[ExI] A Small Request [was Re: Impressive book: Farewell toAlms]

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri Feb 8 02:58:55 UTC 2008

> Stathis Papaioannou
> On 08/02/2008, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> > Ja, but saying it that way makes it sound like a court decision was 
> > something over which Reagan had influence...
> I don't know of cases where deinstitutionalisation was to any 
> great extent driven by the courts deciding that patients were 
> being held illegally. However, legislation relating to mental 
> illness was changed to make it harder to detain people for 
> long periods, facilitating the closing of the institutions. Stathis

The whole notion of holding people in an asylum against their will on the
testimony of any quack psychiatrist has always made me squirm.  How can you
be sure?  There are plenty of people willing to label any libertarian as
crazy.  There are even more who consider an atheist as a raving looney.
Signed up for cryonics?  Believe in a coming singularity?  Think that
mankind can create a bright future through technology?  That we will
eventually overcome disease and possibly even death?  How do you feel about
being locked in an asylum for these beliefs?    

So how do we determine if a person can be held against their will?  I would
recommend doing so only if they commit an actual crime.  That's what the
courts did.  The fact that a lot of people left those institutions who would
have been better off staying is beside the point.  There is no way to know
for sure which are dangerous crazy and which just have crazy ideas.


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