Managing the ‘Strong versus the Weak’ – Mental Disabilities

Go Lean Commentary

“Are you an idiot?”

“No, I’m a moron”

Imagine this exchange. Funny isn’t it! But truth be told the etymology of the words “idiot” and “moron” is that they represent scales in the range of intellectual disability.

There is a 3rd classification: “Imbecile”, to represent the mid-range. In total, the following is the full range, from higher (better) to lower (intellectually disabled):

3.  Moron – is a term once used in Psychology to denote mild intellectual disability.[1] This term was coined in 1910 by psychologist Henry H. Goddard[3] from the Ancient Greek word  moros, which meant “dull”[4] and used to describe a person with a mental age in adulthood of between 8 and 12 on the Binet scale.[5]

2.  Imbecile – is a term for people with moderate to severe intellectual disability.[1][2] The term arises from the Latin word imbecillus, meaning weak, or weak-minded. It included people with an IQ of 26–50, between “idiot” (IQ of 0–25) and “moron” (IQ of 51–70).[3]

1.  Idiot – is a term for a person perceived to be lacking intelligence. In Psychology, it is a historical term for a person so mentally deficient as to be incapable of ordinary reasoning.

All of these terms were closely tied with the American Eugenics Movement[2] (where they attempted to sterilize and colonize the mentally disabled in society so as to control the risks of procreating further). Once the terms became popularized, they fell out of use by the Psychological community, and were used more commonly as insults rather than as psychological classifications.

Note: We have “Idiots”, “Imbeciles” and “Morons” in every community in the Caribbean. People with congenital mental weaknesses are everywhere!

This backdrop allows us to better appreciate a societal defect that exists in much of the New World. From the beginning of time, there have always been people who suffered from congenital mental weakness or intellectual disability. These persons need protection in society, not abuse and insults. Accordingly, from the Enlightenment Age (between 1650 and 1700), the concept of a Social Contract emerged; this is the implied arrangement where citizens surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the State in exchange for protection of remaining natural and legal rights. By extension the assumption is that as all societies have both “strong” and “weak” constituents, so there must always be some societal protections for the weak – physically weak and mentally weak.

In addition to congenital mental weakness, we find that that are other categories of people that at one time or another fall under the category of the mentally “weak”. There are those with:

  • Transactional Mental Weakness – PTSD, Family/Marriage/Divorce counseling, Bereavement, Addiction and Alcoholism. (“Transactional” is not a clinical term, but rather an adjective). People can and do recover-rehabiltate from these disorders.
  • Adult Onset Illnesses – Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar Disorders that emerge in the late 20’s / early 30’s
  • Degenerative Illnesses – Alzheimer’s, Dementia and other age-induced neural disorders

In the previous blog-commentary on the Model of Hammurabi it was detailed how that ancient King established laws to ensure that the “strong in society did not abuse the weak”. That blog concluded that New World societies need to do better in applying the sage advice from a 3,800-year-old regent. This point aligns with the book Go Lean…Caribbean, which seeks to reform and transform the 30 member-states of the Caribbean region, to ensure better stewardship of the Social Contract for all citizens in our homeland, strong and weak.

The Go Lean book describes empowerments to target the economic, security and governing engines of Caribbean society to ensure an adherence to the principle of the Greater Good. This commentary is the 2nd of 4 in a series on “Managing the Strong versus the Weak”. The other commentaries detailed in this series are as follows:

  1. Managing the Strong versus the Weak – Model of Hammurabi
  2. Managing the Strong versus the Weak – Mental Disabilities
  3. Managing the Strong versus the Weak – Bullying in Schools: “Teach them well and let them lead the way”
  4. Managing the Strong versus the Weak – Book Review: Sold-Out!

All of these commentaries relate to nation-building, stressing the community ethos necessary to forge a society where all the people are protected all the time. This has not always been the case in the Caribbean nor has it been in the US – the “city on the hill” – the model of advanced democracy in our region. We must do better!

There is a lesson in American history in which they abused the rights (life, liberty and pursuit of happiness) of 70,000 people. We can observe-and-report on this bad experience and commit to effect change here in our Caribbean homeland. See-listen to the AUDIO Podcast here, relating this sad history based on the following book:

Mental Photo 2

Book Cover

AUDIO Podcast – The Supreme Court Ruling That Led To 70,000 Forced Sterilizations – Heard on Fresh Air

Mental Photo 4In the early 20th century, American eugenicists used forced sterilization to “breed out” traits considered undesirable. Adam Cohen tells the story in Imbeciles. Originally broadcast March 7, 2016.

This foregoing AUDIO report reviews the new paperback book Imbeciles by writer-lawyer Adam Cohen. Here is a representative sound-bite:

One of the worst Supreme Court decisions in US history … was the 1927 decision upholding a state’s right to forcibly sterilize a person considered unfit to procreate – unfit because they were deemed to be mentally deficient. That decision is part of a larger chapter of American history in which the eugenics movement was behind preventing so-called mentally deficient people from procreating through not allowing them to marry, sterilizing them and segregating them in special colonies.

The Nazis borrowed some ideas from American eugenicists. The eugenics movement also influenced the 1924 Immigration Act, which was designed in part to keep out Italians and Eastern European Jews. Adam Cohen’s book titled “Imbeciles” is about the eugenics movement in the early 20th century and the Supreme Court case legalizing sterilization.

This true history of the United States exposes what is embedded in this country’s DNA – a propensity for the “strong to abuse the weak”. And yet, the Caribbean suffers from an atrocious emigration rate of our citizens fleeing our homeland to go to the US. Surely, this history is unknown among these expatriates.  Surely, a rich education to the next generation of Caribbean citizens would deter some of them from setting their sights on US shores as the panacea for all Caribbean ills.

The reasons why people leave in the first place have been identified as “push and pull”:

“Push” refers to the reasons people who feel compelled to leave, to seek refuge in a foreign land. “Refuge” is an appropriate word; because of societal defects – like the “strong abusing the weak” – many from the Caribbean must leave as refugees – think DisabilityDomestic-abuseMedically-challenged and LGBT – for their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

“Pull”, on the other hand refers to the lure of a more safer life abroad; many times our people are emigrating to communities where they perceive that there are protections for the “weak against the abusive strong”.

It has been a consistent theme from the promoters of the Go Lean book, that we can dull the bright lights on any flashing American “Welcome Signs” so as to dissuade the “Pull” factor. Indeed, the consistent messaging of these Go Lean blogs has been that it takes less effort to reform and transform our Caribbean society than abandoning our home and trying to succeed in a Diasporic life.

Surely, the truth of American history will hurt … any false impressions that Caribbean people may have about American life and culture. Consider this sample of previous blog-commentaries: White is Right – Not! Trump’s Vision of the Caribbean: Yawn Stay Home! Immigration Realities in the US Stay Home! Remembering the Societal Defects of McCarthyism Learning from American Stereotypes – Good and Bad A Lesson in History: Haiti’s Reasonable Doubt of America Fake News? Welcome to America Lessons Learned from Pearl Harbor ‘Time to Go’ – America Marginalizes the Black-n-Brown Vote ‘Time to Go’ – Spot-on for Protest A Caribbean State Issued US Travel Advisory Citing Police Violence Street naming for Martin Luther King unveils a ‘Climate of Hate’ Better than America? Yes, We Can! American Defects: Inventory of Crony-Capitalism American Defects: Racism – Is It Over?

Still some may conclude that the American ethos of yesteryear no longer applies today. Yet, the foregoing AUDIO Podcast relates that the landmark 1927 Supreme Court decision is still the law of the land in the US, and that there have been many times – including a recent 2001 Sterilization case – where provisions of this law is still being applied.

Mental Photo 3

America is very much troubled with their management of [transactional and degenerative] mental weakness:

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) to “weed out” our own bad practices of the “strong abusing the weak” in our society. We want to pursue the Greater Good (greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong). And this includes help for people who are mentally weak.  The Go Lean/CU roadmap includes many strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to impact Caribbean society and our treatment of the weak, including the mentally weak due to congenital, transactional, adult-onset and degenerative causes.

“Persons with Disabilities” are still people. They can still contribute to society. Even in the US, people with disorders like Bi-Polar and Schizophrenia have been extremely impactful in their communities – consider the example of Nobel Prize Winner Dr. John Nash.

These previous Go Lean blog-commentaries have detailed mental health challenges in communities: Pre-Fab Housing and Elder-Care Conjunction The Demographic Theory of Elderly Suicide Role Model advocates for ‘Reasonable Accommodations’ Book Review: ‘The Protest Psychosis’ Guyana and Suriname Wrestle With High Rates of Suicides Recessions and Public Physical and Mental Health New Hope in the Fight against Alzheimer’s Disease

We must learn from this lesson … that the “weak (physical and mental) must be protected from the strong” that may have malice towards them. If we can assuage such abuses, we would mitigate the “push and pull” factors that have previously befallen our territories. Let’s do better in reforming and transforming our societal engines in the Caribbean homeland in regards to mental healthcare. If we do this, we will make the Caribbean a better place to live, work, heal and play for all citizens, “strong or weak”. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for the roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


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