The use of psychiatry as a means of repression has been a particular favorite of Socialist-oriented regimes.
With gratitude to the research of Mary Ann, a listener of the nightly radio Hagmann & Hagmann Report, this author was alerted to the January 2010 edition of the Schizophrenia Bulletin that was authored by Robert van Voren.
The use of psychiatry for political purposes has been a major subject of debate within the world psychiatric community during the second half of the 20th century. The issue became prominent in the 1970s and 1980s due to the systematic political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union, where approximately one-third of the political prisoners were locked up in psychiatric hospitals.
The issue caused a major rift within the World Psychiatric Association, from which the Soviets were forced to withdraw in 1983. They returned conditionally in 1989. Political abuse of psychiatry took also place in other socialist countries and on a systematic scale in Romania, and during the first decade of the 21st century, it became clear that systematic political abuse of psychiatry is also happening in the People’s Republic of China.
The article discusses the historical background to these abuses and concludes that the issue had a major impact on the development of concepts regarding medical ethics and the professional responsibility of physicians.
Time and again, human rights and mental health organizations receive reports on cases of abuse of psychiatry for political purposes. The fact that these reports come from a wide range of countries shows that there is an ongoing tension between politics and psychiatry and that the opportunity to use psychiatry as a means to stifle opponents or solve conflicts is an appealing one, not only to dictatorial regimes but also to well-established democratic societies.
According to a position article of the Global Initiative on Psychiatry (GIP), “political abuse of psychiatry refers to the misuse of psychiatric diagnosis, treatment and detention for the purposes of obstructing the fundamental human rights of certain individuals and groups in a given society.
The practice is common to but not exclusive to countries governed by totalitarian regimes. In these regimes abuses of the human rights of those politically opposed to the state are often hidden under the guise of psychiatric treatment. In democratic societies ‘whistle blowers’ on covertly illegal practices by major corporations have been subjected to the political misuse of psychiatry.” (The full text of the position article of GIP can be ordered from GIP.)
Historically seen, using psychiatry as a means of repression has been a particular favorite of Socialist-oriented regimes. An explanation might be found in the fact that Socialist ideology is focused on the establishment of the ideal society, where all are equal and all will be happy, and thus, those who are against must be mad.
In fact, this second part seemed to have had the strongest influence because even in the Soviet Union of the 1970s, where many were not happy and society was far from ideal, many psychiatrists still believed that those who turned against the regime must be mad.
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Everything old is new again. The desperate left are grasping at straws.
This morning, President Donald Trump tweeted:
Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
The Washington Post responded quickly and titled their Op-ed, ” Donald Trump Is Not Well,” where the authors Joe Scarborough went on to suggest that, “America’s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president. We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show, “Morning Joe.”
And later added, “The president’s unhealthy obsession with “Morning Joe” does not serve the best interests of either his mental state or the country he runs. Despite his constant claims that he no longer watches the show, the president’s closest advisers tell us otherwise. That is unfortunate. We believe it would be better for America and the rest of the world if he would keep his 60-inch-plus flat-screen TV tuned to “Fox & Friends.”
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