At present the first traceable use of the term psychopolitics is by the German jurist expert in international law Heinrich Rogge in Psychopolitics and the problem of the leader (Psychopolitik und Führerproblem, 1925).
Rogge’s prominence is also testified by the reviews that at least from 1934 to 1937 his writings on Hitler and on the prospect of peace in Europe obtained in the magazine Foreign Affairs, of the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
For Dr. Frances, who was claiming that we should discuss politics instead of psychiatry, language was moving from political to psychological metaphorical, while for Dr. Lee language was moving directly from political to literal technical psychological language and concepts, used to discuss a political theme. Both psychiatrists were moving, despite specific content discussed, language to the psychological sphere, metaphorically for Dr. Frances, literally for Dr. Lee.
While opposing each other on a political theme, the net movement of the two debating psychiatrists is from political to psychological language.
Horton, while clearly and unmistakably espousing a globalist and technocratic view, at the same time introduces themes from an author such as Foucault – who worked largely on topics related to psychology and psychiatry – and even appears to criticize the dangers of technocracy at the end of his book. The risk of recuperation – of Foucauldian themes and tools radically challenging the rising ‘biomedical’ as well as ‘psy’ global power – into mainstream globalist and technocratic discourse is definitely present, in my view, in Horton’s latest book.
In the summer of 2019, I proposed the use of the terms “psyspeak” or “ideopathological lexicon” to mean psychologized as well as medicalized lexicon used outside of the clinical context especially when applied to the wider societal and political world, during a talk at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London.
On the 26th of March this year, just a few days ago, The New Yorker online published the following article, under Cultural Comment: “The rise of therapy-speak. How a language got off the couch and into the world” by Katy Waldman, a magazine staff writer.
“To attribute the behavior of generals or of the imperialists to a sort of monstrous irrationality commonly accepted as normal means not allowing oneself to consider that the logic of war, or of the bomb, or of hunger, is not the result of particular psychological processes, but of a social system which is neither mad nor irrational and simply defends with maximum coherence some vested interests.”
More than one year ago I presented the talk “Are we witnessing the emergence of a new global psychiatric power?” at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London, in the summer of 2019. The (anti)political, technocratic and revolutionary globalist agenda was clearly and unambiguously presented as the one that would have benefitted from phenomena and discourses of mass global psychiatrization. In 2019 such phenomena and prospects were most definitely not under the unprecedented level of attention we are witnessing today in 2020.
The current public psychiatrization of “the most powerful man in the world,” as the media often describe the President of the United States of America, could be seen as a new paradigm shift in contemporary power.
In addition to the increasing use of a psychologized lexicon in everyday speech, a role might be played by such spectacle communicating symbolically, and contributing to, a global cultural shift towards a subjectivist worldview and a progressive de-politicization of citizenship.