"Myth of mental illness." Mental illness is a metaphor (metaphorical disease).
The word "disease" denotes a demonstrable biological process that affects the bodies
of living organisms (plants, animals, and humans). The term "mental illness" refers
to the undesirable thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of persons. Classifying thoughts,
feelings, and behaviors as diseases is a logical and semantic error, like classifying
the whale as a fish. As the whale is not a fish, mental illness is not a disease.
Individuals with brain diseases (bad brains) or kidney diseases (bad kidneys) are
literally sick. Individuals with mental diseases (bad behaviors), like societies
with economic diseases (bad fiscal policies), are metaphorically sick. The classification
of (mis)behavior as illness provides an ideological justification for state-sponsored
social control as medical treatment.
Separation of Psychiatry and the State. If we recognize that "mental illness"
is a metaphor for disapproved thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, we are compelled
to recognize as well that the primary function of Psychiatry is to control thought,
mood, and behavior. Hence, like Church and State, Psychiatry and the State ought
to be separated by a "wall." At the same time, the State ought not to interfere
with mental health practices between consenting adults. The role of psychiatrists
and mental health experts with regard to law, the school system, and other organizations
ought to be similar to the role of clergymen in those situations.
Presumption of competence. Because being accused of mental illness is similar
to being accused of crime, we ought to presume that psychiatric "defendants" are
mentally competent, just as we presume that criminal defendants are legally innocent.
Individuals charged with criminal, civil, or interpersonal offenses ought never
to be treated as incompetent solely on the basis of the opinion of mental health
experts. Incompetence ought to be a judicial determination and the "accused" ought
to have access to legal representation and a right to trial by jury.
Abolition of involuntary mental hospitalization. Involuntary mental hospitalization
is imprisonment under the guise of treatment; it is a covert form of social control
that subverts the rule of law. No one ought to be deprived of liberty except for
a criminal offense, after a trial by jury guided by legal rules of evidence. No
one ought to be detained against his will in a building called "hospital," or in
any other medical institution, or on the basis of expert opinion. Medicine ought
to be clearly distinguished and separated from penology, treatment from punishment,
the hospital from the prison. No person ought to be detained involuntarily for a
purpose other than punishment or in an institution other than one formally defined
as a part of the state's criminal justice system.
Abolition of the insanity defense. Insanity is a legal concept involving
the courtroom determination that a person is not capable of forming conscious intent
and, therefore, cannot be held responsible for an otherwise criminal act. The opinions
of experts about the "mental state" of defendants ought to be inadmissible in court,
exactly as the opinions of experts about the "religious state" of defendants are
inadmissible. No one ought to be excused of lawbreaking or any other offense on
the basis of so-called expert opinion rendered by psychiatric or mental health experts.
Excusing a person of responsibility for an otherwise criminal act on the basis of
inability to form conscious intent is an act of legal mercy masquerading as an act
of medical science. Being merciful or merciless toward lawbreakers is a moral and
legal matter, unrelated to the actual or alleged expertise of medical and mental
In 1798, Americans were confronted with the task of abolishing slavery, peacefully
and without violating the rights of others. They refused to face that daunting task
and we are still paying the price of their refusal. In 1998, we Americans are faced
with the task of abolishing psychiatric slavery, peacefully and without violating
the rights of others. We accept that task and are committed to working for its successful
resolution. As Americans before us have eventually replaced involuntary servitude
(chattel slavery) with contractual relations between employers and employees, we
seek to replace involuntary psychiatry (psychiatric slavery) with contractual relations
between care givers and clients.