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Program Number S0098

Drugs and Freedom
PBS Number 242
Moderator -
Host Buckley, William F. (William Frank), 1925-
Guest(s) 1) Szasz, Thomas Stephen, 1920- - Professor of Psychiatry at the State University of New York at Syracuse

Taped on May 16, 1973 (Louisville, KY)
Duration 60 minutes
Summary: Another round in the drug fight, this time with a man who has made his name arguing that there is no such thing as mental illness. The audience may feel at times that we‘re behind the looking glass, but the conversation does help us clarify our own thoughts about human motivation.

TS: "Drug addiction, Mr. Buckley, is a metaphor.... The phenomenon we are talking about, in my opinion, is best described by the good old English word ‘habit.‘..."

WFB: "Okay. How can we conveniently distinguish between, for instance, my habit, firmly consolidated, of requiring peanut butter for breakfast and somebody else‘s habit of requiring a heroin shot at breakfast time?"

TS: "Why should we?" WFB: "I want you to help me terminologically because I think that unless your prisms are acute enough to distinguish between peanut butter for breakfast and heroin for breakfast, you may very well be being frivolous in a dangerous sense."

TS: "... Excuse me, no, there‘s nothing frivolous about this, Mr. Buckley. The question is ... why you want to make the distinction, because in my view the only reason to make the distinction is to persecute somebody."

Subject Heading(s) Drug abuse -- Law and legislation -- United States. Narcotic habit -- United States.

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