“Good news: the U.S. government will soon monitor your tweets to gauge your mental health”

Why not? They’ve made every other aspect of your life their concern, including your body itself. Why not your mind?

Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon:

The federal government is studying how to use Twitter for surveillance on depressed people.

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) began a study financed by the National Institutes of Health last month that will provide “population level depression monitoring” through the social media site.

The project, “Utilizing Social Media as a Resource for Mental Health Surveillance,” is costing taxpayers $82,800…

The researchers will create algorithms to determine if people are depressed through their tweets, which they hope will serve as a basis for monitoring mental illness. They will also engage with depressed individuals on Twitter directly.

And then what? Tell them to get the hell off Twitter?…

via The Daily Caller.

Our system of government operates on certain principles: guaranteed liberties, checks & balances, constrained government, and so on.

The entire idea of “experts” acting on behalf of people who “need” – or, even more slippery, “could benefit from” – help is a convenient way to bypass all of that.

Yes, we do have an obligation to protect both ourselves from mentally ill people, and to provide mentally ill people with care if they are not in a position to take care of themselves. But we also need to recognize that this is an awesome power – the power to appropriate someone’s right to self-governance, really.

The history of the 20th century provides far too many examples of how “mental health treatment” can be used to abuse and control. We need to learn from the past: mental health intervention needs to be balanced with adequate protections against abuse.