How Long Until Psychiatric Coercion Is Not Accepted?

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At one time it was considered acceptable by many (around two thousand years ago) to persecute those who identify as Christian. Then around one thousand to six hundred years ago it was considered acceptable by many to persecute those who reject the beliefs of Christianity. Chattel slavery (owning other humans as property) was once thought to be acceptable and alright by many individuals. Now it is extremely uncommon and considered quite bigoted to be alright with and/or embrace chattel slavery. At one time those who were thought to be witches were hunted and executed. Now it is considered by the majority of humans in most nations quite illegal and horrible to persecute someone in such a way. At one time the persecution of homosexuals was considered to be acceptable. It has been illegal to be homosexual in the past and it was considered a psychiatric disorder until about the nineteen seventies. Now, the majority consider quite unacceptable to persecute those who are homosexual.

Right now, many individuals think that it is alright to non-consensually lock up adults in hospitals who want to end their own life. This cruel compassion and coercion as cure approach is just as logically backwards as the justifications for chattel slavery that enslaved Africans were being helped; and also it is just as logically wrong as the justification for the coercion of non Christians during Inquisitions that through torture, non Christians were being helped (by hopefully being saved from Hell). Hopefully in the future, locking up law abiding adults who have a plans, means and intention of ending their own lives in hospitals in the name of saving them from suicide will be considered by the majority of humans to be unjust and wrong. Suicide may not be moral, but using force and coercion to stop it is not either.

How many years did it take for the persecution of homosexuals and supposed witches to be reduced significantly? How many years did it take for chattel slavery to be outlawed in virtually all nations? Chattel slavery was not uncommon even one hundred seventy years ago.

Suicide is unfortunate and it will be good if all suicides stop happening. However, it is not right to use force to stop adults from engaging in it, nor to benefit economically and financially from doing so. It will be good if suicides stop happening; because if suicides do stop happening (and not through the use of force, but rather through kindness and peaceful persuasion), then it will mean that most all humans have been able to create a life worth living for their own selves and enjoy living enough on Earth to not want to leave it. That will be good when all humans on Earth experience significant amount of happiness peace and abundance, and when all humans want to live on Earth and not leave for as long as possible.

How many years will it take until it is considered unethical and an abuse of human rights (and also be illegal) to forcibly lock adults up in hospital wards who have a plans, mean and intention of engaging in suicide or who tries to engage in suicide but fails? Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Other Publications from Michael Ten

Further Readings

  • Fatal Freedom: The Ethics and Politics of Suicide by Thomas Szasz
  • Suicide Prohibition: The Shame of Medicine by Thomaz Szasz
  • Psychiatric Slavery by Thomaz Szasz
  • Any and all of the other thirty or so books that psychiatrist Thomas Szasz wrote.