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The Mass Psychology of Fascism…

As a prisoner and a doctor of psychology (PsyD, CalSouthernU), I was especially interested in USP Lewisburg, PA. Despite my situation, I found its history fascinating.

wReich-001As the prison bus climbed the long hill, I had to strain against the chains binding my hands, feet and waist in order to peer thru the wire-caged windows at the French-gothic edifice.

The bus pulled up to a huge gate in the high walls and the guards put their weapons into a basket lowered from the gun tower before we entered.

I was keenly aware of passing into the former home of Al Capone, “Bugs” Moran, “Machine Gun” Kelly, John Gotti, James Earl Ray and “Whitey” Bulger.

(James J. Bulger, 82, #02182-748, is “In-Transit,” currently facing another case in an assortment of racketeering and murders in a conspiracy with various State Police and FBI partners.)

But some the prisoners I most identified with–political of course–were Alger Hiss, Gus Hall, Bayard Rustin, Jimmy Hoffa and Leonard Peltier.

(Peltier, 67, #89637-132, former chief of the Oglala Sioux, is currently at USP Coleman-I, FL. His out-date is October of 2040.)

The former prisoner of particular interest to me was Dr. Wilhelm Reich. Reich started out his adult life as an officer in the Austrian Army during World War I.

After the war, he went to medical school at the University of Vienna and was an associate with Dr. Sigmund Freud in psychoanalysis in the 1920s.

By 1930, Reich had combined Marxist class analysis to his psychoanalytic therapy and moved with his wife and children to Berlin. He set up several clinics in working-class neighborhoods.

His practice and writings concentrated on sex education. This included the availability of contraceptives, abortion and the importance of women’s economic independence.

In 1933, when Hitler came to power, Reich had published The Mass Psychology of Fascism, a critical analysis of conservative corporatism (fascism). He was denounced in the Nazi press as a womanizer, a communist, and a Jew who advocated free love. His works were publicly burned.

(Ironically, at the conclusion of his trial in the United States in 1956, the FDA also demanded that his writings be destroyed and the judge so ordered. Some six tons of his books were burned.)

His book also criticized the “red fascism” of Joseph Stalin. He was expelled from the German Communist Party.

Reich was the earliest pioneer to combine Marx, Engels, Lewis Henry Morgan and Freud to early sexual repression theories as foundational to authoritative conservatism.

Reich believed that, “Suppression of the natural sexuality in the child” is one of the foundations to fascist corporatism (the most extreme manifestation of authoritative conservatism).

It “makes the child apprehensive, obedient, and afraid of authority…it paralyzes the rebellious forces because any rebellion is laden with anxiety; it produces…a general inhibition of thinking and of critical faculties….

“At first the child has to submit to the structure of the authoritarian miniature state, the family; this makes it capable of later subordination to the general authoritarian system.

“The formation of the authoritarian structure takes place through the anchoring of sexual inhibition and anxiety.”

(You can bet that such writing was not going to long get by America’s arch-criminal blackmailer and hypocritical sexual pervert, J. Edgar Hoover…)

Reich had fled to Scandinavia in 1933 and immigrated to the US in 1939. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Reich was incarcerated by the FBI for a time accused of being a communist subversive.

Throughout the war and into the ‘50s, Reich engaged in a number of controversial studies, including his ideas on “Orgone Energy” as a cure for a variety of illnesses.

Building “Orgone machines,” he fell afoul of the FDA and continued investigations by the FBI.

Scientist or crackpot, during the “communist” witch-hunts of the 1950s, he was dealt with by the FDA and the FBI as a political, social and moral threat.

Mr. Entitlement…

He was prosecuted for “contempt” of FDA orders not to distribute his “machines,” and sentenced to two years in federal prison. He died at USP Lewisburg in November of 1957.

The FBI lab found formaldehyde poisoning in his body, nevertheless his cause of death remained “heart attack.”

In addition to Dr. George Lakoff’s analyses of “conservative morality” as the result of excessive authoritative discipline and a sociopathic ultra-sense of self-entitlement (which they project on their victims), we can add Dr. Reich’s analyses.

My own analysis is that conservative corporatists are, in fact, amoral (lacking morals–at least socially conscious ones).

I have no doubt that fixation of their pre-adolescent, conservative abuse and sexual repression as posited by Dr. Reich is a significant part of their pathology.

Personally, I don’t think an Orgone Box would have helped J. Edgar Hoover. Nor would it do much good for the current crop of teabagging, conservative acolytes.

Dr. Publico

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2 Responses
  1. TAD says:

    That is not a photo of Wilhelm Reich. That is a photo of Michael Whitney Straight, the self-confessed Soviet spy and member of the infamous Cambridge Five spy-ring. Straight published his Stalinist friend Mildred Edie Brady’s hit piece on Reich in the New Republic back in the 1940’s, the piece that led to the bogus FDA “investigation” that falsely accused Reich of fraud and landed him in Lewisburg Penitentiary!

    It is ironic that a picture of Michael Straight would accidentally be confused with a picture of Wilhelm Reich. Your blog post repeats – I’m sure unintentionally – the common myth that Reich was brought down by the right-wing “McCarthyites”. This is actually NOT true. It was the political Left, so threatened by Reich’s analysis of their pathology (the Red Fascists you mention), who pushed hard the myth of Reich as a sex-crazed crackpot. It was and continues to be this myth – based upon the Brady lies, repeated ad nauseum over the decades – that people of all political persuasions keep responding to when condemning Reich.

    This crucial detail has been very effectively buried by the very Leftists and Progressives who like to displace responsibility for Reich’s downfall and the burning of his books to the political Right. Two excellent and highly recommended scholarly works relevant to this subject: “In Defense of Wilhelm Reich” by Dr. James DeMeo, and “Wilhelm Reich and the Cold War” by James Martin.

    And please change the photo to an actual picture of Reich!
    T.
    Nov 16, ’14

  2. publico says:

    A belated thanx. I’ve corrected the image.

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