Ludwig von Mises Institute

Thomas Szasz

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Thomas Stephen Szasz (pronounced Saas) (April 15, 1920 - September 8, 2012) was a psychiatrist, academic, and prolific libertarian writer. After 1990 he was Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York. He was a well-known social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, and of the social control aims of medicine in modern society, as well as of scientism. He was well known for his books The Myth of Mental Illness (1960) and The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (1970), which set out some of the arguments with which he is most associated.

His views on special treatment followed from classical liberal roots which are based on the principles that each person has the right to bodily and mental self-ownership and the right to be free from violence from others, although he criticized the "Free World" as well as the Communist states for its use of psychiatry and "drogophobia". He believed that suicide, the practice of medicine, use and sale of drugs and sexual relations should be private, contractual, and outside of state jurisdiction.

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