the current situation facing these milk producers and Wilhelm Reich’s ordeal. I spoke about Reich’s fate at the hands of the FDA. Here was a brilliant scientist who died in prison because his natural health products and information were transported across state lines. I also said that what happened to Reich and what these dairy farmers are now up against can be understood in the context of what Reich discovered and termed the “emotional plague,” a force that drives authorities to exert control over the lives of others for their own good.
One might expect that honorable people with good intentions, on both sides of the table, could somehow resolve the raw milk issue without battling in court. After all, people consume raw or undercooked products all the time, as with sushi, clams and oysters on the half shell, beef carpaccio, or simply a rare burger. None of these are banned. But common sense won’t prevail. Nor is it a question of needing more information, more facts pro or con, to settle the matter.
I contend no matter how much proof of safety is presented or what additional information is provided, the government authorities will never relent in their efforts to end sales of unpasteurized milk. If farmers, brave or foolish enough, elect to violate the inevitable court decisions in favor of the FDA, I fear they will be imprisoned as Reich was. Here’s why. The safety of unpasteurized milk and the best interest of the public are not the sole or even primary reason for the government’s attack. It is its stated reason, and because the safety issue does have validity and is partly right, the more insidious underlying aspect of the emotional plague remains hidden.
What we know from Reich is that the emotional plague has infiltrated society’s institutions. Many who have gotten themselves into positions of authority over others are afflicted with this illness. The emotional plague was so named by Reich to indicate the condition’s psychological roots and contagious nature. The principal element of the plague is a compulsion to control the natural behavior of others.
Those suffering with the plague cannot tolerate actions that don’t conform to their rigid ways of thinking. When people choose to live as they see fit, especially when it is in accord with healthy, natural functioning, those afflicted with the plague experience intense anxiety. They cannot tolerate the feelings that rise up in them when people are happy and enjoying life naturally. Their thinking and actions are always extremely well-rationalized as being for the common good. Remarkably, they are entirely unaware that their true motive is not the best interest of others. They do not see their irrationality or their inability to act fairly on matters that effect them emotionally.
Unlike the neurotic who suffers inwardly without troubling others, “plaguey” people deal with their emotional upset by attempting to control its source, the behavior of others, which stirs up in them an intense longing for living the natural life that they themselves cannot live. But they just don’t see it. In their minds they must stop “dangerous” activities and behaviors, never realizing their prohibitive actions are not really for the good of others but rather to make themselves feel better by putting an end to the behavior that makes them intensely anxious. Controlling others makes plague-ridden individuals feel better, at least temporarily.
The emotional plague is often found in individuals who are bright and endowed with a high level of energy. This combination enables them to rise through the ranks into positions of authority. As officials with power, they are now really in a position to exert control over others. It is no mistake they have gotten themselves into these positions. Their livelihoods serve as a defensive mechanism to ward off their intense anxiety. It cannot be over-emphasized that plague-ridden individuals and the institutions they control have no insight into their destructive behavior.
They believe, in their heart of hearts, what they are doing is right and necessary. There is always an element of truth that justifies their control over others. It is this truth–the partly right–that creates much confusion and allows others, on the sidelines, to so easily get caught up in the plague’s activity. In the case of unpasteurized milk, the assertion of a health hazard causes many decent and openminded people to side with the FDA. Notwithstanding, there may often be a sense something is not right in what the government is doing, but good people can’t place a finger on it. Try as they might, they won’t find what that “something” is because the driving force behind the FDA’s attack is the unseen hand of the emotional plague.
Reich wrote in Character Analysis (1933) that the plague “has to give way when confronted, clearly and uncompromisingly, with rational thinking and the natural feeling for life.” Was he naive or did he think this way because he had not yet, himself, experienced its full power? Whatever led him to believe as he did in those early days, I am certain that he did not hold the same opinion in 1957, when confined to his prison cell. Reich was not only imprisoned, but on orders of the FDA, his books were burned. When the “little guy” comes up against “big brother” plague wielding its enormous power, the odds of succeeding in a battle are slim at best.
Nevertheless the emotional plague can and must be fought. The battle over raw milk is an important one. If it isn’t won, we will all be on the slippery slope, raw milk drinkers or not. Increasing controls on the foods we eat and the health measures we choose are limitless. Next could be mandated irradiation of food, as Mr. Gumpert points out.
Raw milk advocates have their work cut out for them. I believe they are doing the right thing by organizing demonstrations to gain media attention, especially outside of the courtrooms where dairy farmers are being prosecuted. I also think it important to continue to get the message out to consumers about the relative safety of unpasteurized milk in whatever ways possible.
Given the expensive nature of court battles, funding for the legal defense of targeted farmers will have to come from individuals and organizations that support natural health and wellness, free from government control. Finally, I offer that raw milk advocates consider using the adjective “unpasteurized” as opposed to “raw,” which seems to me could conjure up the unpleasant image of bloody meat. Referring to the milk as “organic, unpasteurized, certified safe” or something along these lines may improve its overall image.
I encourage my readers visit David Gumpert’s blog, The Complete Patient, and to read his book The Raw Milk Revolution. It might appear worlds apart from Wilhelm Reich’s The Sexual Revolution, but the overall conclusion is the same, which is that people should be free to live their own lives, naturally, as they choose. Reich wrote about sexual repression as it existed then in the late 1920s. He was on the side on the unthinkable, defending natural functioning and healthy sexuality.
Both Reich and Mr. Gumpert assert people have the right to live as they wish and both, in their own way, support a return to nature, or more natural functioning. For Reich it was the enjoyment and health benefits of sex, free of moralism and societal restraint. For Mr. Gumpert it is for the enjoyment and health benefits of natural foods, free of government control. Both declare it a right and duty to resist the enforcement of unreasonable, unjustifiable laws.
For further exposition of the emotional plague as conceived by Reich, I recommend reading Chapter 12 of Wilhelm Reich’s Character Analysis and Chapter 13 of Elsworth F. Baker’s Man in the Trap….”
3 responses to “U.S. psychiatrist contends that the same “emotional plague” that led to Wilhelm Reich’s imprisonment in 1957 is behind “official” opposition to raw milk today”
Absolutely brilliant … thank you, The Bovine, for publishing this
I found this article a very refreshing take on what I’ve been trying to understand since the local health unit first began applying their strong-arm tactics on Michael Schmidt’s dairy operation so long ago . . . no discussion, no attempt to get at the truth or work with knowledgeable, well-informed people, just invade from high heights in an attempt to scare (or out-finance with taxpayers’ hard-earned money) a farmer into submission and treat the rest of us as though we are incapable of thinking for ourselves. The article also enables us to better understand why such practices must be challenged, especially as they relate to the substances we put into our bodies and the right to take full responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. The officials who exert their power to prevent us from making informed decisions will continue to do no better, unless of course, they question their own assumptions and conclusions, which they seem unwilling or unable to do. As things stand now, they are succeeding only in exposing their own strong(wrong?)-headedness. So be it!
David E. Gumpert’s take on this story: