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Subject:  Thomas Szasz RIP Date:  9/11/2012  2:28 PM
Author:  ValueSnark Number:  23728 of 23810

(Thanks to Mark Brady for the link.)

Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) was a medical doctor, distinguished author, and champion of liberty and the rights of everyone, especially the victims of what he called "ceremonial chemistry." The latter group included drug addicts and pushers, as well as casual drug consumers.

His 35 books included The Myth of Mental Illness (perhaps one of the ten or twenty most important books in the libertarian canon), The Manufacture of Madness, and Ceremonial Chemistry. These and his contributions to libertarian publications such as Libertarian Review, Reason, and others were instrumental in the growth of the libertarian movement.

He argued that there is no such thing as mental illness, as the brain is a physical organ, which is either healthy or diseased or injured.
A disease requires a symptom, such as an infection or a lesion or pain.

I well remember his visit to NYU in about 1983 and interest he sparked there and elsewhere about the ideas of "mental illness" and the rights of people persecuted by the State, and not just for the illegal use of drugs.

Anyone with remembrances of Thomas Szasz is encouraged to post them here.
It will be interesting to see how the wider world remembers him.

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