Thomas Szasz and Right-wing labelingSubmitted by Chas on Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:37pm
I have to admit being somewhat flummoxed by the usual reaction i get from the so-called "well-educated" set when it comes to mentioning the largely excellent ideas of the leading psychiatric dissident (tho a psychiatrist himself!), Thomas Szasz.
Apparently, a lot of "Liberals" (the Left wing of the colonial project, where, i guess, neo-colonialism is to be liberally applied) look down their noses in a knee-jerkedly soldier-like fashion, at least in my intuitive experience, when the ideas of Szasz are heard. Maybe that's because Szasz has been so uncompromising in his long-running dissent? But it might also have to do with a fundamental irrationality on the part of the institutionally-educated Liberal-type (not that "Conservatives" are any better!).
As a survivor of psychiatric force and manipulation, i hold Szasz up as a crucial champion, amongst an all too small group of others. And while it may be true that his alternative to forced institutionalization in a psychiatric control unit is apparently continued imprisonment in the other kind of control unit called prison/jail/et al, i for one would rather be viewed as having a sound mind than having an "unsound" mind, where my brain is supposed to make anything i say i am completely irrational and unimportant! And thus ignored by those sworn to "protect" me and the rest of us survivors of psychia-trickery!
So it's always a curious thing when Liberals promote the allegedly "better" place to be stuck forcefully over the allegedly worse place. (But of course, i think BOTH places should be abolished --i'm in agreement with many anti-authoritarians on this one!). Maybe the psychiatric institution is a better place to be stuck in than the penal institution? i would say incrementally so, with my argument above as the leading difference!
As for Szasz's alleged Right-wing ideological stuckness, i wonder what that really means? Right-wing in the idea that he fits squarely in with the status-quo in ...what? And non-Left because he doesn't go along with the paternalism of the Liberal game??
So, what, dear reader (professional and non) do you think? Is there a good reason to think through more carefully what Dr.Szasz is promoting? (and please don't try to dissuade me on character assasination grounds, i.e. his alleged connections with the church of scientology, since you'll be wasting your time with this critical thinker!)
i'd really really like to have a rational dialogue on THIS topic! Anyone dare?
NOTE: for those uninitiated into Szaszian thought, i highly recommend Weinberg and Vatz (Thomas Szasz: Primary Values and Major Contentions, 1983), amongst others. See also www.szasz.com