Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Defender of individual responsibility and freedom dies

Death notice for Thomas Szasz who died at the weekend. He contributed to critical psychiatry in the sense that he regarded the biological basis for mental illness as a myth.

He expressed himself forthrightly and clearly. As far as he was concerned, society shouldn't incarcerate people on the basis of so-called mental illness. I have been critical of the way his trenchant position could be said to have actually detracted from the cultural critique of medicine and psychiatry (eg. see my review of Pharmacracy.). As he said to me in an e-mail a couple of years ago, "you and I draw the line at very different places: you at conceptual issues, I at coercion-noncoercion (and psychiatric excuses vs no excuses)."

Nonetheless, we will miss his contribution to the debate about psychiatry (eg. see a positive perspective on his legacy from Phil and Poppy Barker). He was still active into his 90s and I attended a seminar he gave on the fiftieth anniversary of The myth of mental illness (see previous post). Despite his protests, he will always be associated with the history of anti-psychiatry (see my Historical perspectives on anti-psychiatry).

12 comments:

Adzcliff said...

Thanks for this Duncan - he was indeed an influential contributor to the debate.

I'm slightly surprised that I've just learnt of this news by a fleeting visit to your blog. I always assumed he'd be someone who's passing would find me, rather than the other way round.

Anonymous said...

Szasz kept his hands clean all his life. He was a champion of human rights, whereas most psychiatrists are pro forced drugging.

To forcibly drug someone is to rape their brain, hang your head in shame.

Duncan Double's apologia for the Mental Health Act runs through his "critical" psychiatry blog.

Sorry, Duncan, we don't want your help, and if you insist on forcing it on us, you'll always be an enemy of freedom.

THOMAS said...

You ought to add links to my anti-psychiatry websites.

You can preface the links with something like, (Anti-psychiatry sites of individuals)

You may not agree with mine point of view, but we do indeed believe in the same thing.

You might also like to read my novel, “The Voyage of the Cauldron Skipper” The Character Sawmill Man is a very accurate description of what a Semite God is when he describes his experience to the protagonist RB Rough.




http://acrimeagainsthumanity-13.blogspot.com/2012/09/an-important-link.html


https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!forum/schizophrenia-really-is


These are some of my other websites:

http://themilwaukeeandwisconsinnews.blogspot.com/

http://inventionsneeded.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-milwaukee-and-wisconsin-news_3927.html

Here is a listing of all of my blogs.

http://www.blogger.com/profile/14366540554253753115


If you get an idea that I am rather intelligent from reading my blogs you start to understand why some peoples souls are stolen!!!!!!! It gives validity to the stories that people tell that seem strange and are strange. But they are only strange because there is more than one person in that soul with them who likes to make them look confused. This is indeed the greatest and widest kept secret in the history of the world.

Feel free to make my links known and available to whomever you please.



Thomas Paul Murphy




Duncan Double said...

i have been asked to post a link to the satirical piece "The Szaszian View of Death, or the Myth of Death". The authors say this article is lovingly written and not critical of Szasz's views (see triibute page on Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and Responsibility website)

Adzcliff said...

Hi Anonymous.

With respect, as I understand it, the 'critical' nature of 'critical psychiatry' is to invite debate, and subject all ideas to rigorous scientific and ethical scrutiny. This compels me to ask who the 'we' is you're talking for, and what qualifies you to speak in this capacity.

Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

"we" who don't want your help counts as anyone who has it forced on them.

Any person at risk of having Duncan Double's "help" or any psychiatrist's "help" forced on them, that is, any person in society, is qualified to say they don't want this "help"

What a stupid question.

"we" in this context, by definition, it is an objective fact that anyone who says no, and is forced, doesn't want "your help".

If you say no, you're part of the "we", if you say yes, you don't need to be forced do you?

Blatantly obvious.

Adzcliff said...

Thanks for clarifying that Anonymous.

I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been unsatisfied with the mental health support you’ve received, but I still think we should be careful about speaking on behalf of others. I’ve met many people who share your view – and it’s one that needs to be heard. However I also happen to know people who were glad of a legislation that enabled professionals to intervene in their lives at a time when they were too distressed and/or confused to look after themselves. My personal view is that it’s not always easy to discern between those who don’t, and will never, want a certain type of ‘help’; and those who don’t, but will grow to appreciate it later. I’m just not sure it’s helpful to claim that every person who refuses a certain type of ‘help’ is represented by those who feel most negatively about it.

I also have a fairly high threshold for a ‘stupid question’, as I think this can stifle debate, and silence less confident critical voices. Not sure what you think?

Louise said...

Szasz states unequivocally claims in Anti-Psychiatry, Quackery-Squared that he could not identify with so-called Anti-Psychiatry. He even disputes its legitimacy as a movement. He believes that the psychiatric establishment have portrayed him as being an integral part of this so-called movement to discredit him. Another trick was to smear him as a 'leftist' when he was, in fact a right-leaning libertarian who believed passionately in the concept of personal responsibility.

Dirk Steele said...

'As he said to me in an e-mail a couple of years ago, "you and I draw the line at very different places: you at conceptual issues, I at coercion-noncoercion (and psychiatric excuses vs no excuses)." '
So where do you Duncan, draw the line?

Duncan Double said...

Dirk, of course coercion should be minimised, but I do think it can be justified on occasions both in civil and forensic cases. It is overused and there do need to be libertarian reforms of the current Mental Health Act in England and Wales, where I work. eg. There are ethical problems about community treatment orders for capable patients.

Anonymous said...

Szasz 'smeared' himself with his right wing sink or swim views in the name of personal responsibility, scientology denial, and refusal to engage with critical [non-medical model] survivors

Anonymous said...

Adzcliff said:

" However I also happen to know people who were glad of a legislation that enabled professionals to intervene in their lives at a time when they were too distressed and/or confused to look after themselves. My personal view is that it’s not always easy to discern between those who don’t, and will never, want a certain type of ‘help’; and those who don’t, but will grow to appreciate it later. I’m just not sure it’s helpful to claim that every person who refuses a certain type of ‘help’ is represented by those who feel most negatively about it.
"

Then you're nothing but a paternalist who is happy to sacrifice the innocent lives of people who are devastated for the rest of their lives by the violence of the interventions you're giving a pass to, in favor of people who claim to be "thankful" later. You utterly disgust me.

Next from you: forced bariatric surgery for the obese, where they are ripped out of their homes by police and strapped down and given gastric bypass surgery by force and the ones who are thankful are in your camp, and the ones who are terrified and devastated by this invasive "medical intervention for their own good" come to hate your guts. You really are one evil enabler of the destruction of lives if you will DARE use the "thankful" as an argument against those devastated by these unwanted, forced interventions.