I have decided to announce, at the same time as the ongoing National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, that we all have become quite demonstrably mad; not merely the small slivers of Government practicing the madness, nor the great corpus of American medicine today, but from sea to shining see, mad.
I cringe when I see terms such as “lunacy” tossed about carelessly. I hear the words “demented” and “delirious” co-opted by the public press, used in a vapid and misdirected manner far off their precise meaning.
One feature one sees in lunatics, either those with well-encapsulated delusions or a firm paranoid grip on reality, is paredolia – a restless compulsion to fit all observances and events in Reality into a coherent system of meaning.
Under every bridge, within every culvert from sea to shining sea, lies a philosopher-king who scrutinizes changes in the world, parlays their significance against the whole, and issues forth a Royal Rule on changes to be brought about, as did the good Emperor Norton I, who fell like Icarus from sanity; only to re-emerge as Norton I, by the grace of God, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.
He had the wisdom to choose as his Versailles the Port of San Francisco. Emperors should not raise their hand to rule a base and foreign land, and he then, as now, fit right in.
Little did he expect, I guess, that his beloved country entire would be fragmented into an Empire of the Mad, the kingdom of Norton 2.0 Norton saw small and simple things, and issued his mandamus on the tangible defects of his realm – potholes, loose cobblestones, and the like. His numerous decrees calling for a bridge crossing connecting San Francisco to Oakland, and a corresponding tunnel to be built under San Francisco Bay, were wise; they were carried out after his death in 1880.
Now, we have a chartered Federal newspaper, the Register, which publishes the various bulls and encyclicals, motu propio and exhortation alike; decretal letters, allocutions, briefs and rescripts, that command that Reality conform itself to this or that shape; that the tide shall fail to rise; and other such bullshit. No need is offered to mention how such absurdities are to go on – no method for implementation is required from regal action. Just build it, they say – build it and they will come.
These bulletins are offered to the Grand Bureaucracy, which is even more shitstain-mad than the Imperials. Bureaucrats speak from the lofty perch of arrogance. They know that the animate lumps out there must be told exactly how to do whatever it is that they do. The treasured resource, the pearl of great price in Washington, is the uninformed but brilliant bureaucrat who needs only to cast his eyes on the miasma of failure, and tell the proles how to clean it up.
Victory would have come in Vietnam, they proclaim – if we had only had good troops in the Army, not a bunch of helpless draftee misfits.
Victory would have come in Iraq, they proclaim – if we had only had good troops in the Army, not a bunch of helpless volunteer misfits.
The locution of interest today is from Health and Human Leadership folks. American mental health and addictions epidemics have only grown.
“The Affordable Care Act provided one of the largest expansions of mental health and substance use disorder coverage in a generation,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said. “Today’s rule eliminates a barrier to coverage for the millions of Americans who for too long faced a system that treated behavioral health as an unequal priority. It represents a critical step in our effort to ensure that everyone has access to the care they need.
“This rule will also increase access to evidence-based treatment to help more people get the help they need for their recovery and is critical in our comprehensive approach to addressing the serious opioid epidemic facing our nation.”
“The need to strengthen access to mental health and substance use disorder services is clear,” said Vikki Wachino, Deputy Administrator of CMS and Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. “This final rule will help states strengthen care delivery and support low-income individuals in accessing the services and treatment they need to be healthy.”
Even the kind and wise Norton I had enough sanity, or perhaps propinquity, to know his land. He decreed a bridge from San Francisco to Oakland; he decreed a tunnel under the bay. He had the clarity of mind and perseverity of intent to notice that it had not been built in a timely manner; he sent forth his decrees to reflect this.
In Washington, there is no bridge – they intend none. They are constructing elaborate fictions, ships in a Klein bottle,[See Ian Claridge‘s art, copyright same]
Although the people of San Francisco of a century-and-a-half ago deserve commendation for their sponsorship and comfort of a mad fellow, they also chose a clearspoken and engaging, nonviolent White fellow as their pet. Many others no doubt died a dog’s death in San Francisco, then and now.
Washington is concerned – Washington issues proclamations, only to revisit the topic in horror that nothing’s been done. They forget their own culpability in the failures to help those in need; instead, they take up the problem anew and richly beat those who have been trying to solve it. Sic transit empire.
In Versaille, the excruciatingly wealthy and powerful used to dress up in rags, and have a “Peasant’s Ball,” mimicking the poor of France. It was fun. Most of them, I suppose, left with the realization that they had not actually met the peasants – they just met other nobility and royalty who smelt of straw, just for a day. Perhaps one or two were unhinged enough to believe that they had actually consorted with the peasants for a night.
In Washington camp, it seems that a majority believe they have met and understand the subjects of their pity. That is the only affirmative defense that is credible, insanity. Otherwise, there is a grave moral injustice of which to be spoken.