The Thomas S. Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and Responsibility
"The purpose of this site is to advance the debate about Thomas S. Szasz's basic ideas and their practical implications. This is the only official Szasz site. It was created, constructed, and produced by Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D. with the permission and guidance over the course of many years from his close friend and colleague, Professor Thomas S. Szasz. This site was given to Dr. Schaler by Dr. Szasz."
15 Apr 1920
, Thomas Stephen Szasz, in Budapest, Hungary
Laissez Faire Books
"Thomas Szasz (b. 1920) has focused on one of the most neglected yet outrageous civil liberties violations--the involuntary commitment of mental patients. Historically, when husbands wanted to dump wives, families wanted to dump embarrassing relatives, and the government wanted to get strange (though harmless) characters off the streets, they'd commit these people to a madhouse."
Thomas Szasz | Cato Institute
"Thomas Szasz is professor of psychiatry emeritus at the Health Sciences Center, State University of New York. His many books include Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts, and Pushers (Learning Publications, 1985) and Therapeutic State: Psychiatry in the Mirror of Current Events (Prometheus Books, 1984). Thomas Szasz passed away in 2012."
Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education: Thomas Szasz - Libertarian
Short biography, bibliography, photograph and quotes
"A giant in the field of psychiatry, and one of the most iconoclastic thinkers of our age, Dr. Thomas Szasz is generally acknowledged as having had a greater influence on contemporary thinking about psychiatry and mental illness than anyone in the field. He has written over 20 extraordinary books on psychiatry, politics, civil liberties, and other topics."
Thomas Szasz - Libertarianism.org
Short profile and links to essays, videos and other resources about Szasz
"Thomas Szasz is a psychiatrist and author well known for his criticism of the modern psychiatry movement. He has consistently sought to apply classical liberal principles (such as bodily and mental self ownership) to social science and also explored the consequences of mandatory institutionalization of persons the state deemed to be insane. In his book, The Myth of Mental Illness (1960), Szasz claims that psychiatry ultimately robs people of the responsibility of being moral agents by obscuring the difference between socially unacceptable behavior and disease."
Thomas Szasz | People | Foundation for Economic Education
Includes short profile, picture and links to Szasz's FEE articles
"Dr. Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) was a Psychiatrist, academic, and champion of individual rights. He devoted much of his life to campaigning against many aspects of conventional psychiatry, in particular involuntary psychiatric treatment and commitment."
Happy Birthday, Thomas Szasz!
, by Sheldon Richman
, 15 Apr 2010
Short tribute to Dr. Szasz on his ninetieth birthday, including a list of many of his books
"Thomas Szasz, the great champion of liberty and critic of what he has dubbed the 'Therapeutic State,' is 90 today. For the last 50 years, no one has worked harder or more eloquently to defend the individual from the State-medicine complex than Szasz. ... Emeritus professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center/Syracuse, Szasz is the author of some 25 books, most famously The Myth of Mental Illness, a 50th anniversary edition of which has just been published, hundreds of scholarly and popular articles, and a column in The Freeman."
Szasz on the Liberal Tradition
, by David Gordon, The Mises Review
, Sep 2004
Review of Szasz' book Faith in Freedom: Libertarian Principles and Psychiatric Practices
, highlighting his criticisms of J.S. Mill, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard and Nozick
"Thomas Szasz has long been the foremost critic of involuntary psychiatric commitment, and his many books on psychiatric tyranny have won for him a well-deserved reputation as a champion of liberty. He supports his condemnation of involuntary commitment by means of a radical thesis: mental illness is a myth. Illness, as an objective term, should be confined to physical ailments; so-called mental illnesses are in reality types of behavior that other people do not like."
Thomas Szasz - Hero of the Day
, by Ralph Raico
, The Daily Objectivist
"There is no question that, as regards psychiatry and psychology, Szasz is the great advocate of the principle of voluntary exchange, the rule of law, and the open society. But in the course of struggling for some thirty years on behalf of these libertarian ideas in a field virtually monopolized by the purveyors—and beneficiaries—of collectivist ideologies, Szasz has achieved nothing less than a Copernican revolution."
35 Heroes of Freedom: Celebrating the people who have made the world groovier and groovier since 1968
, Dec 2003
List of individuals who, according to Reason
editors, have "have made the world a freer, better, and more libertarian place by example, invention, or action" (includes the unknown martyr of Tiananmen Square and a generic "The Yuppie")
"Since the 1961 publication of The Myth of Mental Illness, the great and tireless critic of the therapeutic state (and longtime reason contributing editor) has never stopped pointing out the coercive implications of politicizing medicine and medicalizing politics."
Related Topics: Reason's 35 Heroes of Freedom
, Norman Borlaug
, Larry Flynt
, Milton Friedman
, Barry Goldwater
, Friedrich A. Hayek
, Robert A. Heinlein
, Jane Jacobs
, Rose Wilder Lane
, Willie Nelson
, Richard M. Nixon
, Ron Paul
, Ayn Rand
, Julian L. Simon
, Margaret Thatcher
, Philip R. Zimmermann
Why We Consent to Oppression: Self-suppression paves the way for political suppression
, by Peter R. Breggin
, Sep 1977
Examines the questions posed by La Boétie in his "Discourse" from a psychological perspective, particularly how childhood self-suppression leads most adults to more easily accept government oppression
"Libertarians are very aware of Thomas Szasz's work in debunking the concept of mental illness and in unmasking involuntary treatment as a crime against humanity. But they are not likely to know that Szasz has outlined a theory of human action based upon free will and choice and that as early as The Myth of Mental Illness, (1962) he began exploring the role of choice in becoming an oppressed person. In For a New Liberty, for example, Rothbard gives Szasz deserved credit as a freedom fighter against psychiatric oppression but fails to acknowledge Szasz's contribution to a theory of human conduct."
Creativity and Criminality: The Two Faces of Responsibility: Do the Mentally Ill Lack Self-Control?
, The Freeman
, Nov 2000
Questions the distinctions made between "good" creative geniuses and "bad" (mad, criminal) geniuses, and the contention that so-called insane individuals cannot control their behavior
"Accordingly, we view the mad person as having a disease (insanity) that deprives him of moral agency and hence responsibility. The evidence? That mad persons (mental patients) disavow choosing their actions and attribute their (illegal, destructive) actions to other agents, typically God or 'voices'; and that psychiatrists eagerly validate this misinterpretation by accepting the patients' claims as valid, attributing their 'symptoms' to irresistible impulses lodged in the chemistry of their brains, and excusing their crimes as the products of 'sick brains.'"
The Morality of Drug Controls
, Future of Freedom
, Apr 1990
Condensed from an article in Dealing With Drugs: Consequences of Government Control
, 1987, Ronad Hamowy (editor)
"I believe that just as we regard freedom of speech and religion as fundamental rights, so should we also regard freedom of self-medication as a fundamental right; and that, instead of mendaciously opposing or mindlessly promoting illicit drugs, we should, paraphrasing Voltaire, make this maxim our rule: 'I disapprove of what you take, but I will defend to the death your right to take it!' Sooner or later we shall have to confront the basic moral dilemma underlying the so-called drug problem: Does a person have the right to take a drug, any drug, not because he needs it to cure an illness but because he wants to take it?"
The Shame of Medicine: The Case of Alan Turing
, The Freeman
, 24 Apr 2009
Recounts the life story of Alan Turing as an example of the dangers of psychiatry
"The identification of psychiatry with medical healing and humane helpfulness is factually false and morally deceptive, concealing an existential trap with untold-of potentialities for injury and death for the entrapped. More successfully than ever, the modern 'biological' psychiatrist misrepresents his profession as based on biological science and medical discovery, while more than ever it is based on pseudoscience and therapeutic deception."
The War On Drugs Is Lost
, by Wm. F. Buckley Jr. et al., Thomas S. Szasz, National Review
, 12 Feb 1996
Symposium with essays from William F. Buckley Jr., drug policy researcher Ethan A. Nadelmann, Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, former chief of police Joseph D. McNamara, judge Robert W. Sweet, psychiatrist Thomas Szasz and law professor Steven B. Duke
"The war on drugs is a mass movement characterized by the demonizing, as Chief McNamara suggests, of certain objects and persons ('drugs,' 'addicts,' 'traffickers') as the incarnations of evil. Hence, it is foolish to dwell on the drug prohibitionist's failure to attain his avowed aims. Since he wages war on evil, his very effort is synonymous with success. It is a fatal weakness of prudential critiques of drug policy that they ignore the 'religious' character of the war on drugs."
Curing the Therapeutic State: Thomas Szasz on the medicalization of American life
, by Jacob Sullum
, Jul 2000
Subjects discussed include involuntary commitment, the insanity defense, ADHD, government drug policies and physician-assisted suicide
"People are saying that, of course, multiple personality disorder and social phobia are excesses, but schizophrenia, depression, and so on are real diseases and therefore justify involuntary hospitalization, outpatient commitment, wholesale drugging of children, of people in nursing homes, and so on. I have always challenged the 'psychoses.' Why don't you have a right to say you are Jesus? And why isn't the proper response to that 'congratulations'?"
Thomas Szasz on Freedom and Psychotherapy
, by Randall C. Wyatt, Dec 2000
Wide-ranging interview, covering mental illness, psychiatry, drugs, psychotherapy, liberty and more
"If you use language carefully and are serious about libertarianism and psychiatry, then the term 'libertarian psychiatrist' is, quite simply, an oxymoron. Libertarianism means that individual liberty is a more important value than mental health, however defined. ... Non-coercive psychiatry is also an oxymoron. This is one of the main reasons why I never considered myself a psychiatrist — because I always rejected psychiatric coercions."
Cruel Compassion: Psychiatric Control of Society's Unwanted
Partial contents: Part One: Storing the Unwanted: The Indigent - The Debtor - The Eplieptic - The Child - The Homeless - Part Two: The Political Economy of Psychiatry: The Origin of Psychiatry
Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences
Partial contents: Part One: Illness: Defining Illness - Being a Patient - Part Two: Insanity: Defining Mental Illness - Being a Mental Patient - Part Three: The Conceptual Dimensions of Mental Illness
The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement
Partial contents: The Inquisition and Institutional Psychiatry: Society's Internal Enemies and Protectors - The Witch as Mental Patient - The Manufacture of Madness: The New Manufacturer-Benjamin Rush, Father of American Psychiatry
The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct
Partial contents: Growth and Structure of the Myth - Hysteria: An Example of the Myth - Semiotical Analysis of Behavior - Rule-Following Analysis of Behavior - Game Model Analysis of Behavior
Friedman and Szasz on Liberty and Drugs: Essays on the Free Market and Prohibition
by Milton Friedman
, Thomas S. Szasz, 1992
Includes excerpts from Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
and The Tyranny of the Status Quo
by Milton Friedman and Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts, and Pushers
by Thomas Szasz
Liberty Against Power: Essays by Roy A. Childs, Jr.
by Roy A. Childs, Jr.
, Thomas S. Szasz (Foreword), Joan Kennedy Taylor
(Editor), 1 Dec 1994
19 essays on political philosophy, policy analysis and book and music reviews; topics include capitalism, objectivism, libertarianism, property rights, the draft and the war on drugs
Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, CCHR co-founder
, 11 Sep 2012
In memoriam; short segments highlighting many of Dr. Szasz key points about psychiatry and drugs. Note: CCHR is the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a non-profit mental health watchdog group