psychiatric mainstream. This in turn fueled Szasz’s sense ofrnthe political. He became involved in the politics of libertarianism.rnFor his work moved from a critique of a profession to a defensernof the person, or as Szasz liked to put it, “to a struggle forrnself-esteem.” His approving citation of C.S. Lewis serves Szaszrnas a final judgment, not on the scientific pretenses of a profession,rnbut on its moral claims: “Of all the tyrannies a t}Tanny’ sincerelyrnexercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.rnTo be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of statesrnwhich we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level withrnthose who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, andrndomestic animals.” But in claiming that “these words still applyrnto psychiatry today,” he only increased the level of hisrnmarginality. He became vulnerable to assaults in ways he couldrnhardU’ have imagined in the late 1950’s, when The Myth ofrnMental Illness first appeared.rnThis is not aimed to provide a brief history of Szasz; not atrnall. It is rather to make clear the politics of psychiatry and thernethics of a ps’chiatrist. W’liat emerges is hardlv a pretty picturernof professional and academic life in America. The best that canrnbe said is that such a life is never dull; the worst that can be saidrnis that those in charge of a profession are not by any means bestrnfit to be the guardians of scientific considerations. The longrnand short of it is that Szasz has garnered the public rewards ofrnhis marginality, while at the same time pa ing a heavy price inrnterms of the professional emoluments.rnNonetheless, it might be said, more in sorrow than criticism,rnthat the psychiatry and psychoanalysis of the mid-1990’s isrnradically different from that of the 1950’s. When Szasz startedrnwriting on fundamental themes, American culture, no less thanrnmedical practice, still accepted electroshock therapy as a norm,rnand took for granted the blessings of incarceration—forces andrnotherwise—upon those labeled mentally ill. While the humanizationrnof treatment has not been entirely even or steady, itrnis sufficiently noteworthy to raise questions about the tactics ofrncritical analysis. One would like to see Szasz take some creditrnfor such new developments rather than flog a dead, or at leastrnbadl- injured, pseudoscientifie horse.rnGiven this combination of intellectual circumstances, it isrnlittle wonder that Szasz, in the twilight of his life, can boast fewerrnacolytes than far lesser figures, hi part, this is a consequencernof the double edge of Szasz’s work: it devastates totalitarianism,rnin its fascist and communist varieties, with equal force, and itrncuts down ideological humbug, howeer meliorate or humanernits social intentions or scientific pretensions. Thus it is thatrnSzasz must deal with the loneliness, the isolation, that comesrnfrom moralism as a personal posture no less than as an elementrnin his analysis of a discipline. The “struggle for self esteem”rnwhich Szasz offers is a lonely struggle—and again, one that hasrna curious analog in Freud’s notions of self-liberation throughrnrather than against the therapeutic process. Thus it is thatrnSzasz cannot quite free himself from his adversaries within psychiatryrn—in part because of a magnificent obsession with thernsubject, but in great measure because he shares with a centuryrnof psychiatry, despite its own ambiguities and doubts, thernsearch for human liberation—however fumbling that searchrnmay be at different times and different places.rnhi what might well be called the anomaly of success, Szaszrnnow takes his place in the pantheon of the very psychiatricrnmovement that he has so chastised and devalued over the years.rnBut that is because the secret is out, due in part to Szasz’s ownrnefforts: the function and structure of psychiatry, especially psychoanalyses,rnbelongs more to the search for ethical moorings inrna secular worid than empirical science as such. The sooner thernpractice of psychoanalysis realizes this, the earlier we can all getrnon with the shared task of fashioning a new, and more modest,rnscience of human nature. Curiously, Szasz put this search inrnquite elegant perspective in the preface to his first, and perhapsrnmost enduring book. The Myth of Mental Illness: “I believe thatrnpsychiatry could be a science. I also believe that psychotherapyrnis an effective method of helping people—not to recover fromrnan ‘illness,’ it is true, but rather to learn about themselves, others,rnand life.” crnL M OrnET US KNOWrnBEFORE YOU GO!rnTo assure uninterrupted delivery of CHRONICLESrnplease notify us in advance. Send change of addressrnon this form with the mailing label from your latestrnissue of CHRONICLES to:rnSubscription Department, CHRONICLESrnP.O. Box 800, Mount Morris, Illinois 61054rnNEW ADDRESSrn26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn