There was a time when victimizing dissident academics by branding them ‘mentally ill’ was confined to totalitarian societies like Stalinist Russia. In the 21st century, however, such demonisation is deemed acceptable by universities in the US and the UK, where an increasingly intolerant and illiberal campus culture now prevails.Take the case of New York University liberal studies professor Michael Rectenwald. He has been forced on to paid leave for the rest of the current semester. His crime? He’s been accused of ‘incivility’ by some of his colleagues. The problem is that he transgressed the unwritten rule that forbids academics from criticizing the illiberal practices that abound on campus today, from safe spaces to trigger warnings to the crusade against cultural appropriation and microaggressions. [Source]
The department dean told Rectenwald that some of his colleagues were worried about his mental health and so he was instructed to take leave and get help. However intemperate Rectenwald may have been in his social-media posts, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the decision to force him out was motivated by a hostility to his views on diversity rather than a concern for his mental health. [Source]And this eerily similar tactic from the Chicago Tribune . . .
"One of the doctors asked whether I thought it was normal to write such things," Taisiya Arap said. "She said, 'It's not possible to write such things. It's forbidden.'" The Soviet Union routinely locked up dissidents in asylums, a practice that attracted worldwide condemnation because of the protests of Andrei Sakharov and other human-rights activists. Today, 16 years after the Soviet collapse, authorities are increasingly returning to psychiatry to suppress political opponents or punish activists, according to human-rights organizations and other watchdog groups. [Source]And this from the New York Times . . .
For years, Soviet psychiatrists had been accused in the West of diagnosing as mentally ill political dissidents they knew to be mentally well. According to both Western critics and Soviet dissidents, the K.G.B. . . . had regularly referred dissidents to psychiatrists for such diagnoses in order to avoid embarrassing public trials and to discredit dissent as the product of sick minds. [Source]And this . . .
. . . it was during the 1960s and 1970s that the Communist Party took their intolerance for ideological deviance to extremes by diagnosing and institutionalizing so-called counterrevolutionaries with mental illness. It was a frightening episode in Soviet history in which perfectly healthy citizens could be deemed psychotic simply on account of their political views. [Source]Maybe this is why so many within academic circles are willing to deny the obvious. Right comrades?