The Corner

Re: Giving Szasz a Pass

Derb – Yeah, I kind of figured you weren’t so much endorsing the guy as revisiting him. And I will read that essay (Me=Big Fan of The New Atlantis). And, as I said, I find his writing more worthwhile than I had (but then I’m becoming a bit more libertarian). But it is interesting that you would gravitate to him at all, as there is something of a disconnect between your (seemingly) increasingly materialist understanding of human nature and Szasz’s view that the material mechanisms of human nature cannot be broken, diseased, etc. A couple readers have informed me that Szasz has joined forces with the Scientologists to discredit psychiatric medicine per se, including the use of anti-depressants and other proven remedies for all sorts of mental problems. I agree with you that the secular religion of psychiatry — the one which tries to save souls/minds through talk — has a lot of mumbo jumbo b.s. to it. But I would think that you more than anyone here would endorse the science of psychiatry and mental illness.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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