Razer's Class Warfare

Mar 15, 2018

The Dutton Diagnosis: the obsession that’s become a national disorder

We would be better informed if political pundits rose above the personal into the realms of true historic reckoning.

Helen Razer — Writer and broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and broadcaster

Back in 1964, short-lived US glossy Fact led with a question that landed its publisher in court. The provocative mag had asked all 12,000 members of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for their assessment of presidential nominee Barry Goldwater. Most didn’t reply. Others assessed the project itself as reckless. Still, doctors’ responses -- some of which were doctored -- went to print and the GOP figure was variously described as latent homosexual, schizophrenic and self-hating Jew.

Goldwater was awarded punitive damages in 1969. In 1973, the APA wrote section 7 into its Principles of Medical Ethics. The section, which cautions psychiatrists against making public evaluation of public figures, became known as The Goldwater Rule and is now interpreted by many journalists to be some sort of absolute law; moreover, one that must, in the era of Trump, be immediately revoked.

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