From: "harold maio" firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: "mental illness"
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 23:13:19
For a time I was an inmate in an institution in Gowanda, New York, now closed...open as a prison. While there I witnessed behaviors from employees from the surrounding community that were sadistic, but worse, as the days of my incarceration grew, I,too, began to lose sense of right and wrong, began to become as dehumanized as the people around me, who, paid not to see, saw nothing, did nothing.
There are three events that stick in my mind 30 years later: Sleeping in a room with glass windows to watch myself and about a dozen other people and waking the first morning to the screaming epithets and curses of the paid staff as they started their day, forcing people out of bed.
I called my father and asked him to help me get out of that place, to get a room, to be able to be alone, away from the curses, and I got my wish. I went to bed in my own room after thoroughly washing the floor with disinfectant to get rid of the urine smell. As I laid in bed, the stench of urine reached me in spite of all the cleaning. I could not believe it. I looked under my bed and there was the man whose room I had taken! He wanted exactly what I wanted, and it had been his.
Like the animals who screamed obscenities at us in the morning, I screamed at him to get out of my room. I had become them.
Lined up for forced drugging one morning, a creature, almost inhuman was let out of his isolated cell. He made guttural sounds, no words and crawled on the floor- but not fast enough to suit one worker, who kicked him and kicked him until I yelled, "Stop! Stop now!" He stopped, but whose son was he who kicked and he who was kicked, what had each become. And why did no one see? College students interned and learned to take the paycheck and keep quiet, it was only money.
A psychiatrist called me to his room one day. My dad had come to visit, did I have any personal belongings in my room, no I had none they had taken everything from me and given me mismatched wrong-sized clothes so I would look the part of the animal I was supposed to be in their eyes. He was going to allow my dad to take me for a ride.
In the car dad said, we are not going back, the doctor has made you voluntary, and we can just leave. Not even the end of my stay could be ethical. I had run away after being made voluntary.
The books were clean, I was gone, no one would come for me.
Harold A. Maio, MA, Survivor
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2001 10:13:47
Ceci est une lettre adréssée au Centre T.Szasz ainsi qu'à T.Szasz lui même. En Italie, la psychanalyse risque fort de disparaître en tant que discipline libre et autonome, ceci à causede l'Ordre des psychologues qui entend augmenter sa prise de pouvoir en faisant de la psychanalyse une forme de psychothérapie réservée aux "spécialistes" de la "maladie mentale".
Je vous envoie un écrit publié sur le site web de l'Académie Européenne des Sciences www.multimania.com/acisp/ , ainsi que le statut provisoire de l'Association Européenne de psychanalyse que j'ai contribué à créer et qui est basée sur un certain nombre de principes d'ordre transculturel qui vont au delà des divergences entre les diverses écoles.
Nous espèrons avoir l'honneur d'enregistrer quelques adhésions de votre part. Thank you.
via Pascoli 75/c
43039 Salsomaggiore - Italy
[Please see attached PDF files: La psychanalyse aujourd'hui: science ou psychothérapie?
and Association Européenne de Psychanalyse]
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 12:38:47 -
From: Chris Buors email@example.com
I was first alerted to the writings of Dr. Szasz when I came across an
excerpt from The Therapeutic State(1974) on drug prohibition. It was the
imagery of vast scapegoat persecutions of the past that are today
comparable to the holy war waged on people who use the wrong drugs that
impressed me at first. I read that enlightening bit of wisdom at the
activist site www.mapinc.org. It was posted by an individual I also
respect and admire who had lost his son to adulterated heroin, and
correctly identified drug prohibition as responsible.
I organized the first decriminalize drugs rally held in Winnipeg Manitoba
Canada since the 1970's. I closed off the first rally, held June 7th 1998,
at the Legislature with Dr. Szasz's insight that we are witnesses today to
a therapeutic "holy" war.
Shortly thereafter I was sentenced for "cultivating and trafficking"
(producing and distributing) to serve a 23 month conditional sentence, with
a curfew to be in my residence at 8 pm until 6 am for the first year. I
went to the local library and read some 20 of Dr. Szasz's books, putting
that time to good use. (Funny how "Our Right to Drugs" and Ceremonial
Chemistry" were unavailable.) Since then I have had over 30 letters to the
editor published between our two local newspapers. I have debated the head
of the Addiction Foundation of Manitoba on a local radio show and won
based on the teachings of Dr. Szasz. I have responded to every newspaper
story on "mental illness" that has appeared in the daily papers. Many of
the letters to the editor published "borrowed" (plagiarized) heavily from
Dr. Szasz. (And I give him credit every time.)
In Winnipeg, Rally 2000, held in conjunction with world wide events on May
6th 2000 was entitled "Restore Our Natural Right to Drugs." With the
publicity received, you can rest assured every decriminalization (I
understand the folly of "legalize" that makes the state our master and not
our servant) supporter in Manitoba has heard that "slogan."
I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to Dr. Szasz. He has inspired me to
run in the Provincial election (Sept. 99) as a member of the Libertarian
party. I ran against the Justice Minister of Manitoba, who was prepared to
sic police dogs on school children. (Justice Minister Toews lost his seat
and Premier Flimon lost power, I got 62 votes.)
I am now a Member of the Marijuana Party of Canada. I plan to run against
the current Canadian drug Czar Lloyd Axworthy in the upcoming Federal
election. I will not lose a debate because of the understanding I have
acquired through reading the works of Dr. Szasz.
340 Winterton Ave
Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada)
From: anonymous by request
7/15/00 12:10 PM
Subject: A consenting voice
Dear Dr Szasz,
I found out about your views by the lucky accident of reading Jacob
Sullum's interview with you in Reason Online. While I disagree with your
view that all irrational behaviour not caused by physical factors should
be allowed (the result would be societal chaos) I agree completely that
the concept of modern "therapy" gives far too much room for abuse by the
Case in point: bitter custody dispute. Eleven year old boy does not
want to live with his father. Said boy is forced by court order to
undergo "therapy" by a woman with a Master's in social work to help him
"adjust" to his situation.
Therapy failed to make this boy change his mind. He stubbornly
insisted on voicing valid and logical reasons for not wanting to live with
his father, including, but not limited to physical abuse by the father.
He also insisted that he would like to see his father on a regular basis:
he just couldn't live there. The social worker just as stubbornly
continued to help him adjust to his situation.
In frustration, the boy considers (aloud) killing his father as a
means of solving the problem, and writes insulting letters to the judge.
Call it a mistake or a call for help; whatever. The therapist tries to
have the boy comitted to a hospital for the criminally insane. The boy's
mother and maternal grandmother manage to block this, and he is instead
sent to a private hospital.
In this private hospital, he meets a wonderful man: a psychiatrist and
M.D. like youself. The Doctor tests the boy extensively. The boy is
visited by his father. The father is ejected by orderlies for threatening
the boy. The Doctor begins talking to the boy for several hours each day,
as well as conducting extensive interviews with the family.
The boy stayed in the hospital for eleven months for his own
protection against the influences of lawyers, judges, social workers etc.,
bent on justifying their actions at the expense of a young boy. In the
end, this brave man came forward with eighty-plus pages of daily reports
which boiled down to this: the boy wasn't psychotic; he was angry and
frustrated because he had voice, no control over his own life.
testimony of this brave man was delivered with such thoroughness,
authority and confirmed documentation that the boy was got his wish: he
lived with his mother, visited his father on weekends, played with
friends, and had an otherwise normal childhood. He graduated high school
this year, and will start college next year for architectural engineering,
after taking a year off. Needless to say, because of the good doctor, the
"therapy" was stopped.
If not for one doctor's sincere concern and interest, and qualified
insistence that the therapist's disagreement with the boy's own point of
view did not constitute psychosis, the results may have -- probably would
have -- been very different.
To Mr. Marek, who accuses Dr. Szasz of "disseminating pseudo science":
in that statement you are wrong. In many of Dr. Szasz's views, he is
disseminating common sense. The above case is one of many. Our children
are the ones being "treated" to death by therapists employed by the state who, in the
interests of job security, must meet their quota of cases in order to keep
their funding. It is in these cases in the best interests of the social
workers to keep their "patients" coming back as long as possible, whatever
the cost to the children's emotional welfare.
Why? Because children have no voice, and are at the mercy of their
therapists, who are themselves just people who have chosen a particular
career, like a doctor or a plumber, to put food on their own tables.
Subject: Published letter of Michael J. Marek at Szasz Cybercenter
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 15:18:02 +1200
Response to Mike Marek letter[see below]; from a reader in a far away land:
1. Most pathophysiology texts ignore 'mental illness' as if there was no such thing; as if disapproved conduct was not illness.
2. Some such books, however, include it but notice the difference between entries for genuine medical conditions, and the MI entries: The MI entries are full of wishful thinking, vague speculation, and metaphors; they are in stark contast to the genuine medical entries.
3. On those occasions when symptoms of genuine medical conditions have found their way into the lists of 'disapproved behaviours' drawn up by psychiatrists; and the mistake has been found; the genuine medical condition, even if newly discovered, goes straight to its appropriate specialty (e.g. neurology). Any real biological medical condition, on being so proven, DROPS OUT of psychiatry; leaving psychiatry containing nothing more than lists of disapproved-of-behaviours, and wishful speculations.
4.Linkage between behaviour and physiology/biochemistry does not, in itself, denote illness or remove free will. Example: someone chooses to go jogging. After running for a period they get 'runner's high' from chemicals naturally released in the bloodstream from prolonged running. They are not ill, and running was their free choice.
5. Incidentally; as Ivan Illich explains in "Limits To Medicine": regarding genuine PHYSICAL illness: as soon as someone makes a judgement that one bodily state is better (healthier) than another (ill); they become a "moral entrepreneur", promoting their brand of 'right' and 'wrong'. In a free society people can choose which brand of medicine they like; and whether or not they want to be 'right' ('healthy')or 'wrong'('ill') in the eyes of any one brand, is their choice.
Just one example I recently came across: Dr. F. Batmanghelidj wrote a book, about the role of water in the body, that claims the present basis of physical medicine teaching is severely flawed.
6.People who claim that they have trouble with living, or 'horrors' in their lives; and people who allege that others have trouble with living; and people who do find life difficult: all exist. They exist irrespective of what misleading labels (like MI) are placed on them by labellers.
7. Problems with living are as varied as people are varied. Often enough people express their 'problem' in terms of a perceived lack of freedom to fulfill a particular objective.
8. Charatible options for providing for the homeless, poor, etc. are many, and limited only by the will and wealth of society; lack of action on this no more justifies institutionallising people than disposing of them more speedily in gas chambers.
9. People like Thomas Szasz can not, by virtue of their stance, have any disciples. When you advocate freedom, you maximize your potential adversaries because every person is regarded as free to go their own way. That some people agree with him over certain social policies is incidental.
[Anonymous by request.]
April 13, 2000
I'd like to keep this clear and simple. Mental illness is real, as real as Alzheimer's Disease, senile dimentia, the ravages of a stroke, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or mental retardation. The reality of mental illness has been conclusively proven for the past 20 years or so. Tens of thousands of scientific studies supply this proof. Many different kinds of brain scans, such as PET, fMRI, CAT, have proven the reality of mental illness, which is now referred to as biological brain disorders. Countless twin studies and other statistical research have also verified MI's reality. Anyone who denies the reality of mental illness either hasn't picked up a medical journal in the past several decades, and/or is severely delusional him/herself.
As a member of the board of directors of Vail Place, a community support program for adults with severe and persistant mental illnesses, I know first hand that MI is real and definitely not caused by "character flaws" or lack of responsibility. As a fellow sufferer, I know that neither I nor my parents are responsible for the horror I have experienced on a daily basis for the past 30 years or so. Mental Illness cannot be "willed away," any more than any other biological disease can. Mentally ill people are not weak. On the contrary, any MI person who has not committed suicide is de facto a very persistant individual, "tried by fire," so to speak, and therefore in reality much stronger than the majority of the population, who don't realize how good they really have it.
By diseminating this pseudoscience about the "myth of mental illness," Szasz and other ignorant and delusional people like him have done inestimable harm to those in our society who are least able to help themselves. Dr. Szasz's hyperbolies have, for instance, played a pivital role in ejecting severely MI people out of the state hospitals and into the streets four decades ago, usually without any resources for survival. Furthermore, Szasz and his disciples continue to erect roadblocks against the humane treatment of the MI and against the search for cures for this most devastating spectrum of diseases.
Your misguided crusade must stop. It is contrary to decades of scientific proof. It is contrary to reason. It is definitively inhumane.
Michael J. Marek
10:54 p.m., CDT 13 April 2000 (Thu.)
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN, USA
To: Professor Thomas S.
(Dr. Bettina Piko)
Date: February 10, 1999
Dear Prof. Szasz,
I feel so honoured to keep in touch with a thinker like you.
I did not hear your views during my medical studies, but in
sociology. I must tell you that I am very glad I did not
choose psychiatry as a medical specialty. I was always
interested in studying mind and behaviour, and even do it
myself, but biological psychiatry is a crime. For me,
psychiatry is a social science, based on psychology,
philosophy, anthropology, and sociology. I entirely agree
I also think that not everybody can make a good psychiatrist.
One needs special abilities and skills, and even
personality. Yes, mental illness is still a myth -- and
more and more. If we think of neurosis, how can it be a
disease? It is per definitionem an adaptational disorder.
But adaptation is a process and dynamic, not unchangeable.
Thus, sometimes I am neurotic, sometimes not. (I do not mind
admitting that I am a neurotic, being too open to creative
challenges. Why is it a problem?)
I also like your [classical] liberal views. I liked the
ideas of Jefferson, John Stuart Mill and Hayek, whom I
studied while attending sociology courses. As I have
written in my article, the most important rule of living is
to respect the other person's personality. I am trying to
teach these rules to my students through teaching
anthropology and sociology. But middle-aged people here
were socialized in socialism and did not understand the
message of [classical] liberalism.
I am rather cosmopolitan, I also like England and Holland,
where I have been several times. I am 32 years old now and
have a husband and three cats (not children).
I am wondering how you can manage the period of your
professional repression. These years could be very
difficult for you. I am very disappointed about the future
of psychiatry and even in psychology, which has a tendency to
become a natural science as well. I like biochemistry
myself, but I do not think that it is something on which
healing of the mind should be based.
I am very glad to get familiar with your views and would be
glad to know you more.
PIKO@nepsy.szote.u-szeged.hu (Dr. Bettina Piko)
Subject: Praise for Excellent
Date: August 25, 1999
Dear Dr. Schaler:
Anyone recognizing a dog's vast intelligence has got
to be a fine fellow according to my book, sir.
I thoroughly enjoy the excellent -- and immensely
useful -- Thomas S. Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and
Responsibility as I've discovered this summer.
You might appreciate the candid views expressed in
psychiatrist Loren Mosher's open letter of resignation from
the American Psychopharmacological Association -- that is
his own euphemism -- as is available on the Internet.
Dr. Mosher's letter of resignation, written this past
December, may be read in full via the direct link below:
Since a number of psychiatrists and psychologists have
contributed to your outstanding website, I do not believe
that I'll submit anything for posting consideration. Not
that my views amount to nil, but visitors to your website
would be far less impressed by my views, I imagine, than
those provided by today's practicing psychiatrists, the
correspondence from Karl Menninger, and those views also
expressed by Sir Karl Popper, too.
I've forgotten today how I first discovered the wise,
helpful insights regarding life given us by Thomas Szasz.
Perhaps it was initially a reference to Szasz's rejection
of the existence of any "mental illness" which was made in
Karl Menninger's 1975 work, Whatever Became of Sin? -- a
gem of a book itself, I suggest -- which then caused me
to search out several of Szasz's earlier published works
at that point in my own troubled life.
Whatever, I now regard Thomas Szasz as an individual
providing one of the brightest beacons of understanding
for the rest of us as we attempt to chart our respective
voyages through the often dark and stormy seas of life.
Instead, merely consider this letter as a most
heartfelt "thank you" for making the wonderful Thomas S.
Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and Responsibility available
for all on the Internet, sir.
Very best regards,
Cyrus J. Stow, DDS
Conyers, Georgia (USA)
Subject: No subject
Date: August 19, 1999
Thank you for writing the article "Freedom, Psychiatry, and
Responsibility" in Psych News (July, 1996) that my
supervisor found on the Internet. I am a County Designated
Mental Health Professional (CDMHP) in . . . Washington.
I found your article insightful and validating. I am in
support of your perspective.
In Washington State we are the "disinterested third party"
who has the only authority to involuntary detain a person.
However in Washington State law we are protected from
liability when we detain a person; but not necessarily when
we do not detain an evaluated person, thus being more
exposed to law suits or at least various complaints from
local citizens and political stakeholders for any number of
reasons. In the cases when we advocate for a citizen's
freedom and responsibility who may have mental health issues
and we do not have the "legal evidence of imminent risk of
serious harm as a result of a mental disorder"; we often
find our self without protection from "institutional
psychiatry" except for our own devices of clinical wits,
integrity, good will with the local political stakeholders
that we find our decisions at odds with.
I think with the community's perceived increase of violence
by those labeled mental health issues and the community's
misplaced expectations that the mental health witch
doctors/priest/psychiatrist/CDMHP can dispel/exorcise/treat
or at least save the community from the evil violence of
mental illness (which seems to be classic defense mechanism
of the community's fear/anxiety). Thus with the community's
increased fears and its need to grant more authority to the
"institutional psychiatry" to protect public safety, your
article is even more timely and important.
Subject: Adventures in p$ychiatry
Date: August 27, 1999
>Generally, those who want to foist Electroshock Treatment on
>others do so because they make a living out of it and because
> it is a way of effecting social control. I suggest that more
>lawsuits be directed at doctors and others who misrepresent
>themselves to the public in the name of helping people with
>their "mental illness." One cannot reason with people who believe
>that coercion is medicine, ECT and mental illness are science. One
>has to speak to them in a language they understand, i.e., the
>full force of the law. Assertions that people don't recognize
^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^
>their mental illness and therefore don't recognize their "need"
>for ECT are fraudulent and those making such assertions should
>be held legally accountable for assault and battery, not to
>mention fraud and product liability.
> -- Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.
> Adjunct Professor, Department of Justice,
> Law and Society
I'm twenty-nine and have over eight years experience in the psychiatric
abuse department. I've had countless meds foisted upon me, seven
Hospital stays (only two were COMPLETELY unwilling, and none lasted much
more than a week), a two week stint with "the jumper cables" (ECT, six
to eight treatments), and now I'm going through a lot of terribly
gruesome withdrawl symptoms from lithium, which I discontinued over
THREE MONTHS AGO! I realized the stuff, Eskalith, was doing B-A-A-A-D
things to me. However, nobody seemed to believe me... that is until I
showed them the dermatological "welts" on my abdomen most likely caused
by the toxic substance. Since I stopped all medicines, minus my
necessary Levoxyl thyroid hormone, my mind has progressively felt much
clearer! My body, on the other hand, has felt like complete shit! More
so sometimes than others. Now, even though my current psych quickly
admits that my previous treatments were inappropriate, he is completely
clueless in remedying my ailing physical state. The only answers he has
ever demonstrated he can provide come via his trusty prescription pad!
General primary care physicians won't even begin to take me seriously
(tried that, too...). I've always been skeptical of the religion that
psychiatry is, but I desperately needed help! I have been trapped in a
stiflingly oppressive family, of much lesser intelligence than I, all my
life, who, until now, had psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers,
etc. labeling me with all sorts of ugly jargon (I am the sole product of
my mother's first marriage which ended over twenty-six years ago. I
have an adopted father, and three half-siblings, all younger). Do you
have any helpful advice for me? Or do you know where I may find some?
From: Stillborn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 22:05:27-0400
Subject: something about me
Hello my name is Mazelle De Vries, I recently stumbled apon a couple of
Szasz's book. Most importantly 'Cruel Compassion'. allow me to bore you
with the details..
I am a 22 year old woman who was dragged kicking and screaming into the
mental health prison in 1990 at the age of 14. I was having "anxiety"
given klonopin and imiprimine. I have been hospitalized several times
seen by society as "sick". As I have gotten older --through experience-
found everyone around me to be wrong most of the time.
I come from a poor family in a fairly white trash-esque community in
Massachusetts. When I began having mideas that didn't go along with
getting a 9-5 job and having children I was labelled "mentally ill". I
should also mention that I am physically addicted to the klonopin and
still (unfortunately) taking it.
This addiction has made me more of a prisoner. If I do not see my
I can't have my pills and will get violently ill.
I seek knowledge, that is my 'fault' lately I have been researching the
brain chemical Dopamine.
After I had begun taking things into my own hnds -so to speak- I found
Szazs. I should tellyou that the illustration on the front of "Cruel
Compassion" is a drawing I have been drawing myself since I was vvery
young.. (a scribbled outline of a person who looks lost and trapped
I have no college educatoin so it is fairly difficult for most in this
society to take much of my phylosophies and psychological theories
I believe that I am founding a new school that would demolish any of the
old ones as far as psychology is concerned. Somewhat a school of
acceptence. Why am I writing you?
well we share beliefs it would seem and I enjoy finding others who do. I
don't often come in contact with people who can grasp my concept of
reality. Reading "Cruel Compassion" made me feel less alone then ever in
I would appreciate a responce. but I do not expect one. If you are
intersted in exchanging ideas etc please reply.
I tend to be friendly. Then again I tend to be angry and rude.. it's
"smoke 'em if you got 'em"
-Dave the schizophrenic
From: "David E. Gallaher"
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 17:58:22-0500
Subject: Illegal drugs
Ideas we put into our head are and always have
been more dangerous than substances we put into our
bodies. The framers of the Constitution were
amazingly bold to protect the former unalienable right
with the First Amendment. What a shame they could not
conceive of government stooping so low as to restrict
our unalienable right to "self-medicate." I guess
they made the mistake of assuming that even crusty
John Adams, who enforced his Alien and Sedition Act,
would have remained impressed at the words in the
Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty, and the
pursuit of Happiness.
We need to recognize that the crusty Puritans
have so much more influence over us than we on them
simply because we tolerate them while they don't
David E. Gallaher
Cincinnati , OH
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 00:22:55
Subject: Szasz site
MM's letter [see below] prompts me to respond with one
that complements his.
Szasz' ideas found so congenial a place in my heart
for two personal reasons, I think:
1- My parents tyrannized their five children with my
mother's myriad "phobias", which were given the
imprimatur of "medical conditions" by professionals
(who bought this line and did well over the years by
selling it to my parents), and not the cruel choices
they actually were. One small instance: my mother's
phobia of New York City was the grounds for forbidding
her teenage daughter from visiting most of her grown
siblings, who lived there. (My father, the self-
declared "healthy" one, declaring her to be unstable
and ill, served as her "lieutenant", as my oldest
brother termed him. It was an exquisite mix of hatred
of and servitude to women.) These phobias were often
undeclared, to spare my mother's pride, and they
served to restrict and mystify the children on those
rare occasions we weren't neglected in our parents'
all-consuming folie a deux. Their relationship should
serve as a cautionary tale of romantic love: intense,
selfish, immensely disrespectful of the Other. No
wonder when I witness disrespect, my blood boils. It
is never academic to me. So you see, we were raised
by what MM would have become had he had children, but
not woken up in time. We children were gored by the
myth of mental illness. And, with clarity gleaned
from each other and wise sources, we see right through
it. Not surprisingly, it hits home when I see this
scam perpetrated by people to evade responsibility,
and believed in by their apologists and the public at
2- Having been raised an Orthodox Jew, I recognized in
Szasz' uncompromising (but livable) appeal to
standards of respect and responsibility and the
plea to at-least-call-a-spade-a-spade the best part of
my religion, stripped of dogma, partisanship and
I have no need of anonymity.
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 19:23:15
Subject: the web page
I'm new to the web, but not new to TSS's writings.
Great idea. Szasz opened my eyes in "75, and his
values found instant resonance in me. When I want to
describe his theme in a phrase, I tell people "respect
for the person".
He is one of the great prophets - as the term should
be used - of our era: one who calls evil-
masquerading-as-good what it is. Thank you for your
I'll refer people.
The Meaning of Liberty in Latin America
Date: Wed, 06 May 1998 17:07:45 PDT
Dear Friends of Liberty:
The fight for freedom is not over yet, and Latin America is the perfect example of this case. One of the main problems in this part of the world is that people are changing economic freedom for the so-called "political freedoms " and because of this we have to realize and understand that if the political process does not protect the private property, the life and the freedom to trade goods and services without any Rent-seeking cases;.... any other goverment regulation will not be useful.
The question here is: Are the political freedoms really worthwhile, are they really freedoms, without the ability to trade and exchange as a person wants? What good does it do me to be able to vote for a candidate if that candidate will not protect my property, or my ability to work or invest money?
And ultimately, we have to remember that economic freedom is a perfect way for removing or reducing the power of a centralized government and placing it directly into the hands of the individual.
The real political starts with a simple fact.... It has to be defined who will make decisions in society, the State or the individual. I hope politicians in Latin America will be courageous enough to recognize economic freedom is absolutely essential to ensuring the economic and spiritual health of their countries. For Latin America the Free Market System is not a necessity, it is an IMPERATIVE.
August 12, 1998
Dear Dr. Schaler:
Thank you for spreading the important ideas of Dr. Szasz through
your website. As a criminal prosecutor, I deal with issues of
freedom and responsibility on a daily basis. It is heartening
to find that Dr. Szasz's uncompromising stance in defense of
freedom and human dignity is available to the world on the
Internet. I hope you will continue to maintain the site.
July 5, 1998
Subject: Szasz books have helped me personally
When i was a child i found that i was able to escape
responsibility for anything that i did. I was born in 1965 and
i was diagnosed as being "hyperactive" early in life. My
parents and teachers were aware that i was diagnosed by a high
profile MD who was supposed to be an expert in what is now
called ADD. Take a wild guess what the first question was
asked to the other children when they misbehaved. "Why did you
do that?" Now the question i was always asked was "M., did you
forget to take your medicine?" or "Did you have sugar today" (a
common misconception back then) I would sheepishly grin and say
"i forgot to take my pill". Most of my teachers would just send
me down to the school nurse, i would take a pill and then go
back to class as if i hadn't misbehaved at all. It was a sweet
deal. Other kids misbehaved and the school called their parents
and when i misbehaved they usually sent me to the nurse. Don't
get me wrong, people still became exasperated with me however i
was able to escape the full wrath because i was seeing a
psychiatrist and taking medicine. In high school i knew
a girl that attempted suicide. She told me that the hospital
was like a resort hotel. I became upset when i was dumped for
the junior prom and I was placed in the psychiatric hospital for
depression after i made some small token cuts on my arm and
swallowed a few aspirin. I actually had the audacity to request
the same hospital my friend had been in. (i didn't go there).
Even though i was out for the last quarter of the school year i
still passed all my courses because the school psychiatrist felt
it was in my best interests not to be held back. After my high
school graduation i had twelve jobs the first year before
i slowly came to the realization that employers are not as
tolerant of impulsive behavior as my school was. I slowly
became a productive citizen and started to stay at jobs for
years instead of weeks. I worked as a __ and started to go to
college for __. I also met a nice girl and bought a house.
A year ago i did something foolish and was charged with a
misdemeanor. My lawyer told me that the charges would be
dropped if i behaved myself for a year and had a psych eval. I
trotted over to the local ADD expert and the judge told me to
report to a probation officer for six months and if I stayed out
of trouble the charges would be dropped.
I trot over to this old dingy building to see the probation
officer and i am face to face with this gruff older man. He
read the psychiatric evaluation and started to mock the wording
in it. He looked over his cubicle at the lobby where S. (my
fiancee) was sitting and said something like "You have a good
future, a nice girl and own your own house and yet you expect me
to believe that you are mentally ill". I was stunned by his
complete disregard for the professional evaluation. He continued
to lecture me in a paternal way. He informed me that i could
stop seeing the "shrink" and that i had a homework assignment.
I had to read some of the writings of Thomas Szasz. He briefly
outlined Dr. Szasz['s] opinion of mental illness and i politely
smiled and thought he was off his rocker. I went to my college
library and dusted off a copy of the Myth of Mental Illness. As
i read it i started to think about my own life and came to some
1. If a building inspector were also getting paid to fix any
code infractions he found, no building would pass inspection and
the public would be screaming about kickbacks and price gouging.
However a psychiatrist gives an opinion that there is no
concrete way to verify and then he offers to help you at a very
2. Since i was a child i learned to hide behind excuses that
well intentioned professionals made for me. I was conditioned
to the point where i believed my own press.
3. Because i was hyper and had few friends i was told by my
doctors and teachers that i had to stop trying to make people
like me and this resulted in me developing the attitude that if
people did not like me for who i was then i won't lose any
sleep. The problem remained that i still did not have any
motivation to change my behavior.
4. People do not seriously believe in Chronic Fatigue because
it does not have a complicated medical term. However how much
respect would the term "Short attention span disorder" get as
compared to Attention Deficit Disorder. If you call the fellow
who pumps your gas a "petroleum transfer engineer" it sounds
much more respectable.
After reading the Myth of Mental Illness i came to the
realization that there is nothing organically wrong with my
brain. I just happen to be an impulsive person and that society
should make no special allowances for my shortcomings. I felt
my eyes were open and called my probation officer and thanked
him. Dr. Szasz['s] book has helped me look at myself
through new eyes. I had started to take Dexedrine after the
psych eval and i found that for some reason it does help me
focus. I still take it but not because i feel i am mentally
ill, just because if it helps me slow down to a level that i
can focus without being distracted. I still believe there are
many people who benefit from psychiatric help. However i see
how the label of mental illness is abused by a lot of
people. If you are personally acquainted with Dr. Szasz,
please thank him from the bottom of my heart. Please let me
know if he will be giving any lectures or debates in the
Pennsylvania area anytime in the near future. I would love to
take the probation officer because he thinks the sun rises and
sets on Dr. Szasz.