In the Soviet Union, psychiatry was used for punitive purposes. Psychiatric hospitals were often used by the authorities as prisons in order to isolate political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally; as such they were considered a form of torture. The official explanation was that "no sane person would declaim against Soviet government and Communism".
On April 29, 1969 the head of KGB, Yuri Andropov, submitted to the Central Committee of CPSU a plan for creating a network of psikhushkas.
The official Soviet psychiatry allegedly abused the diagnosis of sluggishly progressing schizophrenia (вялотекущая шизофрения), a special form of the illness that supposedly affects only the person's social behavior, with no trace of other traits: "most frequently, ideas about a struggle for truth and justice are formed by personalities with a paranoid structure," according to the Moscow Serbsky Institute professors (a quote  from Vladimir Bukovsky's archives). Some of them had high rank in the MVD, such as the infamous Danil Luntz, who was characterized by Viktor Nekipelov as "no better than the criminal doctors who performed inhuman experiments on the prisoners in Nazi concentration camps" .
The sane individuals who were diagnosed as mentally ill were sent either to regular psychiatric hospitals or, those deemed particularly dangerous, to special ones, run directly by the MVD. The treatment included various forms of restraint, electric shocks, a range of drugs (such as narcotics, tranquilizers, and insulin) that cause long lasting side effects, and sometimes involved beatings. Nekipelov describes inhuman uses of medical procedures such as lumbar punctures.
At least 365 sane people were treated for "politically defined madness" in the Soviet Union, and there were surely hundreds more .
In 1971, Bukovsky managed to smuggle to the West over 150 pages documenting abuse of psychiatric institutions for political reasons in the USSR. The facts galvanized the human rights activists worldwide, including inside the USSR. In January 1972, the Soviet authorities incarcerated Bukovsky for 7 years of imprisonment plus 5 years in exile, officially for contacts with foreign journalists and possession and distribution of samizdat (Article 70-1).
Together with a fellow inmate in Vladimir prison, psychiatrist Semyon Gluzman, Bukovsky coauthored A Manual on Psychiatry for Dissidents in order to help other dissidents fight abuses of the authorities.
Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost campaign significantly contributed to the exposure of more evidence in the Soviet press. In 1989, two years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Soviet delegation to the WPA's World Congress in Athens acknowledged that systematic abuse of psychiatry for political purposes had indeed taken place in their country.
By Nan Shnitzler
With the advent of the next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-V, the debate over the impact of race and culture on mental illness is about to heat up. Should pathological bias, encompassing racism, homophobia and religious prejudice, be considered an official psychiatric diagnosis?
Remember that to be classified as a homophobe, all you have to do is disagree with the political objectives of he homosexual movement. -Editor
While the issue is extremely complex with societal, legal and financial ramifications, Alvin Poussaint, M.D., Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor, has been making his argument for years that extreme bias is mental illness.
Bias can be regarded like other mental health problems that manifest themselves on a continuum, for example, from sadness to diagnosable major depression, Poussaint says. A moderate amount of racial bias, like moving out of an increasingly mixed neighborhood, is not mental illness. But a person overly preoccupied with race, who thinks blacks and Jews are responsible for all the ills of the world, is delusional, suffers from a disorder and needs help.
"It's the extreme form, the final form, the person ready to go out and commit genocide that has to be called mentally ill," Poussaint says. "You have to draw the line. When it reaches a certain point, there's a threshold issue for me."
John Dovidio, Ph.D., psychology professor at University of Connecticut, argues against classification. He worries that if treatment were targeted to the relatively few extreme cases, then it would define the problem as pathological only, thus overlooking all the other social dynamics that operate to keep prejudice alive.
We discussed this with some of our friends in the mental health field. Their opinion was that persons exhibiting extreme biases were delusional. The basis for such a diagnosis is the presence of delusions, not necessarily their content. Delusional thinking is delusional thinking. By making the content of the delusions an issue, the liberals are politicizing mentally illness. Remember the first article that stated that not believing in communism is a sign of mental illness? That’s what we’re looking at here. - Editor
"People would say, why study everyday racism when the real problem is hate crime?" Dovidio says. "I'm saying, that's not the real problem; that's just the extreme end."
Dovidio makes a case that the psychological forces that can lead to even extreme prejudice are rooted in normal and typical psychological processes.
Here’s where the liberal thought process takes extreme stupidity and uses it to create a “diagnosis” that will ensnare anyone who exhibits a belief contrary to liberalism. -Editor
Research shows that sorting people into groups, even arbitrarily, is enough to generate biases towards others not in the group; that people who feel insecure will engage in prejudice to raise their self-esteem; and to ensure survival, people secure resources for their group at the expense of other groups.
Wow, don’t they realize that the liberals have been sorting and defining people into groups for decades? I guess they’re immune! For us, any way that we have or organizing or looking at our reality as members of different groups is apparently a precursor for mental illness. A mental illness that the liberals are all too ready to treat. -Editor
The American Psychiatric Association publishes the DSM. Each mental disorder has a list of diagnostic criteria that indicates what signs and symptoms must be present and for how long in order to qualify for a diagnosis. Associated with each diagnosis is a code used for data collection, insurance and billing.
The diagnostic code follows patients around for the rest of their lives, says Herbert Nieburg, Ph.D. He doesn't think the world needs any more.
Most forms of prejudice are a political statement about how people feel about other people of different social orientations, says Nieburg, who runs Southeast Counseling Associates in Pawcatuck, Conn. In it most severe form, he thinks bias belongs to existing diagnostic classifications such as personality or anxiety disorder. He also thinks classifying pathological bias has potential for abuse.
"I can just see someone in a position of power or authority abusing someone who is homosexual then using homophobia as a defense," Nieburg says. "Or the black rage defense that says I'm African American, I've been mistreated by society and my actions aren't under my control."
Poussaint thinks psychiatry has ignored bias. One reason is because the continuum of mental illness he describes conflicts with DSM's standardized diagnostic criteria. The American Psychiatric Association is looking at the issue with DSM-V.
"It will be a challenge to tackle how categorical diagnoses can be reconciled with dimensional scales, a better descriptor of the subtleties of human behavior," says William E. Narrow, M.D., M.P.H., associate director for diagnosis and classification at the American Psychiatric Association. "But we can't give up categories because they have big advantages in being able to communicate with people outside the field."
Another reason is because exploring bias means getting into cultural issues, which could expose the field to claims of social engineering or medicalizing social problems.
It's a legitimate issue, says Carl C. Bell, M.D., head of Community Mental Health Councils in Chicago. Because western psychiatry is such a European American invention, healing tactics of other cultures aren't seen to add much value, he says.
There are proposals afoot to classify 'pathological bias' as an official psychiatric diagnosis. The diagnosis would apply to patients who are 'disabled' by extreme forms of racism, homophobia and other prejudice to the point of not being able to function normally. It's hard to know whether this is a positive development or not.
As doctors increasingly weigh the effects of race and culture on mental illness, some are asking whether pathological bias ought to be an official psychiatric diagnosis ... it could have huge ramifications on clinical practice, employment disputes and the criminal justice system. Perpetrators of hate crimes could become candidates for treatment, and physicians would become arbiters of how to distinguish "ordinary prejudice" from pathological bias.
"They are delusional," said Alvin F. Poussaint, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who has long advocated such a diagnosis. "They imagine people are going to do all kinds of bad things and hurt them, and feel they have to do something to protect themselves. "When they reach that stage, they are very impaired," he said. "They can't work and function; they can't hold a job. They would benefit from treatment of some type, particularly medication."
Not all psychiatrists agree that bias, even extreme bias, should be clinically pathologized. It raises the prospect of prejudice being 'managed' in the future the same way depression or ADHD are today - with a pill. Doctors in California's prison system have apparently already been treating inmates with racist and homophobic hatred with anti-psychotic drugs, apparently with some degree of 'effectiveness'.
It is tempting in a delicious sort of way to consider whether mass medication of the extreme religious right wing wouldn't be such a bad thing. Certainly it would make an interesting clinical trial with the likes of Falwell, Dobson, Buchanan and some of their followers.
Hmmm. Perhaps they are stating their goals a bit too openly. -Editor
It's interesting to observe how society's view of homophobia and homosexuality are following opposite trajectories. Homosexuality has moved from sin to sickness to natural variation. Homophobia has moved in the other direction from acceptance as normal and even healthy, to a sickness.
Sipping soda from a straw and leaning on his elbows at Perkins, Troy Scheffler seems harmless enough. The 31-year-old Hamline University grad student resembles a post-Pulp Fiction John Travolta—slightly overstuffed, with graying sideburns and a small, tense smile. It's easy to imagine him hitting on a girl at a dance club.
But Scheffler is packing heat. A gun-toting concealed carry permit holder, he rarely leaves home without his sidearm. He feels safer in the rough areas of town when he's armed, though he knows not everyone feels safe around him. A couple of days ago, he got pulled over for speeding. When the cop noticed the concealed carry permit, he ordered Scheffler out of the car, patted him down, and searched his car.
"A clear violation of my Fourth Amendment rights," Scheffler says with an exasperated chuckle, referring to the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
It wasn't the first time Scheffler's gun got him into trouble.
On April 16, colleges were rocked by the news coming out of Virginia Tech. Initial reports were sketchy and confused, but by the end of the day a clear picture emerged: An angry and deranged Seung-Hui Cho had killed 32 students and faculty before turning his gun on himself in the largest mass shooting in American history.
In the aftermath, officials at Hamline University sought to comfort their 4,000 students. David Stern, the vice president for academic and student affairs, sent a campus-wide email offering extra counseling sessions for those who needed help coping.
Scheffler had a different opinion of how the university should react. Using the email handle "Tough Guy Scheffler," Troy fired off his response: Counseling wouldn't make students feel safer, he argued. They needed protection. And the best way to provide it would be for the university to lift its recently implemented prohibition against concealed weapons.
"Ironically, according to a few VA Tech forums, there are plenty of students complaining that this wouldn't have happened if the school wouldn't have banned their permits a few months ago," Scheffler wrote. "I just don't understand why leftists don't understand that criminals don't care about laws; that is why they're criminals. Maybe this school will reconsider its repression of law-abiding citizens' rights."
After stewing over the issue for two days, Scheffler sent a second email to University President Linda Hanson, reiterating his condemnation of the concealed carry ban and launching into a flood of complaints about campus diversity initiatives, which he considered reverse discrimination.
"In fact, three out of three students just in my class that are 'minorities' are planning on returning to Africa and all three are getting a free education on my dollar," Scheffler wrote with thinly veiled ire. "Please stop alienating the students who are working hard every day to pay their tuition. Maybe you can instruct your staff on sensitivity towards us 'privileged white folk.'"
After clicking send, Scheffler didn't think much more about his emails. He'd never felt his conservative views were welcome on campus. In classes, he was often shouted down by students—sometimes even by professors.
But after the Virginia Tech massacre, school administrators across the country were ramping up security. Flip to any cable news channel and you'd hear experts talking about warning signs that had been missed. Cho had a history of threatening behavior and stalking. And a psychological evaluation had deemed him a threat to himself.
So Hamline officials took swift action. On April 23, Scheffler received a letter informing him he'd been placed on interim suspension. To be considered for readmittance, he'd have to pay for a psychological evaluation and undergo any treatment deemed necessary, then meet with the dean of students, who would ultimately decide whether Scheffler was fit to return to the university.
There are going to be people that read this site and deny that any of this is happening. But then we see the exact same thing happening here. This gentlemen stated political opinions that run contrary to liberalism, so the universities response, have him go to treatment! They fail to realize that in most states, there must be a thorough background check that would preclude there being any signs of psychological disturbance before a concealed carry permit would be issued. The university’s problem with this man wasn’t a threat; it was his politics! -Editor
The consequences were severe. Scheffler wasn't allowed to participate in a final group project in his course on Human Resources Management, which will have a big impact on his final grade. Even if he's reinstated, the suspension will go on his permanent record, which could hurt the aspiring law student.
"'Oh, he's the crazy guy that they called the cops on.' How am I supposed to explain that to the Bar Association?" Scheffler asks.
He has also suffered embarrassment. Scheffler obeyed the campus ban and didn't go to class, but his classmate, Kenny Bucholz, told him a police officer was stationed outside the classroom. "He had a gun and everything," Bucholz says. Dean Julian Schuster appeared at the beginning of class to explain the presence of the cop, citing discipline problems with a student. Although Schuster never mentioned Scheffler by name, it didn't take a scholar to see whose desk was empty.
Scheffler has tried to get answers from the university, to no avail. On April 25, he called President Hanson's office to request a meeting, but when he told the secretary his name, she claimed the computer system had crashed and she couldn't access the president's schedule. She promised to call Scheffler back, but more than a week later, he's still waiting.
Hamline administrators were similarly circumspect when a reporter called. School officials declined to be interviewed, citing student privacy concerns. Requests for information were diverted to lawyer Rebecca Bernhard, who said Hamline acted appropriately in light of recent events at Virginia Tech. "Hamline takes campus safety very seriously," she says.
Now Scheffler is looking to hire a lawyer of his own. Even if Hamline lifts the suspension, he doubts he'll return to campus, he says. "If they're going to treat me that way before, how will they treat me after?"
Can we say that Scheffler came on a bit too strong? Probably. Can we say that he deserved the treatment that he has gotten-absolutely not! Again, the issue here wasn’t a threat, it was the political beliefs of an outspoken student that seemed by their definition, to be disturbed. After all, he was openly calling out leftists and disagreeing with them. That, by their definition, is mental illness! -EditorScary, isn’t it? When you look at the stated goals of the liberals, as shown on the quotes page, can you see the truly scary parallels here? They talk about people that disagree with them as being mentally ill, they are indoctrinating children into a socialist belief system while trashing freedom and capitalism, they are setting up a system to systematically test and “treat” children that are having “problems,” they are training “socialist workers” that are indoctrinated into the same belief system that they are pushing in the schools, and they plan on using medications to “fix” those who are suicidal, when suicide is still a very small problem. Are you making the connections here? Like the former Soviet Union, there is a benefit for liberals to portray their opponents as “mentally ill.” They even get to show them “compassion” by treating them with potentially dangerous medications. How convenient! -Editor