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Memories of the 28th Century

Measuring Our Society

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“The measure of society is how it treats the weakest members” Thomas Jefferson

I would like it, if no one ever had to deal with government regulations or institutions. Unfortunately, there are some people who are incapable of living on their own, and their families do not take care of them. In the past, there were state institutions to care for the mentally ill and the mentally retarded. Those institutions were not wonderful places, but they provided the necessities for life to many people who were incapable of providing for themselves.
Those institutions were closed in the late twentieth century, because they were seen as unlawful imprisonment. As the institutions were closed, the numbers of homeless people increased. It used to be that the only people living outside and wandering around were itinerant workers and criminals. The mentally ill and retarded lived in hospitals and other institutions, and the impoverished unemployed and elderly lived in the poor farm’ That has changed for the worse, and there are many thousands of people living in tent cities and in homeless shelters that are mostly funded by charity and some government support.
I serve as receptionist in a place that provides food and other services to people who need such things, and homeless are among the people served. I regularly see people who clearly have mental problems; although most of those manage to get by, but today there was a man who came in for a shower who took a very long time. After he finished, he told me that he couldn’t figure out the controls for the water. In more civilized times, that person would have lived in a place where he would be supervised. But our society has degenerated.

That was yesterday, and that was the kind of day that gets me thinking that there may be something to astrology. Yesterday several people did things that demonstrated a high level of incompetence. It started with Bruegger’s Bagel Bakery opening about ten minutes late. Then there was the event that I mentioned above. Later a bus driver got lost and stopped about a half mile after my stop. And I got another telephone message from a medical group, even though I had told them that I was not a customer of them and my phone number should be on their do not call list. But all of those events demonstrated a low level of intelligence that should not have been tolerated.

In the past there were institutions for people who were lacking in intellectual acuity, and it would be possible to have many of those people housed, fed, etc. supported by their own work, because there still are jobs that do not require great intelligence, and it would be possible to provide oversight at the public expense. There already are small scale places of the sort, but many of the people with low intelligence are living in homeless camps of shelters, and such situations are not good. Similarly, many of the mentally ill are living in shelters or camps, where they are not capable of taking care of themselves. The problem in the past was that the people in public institutions were not well cared for, and that will be a problem when such institutions will be recreated, but the institutions would be able to allow people to live comfortably, which is something that shelters and camps do not allow.

By providing public institutions, money that is now going to waste could be used more effectively. It would not provide profits to landlords, but the landlords would be able to rent to other people, and benefits paid to individuals could be put together to pay for services, rather than going into drugs and alcohol.

This is simply a dream, because I will not be running for public office, and it is very unlikely that I will be made Emperor, but politicians should try thinking about how to benefit people who can’t take care of themselves, instead of paying people who should be supporting themselves.


  1. tailor STATELY's Avatar
    Homelessness is so tragic in this state/country and never far from my mind because it's in my face everywhere I go. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer... it never ends. Had institutions had the proper humanity and funds required to serve the infirm perhaps they would have survived.

    Meanwhile those in the lower- middleclass are becoming the new homeless due to property barons, corporate greed, and inept public servants. No relief in sight.
  2. PeterL's Avatar
    And what does it say about a society that lets its people live in barely livable conditions?
  3. tailor STATELY's Avatar

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),