IN LAW AND PSYCHIATRY *
Alan A. Stone
Civil Rights Movement
HISTORIANS who attempt to chronicle American life in the sixties will have to sort out the impact of the civil rights movement, not only as it affected the status of racial minorities, but also as it set patterns for organized advocacy on behalf of groups, such as the mentally ill, whose status seemed to bear no apparent relationship to these minorities. The civil rights movement, however, had at least three dimensions corresponding to aspects of "mental patients' liberation." The first was redress through the courts using constitutional litigation. The second was an ideological program that emphasized the dangers of paternalism and social stereotypes. Third was the development of self-help groups with a polemical orienta
tion against the status quo. Only the first of these manifestations will be fully addressed here, but, as will become apparent, the ideological considerations are in some sense the "deep structure" of the constitutional litigation.
Central to the "deep structure" is the attack on paternalism. A political and philosophical rationale for this attack was formulated a century ago by John Stuart Mill in his famous essay, On Liberty:12
the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because in the opinion of others to do so would be wise, or even right. These are reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. [p. 197]
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Publication information: Book title: Advances and New Directions. Edition: 2nd. Contributors: Silvano Arieti - Editor, H. Keith H. Brodie - Editor. Publisher: Basic Books. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1981. Page number: Not available.
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