Sunday, April 16, 2017

Asylum? What Asylum?

Scott Johnson, a regular who blogs at Power Line shares the work of Elliot Kaufman, a Stanford undergrad. For The Wall Street Journal, Kaufman compares the Stanford applicant "essay" of Ziad Ahmed, to a ploy of a madman cited in the work of Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

As his "essay," Ahmed simply repeats the phrase #Black Lives Matter 100 times and is accepted at Stanford and elsewhere. The madman had repeated the phrase "the world is round" to everyone he met and was immediately identified as insane and locked up.

Kaufman concludes:
It is no longer madmen who merely repeat obvious truths. Now the success stories do it too. The society in Kierkegaard’s parable immediately recognized that mindlessly repeating the truth was a sign of something wrong. Our society applauds it. That is the chilling part of this story. The young man or the society—it is no longer clear who has escaped from the asylum.
True enough, except for the inescapable fact that asylums basically no longer exist. The insane roam among us, although many are homeless and spend their days staring vacantly at nothing, or begging for coins. Some reasonable proportion of our society's collective insanity can be attributed to the intentional deinstitutionalization of the obviously delusional.