Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

Department of Justice, Law and Society

School of Public Affairs

The American University

Fall 1998


Wednesdays, 2:10pm to 4:50pm

Ward 2

Faculty:  Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler

Office:  Dept. of Justice, Law, and Society, Nebraska 

Hall, 2nd floor

Telephone:  (301) 585-5664 in Silver Spring, Md.

Office hours:  (by appointment)

Course Description

     "They say that freedom is a constant struggle," 

sang the Mississippi "freedom fighters" during the 

Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.  Today, there are 

less visible struggles for freedom, yet they are no 

less constant.  One concerns the right to be left 

alone--the liberty of individual autonomy against the 

restraint of governmental authority.  Is it 

constitutional for government to protect citizens from 

themselves and deprive them of liberty in the process? 

     Freedom of and from religion were dear to Thomas 

Jefferson and James Madison.  The First Amendment was 

written to separate church and state and serves to 

protect against those who would deprive us of liberty 

in the name of religion.  According to some 

influential writers over the past thirty-five years, 

psychiatry now replaces religion and is used by 

government to justify paternalism, i.e. deprive 

citizens of liberty.  For example, behaviors formerly 

considered "good" and "bad" are now labeled as medical 

"signs" of "mental health" and "mental illness."  

Psychiatrists are empowered by the state to "restore" 

liberty and autonomy in those persons considered 

"mentally ill"--even if those labeled "sick" don't want 

to be "cured."  Thus do what have what has come to be 

termed "the therapeutic state" (Szasz).  To what 

extent (if at all) has institutional psychiatry, i.e. 

psychiatry sanctioned by the state, replaced the 

religious tyranny Jefferson and Madison worked so hard 

to protect us against?  

     The war on people called the "war on drugs" is 

another example of government authority used to 

deprive citizens of the liberty to own, distribute and 

consume mind-altering drugs.  Most citizens support 

the "war on drugs."  Yet, if the Constitution 

guarantees our right to life, liberty and property, 

doesn't it also guaran-tee our right to self-

destruction and death?  How might governmental 

authority evolve to ultimately deprive citizens of 

individualism and liberty in those situations?  Might 

such policies ultimately lead to a totalitarian 

society?  When, if ever, is such deprivation of 

liberty constitutionally justified?

     In this course we examine the answers to those 

and related questions.  We will discuss the ways 

government deprives individuals of liberty in a "free" 

society by focusing on the relationship between 

liberty and responsibility, psychiatry and government, 

medical and occupational licensure as social control, 

and most important, the origins of totalitarianism 

according to F.A. Hayek's critique of socialism and 

Popper's views on philosophy, government, facism and 

Marxism.  Lecture and discussion format.

     DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY is one of the courses in 

Curricular Area 4, the Social Institutions and 

Behavior, in the university's General Education 

Program.  This course is taken as part of a two-course 

sequence.  The foundation courses preceding it include 

Individuals and Organizations (54.105), Psychology:  

Understanding Human Behavior (57.105), and Justice in 

America (73.100).  DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY explores in 

more depth a topic introduced in those three 

foundation courses.  

Course Objectives

1.  To improve the student's legal, philosphical and 

policy-oriented thinking about liberty in a 

constitutional democracy.

2.  To evaluate the values, costs, and logic of the 

ways in which classes of people (e.g., drug users and 

those labeled as mentally ill) are defined as 

dangerous to themselves and others and deprived of 


3.  To explore the social, economic and political 

origins of totalitarianism and their relationship to 

authoritarian and paternalistic government policies in 

the US today.

4.  To understand the meaning of "the therapeutic 

state" and what happens in involuntary treatment for 

mental illness and drug addiction;  the structure and 

function of the insanity defense;  and deprivations of 

due process via psychiatric testimony.

5.  To understand the basic principles of public 

policy based in classical liberalism and collectivism.

6.  To develop skill in debating controversial legal 

and public policy issues.

Required Texts

Friedman, M.  (1982).  Capitalism and freedom.  

     Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.

Hayek, F.A.  (1994).  The road to serfdom.  Chicago:  

     The University of Chicago Press.  (RTS)

Popper, K.  (1971).  The open society and its enemies:  

     Part I - The spell of Plato.  Princeton, N.J.:  

     Princeton University Press.

Szasz, T.S.  (1997)  Insanity:  The idea and its 

     consequences.  Syracuse, N.Y.:  Syracuse 

     University Press. (I)

Szasz, T.S.  (1988).  The theology of medicine.  

     Syracuse, N.Y.:  Suracuse University Press.

Course Requirements and Grades 

Mid-term examination                 45%

Final examination                    45%

Class participation                  10%

                            Total = 100%


Date          Topic                    Reading

September 2     Introduction to the 

                therapeutic state                    Szasz

                Psychiatry as Science

                Psychiatry as Social Institution

September 9     Psychiatry and the Criminal Law

                Psychiatry and Constitutional Rights

                Psychiatry and Public Policy

September 16    The Theology of Medicine       Chapts. 1-6

September 23    The Theology of Medicine            Finish

September 30    Film:  "Ship of Fools" 

                (based on the book by Katherine A. Porter)

October 7        Mid-term examination

October 14      The Myth of Origin and Destiny      Popper

October 21      Descriptive Sociology               Popper

October 28      Political Programme                 Popper

November 4      The Background of Plato's 

                Attack                              Popper

November 11     Individualism and Collectivism

                Central Planning, Planning and 

                Rule of Law                          Hayek

November 18     Why the worst get on top             Hayek

November 25     No class--Thanksgiving        Finish Hayek

December 2      Capitalism and Freedom            Readings


December 9      Capitalism and Freedom            Readings


December 16     Final examination    2:10 P.M. to 4:40 P.M. 

*  Clear and accurate writing will be taken into 

account in assigning grades, as well as 

participation in class discussions.  Material 

discussed in class, or in films, and not in any of the 

readings, may form the basis for questions on the 

examinations.  One grade reduction for over 

three class absences.  Students are responsible 

for anything covered in class during their absence.  

Readings must be completed by the session to which 

they are assigned.  Additional readings may be 

assigned during the course.  Students are encouraged 

to form study groups on their own.  Grades:  A-=90, 

B+=89, B-=80, C+=79, C-=70, etc.

Academic Integrity Code

"Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the 

University's Academic Integrity Code.  It is ex-pected 

that all examinations, tests, written papers, and 

other assignments will be completed according to the 

standards set forth in this code.  By registering, you 

have acknowledged your awareness of the Academic 

Integrity Code, and you are obliged to become familiar 

with your rights and responsibilities as defined by 

the Code.  Violations of the Academic Integrity Code 

will not be treated lightly, and disciplinary action 

will be taken should such violations occur.  Please 

see me if you have any questions about the academic 

violations described in the Code in general or as they 

relate to particular require-ments for this course."