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Demophrenia Updated

I am in the process of publishing a second and updated version of my book Demophrenia: Israel and the Malaise of Democracy. The updated version explains the pathological policies and statements of Israel’s current elites, including Ehud Olmert. I need to assess how many of you would be interested in purchasing this book. If you are interested, please contact us.

If you want an in-depth analysis of what ails Israel’s political and intellectual and some of its military elites, consult Chapter 5 of my book Demophrenia: Israel and the Malaise of Democracy. Here is a précis of the book’s central chapter:


From its inception in 1948, the government of Israel, regardless of which party or coalition was at the helm, has been afflicted by “demophrenia.” Demophrenia is a deeply rooted malady of national and even of world-historical significance. Demophrenia involves an illogical and compulsive application of the democratic principles of freedom and equality to moral problems and ideological conflicts which are impervious to, and even exacerbated by, those principles. This disorder is most advanced in Israel, for its government is animated by a democratic mentality in conflict with Zionism, and ineffectual against the anti-democratic mentality of Israel’s Arab enemies.

To show that demophrenia is indeed a widespread but hitherto unrecognized mental disorder, I shall first review some of the literature on schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is regarded as the core concept of modern psychiatry. Various researchers distinguish between positive- and negative-symptom schizophrenia. The former includes hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorder; the latter includes escapism, apathy, depersonalization, stereotypic behaviors, flattened emotional or affective reactions, impairment of volition, and lack of self-esteem. Obviously, these negative symptoms exist on a continuum with normal behavior.

In any event, it should be borne in mind that schizophrenia is not necessarily an all-encompassing illness which sets the patient apart from his fellow man. A World Health Organization (WHO) study concludes that “schizophrenics, for all their vulnerabilities, are in the full sense responsive social beings like the rest of us”.

Still, those “vulnerabilities” can and do result in bizarre behavior. The renowned clinical psychologist Dr. David Shakow distinguishes four types of schizophrenic responses to diverse stimuli which, to my initial surprise, accurately describe the reactions of countless democrats to the characteristically bellicose behavior of Arab-Islamic leaders on the one hand, and to the occasionally pacific utterances of those leaders on the other:

  1. (1)  The central, directly meaningful stimulus is avoided, apparently because it is disturbing; instead the peripheral is endowed with meaning.
  2. (2)  A casual attitude appears in which [only] part of the field is accepted as the stimulus.
  3. (3)  The subject has a ‘fixed’ idea and resorts to it without regard for the [central and contradictory] stimulus.
  4. (4)  The peripheral is … selectively attended to, captures attention, and is adhered to.

Moreover, to his false perception a schizophrenic’s response may be appropriate or inappropriate to that perception. Alternatively, his perception may be veridical but his response will be inappropriate. The consequence, of course, is maladapted responses to reality.

Although WHO studies have shown that the prognosis of schizophrenia is worse in the urbanized and industrialized West than in the Third World, no systematic attempt has been made to determine whether the moral relativism engendered by democracy contributes to schizophrenia. This lacuna may be attributed to the relativism that modulates the disciplines of psychology and psychiatry, as well as to the tendency of the medical profession to trace schizophrenia to biophysical causes.

The absence of research on the possible adverse effects of moral relativism on mental health is all the more curious when one considers that psychologists include “alienation,” “anxiety,” and “loss of identity” among the symptoms of schizophrenia. These symptoms are conspicuous in secular, egalitarian societies where moral relativism thrives. Surely a loss of belief in objective moral standards has emotional and behavioral consequences, some of which may be deleterious. Indeed, many psychotherapists maintain that “belief-modification” can mitigate various schizophrenic symptoms. But if relativism or moral egalitarianism has adverse effects on the mental health of individuals, it may also impair, imperceptibly, the rationality of their government in matters of vital public concern.

This ends the abstract from my book Demophrenia. The chapter continues with a more refined analysis of schizophrenia by the psychiatrist Professor Ignazio Matte Blanco. His analysis, which I apply to documented behavior and statements of Israel’s political leaders, clearly reveals that they are suffering from “demophrenia,” which, I show is a democratic manifestation of schizophrenia.

This pathology explains why Israeli prime ministers repeatedly commit the same errors regarding the PLO-Palestinians: be it counterproductive ceasefires, suicidal release of terrorists, self-destructive negotiations with terrorist leaders, self-restraint vis-à-vis these terrorists—and yes, commitment to a Palestinian state. Far more is involved than external pressure and the decline of Zionism. (Case studies, included in Chapter 6, verify my analysis.)

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