Many mental healthcare advocates supported this measure. However, the de-institutionalization under the Reagan administration became the criminalization of mental illness, largely due to tax-cuts and as much as 25% cuts in funding.
Recently, the Bush administration announced his "New Freedom Initiative" that expands the failed policy of Reagan (Rosas and Jackson, 2004). According to Rosas and Jackson: "There are a few differences in approach, however. The most significant difference being, Bush is cozy-in-bed with pharmaceutical conglomerates allowing them to develop the government's mental health policy. The policy would be consumer driven, providing "State-of-the-art treatments" i.e. The newest drugs. But how can the emphasis be on the newest treatments when most government programs limit coverage to generic pharmaceuticals?"
Bush's Final Report proposes, "the early detection of mental health problems in children and adults - through routine and comprehensive testing and screening - will be an expected and typical occurrence (Rosas and Jackson, 2004)." Basically, this means that children will be tested regularly in schools and given psychiatric drugs. Unfortunately, this is rarely effective.
The practice of over-medicating, "constitutes a potential health threat to many children and has also created a new source of drug abuse and illicit traffic (Rosas and Jackson, 2004). The data shows that there has been a 1,000% increase in drug abuse injury reports involving methylphenidate for children in the 10 to 14 age group." This new group of prescription drug abusers burdens the already over loaded criminal justice system, and the Federal, State and local prison systems. Approximately 5.9 million Americans are under some type of correctional supervision and 13 million Americans are jailed every year. This is a huge number that will become worse if Bush's initiative is implemented. It is also a significant example of an Orwellian-type government controlling individuals for their own benefit.
While the United States boasts that it is the most democratic nation, today's society is becoming increasing accepting of lack of privacy. Security systems are constantly being installed, and while no government institution monitors these systems consistently, they have access to them if desired. In addition, the police and other agencies can search homes and seize possessions if they feel they have a justified need. Many laws are passed based on this type of "need," including the Homeland Security Act, which the United States promotes free speech in concept. However, like in Orwell's book, this basic right is constantly altered in an effort to reduce the chances of revolution. Many Americans don't see it like that, as most of the things outlawed are things like hate speech and threats to the President. However, it is frightening to think that a group of people talking about overthrowing the government could be arrested for treason or even terrorism.
The thought police would get him just the same (Orwell, pg. 19). He had committed -- would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper -- the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you."
As in Winston's world, our history is undoubtedly altered to paint a better picture. Textbooks and education are perceived as truth, while it is very possible that the government alters much of what we read. Still, for various reasons, few people pursue the truth of history outside of what we are taught. Whether or not old information is destroyed, as it was in 1984, few people are going to look for the old information when the new and updated information is so readily available.
According to Greenberg (2004): "When Orwell created Doublethink and the dark world of 1984, he was satirizing the future of Stalin's Soviet Union. It is a sad time for America when his message applies most fittingly to our own country."
While much of 1984's story seems farfetched, it is undeniable that Orwell had great insight into the future. Since the book's publication, Adolph Hitler took control of millions of lives and our own President Bush, on a smaller scale, is attempting to do the same.…