Uprooting Institutions [PDF]

John O’Brien

Sept. 2007

The problems of life are insoluble on the surface. Getting hold of the difficulty deep down is what is hard. Because if it is grasped near the surface it simply remains the difficulty it was. It has to be pulled out by the roots; and that involves our beginning to think about things in a new way.
–Ludwig Wittgenstein

Getting to the roots of the problem of institutions means starting in the right place, choosing the right questions, and engaging people on a journey to creative answers to those questions.

The right place to start

There is no better statement of the right place to start than The Community Imperative, in the version prepared with and for self-advocates when in 2000 the Center on Human Policy reissued it’s 1979 Statement Against Institutionalizing Any Person Because of a Disability:

In terms of Human Rights:
• All people have basic human and legal rights
• These rights must not be taken away just because a person has a mental or physical disability
• Included in these basic rights is the right to live in the community