Thomas Szasz: A Life in Error

Dr. Thomas Stephen Szasz has died at the age of 92 at his home in upstate New York.  Born in Hungary in 1929, he came to the United States at the age of nine, trained as a psychiatrist, and served -- after a stint in the military during which he was stationed at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda -- as professor of psychiatry at the Upstate Medical Center in New York from 1956 until he retired in 1990. Szasz serves as a powerful testament to the proposition that ideas have consequences -- and that terrible ideas, no matter how demonstrably false and even absurd, can not only survive, but shape our institutions, in the process doing untold damage to human lives and the social fabric. The bizarre idea that Szasz propagated for upwards of fifty years was that mental illness does not exist.  The vast majority of Szasz's 35 books and over four hundred articles are devoted to this claim.  As Charles Krauthammer has observed, "Like the atheist who can't stop talking about...(Read Full Article)