Excerpts from The Tyranny of the Therapeutic State

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Presented at the First International Forum of Child Protectors and Clients at the Netherlands, June 28 - 30, 1995
Excerpts gotten from:

"In the US a conservative estimate of the cost of all social services, all schools and universities, all mental health, public health, and health care organizations is over one trillion dollars annually. These programs and institutions also employ the largest portion of the American work force (Epstein, 1993). Yet, rather than getting healthier, the social problems are multiplying. The society is getting sicker and sicker. As the institution to solve social problems, the therapeutic state has proven to be almost totally incompetent.
"Inevitably, bureaucracies spring up to determine what problems are to be cured and what the remedies are. This is the knowledge of human behavior claimed by the Athenian generals. The politicians then distribute the available resources to put into action the solutions known by the elites who have studied the matter. Psychotherapy in some variant is the chief remedy for the social ills. When I taught at a small liberal arts college in the early 70s I was struck by the large number of students whose goal was to "work with people" to solve social ills. Apparently most of them managed to find a way to "work with people" who could not solve their own problems but needed a superior, better person to show them how to do it.
"...Most of our worst social problems in the '90s are a direct result of our efforts of the past 30 years to weaken the link between improvident behavior and its natural consequences"**. Well intended but misguided compassion may lead to precisely what the compassion wishes to remedy. Raspberry (1995) draws a distinction between private compassion and public charity. Private compassion creates human bonds between giver and recipient and humanizes both. Public charity cannot accomplish this because its only eligibility requirement must be need."

He quotes de Tocqueville from 150 years ago. ". . .the right of the poor to obtain society's help is unique in that instead of elevating the heart of the man who exercises it, it lowers him. From the moment an indigent is inscribed on the poor list of his parish, he can certainly demand relief, but what is the achievement of that right if not a notarized manifestation of misery, of weakness, of misconduct on the part of its recipient".

**note: Raspberry, W. (1993, May 3). A weakened link between foolish behavior and consequences. Star Tribune, p. 8A