Sunday, 25 August 2013

Insane or Otherwise.


By Ajax.

A long series of attempts to persecute an individual and stifle an idea, culminated last week in a verdict to the effect that Chidley was insane.  
Chidley has been before the public for some time. He was formerly arrested on flimsy charges such as vagrancy, indecency, etc. His book was prosecuted ; he was also stopped speaking in the open, and when he engaged a hall, the authorities prohibited the lecture. The police even went so far as to invade his lodgings, seize his lantern pictures and books. He has also been the subject of considerable abuse by people who declare his dress is indecent, yet view with the greatest equanimity the suggestive semi-nude clothes of ballet girls and society snobs.
It appears that medical men do not agree on the question of Chidley's sanity. Apparently he was condemned on the evidence of a medico who thought he was insane. As this person is the same party who quibbled on a former occasion, when Chidley's sanity was questioned, and further happens to be a State official, and as such is doubtless more concerned to conserve certain conservative interests than to give justice to an individual whose ideas are detrimental to medical quacks and kindred harpies who live on the fruits of ignorance and sexual abuse.
In deciding the question of the sanity of an individual, we are treading on delicate and dangerous ground. No authority has yet been able to decide definitely where sanity ceases and insanity begins. In the first place we have to remember that this society inherits and still harbors many superstitions of the past, in spite of the advance of science. Further, our industrial system has a marked tendency to increase insanity ; several mental maladies not previously known can be directly traced to commercialism. Our artificial living and sex abuse, as Chidley clearly shows, still further accentuate mental maladies. Indeed, so eminent a scientist as Professor Lombroso contends that the world is rapidly becoming insane.
In a society containing so many varied mental types and so many complex factors, it is almost impossible to decide who is sane. It is further highly dangerous to the community that a few men (who may represent certain interests or be biased) should have the power to put any person away on the plea of insanity. This is the more glaringly obvious when the person is a thinker and writer, a man whose sanity was never in doubt till he propounded unpopular theories. The public have a right to know the full facts of the case, it is not sufficient to say a doctor thinks a person is insane. Proof is wanting. Unfortunately, although there has been a plenitude of abuse and insinuation, there is a pronounced poverty of proof. Chidley has spoken scores of times and is always ready to answer questions. Critics have had plenty of time to examine his writings and give us something better. Why don't they answer "The Answer?" Especially is it up to the medicoes who declared him mad to prove their case. Surely these monuments of medical learning should have no difficulty in answering a madman. As the authorities seem so anxious to put him away, one would think that the best and fairest way would be to disprove his theory. It can hardly be questioned even by Mother Grundy that we want more knowledge on this sex question, especially during war time when the organs of wowserism are preaching, "Increase, multiply, and replenish the earth." If Chidley had come forward with a theory for improving the breed of pigs, people would have welcomed him with open arms; but be cause he has an idea for improving the stock of humans, especially the swinish, his name is anathema.
While on this question it might not be out of place to briefly consider the theory of celibacy and the working class. Long ago in ancient Greece the stoic philosophers maintained and practised a doctrine very similar to Chidley's. The fine physique of the Greeks was probably due in no small measure to their teaching. In later times the Catholic Church upheld the doctrine of celibacy as opposed to the licentiousness of the middle ages. Although there were black sheep in the fold, there can be no question that the stability of the church and the secret of its power was to a considerable extent due to a comparative lack of sex perversion among its adherents.
Recently such scholars as Edward Carpenter, Annie Besant, and Schoepenhaur, favoured these ideas. To-day the question of sex and celibacy is important for the labour movement, especially as the old economic order is breaking up, such factors as the war, employment of women, the decay of the orthodox idea of marriage, and whatnot demand a readjustment of sex relations. Bernard Shaw was right when he said, "Society is not quite sane on the question of sex." There is much to be said in favour of celibacy as opposed to the wholesale prostitution, licensed and unlicensed, that appertains to-day. Moreover, the canting humbug and sentimental slobber doled out to the public by the hired apostles of vested interest on this subject are nauseating in the extreme. If Chidley had published a suggestive love story calculated to excite morbid passions he would, probably have been acclaimed a great novelist, instead he has tried to prove a theory, and stuck to his guns in spite of the jeers of ignorance, the sneers of convention, and the persecution of legalised charlatanism. This conduct is indicative of a firm will and considerable intellect. Not so, think those who live on ignorance and disease, who, if they cannot refute an idea maliciously, persecute the author. One would have thought that alleged intellectual men living in a so-called free and democratic country would be above the medieval and brutal attitude of trying to incarcerate an idea. Being afraid of the idea, like inquisitors they try to bludgeon the man.        
Apart from the injustice and dangerous precedent set up, one questions if these people are quite sane. Still less is it advisable or desirable in the interests of the community that self-styled lunacy experts, whose motive is questionable,whose mental bias is pronounced, and who cling to the insane notion of gaoling an idea, can be trusted with such power over the life of an individual, especially a thinker and writer, who at least is sincere, and whose ideas in the main are correct. Such men are rare in this degenerate age. For that reason, if no other, the public should see to it that Chidley is immediately released.

 Direct Action 26 February 1916,

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