April 22, 2017
British children are regularly found to be the most miserable in Europe. This is because a large proportion of British parents fear or hate their children, and by the time they have finished bringing them up are right to do so: which does not, of course, absolve them from their responsibility. Their preferred method of child-rearing is neglect by indulgence, with or without a little violence and emotional abuse thrown in. By the end of childhood, a British child is considerably more likely to have a television in its room than a father living at home. It is the consequences of all this that Mrs. May wants, or claims to want, to correct by the employment of mental health form-fillers. The latter will at least be inclined to vote for her.
The idea that for every human distress there is an equal and opposite form of therapy, whether psychological or pharmacological, is a modern superstition, compared with which almost any religious belief is highly rational. It is also a very shallow conception of human distress, which can often be immeasurably deepened by talking about it.
I do not mean that it is never, under any circumstances, a good thing to have third-party listeners or advisers. But then to trumpet what they say or do, or even that one has consulted them, is to vitiate their whole purpose. And better to lose oneself than constantly be trying to find oneself (on the assumption that what one finds will be immaculately good).
Psalm 84 likewise recommends fortitude:
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house…
Who going through the vale of misery, use it for a well…
They will go from strength to strength…
But we prefer going from weakness to weakness: It creates more job opportunities for mental health workers.