Donald E Cameron and the German Collective Guilt


Most people who travel extensively through Europe will inevitably come to the conclusion that most German people they meet seem to still feel, five decades post-Holocaust, a sense of collective guilt for their parents’ and grandparents’ crimes. I always wondered where is that coming from.

WWI_propaganda_posterThis is particularly unsettling as the idea of collective guilt, apart from making no sense at all, was what the dogs of war use to incite their nations at state sponsored violence. Back in the 20s and 30s, Goebbels agitated against the Jews as they needed imaginary enemies to rally their troops against. Later on, as countries entered into wars, citizens of “unhealthy” origins, such as the Japanese were collectively interned in complete violation of their rights.

I think such a discussion is extremely important. Back then, wars were still more or less symmetrical; today we no longer have this luxury. “Justice” is dictated by the victor and furthermore, no regime, victorious or not, can survive if it gives the impression that is too weak and does not adequately punish dissidents. With that in mind, I uncovered the following fragments from the Wikipedia article on Dr. D. E. Cameron, who is seen as the father of psychiatry in Canada and also conducted the CIA mind experiments (MKULTRA) at McGill.

Cameron focused primarily on biological descriptive psychiatry and applied the British and European schools and models of the practice. Cameron followed these schools of psychiatry in demanding that mental disturbances were diseases and are somatic in nature. All psychological illness were thus hardwired and a product of the body and the direct result of the patients biological structure rather than caused by social, societal or family relationships. The characteristics were thus diagnosed as syndromes, emerging from the brain. It is at this juncture that Cameron began to more and more interested with how he could effectively manipulate the brain in order to control and understand the processes of memory. Cameron furthermore, wanted to understand the problems of memory caused by aging. He believed that the aged brain suffered from psychosis and thus would need to prematurely age brains in order to observe the effect.

He also provided the basis for the “science” of Nuremberg trial. It is very troubling for me to discover that “racial” arguments were used to counter rasism.

Before his arrival in Nuremberg Cameron wrote a paper titled The Social Reorganization of Germany. Cameron argued that German culture and its individual citizens would have to be transformed and reorganized. His analysis of German culture was that it is made up of people who had the need for status, that they worshiped strict order and regimentation, desired authoritarian leadership and had a hostile fear of other countries. The paper continued to state that German culture and its people will have offspring that in 30 years from 1945, would be the biggest threat to world peace. As a consequence the West would have to take measures to reorganize German society to prevent the coming of the offspring that would threaten world peace and order. Cameron focused on destroying the social organization of Germany which throughout history had repeatedly given birth to fearsome aggression. Cameron wanted to remove the social order of Germany that continually gave rise to the monstrosities of World War II. His arguments made it precisely a problem particular to the people of Germany and of the German race. Other psychiatric diagnoses of Germany took place at the same time such as Richard Max Brickner's, Is Germany Incurable(1943), Paul Winkler's, The thousand-year conspiracy: secret Germany behind the mask(1943), Fredrick Martin Stern, The Junker Meanace(1945), Sebastian Haffner's, Germany: Jekyll and Hyde: An Eyewitness Analysis of Nazi Germany(1941) and Sigrid Lillian Schultz, Germany will try it again(1944). Along with Cameron's own testament to the experiences of life in World War II Germany, these texts gave the West both a historical and psychological picture of the Germans and the German race. Brickner asked the newly formed United Nations to look at Germany as "the ward of the world". It was Cameron's expertise in biological psychiatric practice that was able to win the interpretation of the necessary measures to enforce against the German people after World War II and to be applied by the allied occupying forces in Germany. Furthermore, it is through Cameron's expertise at the Nuremberg trials and the Red Cross, that we are given the knowledge of the Medical regime in Germany during World War II. Cameron's purpose in Germany was to make sure that the country would never rise as a military threat after the war. In short, it was left to Donald Ewen Cameron to be the expert to tell the world what race of people could be likely to commit the crimes of WWII. He would be the one with authority to determine who made the crimes.

It seems to me that he set the basis for “German collective guilt”. Furthermore, some of the “triumph of the Will” crap seems to have rubbed off him:

Cameron started to distinguish populations between the weak and the strong. Those with anxieties or insecurities, those who had trouble with the state of the world were labeled as the weak. Those with social problems and issues, those who could not cope with life, had to be isolated from society by the strong. The mentally ill were then labeled not only as sick but as weak. Cameron further argued that the weak must not influence children. He promoted a philosophy where chaos could be prevented by removing the weak from society. This resembles the sociobiology of the late 19th and early 20th century and the emerging psychiatric understanding of the entirety of society. People needed to be known through psychiatric analysis in order to thwart a violent and chaotic society.

The ideas of Cameron appear to be closely aligned with those of Mengele:

For Cameron, political and national agendas reflected the genetics of a race of people, therefore, politics and nationalities were genetically based and societies that selected for the political and social aptness, were selecting the right genes. For example Cameron might suggest immigration policies and those immigration policies would be selecting for the correct genes, for political inclinations were an expression of genetics. For Cameron, mental conditions and illnesses were contagious and mechanism in society could both prevent and cause mental illness. If one came into contact with something or someone known to cause mental illness, was a sign one would begin to produce the symptoms of a mental disease. For example something like rock music could be created by mentally ill people and would produce mentally disturbed or ill people through infection which in turn would be transmitted to the genes. Thus this group would have to be studied and controlled as a contagious social disease. Although, mental illness is genetic, environmental factors can transform genes through infection. Coming into contact with the mentally ill, without proper authority, results in an infection of mental disease. Police, Hospitals, Government, and Schools, would need to utilize the correct psychiatric authority to stop mental contagions from spreading. Cameron hoped also to generate families capable of utilizing authority and techniques to take measures against mental illness, this would come to be apparent in Cameron's MK Ultra and Delta experiments. Everyday people would learn to help police and quarantine the aspects and persons of society deemed as leading to mental illness. Inside hospitals nurses would be given the authority to establish the mental characteristics of the parents and the new born baby, in terms of genetic, national and racial orientation as well as the personal histories of the parents. This is part of Donald Ewen Cameron's contribution of psychiatric authority to contemporary hospital practice in society and is closely linked to some hospital practices of forced sterilization. Cameron's idea for a societal cure differs from Freud's, where Freud proposed a talking cure, Cameron did not believe in a cure but a form of quarantine and extermination. Cameron wanted better societal functions, to expose mental deficiencies, environments that might frustrate the mentally weak, however help to reinforce the authority of the psychiatric society. Where Freud saw symptoms of repression, Cameron saw genetic weakness, biological determination and symptoms of social contamination as causes for mental illness. Cameron's elemental construction of society is not based on repression or the unconscious, id, ego and superego, but is socio-biologically determined as founded on genetics. Cameron's own use of authority, discipline and control is not seen as any materialization of an unconscious drive. However, it is unclear how Ewen Cameron's own Presbyterian upbringing, the fact that his own Father was a minister, may have factored into his psychiatric theory on social deviance.

In short, Cameron does not seem to be in any way different than those he helped prosecute and execute. He is only different in that he played for the winning tribe:

Donald Ewen Cameron is best known for his MK-ULTRA-related mind-control and behavior modification research for the CIA. Cameron was President of the American Psychiatric Association in 1952-1953. Cameron lived and worked in Albany, New York, and was involved in experiments in Canada for Project MKULTRA, a United States based CIA-directed mind control program which eventually led to the publication of the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual.

Naomi Klein states in her book "The Shock Doctrine" that Dr Cameron's research and his contribution to the MKUltra project was actually not about mind control and brainwashing, but "to design a scientifically based system for extracting information from 'resistant sources.' In other words, torture.", and citing a book from Alfred W. McCoy it further says that "Stripped of its bizarre excesses, Dr. Cameron's experiments, building upon Dr. Donald O. Hebb's earlier breakthrough, laid the scientific foundation for the CIA's two-stage psychological torture method."

It was during this era that Cameron became known worldwide as the first chairman of the World Psychiatric Association as well as president of the American and Canadian psychiatric associations. Cameron had also been a member of the Nuremberg medical tribunal in 1946–47.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an elitist bigot as long as you work for the victor. The very same ideas about the German folk seem to be stated in a recent White Ribbon. However, he has repeatedly stated that although localized, it is meant to be a universal critique of radicalism and moral constipation.

Sources / More info: wiki-cameron, Father, Son and CIA (Goodread Biographies), Good Shepherd, white ribbon, Nazi propaganda, wiki-nazi, wiki-boycott, wiki-jap, wiki-mkultra

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