After advocating against nuclear weapons for decades, the leading American psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton has recently focused on the global threat posed by climate change. Last year he wrote a piece in the New York Times comparing the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s to the climate justice movement of today. "People came to feel that it was deeply wrong, perhaps evil, to engage in nuclear war, and are coming to an awareness that it is deeply wrong, perhaps evil, to destroy our habitat and create a legacy of suffering for our children and grandchildren," Lifton said. One of the nation’s best known psychiatrists, Lifton joins us to discuss the parallels between the threats of nuclear weapons and global warming, and the growing public awareness to meet the challenges they pose.
Robert Jay Lifton, the prominent psychiatrist famous for his study of the doctors who aided Nazi war crimes, speaks out on the role of the American Psychological Association in aiding government-sanctioned torture under President George W. Bush. A new report alleges the APA, the world’s largest group of psychologists, secretly coordinated with government officials to allign its ethics policy with the operational needs of the CIA’s torture program. "What the APA did was a scandal within a scandal," Lifton says. "[This] is something we have to confront as a nation."
For the past five decades, eminent psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton has written extensively on the psychological dimensions of war, from the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, to doctors who aided Nazi crimes, to nuclear war. In 1967, Lifton won a National Book Award for his work "Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima." In 1970, he would testify before a Senate Committee about the Vietnam War, warning about the need to help rehumanize returning veterans into society. In 1986 he published the seminal book "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide." In the final part of our interview, Lifton expounds on what he calls "the socialization of evil," from the Holocaust to Vietnam to the death penalty.
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