Jacob Sullum on Thomas Szasz's Courageous Defense of Freedom and Responsibility

The conventional wisdom about Thomas Szasz, who died this month at the age of 92, is that he called much-needed attention to psychiatric abuses early in his career but went too far by insisting on a fundamental distinction between actual, biological diseases and metaphorical diseases of the mind. But in fact, says Senior Editor Jacob Sullum, Szasz's radicalism was one of his greatest strengths. Beginning with The Myth of Mental Illness in 1961 and continuing through 35 more books and hundreds of articles, Sullum says, the maverick psychiatrist zeroed in on the foundational fallacies underlying all manner of medicalized tyranny.


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