Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

Department of Justice, Law and Society

School of Public Affairs

The American University

Fall 1999


Wednesdays, 11:20 P.M. to 2:00 P.M.

Ward 302

Faculty:  Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler

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

Ward Building, 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 government 

authoritarianism.  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 40 years, psychiatry now replaces religion and is used 

by government to justify paternalism, that is, it is used to 

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 have what has come to be known as "the therapeutic 

state" (a term created by Szasz).  To what extent (if at 

all) has institutional psychiatry, that is, 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 authoritarianism 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 guarantee our right to 

self-destruction and death?  How might government 

authoritarianism 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 


     In this course we examine the answers to those and 

related questions.  We will study how the Nazis used medical 

rhetoric to justify persecution and murder in the name of 

public health.  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, and most important, the origins 

of totalitarianism according to F.A. Hayek's critique of 

socialism and Popper's views on philosophy, government, 

fascism and Marxism.  Lecture and discussion format.

     DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY is one of the courses in 

Curricular Area 4, Social Institutions and Behavior, in the 

universityUs 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, philosophical and 

policy-oriented thinking about liberty in a constitutional 


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 liberty.

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 


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

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

     University of Chicago Press. 

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

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

     University Press.

Proctor, R.N.  (1999).  The Nazi war on cancer.  Princeton, 

     N.J.:  Princeton University Press.

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

     consequences.  Syracuse, N.Y.:  Syracuse University 


Course Requirements and Grades 

Mid-term examination               30%

Final examination                  35%

Paper                              25%

Class participation                10%

                          Total = 100%


     Write an 8 to 10 page paper on any contemporary issue 

you believe involves the deprivation of liberty.  Focus on 

the relationship between the individual and state.  Include 

principles we've covered in class.  State the problem, as 

you see it, clearly.  Differentiate between fact and your 

opinion.  You're encouraged to express your opinion, just 

make sure you articulate the difference between fact and 

opinion.  Discuss a solution to this problem.  Describe 

possible problems created by your solution.  Typed.  Double-

spaced.  References as on this syllabus.  We will talk more 

about this in class.

-->  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.  

If you're having trouble with this course make an 

appointment to talk about it.

Academic Integrity Code

"Standards of academic conduct are set forth in

the University's Academic Integrity Code.  It is expected 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 requirements for this course."


Date                  Topic                                   Reading

September 1           Introduction to the therapeutic state   Szasz    

                      Psychiatry as Science

                      Psychiatry as Social Institution

September 8           Psychiatry and the Criminal Law

                      Psychiatry and Constitutional Rights

                      Psychiatry and Public Policy

September 15          The Myth of Origin and Destiny          Popper

                      Descriptive Sociology

September 22          Political Programme

                      The Background of Plato's Attack

September 29          Film 

October 6             Mid-term examination

October 13            Hueper's Secret                         Proctor

                      The Gleichschaltung of German 

                      Cancer Research

October 20            Genetic and Racial Theories

                      Occupational Carcinogenesis

October 27            The Nazi Diet

                      The Campaign against Tobacco

November 3            The Monstrous and the Prosaic

November 10           Individualism and Collectivism          Hayek

                      Central Planning, Planning and 

                      Rule of Law

November 17           Why the worst get on top

November 24           No class--Thanksgiving

December 1            Papers due

December 8            Film

December 15           Final exam      11:20 A.M. to 1:50 P.M.