Tag Archives: Thomas Szasz
Some years back I met a guy who eagerly billed himself as “the angriest mayor in America.” He was coming to speak to some of our students. He eagerly told me that he hated economists, except this one economist, a guy who unlike all the other economists told it like it really is. He then proceeded to spin some bullshit that, of course, nearly every economist rejects. But he’d found that one guy with an Econ PhD who confirmed his economic beliefs, and that was the evidence he needed to support his claim that he was right and almost all economists were wrong.
Bryan Caplan would surely shake his head in amused or weary acknowledgement of the mayor’s foolishness. And yet Caplan has done the same, in choosing Thomas Szasz as his go-to psychologist. Szasz argued that the mental illness/disease model was wrong, and that “there is no such thing as ‘mental illness’” (source). Although rejected (at least in his more extreme pronouncements) by the majority of the psych profession,* Szasz confirms for Caplan what Caplan wants to be true about psychology. That is, Caplan wants to treat these issues as merely one of preferences. (more…)
Prevailing theory assumes that people enforce norms in order to pressure others to act in ways that they approve. Yet there are numerous examples of “unpopular norms” in which people compel each other to do things that they privately disapprove. While peer sanctioning suggests a ready explanation for why people conform to unpopular norms, it is harder to understand why they would enforce a norm they privately oppose. The authors argue that people enforce unpopular norms to show that they have complied out of genuine conviction and not because of social pressure. They use laboratory experiments to demonstrate this “false enforcement” in the context of a wine tasting and an academic text evaluation. Both studies find that participants who conformed to a norm due to social pressure then falsely enforced the norm by publicly criticizing a lone deviant. A third study shows that enforcement of a norm effectively signals the enforcer’s genuine support for the norm. These results
demonstrate the potential for a vicious cycle in which perceived pressures to conform to and falsely enforce an unpopular norm re-inforce one another.
Several recent studies have investigated the consequences of racial intermarriage for marital stability. None of these studies properly control for first-order racial differences in divorce risk, therefore failing to appropriately identify the effect of intermarriage. Our article builds on an earlier generation of studies to develop a model that appropriately identifies the consequences of crossing racial boundaries in matrimony. We analyze the 1995 and 2002 National Survey of Family Growth using a parametr
If there is one thing in that statement which I would take issue with, it is Mallon’s overly optimistic belief that the new policy is “well-meaning”.
That’s because anyone who has spent any time in an Irish hospital over the last few years will have seen the smoking ban enforced in draconian and nasty ways which are simply punitive and judgmental.
Even those who have been fortunate enough to stay away from hospitals in that time can see the results of such bans.
Drive by the Mater on any rainy day, for instance, and you will see patients huddled together in their dressing gowns, exposed to the elements as they take a break from the drudgery of hospital life. This, apparently, is healthier than allowing the patients an enclosed area – which they used to have – where they could smoke without bothering anyone else and, perhaps, not get soaked to the bone at the same time.
People smoke in hospitals for a variety of reasons, and one which is never considered by the authorities is that it is actually good for their head.
Certainly, when my father spent a few years in and out of James’s hospital with the terminal, non-smoking related disease which would ultimately kill him, he measured the days by increments of when he’d go out for a smoke. It broke the endless monotony of living on a ward and, like many other long-term patients, he was determined to not become a ‘lifer’, one of those lost, institutionalised souls who simply lie in bed all day staring at the ceiling.
One might be forgiven for believing that this is more about sin and repentance than concern for the welfare of the sinners.Comment →
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