“Bad Genes”

“Bad Genes”
Friday April 20, 2007

Dear Alice Miller:

I came across your books in 1988, since then your work has been a cornerstone of my world-view.

There are two things I’ve wanted to ask you if I ever got the chance:

1. Jordan Riak just sent me a copy of “The Truth will Set You Free,” which I have yet to read– what is your opinion of such a view as expressed by Barbara Oakley this morning in the New York Times regarding the Virginia Tech massacre:

“It’s long been in fashion to believe that people are innately good, and that upbringing and environment are responsible for nasty personalities. But research is beginning to show that mean, sometimes outright evil behavior has a strong genetic component. Some of us, in other words, are truly born bad.” –Oakley

You have convinced me not to be afraid of my feelings– but this attitude to me is really quite terrifying, and it’s hard not to view it as part of the widespread conspiracy to turn us away from examining childhood and its abuses. Propaganda against the word “conspiracy” has worked well, but for just that reason I feel I want to use the word.

2. I heard an interview on CBC about the work of Elizabeth Loftus
who made psychological abuse of small children seem to be scientifically suitable– in studies to show they have “false memories”, that neither the woman psychologist being interviewed, nor the mature woman conducting the interview had any criticism of adult authority figures who took little kids to a mall, treated them to pizza or something, then, later, said, “don’t you remember you got lost?” (which they hadn’t) until the very young kids, who at first told the truth, came to “agree” with the adult authority, thus making a case for false memory. To me this is blatant sanctioned scientific child abuse. In this case, it took some repeating and argument to get intelligent child-loving friends to see through it.

If “science” wields its tremendous present power to perpetuate the blindness toward how we treat children, the implications are… perhaps “apocalyptic” may be a suitable word. Perhaps the implications are all over the world in every newscast these days.

You have probably written about this, in which case a reference to which book or essay would be much appreciated.

Many thanks for your profound contribution.

M. F.

AM: Feeble-mindedness seems to become more and more fashionable at the NYT: You can write to Barbara Oakley, the journalist of the prestigious NYT and ASK her why “nasty people”, people with “bad genes” were so frequently born in Germany 30 years before the Holocaust to become Hitler’s willing executers and why this kind of sadistic people is not to be found in Germany of today. You will probably not get any answer because she will not understand you and she doesn’t care about the answer. The right answer is: The Germans’ brutal upbringing 30 years before the nazi regime, and not the “bad genes”, produced the millions of adults who adored Hitler and helped him to create a hell on earth. Their bodies knew the hell from their childhood on but this knowledge was deeply repressed by their minds. They have only learned submission to cruel orders and as adults took revenge using entire nations. This has nothing to do with the fairy-tales of NYT “scientific” genes but much to do with the laws of life. We could see recently in Virginia how easily pent-up rage can destroy life. Unfortunately, nobody seems to ask the most important questions: Where does the hatred come from and WHY?