Of course, I do not believe that there is such a thing as a 'value-free' science, much less a value-free 'social science.' Hence, I do not urge anything so naive as a value-free observer or observation; on the contrary, what I urge is that the observer's aims and values be as clear and explicit as possible.

In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children. The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted. The result is unruly children and childish adults.

Neither he [Ferenczi] nor Freud believed that a person should be exempted from legal punishment--or worse, that he should be punished by compulsory psychiatric "treatments"--because of psychoanalytic information about him. In the light of current thought, this is a startling and sobering fact.

Men are rewarded and punished not for what they do, but rather for how their acts are defined. This is why men are more interested in better justifying themselves than in better behaving themselves.

If you have strongly held opinions, you are opinionated; if you don't, you lack conviction: either way, there is something wrong with you.

Men love liberty because it protects them from control and humiliation from others, and thus affords them the possibility of dignity. They loathe liberty because it throws them back on their own abilities and resources, and thus confronts them with the possibility of insignificance.

The War on Drugs and the War on Homelessness are on a collision course that no one in the media or in public life are willing to acknowledge. Ostensibly aimed at decreasing the use of illegal drugs, the War on Drugs succeeds only in increasing homelessness.

In the past, men created witches: now they create mental patients.

Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.

Institutions, no less than persons, may need to be socialized.

We cannot institutionalize helping the "victims" of personal disasters.

Is psychiatry a medical enterprise concerned with treating diseases, or a humanistic enterprise concerned with helping persons with their personal problems? Psychiatry could be one or the other, but it cannot--despite the pretensions and protestations of psichiatrists--be both.

Thousands of years ago--in times we are fond of calling "primitive" (since this renders us "modern" without having to exert ourselves further to earn this qualification)...

He who does not want to understand the Other has no right to say that what the Other does or says makes no sense.

The system isn't stupid, but the people in it are.

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

Our legal system does not grant adults a right to liberty, because they already possess that right; it only revokes the right to liberty (for certain offenses) or restores it (if the deprivation did not conform to due process).

Psychiatric expert testimony: mendacity masquerading as medicine.

Why don't you have a right to say you are Jesus? And why isn't the proper response to that "congratulations"?

Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly often attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.

'Psychotherapy' is a private, confidential conversation that has nothing to do with illness, medicine, or healing.

A teacher should have maximal authority, and minimal power.

Parents teach children discipline for two different, indeed diametrically opposed, reasons: to render the child submissive to them and to make him independent of them. Only a self-disciplined person can be obedient; and only such a person can be autonomous.

Addiction, obesity, starvation (anorexia nervosa) are political problems, not psychiatric: each condenses and expresses a contest between the individual and some other person or persons in his environment over the control of the individual's body.

It taught me, at an early age, that being wrong can be dangerous, but being right, when society regards the majority's falsehood as truth, could be fatal.

Psychiatrists look for twisted molecules and defective genes as the causes of schizophrenia, because schizophrenia is the name of a disease. If Christianity or Communism were called diseases, would they then look for the chemical and genetic causes of these conditions?

The ethics of psychiatric therapy is the very negation of the ethics of political liberty. The former embraces absolute power, provided it is used to protect and promote the patient's mental health. The latter rejects absolute power, regardless of its aim or use.

Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.

Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one's self-esteem.

Punishment is now unfashionable... because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.

It is easier to do one's duty to others than to one's self. If you do your duty to others, you are considered reliable. If you do your duty to yourself, you are considered selfish.

Anyone who seeks to help others—whether by means of religion or by means of medicine—must eschew the use of force.

If a man loses his money through unwise market speculation or by playing the horses, he has been punished in a manner which we may call passive. By this I mean that another person has not taken special, socially overt steps to harm the "offender." This phenomenon has not received the attention it deserves.

Scientific knowledge does not contain within itself directions for its humanitarian use.

If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; if God talks to you, you are a schizophrenic.

No further evidence is needed to show that 'mental illness' is not the name of a biological condition whose nature awaits to be elucidated, but is the name of a concept whose purpose is to obscure the obvious.

Permissiveness is the principle of treating children as if they were adults; and the tactic of making sure they never reach that stage.

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds. It is something one creates.

Malcolm X and Edmund Burke shared an appreciation of this important insight, this painful truth--that the state wants men to be weak and timid, not strong and proud.

Suicide is a fundamental human right. This does not mean that it is desirable. It only means that society does not have the moral right to interfere, by force, with a persons decision to commit this act. The result is a far-reaching infantilization and dehumanization of the suicidal person.

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time serenity that nothing is.

The young and the old are defenseless against relatives who want to get rid of them by casting them in the role of mental patient,and against psychiatrists whose livelihood depends on defining them as mentally ill.

Doubt is to certainty as neurosis is to psychosis. The neurotic is in doubt and has fears about persons and things; the psychotic has convictions and makes claims about them. In short, the neurotic has problems, the psychotic has solutions.

There are two kinds of 'disabled' persons: Those who dwell on what they have lost and those who concentrate on what they have left.

There is no such thing as mental illness, hence also no such thing as psychotherapy.

Classifying thoughts, feelings and behaviors as diseases is a logical and semantic error, like classifying whale as fish.

Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one's self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.

Narcissist: psychoanalytic term for the person who loves himself more than his analyst; considered to be the manifestation of a dire mental disease whose successful treatment depends on the patient learning to love the analyst more and himself less.

It is the lot of mankind to feel not only insecure but also bored. To combat that experience, people long to be passively entertained, which requires less effort than assuming responsibility for self-improvement.