Guardianship folly: the misgovernment of parens patriae and the forecast of its crumbling linkage to unprotected older americans in the

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nance of ideas created by rulers and policy makers, is fertile ground for folly.552 Tuchman laments
learning from experience is a faculty almost never prac- ticed . . . . “If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us,” [quoting] Samuel Coleridge. “But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind us.” The image is beautiful but the message misleading, for the light on the waves we have passed through should enable us to infer the nature of the waves ahead.553
Excessive power under the doctrine of parens patriae existed through the ages. It exists today in America. From the deeply em- bedded roots of the doctrine of parens patriae, the seeds of excessive power sprout in agencies and bureaucracies controlling people under guardianship, and will grow in the form of public guardianship. As Regan noted, public guardianship has a bad reputation. It is not unlike the persistent “baobab.”554

The growth of the public guardianship “baobabs” will make the situation worse if not carefully controlled. The current so-called guardianship system, recognized as the protective link to unpro-

551. Id. at 382.

552. See id. at 383. Mental standstill has three stages: (1) fixing principles and

boundaries governing a political problem; (2) becoming rigid as dissonances and failing

function begin to appear; and (3) pursuit of failure that enlarges damage until collapse.

See id.

553. Id. at 383.

554. See ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPERY, THE LITTLE PRINCE 21 (Katherine Woods trans., 1943).

Now there were some terrible seeds on the planet that was the home of the little prince; and these were the seeds of the baobab. The soil of that planet

was infested with them. A baobab is something you will never, never be able to

get rid of if you attend to it too late. It spreads over the entire planet. It bores

clear through it with its roots. And if the planet is too small, and the baobabs

are too many, they split it in pieces . . .

`It is a question of discipline,' the little prince said to me later on . . .

`You must see to it that you pull up regularly all the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rose-bushes which they

resemble so closely in their earliest youth. It is very tedious work,' the little

prince added, but very easy.

tected older Americans, is minuscule in size, if not illusory, and infested with the wrong roots. Under the weight of the massive numbers of the next elder generation, the “boomering”555 of guardianship's illusory system will make it crumble. Those in con- trol must remove their masks of virtual reality in order to work in practical reality. They must root out the sprouts with bad reputa- tions and replace them with seeds that will sprout the beginnings of a good guardianship system,556 one that will have a sound founda- tion.

555. Boomering, or boomered is what America experiences as the generation of Americans born during the decades of the 1940s and 1950s pass through life's cycles.

556. Some extremists would lament that “good guardianship system” is an oxymo- ron.
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