Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

Department of Justice, Law and Society
School of Public Affairs
The American University

Fall 1997
Tuesdays, 2:10pm to 4:50pm
Ward 110

Faculty: Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler
Office: Ward 216
Telephone: (301) 585-5664 in Silver Spring, Md., E-mail:
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 that 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." 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 guarantee 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, the ethics of drug prohibition, medical and occupational licensure as social control, and most importantly, the origins of totalitarianism according to F.A. Hayek's critique of socialism. 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 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 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 what happens in involuntary treatment for mental illness and drug addiction.
  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. (RTS)
Szasz, T.S. (1997) Insanity: The idea and its consequences. Syracuse University Press. (I)
Szasz, T.S. (1994). Cruel compassion: Psychiatric control of society's unwanted. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (CC)
Trebach, A.S. and Zeese, K.B. (1992). Friedman and Szasz on liberty and drugs: Essays on the free market and prohibition. Washington, D.C.: The Drug Policy Foundation Press. (OLD)
Course Requirements and Grades 

Test 1	 					20%
Mid-term examination				30%
Debate						15%
Final examination					30%
Class participation				 5%
				 	   Total = 100%

Class  Schedule

Date				Topic					Reading

September 2			Introduction:  
				What this course is all about
				Defining illness			I:  1-26
				Being a patient				I:  27-44
				Defining mental illness			I:  45-98
September 9			Being a mental patient			I:  99-132
				Mental illness as metaphor		I:  133-215
				Mental illness and intentionality	I:  216-236
September 16		First examination - 
				2:10pm to 3:30pm, 
				lecture begins at 3:45pm
				Mental illness and responsibility	I:  237-278
				Mental illness as strategy		I:  279-296
September 23		Mental illness as justification			I:  297-318
				Mental illness as legal fiction		I:  319-341
				Mental illness as explanation		I:  342-366
September 30		Storing the Unwanted:  
				The Indigent				CC:  ix-26
				The Debtor & The Epileptic		CC:  27-62
				The Child & the Homeless		CC:  63-100
				The Political Economy of Psychiatry:  
				Origin					CC:  101-122
				Economics and Psychiatry		CC:  123-139
October 7			Adult Dependency:  
				Idleness as Illness			CC:  140-168
				The New Psychiatric Deal	
				Re-Storing the Mental Patient		CC:  169-200
				The Futility of Psychiatric Reform
October 14		Mid-term examination- 
				2:10pm to 3:30pm, 
				lecture begins at 3:45pm
				The role of Government 
				in a Free Society,			OLD 7-24
				Medical Licensure				
October 21			Can the Consumer Be Trusted?		OLD 25-43
				Authority, Autonomy 
				and the Scapegoat			OLD 81-98
				Cures, Drug Prohibition and 
				Bad Habits				OLD 99-132
				A Dialogue on Drugs, Heroin, 
				Property				OLD 133-158
October 28			Introduction, Individualism 
				and Collectivism			RTS ix-48
November 4			Central Planning, Rule of Law		RTS 49-111
				Security and Freedom, 
				Why the worst Get on Top		RTS 112-147
November 11			The End of Truth			RTS 148-182
				Socialist Roots of Nazism		RTS 183-220
				Prospect of International Order		RTS 231-262
November 18		Debates
November 25			No class, Thanksgiving holiday
December 2		Debates
December 9			Contemporary issues
December 16		Final examination, 
				2:10pm to 4:40pm			Cumulative

A debate topic will be assigned by Dr. Schaler. Participation in the debate is mandatory. You will be assigned a position to defend in the debate. You must submit a one-page, typed, single-paged copy of your statement to Dr. Schaler.
Debate topic: Pro Con Team #: Team members:

* 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

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."