Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mind Games at Gitmo

"The question that the Pentagon leadership has been focusing on, and which was a key subject of discussion during our day at Gitmo, is whether there is an ethical difference between using psychologists rather than psychiatrists on interrogation teams... But this is a red herring. It is hair-splitting that detracts from the real issue of whether health professionals of any stripe can ethically be involved in interrogations that may involve coercive techniques or torture. The answer is clearly no."

Full article

Saturday, December 10, 2005

R.W. Bradford, RIP

R.W. Bradford, editor and publisher of Liberty magazine, passed away on Thursday.

Dear friends,

I am grieved to tell you that R.W. Bradford, founder of "Liberty," died on Thursday, December 8, at his home in Port Townsend, Washington. He was 58 and had fought heroically against cancer for many months.

Bill was surrounded by friends and family, and by the good wishes of his many friends throughout the world.

An upcoming issue of "Liberty" will feature a commemoration of Bill's life. His work will continue.

Stephen Cox
For "Liberty"

You can read more about R.W. Bradford here, here, and here.

The Politics of Mental Illness: Myth and Power in the Work of Thomas S. Szasz

If mental illness existed, would compulsory hospitalization and treatment of those who presumably have it be justified?

Jan Pols is a Dutch psychiatrist who published a book (his thesis) about the writings and ideas of Thomas Szasz in 1984. His attitude towards Szasz is ambiguous. On the one hand he greatly admires him, on the other hand he rejects some of Szasz’s key arguments.

In Pols’s view, compulsory hospitalization and treatment are unjustified precisely because mental illness is real illness, and thus subject to the same ethical standards as somatic illness. He ends his book with a suggestion for eliminating compulsory hospitalization in the Netherlands.

When his book appeared, his colleagues received it with a great deal of hostility, even though this was at the tail end of the “antipsychiatry” era. It was a book destined to be quickly forgotten, particularly as on a world scale, not many people read Dutch. But now he has collaborated with translating it into English, and you can read it too, here: www.janpols.net

Psychiatry Ponders Whether Extreme Bias Can Be an Illness

Psychiatry Ponders Whether Extreme Bias Can Be an Illness

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 10, 2005; Page A01

The 48-year-old man turned down a job because he feared that a co-worker would be gay. He was upset that gay culture was becoming mainstream and blamed most of his personal, professional and emotional problems on the gay and lesbian movement.

These fixations preoccupied him every day. Articles in magazines about gays made him agitated. He confessed that his fears had left him socially isolated and unemployed for years: A recovering alcoholic, the man even avoided 12-step meetings out of fear he might encounter a gay person.


Cf. Is extreme racism a mental illness?

Partial transcript here

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty

What's New

Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty

The Cato Institute is pleased to invite nominations for the third biennial Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty. The prize, which carries a $500,000 award, will be personally presented to the winner at a dinner on May 18, 2006, in Chicago, where Milton Friedman lived and worked for many years.

The winner needs to meet only one criterion: to have made a significant contribution to advancing human liberty. Nominees may be from any and all walks of life. Scholars, activists, and political leaders have been among the hundreds of nominations submitted for the first two prizes. Nominations must be submitted by December 31, 2005.