Szasz, Thomas (15 April 1920– )
A professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York Medical School, the Hungarian born Dr. Szasz (pronounced: sass) was named 1973 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association. Szasz is a Humanist Laureate in the Council for Secular Humanism’s International Academy of Humanism and is a contributing editor for Free Inquiry.
He has written Psychiatric Justice (1965); The Insanity Plea and the Insanity Verdict (1974), which argues that the insanity plea should be abolished; Cruel Compassion (1994); and Our Right to Drugs (1996). With Milton Friedman, he wrote On Liberty and Drugs (1992).
Szasz has been criticized negatively by some whereas others credit him with having done more than most in alerting the American public about the potential dangers of an excessively psychiatrized society. “In a free society,” Szasz claims in one of his controversial views, “a person must have the right to injure or kill himself.” He also holds that “the poor need jobs and money, not psychoanalysis.”