Friday, March 11, 2011

So Much for Compassionate Conservatism: NH Rep. Suggests Sending Mentally Ill to Siberia

Forget the prisons and the workhouses, New Hampshire State Rep. Martin Harty (R) has a novel new idea about how to deal with the homeless the mentally ill. The freshman Republican state representative stirred controversy this week by suggesting that such "defective" people should be sent to Siberia to die.

During a conversation over a proposed House Republican state budget featuring significant cuts to mental health services, State Rep. Harty explained the following to a shocked program manager at a local behavioral health and developmental services agency: "The world population has gotten too big and the world is being inherited by too many defective people." When asked to clarify whether he was referring to mentally ill and developmentally disabled persons, Rep. Harty responded "I mean all the defective people, the drug addicts, mentally ill, the retarded — all of them."

Rep. Harty went on to elaborate:
"The population keeps doubling. It's not hitting us too hard yet; we're not running out of food and we're not running out of drinkable water. But we're getting damn close. The homeless people that every state has their share of are mostly mentally ill. You can't really help those people. You can keep them alive, but there's only so much you can do for those people."
When pressed on his recommendations for what to do with mentally ill and developmentally disabled people, Rep. Harty concluded "I believe if we had a Siberia we should send them to this and they would all freeze and die and we will be rid of them."

The conservative fetish for slashing funding for social programs is no secret, but rarely do we hear such unabashed callousness from elected officials toward the individuals who would be effected by such cuts. And while wide-spread Arctic deportation might not be the most commonly prescribed conservative remedy for these incredibly vulnerable groups, there can be no doubt that Republican plans to cut desperately needed state and federal funding for social programs will leave many out in the cold.

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