Cognitive Liberty & Mental Health

What exactly is "mental health" and who gets to decide whether or not your mind is healthy? Certainly, if a person's conduct is a danger to others, the State ought to intervene. But, history shows that various mental health labels have been exploited by the State for political purposes, and that people have been (and continue to be) subjected to "mental health" treatment against their will, although they pose no danger to others.  Such State actions raise deep concerns, and ought to be recognized as human rights violations that are unconstitutional violations of the fundamental right to cognitive liberty and autonomy.

See Also:
CCLE Neuroethics Project
CCLE Ritalin Resources


CCLE Materials in Legal Case Objecting to Forced-Drugging of Dentist

"On the one hand the government is bent on creating a "Drug Free America," while on the other hand it forces a citizen to take mind-altering drugs despite his repeated objection," said Mr. Boire. "The only thing consistent here is the government's astonishingly arrogant assertion that it has the power to determine which mind states and types of thinking are allowed and which it can prohibit or coerce." 

Drugs Can Kill You

Eighth Circuit rules that death row inmate can be force-drugged in order to make him mentally fit for execution.

Scott Starson, Canadian Physics Professor Fights Against Being Forced Drugged

Chemical Straight Jackets for Children, by Thomas Szasz

"In a paper published in January 1957 -- at the dawn of the "new psychiatric revolution" -- I stated that psychiatric drugs are "chemical straitjackets" that control -- not cure -- the persons self-servingly called "patients." [Elsewhere I commented] about the nineteenth-century epidemic of mental illness called "masturbatory insanity." In this column, I comment about our present-day epidemic of mental illness called "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)."

Drug Use as Disease?: Development of the Disease Model

"Th[e] change in perception of drug abuse from sin to disease led to the adoption of a new terminology. Toward the end of the 19th century, the temperance and antiopium social movements started using the term addiction to refer exclusively to the excessive use of drugs, and it replaced terms like intemperance and inebriety (Alexander and Schweighofer, 1988). The medical profession also adopted the term addiction and started using it as a diagnosis and an explanation of excessive drug use, thereby giving it the implication of a disease."


A site with information about the pro's and con's of electroshock therapy, as well as legal information and news/alerts about people receiving ECT against their will.

"Gender Identity Disorder" Should be Removed from the DSM

"APA removed homosexuality from DSM-III in 1973; with the 1987 publication of DSM-III-R, ego-dystonic homosexuality was deleted as well. Thus, homosexuality is no longer considered an illness. But a vestige of those earlier diagnoses remains in DSM-IV in the category of psychiatric illness known as "gender identity disorder" (GID) in children, which implicitly labels homosexual boys as mentally disordered."

Key Legal Cases

Pivotal legal cases in the field of "mental illness law."

Support Coalition International

"The roots of Support Coalition International go deeply into the psychiatric survivors' liberation movement itself, which came directly out of civil rights ferment of the late 1960's and early 1970's. The description "psychiatric survivors" is used by individuals who identify themselves as having experienced human rights violations in the mental health system." SCI often calls attention to individual cases in which people are being given electroshock therapy against their will.

The Thomas S. Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty & Responsibility

Thomas Szasz, respected professor, renowned author, and CCLE Board of Advisors member, was among the first to take to task misapplied terms of “mental illness” in his classic critique, The Myth of Mental Illness as really an applied cultural metaphor that effectively maligns undesirable thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of persons. This site is a tribute to his on-going integrity and diligence in his life and work.

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