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BRASS TACKS

Rainmakers

By Daniel Ellsberg

EVERY year, a select group of American newspapers resurrects its fight against vivisection. These newspapers drag out their cuts of the writhing dog with the tube attached to its stomach, and of the eat with its head attached to nothing at all. Most of these charges have been successfully perforated by alert scientists, but we should not sell the newspapers short. For in fighting for vivisection, the scientists are smokescreening something far more dangerous. It is the torturing of America's children.

I have on my desk as I write this a group of textbooks in "psychology." They are thick and austere, their covers are emblazoned with deceptively academic titles like "Contemporary Psychopathology," or "Readings in Contemporary Psychology." But within the heavy bindings of these books can be found some of the most blatant examples of man's cruelty to child since the days of Richard III.

I open a book at random. Discreetly buried beneath a mass of verbiage, of abstraction and obfuscation, we find the case of "Infant A." The case--presented here in condensed form--speaks for itself.

Infant A was a normal breast-fed baby cared for only by her mother. She developed splendidly until five months of age, at which time the mother was suddenly called away from home. The infant was left in charge of an aunt, who had been given the most minute instructions as to her care. The pediatrician told the aunt not to take the child from her crib (to preserve the child's excellent routine). By the end of the first week the child was found rolling violently from side to side, and had begun to scratch her face. She became constipated . . . the same type of reaction occurred during the next four years whenever the mother went away.

The conclusions are obvious; a pediatrician had turned a normal child into a constipated neurotic.

Then there is the case of "Baby L," foundling found on a hospital doorstep in a shoebox. Baby L rapidly improved, he took nourishment and gained weight. Then, to excerpt from his-case history:

One feeding was omitted, and the feeding intervals were lengthened from three to four hours; an interesting reaction occurred. Within a week there was a marked change in the infant. A distinct bulging of the eyeballs occurred . . . respiration was shallow and irregular. When raised or moved the infant became rigid . . . there was no recognition of the person caring for him.

In typical fashion, when the psychologists had tired of this child, they shipped him off to a foster home to "give him individual care."

But perhaps the most horrifying example is contained in the description of a pseudo-scientific experiment by one "Dr. Watson." This man, according to my text, studied the emotional reactions of newly-born infants. "The only conditions, which he found capable of producing a 'fear' response were (1) loud sounds made near the child, or (2) sudden removal of all means of support, i.e., dropping the child." The implications of this latter experiment are obvious. It is men like this "Dr. Watson," men who are willing to sacrifice their integrity in the name of science, who are daily wreaking destruction on our children.

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