Magazine article The Spectator

A Licence for Mayhem

Magazine article The Spectator

A Licence for Mayhem

Article excerpt

From Bernie Reeves Sir: Rod Liddle ('The joy of stigma', 3 September) is correct to point out what happens when lobbying groups force the mentally ill back into society. In America, the 'homeless' problem was almost entirely thrust on cities by the efforts of advocates who followed the theories concocted in the 1960s by the English psychiatrist R.D.

Laing. His movement maintained that schizoids were more in touch with reality than 'normal' people.

Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one example of the manifestation of public acceptance of the insane as hero.

Nurse Ratched and the doctors in the 'straight' world were depicted as 'crazy', and R.P. McMurphy, the schizophrenic protagonist, represented reality.

In the 1970s, advocates of this perverted 'human rights' theory were successful in their desire to empty psychiatric hospitals. …

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