- 05 Feb 14
There are times when the official attitude to fluoride seems like a textbook case of psychopathology in action. So says author Thomas Sheridan, who has made a study of institutional psychopaths.
Thomas Sheridan worked on Wall Street as a communications and design consultant from 1990 to 1998. The Dubliner was struck by “the lack of compassion and human decency within that environment”.
As a result, he became interested in the issue of institutional and social “psychopathology”. Since then, he has made a study of psychopaths in the boardroom and in the living room. He writes, broadcasts and lectures internationally on the subject, and has written several books on the interlinked themes of psychopathology, doomsdays cults and social engineering, including the popular Puzzling People: The Labyrinth Of The Psychopath.
While Sheridan prefers to stay under the radar at home, he agreed to speak to Hot Press because we’re an alternative magazine – and because of our ongoing investigation into water fluoridation. “When I was working on Wall Street,” recalls Sheridan, “I became aware of how scary some people in the upper levels of management were, and how connected they were to governments around the world. Then I came across the concept of socialised psychopathology – the theory that psychopaths weren’t all axe-murderers, but individuals that lacked any kind of remorse, any kind of compassion. They were predatorial, and would see other human beings in the same way they’d see an object. There seems to be an issue with their frontal cortex: the part of their brains that process empathy, compassion and relationship to other human beings is switched off.”
Sheridan began to believe that many of the senior managers he was dealing with on Wall Street qualified as socialised psychopaths, for whom nothing mattered but their own agendas: and academic research backed that conclusion.
“I realised that no one had really taken the academic stuff on psychopaths and written it into a layperson’s book. There’s phenomenal research out there, with people like Prof Robert Hare of the University of British Columbia, the world’s leading expert on psychopathology, saying things like ‘A corporation is exactly the same thing as a psychopath. It’s just the embodiment of a collective version of it. And it’s the same with the hierarchical structures within government’.”
Sheridan returned to Ireland in 1998. He recognized the same psychological profile he’d seen in Wall Street investment banks in the Irish Fianna Fáil/PD government of the time.
“It was here in the government’s arrogance, its cockiness, its foolhardiness,” says Sheridan. “Its inability to have wisdom. It just went straight ahead telling everyone to buy property, to invest. Very superficial, driven with flash, backed up by PR spin-doctors. That’s not unique to Ireland – it goes on everywhere. In Ireland, maybe because we’ve got too many politicians, maybe because it’s a smaller country and there’s a higher representation in less populated areas than many other European countries, this seems to be taken to the Nth degree. So you have public policies pushed through which are purely based on the government’s agenda of getting re-elected.
“This is classic ‘proto-psychopathology’,” Sheridan explains. “Where an entity, like a government or a corporation, develops the traits and behaviours and the pathology of a psychopathic individual, in the sense that it is totally focused towards its own agenda.
“We have a situation in Ireland, and it’s the same in the UK and in many parliamentary democracies, where the politicians all go according to the party whip. Whatever the party line is, they all follow. For my book Defeated Demons, which is about psychopathology within the strata of an organization, I studied the Sicilian mafia. The Sicilian mafia works like a political party. You have the don, who gives the orders out to the capos, who are the head honchos of the gangs. And that is what the gang-members have to do, think and say. If they deviate from that, or try to go independent, they’re whacked – taken out.”
Sheridan extrapolates. “It’s the same thing with a political party. It doesn’t matter if it’s counterproductive to public health: it doesn’t matter if it’s counterproductive to the economic survival of the country. All of the soldiers – the party members – if they want to get a senior or junior ministerial post someday, they have to play ball. They have to agree with the party whip.” Thomas Sheridan is concerned that mandatory water fluoridation of the water is putting people’s health seriously at risk. Here the psychopathology runs even deeper.
“In a lot of cases, politicians genuinely believe what their senior civil servant advisors tell them. They’ll ask, what’s the story with fluoride? The senior civil servants, in some ways, are more sinister even than elected politicians. They stay in the background. They’re not responsible, they don’t have to go out there and be elected, they don’t have to show their names. Yet they will often show politicians very subjective and limited research. So, in relation to fluoride, they’ll bring out the apparent WHO endorsement of fluoridation, but not bring up the Harvard study from last year showing that it causes neurological damage to children.
“There’s an almost pathological conservatism within the civil service structures,” Sheridan adds. “Don’t rock the boat. Things are fine the way they are. Very institutionalized. And any civil servant that blows the whistle, it’s like a gang again. They won’t be taken care of, they won’t be looked after.
“So it becomes a pathological feedback,” states Sheridan. “It’s all ass-covering of one kind or another. And this is because a psychopathic structure has developed within the organization, where no one wants to sit down and say, ‘It is morally reprehensible that we are medicating the people of the Republic of Ireland without their consent, and without completely informing them of both sides of the argument’. Because it’s self-evident that if both sides of the argument were given neutrally, the overwhelming majority of people would say, ‘Get the fluoride out’.
“This is how psychopaths behave. Because psychopaths indulge in something called ‘gas-lighting’, a term that comes from psychology. What happens is they change your version of reality to accept what’s been called a ‘new normal’. They’re obviously feeding you false information. What they do, or attempt to do, is change your version of reality to make you accept that information, even if you know it’s false.
“It’s very similar to what’s called ‘Stockholm syndrome’, where you almost come to love your servitude. What happens is, even if they know fluoride is poisonous and dangerous and toxic, they won’t tell the people that, they’ll tell the people it’s good for them. And if a person says, well, why are we the only country in Europe doing it? They will actually say to them, that’s because we’re one of the most progressive. That’s gas-lighting. We’re Irish, we’re special – they’ll rack up the patriotism. They’ll alter reality.
“I’ve seen gas-lighting constantly on the fluoride issue, to make people accept a new version of what normal is. It’s very common in totalitarian society. You know the story from George Orwell: war is peace, ignorance is strength, slavery is freedom.”
In 1963, the US scientist Harold Hodge, was brought to Dublin by the Irish government to testify to fl uoride’s safety in the High Court. A key promoter of water fl uoridation in the mid 20th century, after his death in the ’90s, Hodge was recognised as a psychopath for his involvement in testing lethal doses of uranium and plutonium on terminally-ill hospital patients. Hodge is on record as suggesting to a chemical corporation facing law-suits in the States over airborne fluoride poisoning, ‘Would it help if we told them it was good for their teeth?’
“It’s chilling to read that,” says Sheridan. “But that’s how psychopaths are. In the history of so many things, from Thalidomide to Agent Orange to DDT, they use the crazy rationalization of ‘Tell them it’s good for them’.”
With the Department of Health taking such an entrenched line, is there any hope of winning the argument on fluoride?
“When I first spoke to Aisling FitzGibbon about fluoride,” says Sheridan, “I advised her to be very careful how you sell this issue.Because there’s so much of the ‘conspiracy crowd’ already on this. They say things like, ‘Fluoride effects your pineal gland so you can’t reach states of spiritual perfection’.
Nazis put fluoride in the water. I’ve found evidence of that at all. I think a lot of those conspiracy theories may be put out there by the fluoride manufacturers. Industry does employ PR people to put crazy ideas out on the internet, to make any kind of opposition to their product look crazy. That’s been going on for years. So I advised her to only use scientific fact – that’s critical.
“But the thing is, some conspiracy theories are actually true. The term has been used in recent years by the likes of the Blair government in Britain over the weapons of mass destruction issue, to try to shut down any kind of open public debate. It’s actually become a tired old term now. As soon as someone goes, ‘Oh, conspiracy theory,’ in that D4 accent, I am not dealing with that person. My response is: ‘no, sorry, we’re going to have a debate here, so don’t invoke that bullshit phrase, please’.
“Now we can win this battle with the fluoride thing. What will win it is exactly the way the Girl Against Fluoride campaign is doing it – through public relations. At the end of the day, politics and democracy are ultimately a popularity game. There’s no difference between a government winning an election or someone winning on X Factor or American Idol. We’re living in an age of public relations, and that’s what Aisling and her mother, Martha Brassil, have tackled perfectly. I was with them that day on Grafton Street last summer when they were stripping to music. They got the attention of thousands of people who didn’t know about fl uoride. They had women in bikinis – now some people might say it’s sexist. It works. It works more than people waving red flags and banging drums and screaming and shouting.
"My attitude is that we need more people join the Girl Against Fluoride campaign in that same spirit – we know we’re right, we know you’re wrong. Get that stuff out of the water. We’re not going to bully, harass and badger people; what we’re going to do is educate people, in a friendly and open way. And we’re going to show them that we’re human beings – not uptight fearful lobbyists.
“Water fluoridation could be the most negative and damaging issue since the Catholic abuse situation,” he adds. “Because if this thing really gets out – that we are a sick, ill, damaged nation because of government policy constantly passing the buck – it could lead to a flurry of law suits, massive political embarrassment, even criminal charges. They’re all passing the buck, in the hope that people like Aisling FitzGibbon, the Girl Against Fluoride, just vanish. They won't.
“The Girl Against Fluoride campaign will capture everyone’s attention eventually,” he says. “And then the politicians and the more psychopathological aspect of their rule will realise that they have to do something about it. Psychopaths are very concerned with being popular. They don’t want to be seen as the losers. They’re very much about winning. The important thing is to keep this campaign going in the same spirit as it’s been going so far. Look how far it’s come, with the Hot Press articles, and the work of the scientist, Declan Waugh.
“I’ve studied how governments and corporations programme people through public relations,” he says. “What we call spin is exactly the same as propaganda. It’s just done in a nice kind of razzamatazz way. You fight back in the same way, and that’s what we have to do. And with the fluoride issue, you need the hardcore science to back it up. So if anyone’s on the fence, we can say: ‘hey, well read this Harvard IQ study from 2012’. With science and public relations working together, we’re on to a winner.
“I have no doubt that fluoride will be taken out of the water in Ireland eventually. I don’t know how they’ll do it. Are they going to opt for a private rollout scheme, where they quietly stop it on the sly?” Sheridan is clear that the most sinister aspect to water fl uoridation is that it gives governments carte blanche to medicate us at will.
“We cannot allow this Brave New World mindset in politicians to persist,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s good for us. Any kind of medication is wrong when it’s put in the water supply. Because it takes away freedom of choice, and freedom to do with your own physiology what you want, so that people are treated like a farmer would treat his livestock herd.
“There’s a cultural aspect to it as well. I think the thing to keep focused is that these politicians work for us – we don’t work for them. Fluoridation may have been enforced originally, by politicians, with the best of intentions. But now someone somewhere is getting a lot of money – supplying the chemicals, supplying the treatment systems – and they don’t want to give up that cash fl ow. Someone somewhere in Ireland is making a lot of money from fl uoridation, and they’ve got very good political connections. That’s where the psychopathology comes in.
“They have no conscience, no compassion about the people who are being made ill by fluoride, and they have no social responsibility. It’s purely an ‘I’m all right Jack’ situation – ‘it’s just business’. And they’ll gas-light the people by saying, ‘No no, it’s good for your teeth’ – when really what they’re saying is, ‘Shut up and don’t stop my cash-flow’.”