A social, legal
and
moral persepctive
of a societies laws
and the perversion
of what is termed
Mental Health

 
Miles T Dugmore 31st Jannuary 2015
 

The following is a persepctive framed in the New Zealand legal system which includes a so say, no fault, accident
compensation scheme (ACC). Whilst in many areas the system referred to as ACC functions well, in areas of Mental Health
it seeks and does most often exclude any provision of psychological harm done to a person, even if such harm is criminally negligently inflicted. The ACC system is iiable to political interferrence and when such interference spills over into manipulation of a countries legal system, then you have a reciepe for societal decay
and
ultimately the failure of such societies.
Philosopher John Stewart Mill [1] maintained the Law should not seek to impose moral restraints on people
 
but
 
Lord Devlin [2] stated that there was an alleged right of the law to communicate moral distaste.
 
Sir James Fitzjames Stephen [3] went further in stating that the law is justified in stepping in to prevent immoral conduct regardless of it's impact or absence therein, on individuals or society as a whole.
 
Arguably then, every action has some impact on society, either directly or indirectly and if that impact is negative, then society is justified in intervening.
 
HLA Hart somewhat supports John Stewart Mill.
 
To make laws on the basis or the moral values of the majority is to preserve and protect the moral values of that majority. It does nothing to suggest these moral values are well found or even logical and sane.
 
The interference imposed by the often ill informed majority on a sane and informed minority is in itself a moral hazard and reflects poorly on the majority. The issue no longer becomes an issue of morals, but an issue of the abuse of a minority by a majority.
 
In a society that likes to be considered moral and just, how can this same society then “sacrifice” a minority who have done no wrong, for the benefit of the majority?
 
Should government agencies, be empowered to impose an ill informed and which could even be considered a chosen “convenient” (to an influential minority) moral view point where there can otherwise be no explicit or acknowledged “formal” statutory law. But then state in deference to this position that disadvantaged and aggrieved individuals can then rely on the statute law which has provisions to so say protect the said individuals from such excesses of the said government agencies, but then make recourse to the statute law to seek redress for the damage done to the minority for the benefit of the majority, all but impossible.
 
If a person breaks a criminal law, they can be arrested, charged and be taken to court. When they appear in court, there is the opportunity for the charged person to offer a defense, and a person or persons unconnected with the Police make the decision based on all the evidence put before the court if the charged person is innocent or guilty.
 
If the person is convicted, then a determinate sentence is given and on completion of that sentence or payment of a fine, that person is considered to have paid their debt to society.
 
If a person behaves in a way which other people (who most likely have no understanding of the environment, context and history of the issues involved) deem to be not of a normal social behavior, then the person exhibiting the “troubling” behavior is deemed to be “mentally ill” without any sound evidence to show this is the case.
 
But how much is such a view a “convenient” view for the individuals associated with the person exhibiting the troubling behavior. How much more easy for those who are exposed to the troubling behavior of the troubled person, to blame such behavior as some sort of “fault” of the troubled person. The label to such “faults” is termed “Mental Illness”.
 
When “Mental Illness” is considered to be a legitimate label by government agencies, and when such agencies draw such conclusions in the absence of the consideration of the context of the “troubling behavior”, then this is a moral failure.
 
Those in New Zealand would wish to think that New Zealand Law should reflect a presumed relationship between logic, reason and morality, and if the actions of a government agency is deemed to be immoral, then clearly there should be a link to statute law that would dictate such actions of the government agency is illegal, and the most obvious statutory framework would be that the government is acting negligently.
 
For a legal system to be credible it should treat all it's citizens the same.
 
This is not the case for sectors of people in New Zealand. If the legal system in New Zealand does not treat it citizen the same, then there is an element of illegitimacy in this very legal system.
 
The rules of the Mental Health System are
 
Not made aware to the general public.
 
Are not understandable to most.
 
Are inconsistent.
 
Are most certainly not consistent over time.
 
At present a component of the Mental Health Service act as willing and silent partners to maintain social divisions between those that typically have an unfortunate start in life, and those that have a more fortunate start in life.
 
It is apparent there is an “unwritten” social code adopted by the Mental Health Service, and that is not to challenge the very injustices that lead people into the hands of their very service.
 
The Mental Health Service places the interests of it's professional members at the highest level, followed by the interests of the majority of the population and then lastly, the interests of the patient who falls into their hands, often through no choice of their own. This is a form of “class distinction”, the lowest class having a “social stigma” attached to them.
 
This case represents an opportunity for the law of New Zealand to direct that the Mental Health Service operate to the ethical standards and legal standards (at all times) that might otherwise be expected in the non Mental Health areas of the provision of Health Services.
 
There is already a distinction in the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation between issues of Mental Health and other form of disease or illness. There must have been a compelling rationale for this. And in whose interest was/is such a distinction made ?
 
We must consiser beyond the mere correction of an injustices by way of financial recompense, but go to the basis of some of the immoral attitudes within our society that need to be formally challenged.
 
The Law should not become the agent to political expediency and neither should the Mental Health Service act as an expedient of the political class. There should not be a causal link.
 
There is a greater “public interest” at stake.
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 
[1]      John Stuart Mill was an English philosopher, political economist, feminist, and civil servant.
          He was an influential contributor to social theory, political theory and political economy.
 
[2]      Judge Patrick Arthur Devlin, Baron Devlin, PC was a British lawyer, judge and jurist. He wrote a report on Britain's involvement                in Nyasaland in 1959. He authored the book, The Enforcement of Morals.
 
[3]      Judge Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, 1st Baronet was an English lawyer, judge and writer.
          He was created 1st Baronet Stephen by Queen Victoria.