Szasz Tromps The Latest Psychiatric Idiocy

The heroic Tom Szasz has an excellent piece today on the Foundation for Economic Education website trouncing the mass “lock ’em up” reflex to the Virginia Tech shootings.

It is a helluva thing when the “experts” respond to a government’s prohibition of self-defense (Va. Tech was a proud gun-free zone, except for cops & mass killers) to sanctify giving government far more power.

Szasz was vilified in a Wall Street Journal piece yesterday that  derided him for being part of a commission that “purports to investigate human rights violations perpetrated by mental health professionals.”

This is from the same newspaper editorial page that sneers about how the ACLU purports to investigate “torture” at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and other US bases.

Szasz has a new book coming out entitled Coercion as Cure: A Critical History of Psychiatry.   Much of the folly in contemporary political thought is the result of the refusal to recognize the pervasive role of government coercion in modern life.   Instead, good intentions – in presidential decrees and psychiatric detention orders – supposedly make the coercion irrelevant.  


7 Responses to Szasz Tromps The Latest Psychiatric Idiocy

  1. Orville H. Larson April 25, 2007 at 12:25 am #

    Szasz recognizes how dangerous psychiatrists, these high priests of psychobabble, can be. More power to him.

    Of course, critics have always maintained that psychiatry is hocus-pocus bullshit. Years ago, I read the book “The Death of Psychiatry” by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. (a psychiatrist himself). It was a harsh attack on psychiatry.

    I still have a copy of Edgar Berman, M.D.’s book “The Solid Gold Stethoscope” (1976), an incisive, witty attack on his own medical profession. Berman has a chapter on psychiatry, in which he says, “It’s been said that a psychiatrist is a Jewish doctor who can’t stand the sight of blood….” Berman says that the basis of psychiatry is mother, father, and masturbation, and that after seeing a psychiatrist for years, you wonder if your problems are gone, or just your money.

    Of the medical specialties, psychiatrists have the highest rates of alcholism, suicide, and drug addiction.
    (Looks like the practitioners of psychobabble had better tend to themselves first, huh?)

    When it comes to killers, psychiatrists are famous for being right–after the fact.

    By the way, one of the leading warmongering neocons–Charles Krauthammer–is a psychiatrist. Doesn’t that scare the shit out of you?!

  2. Mace Price April 25, 2007 at 6:37 am #

    …Krauthammer a Psychiatrist? The idea scares the shit of me let alone the fact. Apart from that, Psychotherapy is in essence an exorbitant talk with an authority figure, while Psycho pharmacology is not

  3. Joe B. Carter April 25, 2007 at 4:45 pm #

    I never knew that neocon nutcase Krauthammer is a psychiatrist.

    Surely, Krauthammer’s warmongering is evidence of a psychosis that is amenable to therapeutic intervention?

    I recommend that Krauthammer get himself into the hands of–well, a psychiatrist!

  4. D. Saul Weiner April 26, 2007 at 10:54 am #

    Szasz is heroic, though sometimes confusing. I have read interviews where he will basically say that psychiatry is OK as long as it is not coerced. And then he will also say that there is no such thing as mental illness. While I agree that behavior has become medicalized and pathologized, I find it very hard to accept that there are no legitimate cases of mental illness. Of course, what should be done in those cases is open to question, i.e. it is not a foregone conclusion that the conventional measures are the correct ones.

  5. Mace Price April 26, 2007 at 7:12 pm #

    …I believe that the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is a Doctor of Psychiatry as well. Seems to me this branch of medicine, war and propaganda perhaps go together after all. There has been more than one notorious Political Doctor. Some of whom as you know, were not averse to direct participation in homicidal repression, as opposed to the more Gentlemanly advanced species whom prefer the indirect approach to bloodletteing…like Krauthammer.

  6. D. Saul Weiner April 27, 2007 at 1:15 pm #

    The link between Psychiatry and propaganda goes way back. The section below is from a article titled “Freud, Propaganda, and the Total State”

    Edward L. Bernays, nicknamed the Father of Spin, was the creator of modern propaganda. Bernays was Sigmund Freud’s nephew, and applied Freud’s work to the art of mass persuasion by blending advertising techniques with an understanding of human psychology. Bernays worked for the Committee on Public Information, otherwise known as the CPI. This government agency was created by President Woodrow Wilson in 1917 for the purpose of mustering public support for World War One.

    The original propaganda campaign had three rules:

    Stress emotion over logic,
    Demonize the enemy, and
    Promise a war that will make the world safe for democracy.

  7. Mace Price April 28, 2007 at 8:28 pm #

    …Edward L.Bernays and J.Edgar Hoover started together–And we’re presently living the results.