When lunatics run the asylum

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BETHLEM ROYAL HOSPITAL: Sucessor to Bedlem. ©SLaMNHSFT Wikipedia

ALL countries face the dilemma of how best to deal with the mentally and physically handicapped, born as a consequence of hereditary defects.

Until quite recent times it was government policy to reduce the problem by state enforced sterilisation.

The United States was the first country to use compulsory sterilisation programmes for the purpose of weeding out the feeble minded.

This was US policy for the first half of the 20th century. A number of American states used enforced sterilisation programmes until the 1970’s.

In all, 65,000 individuals scattered across 33 states were affected, but the true figure is likely to be much higher.

Mass graves have since been discovered in the vicinity of America’s mental institutions. This practice inspired other countries to follow the American example.

Britain was one of many nations that made use of state enforced sterilisation programmes to rid society of its mentally and physically disadvantaged.

These practices were adopted by British dominions like Canada, whose policy was applied until the 1970’s. As recently as 2015 Australia was placed in the UN dock for enforced sterilisation of women with disabilities.

Winston Churchill was an ardent champion of government controlled enforced sterilisation programmes. In a letter to Lord Asquith, dated December 1910, the lawmaker wrote of his passion.

“The unnatural and increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded and insane classes, coupled as it is with a steady restriction among all the thrifty, energetic and superior stocks, constitutes a national and race danger which it is impossible to exaggerate.”

Winston Churchill’s Mental Deficiency Act (1913) defined four types of societal problem; idiots, imbeciles, the feeble-minded and moral defectives. In Britain, institutional separation of the mentally retarded or deranged has been replaced by the introduction of what is known as care in the community.

The government pocketed millions when it sold off the nation’s mental hospitals and institutions.

It made further savings by making tens of thousands of medical and ancillary staff redundant.

In this way government abdicates responsibility for those for whom it bears responsibility.

Care in the community has proved to be an unmitigated disaster, as have the state registered care homes provided for the nation’s unfortunate children.

The latter have been described as part of a supply chain to meet the needs of those whom Winston Churchill dismissed as moral defectives.

Yet to be revealed are the accounts of distressed parents who have gone to terrifying lengths to avoid their children being taken from them and placed in care homes.

Perhaps this will bring about a better understanding of why Britain, the US and some European nations are in a frightful mess.

The inmates are certainly running the asylum for their own purposes.

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