Monday, June 06, 2016

Soviet-Style Psychiatry

It wasn't uncommon in the Soviet Union for people to be locked away as mentally ill merely for opposing the government.  Psychiatry has been put to some very cruel uses, especially in totalitarian states.

You'd think we'd have learned from that, but this woman certainly hasn't:
Kathleen Taylor, a neurologist at Oxford University, said that recent developments suggest that we will soon be able to treat religious fundamentalism and other forms of ideological beliefs potentially harmful to society as a form of mental illness.

 She made the assertion during a talk at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday. She said that radicalizing ideologies may soon be viewed not as being of personal choice or free will but as a category of mental disorder. She said new developments in neuroscience could make it possible to consider extremists as people with mental illness rather than criminals. 
I'm sure that those of us who don't believe in anthropogenic global warming would also be seen as mentally ill.  Or those of us who don't believe in socialism.  Read the linked article, marvel at the "Hiroshima/Nagasaki orgy of mass destruction" or the "years of carpet bombing operations by the Nixon administration caught in a vice grip of anti-communist paranoia", and wonder what kind of people the author thinks need psychiatric treatment at the hands of the state.

Let's turn this around a bit.  It's only been in my lifetime that the DSM removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.  Homosexuals are, what, 3% of the human population?  And today's front page "victims", transgenders, are 3/10 of 1% of the population?  If we're talking about what's "normal" vs what is a mental illness, surely those groups have a better claim to being called mentally ill than capitalists and patriotic Americans, at least if we consider that the smaller the group in question, the further from "normal" that group is.

But no, we won't go there.  Calling homosexuals and transgenders mentally ill is a bridge too far--but our political enemies?  They appear to be fair game for our friends on the Left.

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