SOCIETY PAYS: The High Cost of Minimal Brain Damage in America by

SOCIETY PAYS: The High Cost of Minimal Brain Damage in America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It is the Dr. Andersons of this world who give social science a bad name. Nearly every page of this discursive, shallow, malignant discussion of Minimal Brain Damage (MBD) contains some pseudoscientific exaggeration or crackpot allegation. But let Dr. Anderson speak for herself: ""Unfortunately, there are no studies from the standpoint of determining the adequacy or inadequacy of the neurological equipment of today's confirmed hippies [but] their general disorganization, their naivete, and their overall shallowness should make us suspect that their chief affliction is MBD""; ""Wherever people regularly function marginally, or gravitate to the fringes of society, I have learned to look first for MBD as the probable cause""; "". . . one of the cruelest weapons keeping marginal people both dependent and stressed is the minimum wage law""; ""One of the reasons that there has been such poor success from psychotherapy with homosexuals and other sexual deviants is that MBD is frequently present"" (in point of fact, she attributes homosexuality in prisons to MBD! and identifies MBD as the origin of all sexual ""deviance""); ""It is not easy to pinpoint the effects of television violence, but on general principles I am against it""; ""The important thing is that people who cannot take care of themselves, for any reason, should forfeit the 'right' to bear children. . . . There needs to be an end to production of endless welfare children. . . . For this reason the methods chosen should not be dependent on cooperation""; ""Anyone who is the beneficiary of a government subsidy related to behavioral marginality -- crime, poverty, special education, mental illness, mental retardation -- should be obliged to provide complete medical data for a central file. To maintain optimum function, medical problems that are likely to lead to nonacceptable sociologic consequences should be carefully followed."" All of this after admitting that MBD is both definitionally and diagnostically imprecise (to say the least) and confessing (quite rightly) that ""little or no data are available on brain-damaged adults"" and that ""I never could tell, from the nature of the symptoms and signs, what the cause had been."" This sort of law-and-order science, bent upon producing superconformists and eradicating ""inappropriate behavior"" in the name of stamping out MBD, belongs to questionable futuristic fictions not legitimate scientific inquiry.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1972
Publisher: Walker