Victims of compassion 3

There are no asylums for the insane. Because the deeply immoral Michel Foucault (and others of his 1960s New Left revolutionary sort) said they are not nice.

How did it come about that European leftists could so easily change America?

Christopher F. Rufo writes at Jewish World Review:

In 1961, French theorist Michel Foucault re-envisioned the history of mental illness in his book Madness and Civilization, which documented the role of confinement, morality, and medicine from the Middle Ages to modernity. Foucault yielded some profound insights, but, like his radical-progressive American counterparts, he savaged the practice of confinement without proposing a substantive alternative.

What “profound insights”? We found none in his oeuvre.

Nearly 60 years later, it has become clear that the liberationists of the 1960s did not usher in a new era of freedom but something far darker. By reducing the entire cultural history of madness to one long progression of brutality, imprisonment, and false care, they laid the political groundwork for deinstitutionalization. At the same time, their insistence that mental illness was a “myth”,  and that [although only a myth] it could be cured by new psychiatric drugs or would be transformed through political consciousness, turned out to be wrong.

Most needed is a renewed theoretical defense of the principles of the asylum — safety, rest, morality, and health — that Foucault and his compatriots demolished. This does not mean a return to the historical practices of the asylum but a revival of the spirit that animated the care and moral reasoning of the old retreats.

It is a moral scandal that our society, which has surpassed the material wealth of the nineteenth century 16-fold, cannot provide an adequate sanctuary for the mad and the unmoored. It’s easy to condemn the horrors of the old state hospitals, but the horrors of the invisible asylum may exceed them.

Do exceed them, as he has said above.

He describes some of the horrors of the “invisible asylum”, including an abandoned homeless mad woman devouring a dead rat.

And he relates this anecdote:

Patrol Sergeant Amy King and Officer Patrick Hutnik, who oversee the downtown area for the Olympia Police Department, take me on a tour. The officers are working their morning rounds, rousting awake people sleeping in doorways and asking them to move on. We see a slumped-over man who has soiled himself overnight, a man wrapped in cardboard complaining that his tent got stolen, and three women behind a barricade of shopping carts and filthy blankets. One of the women is tying off her arm with a blue rubber strap but loosens her grip when she sees us; the other two are barely cognizant, blinking at the officers and lifelessly nodding their heads.

The cast of characters in Sergeant King’s world is a difficult one. Hai air-fights through the streets because he believes monsters in the ground want to enter his body. Michael, an old man, calls 911 many times per day but doesn’t qualify as “gravely disabled”. Suburban Gary lives in a broken-down Chevy Suburban full of trash but refuses all offers of housing or services. And John, wheelchair-bound and covered in sores, huffs paint in front of officers because he knows he’s “untouchable” — the hospital will not take him, the prosecutor will not move on his criminal cases, and the psychiatrists cannot send him for involuntary treatment.

As they finish their morning rounds and head back to the station, Sergeant King and Officer Hutnik find a disheveled, shirtless man, passed out with his body extending into the street. Officer Hutnik politely wakes him, and the man, known as Angry Marty, begins screaming about zombies and food lines down at the mission. He manically gathers metal piping tubes from the ground and bangs them into a shopping cart. “There is going to be a mob that finally takes over this city!” he screams. “They’re going to kill you! They’re going to kill you!”

Under the current policy regime, this madness has become an eternal recurrence: the officers will see Marty again tomorrow morning, as he suffers through another drug-terror, and they must leave him to fend for himself.

As we head back to the station, we can still hear Marty’s cries in the distance.

“Is that compassion?” Sergeant King asks, disappearing into the doorway.

Compassion can be very cruel.

Posted under Health by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, March 31, 2021

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