Reason writers around town: Brian Doherty takes an appreciative look at the career of Thomas Szasz.

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  1. How do you pronounce the man’s name? Soss? Sass?

  2. A,
    I have heard various pronunciations. I asked a recent Hungarian immigrant (Who coincidentally happened to live in Cincinnati, where Szasz went to college.) and he said it was pronounced SI KI (Hmmm, not sure how to show the pronunciation, but both “i” sounds are long.). I have a feeling he has adopted a more Anglicized pronunciation because that has to be pretty confusing to most of us.

  3. Wow, a great review from Brian. I read The Myth of Mental Illness some years ago. This review compels me to get back into Szasz, and also it just sold a copy of the one reviewed.

    I think of Thomas Szasz’s writing as inspiring a sort of emotional sprit of libertarianism, albeit via his intellectual arguments but with a passionate commitment to respect for both the individual and the truth.

    What do you think Szasz says about Bi-Polar disease, aka, manic-depression? This condition is different because it actually has a physical cause, a chemical imbalance in the brain.

  4. From the Doctor’s mouth: like the first syllable of Saskatchawan.

  5. Thank you, Brian. I had never met anyone who knew for sure how HE pronounced it.

  6. Ceremonial Chemistry is my all-time favorite book. As a teenager, I wondered about the rationale behind banning some drugs while others remained legal, and how the mix of legal/illegal drugs changed over time. That book helped crystallize my opinions on the matter. I was amazed at the parallels between the Inquisition and the War on Drugs, and Szasz was almost prophetic in anticipating the excesses of the WOD.

    Whether you agree with Szasz or not, he makes you question almost universally accepted ideas.

  7. Rick,
    Are you and I the only ones here who appreciate Szasz? If so, the others have no idea what they are missing.

  8. Hardly the only ones.

    I have a few disagreements with Szasz, but always enjoy reading his articles.

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