An ongoing argument amongst BABCP members is highly political in nature, echoing similar arguments in other contexts…
The argument, being conducted in a private BABCP forum, is about a proposal to monitor and censor the forum and ban members from posting if eight other members complain to an administrator. There are no limits on what they may complain about, and their complaints do not have to be upheld in any way. Simply lodging complaints can lead to the censorship.
Of course, my using the word “censorship” reveals what I think of this proposal. If I thought differently, I would have written…
The argument, being conducted in a private BABCP forum, is about a proposal to nurture and protect the forum and help members to control their posting if eight other members ask an administrator to assist. There are no limits on the issues for which this assistance may be given, and the administrator will not be judgmental in any way. Simply asking for this assistance will invoke the protection.
All this has clear parallels in other areas.
There’s a political debate about the financial crisis in which some people point to the fact that regulation distorted the market and then failed to apply corrections to the market when the distortion became dangerous, so more regulation would be a bad thing. Other people say that parts of the markets were not regulated, or not regulated tightly enough, so more regulation would be a good thing.
There’s been a recent incident over a doctor who was suspended from his job because of a post he wrote in another private professional forum. At least the BABCP does not propose taking such extreme action against members for the way they express their opinions in private…yet.
And there have been proposals to make new European laws to regulate bloggers.
On balance, it seems to me that those who want more monitoring and regulation are tending to win the arguments in every sphere. At the same time, I don’t see any general safeguards to guarantee that any of this regulation will always be benign, even if it seems benign when first introduced.
So it seems like we will increasingly have officials, some of whom will no doubt be corrupt, some no doubt stupid, and some no doubt pursuing their own political agendas, in charge of various aspects of our behaviour, instead of regulating our own behaviour as individuals and communities.
The curious thing is that CBT is entirely based on the idea self-regulation. If some behaviour is counter-productive, CBT’s solution is by introspection and reason, not by external monitoring and the threat of punishment. So as the current political climate-change brings in more control through monitoring and threat, perhaps we’ll see new forms of psychotherapy to match. If so, it’s ironic that the BABCP is promoting this change.