Institutionalization

My normal commute to work takes me by a fair number of homeless (i.e. crazy) people. Some of them are friendly enough and I often exchange a greeting with them (I’m originally from Minnesota, after all). Some of them, however, are not friendly. Frankly, they’re a bit scary. But, since I see them everyday, I don’t think much of it.

Following the events in Arizona this weekend, I stopped to think a little more of it. My thoughts are similar to OneSTDV’s:

Well to define this man as irredeemable would constitute surrender to biological determinism, the bane of liberal creationists and social constructionists. Liberals will not allow society to "give up" on anyone, not even the most hardened criminals or the dumbest children. Liberals imbue society with immeasurable power to successfully cultivate, nurture, and mold every single individual. It takes a village, from the cradle to the grave. . . .

Deinstitutionalization of mental health facilities began in the 1950’s and continues to this day. In that time period, the number of persons classified as mentally ill and therefore justifiably subject to institutionalization has dropped by a considerable amount (found data suggesting it’s been cut by 3). We used to understand that some people simply could not function in regular society and were not only a threat to themselves, but to others. So we locked them up and society didn’t have that many crazy people walking around.

I’d only add that it would be nice to get some of these people off the streets – even the non-violent ones. It’s absolutely true that they are simply unable function in regular society. Institutions may be bad, but are they really so much worse than city streets?

City streets full on wandering, homeless and crazy people are a wonderful metaphor for progressive society. Progressives prefer the lie to the truth – the Progressive prefers to believe that he has set the crazy people free, even as sees homeless people digging through trash cans everyday on his way to work.

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One Response to Institutionalization

  1. sconzey says:

    Or, if one wished to be charitable, one might say that progressive policies have turned some of society’s most vulnerable out onto the streets.

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