Details That You Should Include In Your Article On How We Should Do Something About Mentally Ill Homeless People

Source: Astral Codex Ten
by Scott Alexander

“Suppose that you, an ordinary person, open your door and start choking on yellow smoke. You think ‘there should be less pollution,’ and call up your representative. The technical expert hears ‘there should be less pollution’ and immediately has dozens of questions. Do you just want to do the obvious things, like lower the detection threshold for hexamethyldecawhatever? Or do you want to ban tetraethylpentawhatever, which is vital for the baby formula food chain and would cause millions of babies to die if you banned it? … I’m not a pollution expert, but I’m a psychiatrist, and I’ve been involved in the involuntary commitment process. So when people say ‘we should do something about mentally ill homeless people,’ I naturally tend towards thinking this is meaningless unless you specify what you want to do — something most of these people never get to.” (07/09/24)