Plenty of people accept the status quo of long-term care as it is. They are willing to change the industry’s surface features but want to retain its most basic assumptions. There is one very big problem with that point of view. The foundation of contemporary long-term care is based on immoral and deeply flawed assumptions.
From even before its founding and up until the middle of the 19th Century, America was plagued by another “flawed institution.” The moral failures inherent in the practice of holding people of African descent in bonded slavery are of the same type as the flaws that define modern long-term care. The institution of slavery led, inevitably, to the Civil War. The institution of long-term care is leading to a bloodless society-wide “culture-change” movement.
During the 19th Century there was a prolonged and fevered debate over the institution of slavery. The people who objected most strongly to the institution of slavery were called “Abolitionists.” The most famous of the Abolitionists — the ones who ended up on the right side of history — remembered even today. These were the men and women who argued that slavery was wrong and must therefore be done away with.
We have forgotten the names of those who took “reasonable” positions on slavery. The “split the difference” crew suggested that, maybe, “…we could have a kinder, gentler slavery, we could reform the institution in ways that would improve the lot of those held in bondage.”
And who could argue with that? No more beatings, no more rapes, no more breaking up families. That would be better. Right?
So the “middle of the road” reformers understood that slavery is wrong, that it was morally repugnant but, in the face of that knowledge, they decided that it just making slavery “better” was good enough. We do not remember the names of these “partial” reformers. They got lost on the wrong side of history.
Today we are having a similar debate over the core philosophy of long-term care.
In the first video in a three-part series on Abolishing the Old Age Asylum, I explain: