Freud missed the boat 
By Dr. Keith Witt
December 1, 2012
People get very busy with their theories. Examples of this are all around us. Free Market true believers say any restraint of trade is bad economics. Social Darwinist conservatives suggest disadvantaged groups like poor people simply have trouble competing in the human jungle. Many addiction specialists firmly believe that once someone has used drugs, alcohol, sex, or gambling in out-of-control ways, they can never safely use them again. This is not to say that free markets are bad, social Darwinism doesn’t have any validity, or that the vast majority of addicts need recovery and abstinence to lead healthy lives. The point is that credible new information—information we can sense and replicate—should trump theory and guide further inquiry. For instance:
- We know effective financial and trade regulation slows down corruption and stabilizes markets, curtailing disastrous fluctuations and corporate rip-offs. Let’s expand the idea of a free market to include judicious oversight and regulation.
- We know that each dollar invested in children under three saves many dollars later in reduced welfare and justice system costs. Let’s find the most effective interventions for young families and invest in the future by informed and wise spending in the present.
- Some addiction studies show thirty percent of alcoholics who try to stop drinking find sobriety and life renewal through AA. Let’s study AA to find out why a twelve-step, spiritually oriented recovery program is so popular and effective.
- Seventy percent of recovering alcoholics get sober in ways other than joining AA. How do they do it? Let’s expand our understanding of human addiction and recovery.
- Instinctual drives like sexuality and aggression influence relationships, are the foundations of cultural prohibitions like incest taboos, and are profoundly influenced by genetic predispositions.
- Genetic predispositions can take different forms depending on the experiences of infants and children, not exclusively through learning, but through the actual activation of genes.
- Over time, these different forms cumulatively become cultures, which in turn significantly influence development of people in those cultures.
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