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Lunatic asylums should be forced to create multiple income streams

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/24/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,207 times Debate No: 37387
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (10)
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This is an extract from a BBC article on the Bedlam lunatic asylum in London: "People used to visit Bedlam to see the lunatics - there were 96,000 visits in 1814. Entry was free on the first Tuesday of the month. Visitors were permitted to bring sticks to poke and enrage inmates." [1]

What great fun that must have been! Imagine what a lovely time the kiddies would have tormenting the loonies with sticks. And their parents would have a great laugh as well.

However, the management of Bedlam missed the opportunity to charge visitors. Surely families would happily pay enterprising lunatic asylums good money for such a novel amusement?

Furthermore, lunatic asylums could supplement their income from the entrance fees by selling snacks and drinks to the visitors and they could also flog them branded merchandise such as:

* T-shirts with "I've pestered the psychiatric patients at St. Anne's Mental Health Unit" written on them.
* Coffee mugs with "I've hassled the head-cases at Riverview Lodge Secure Hospital" written on them.
* Baseball caps with "I've menaced the mentalists at Sunshine Care Home" written on them.

Lunatic asylums could make even more money by renting inmates out to party organisers - having a few nut-jobs mingling among the crowds at corporate hospitality events, wedding receptions, birthday parties and bar mitzvahs would be hugely entertaining for the guests.

The revenue from these enterprises might not be quite enough to make the lunatic asylums completely self-financing but the extra income would certainly reduce the existing burden on the taxpayer, and the Department of Health should ensure that loony bins diversify into commercial activities in order to create multiple income streams.

Thank you



I seriously hope you are not serious, but anyways, I look forward to an easy debate. I am arguing Con, that Lunatic Asylums should not be forced to create multiple income streams. It was clarified in the comments that con is against open days at asylums, and I will take that position.

1st. Open days are a violation of the right to privacy of the patients, and the suffering inflicted on them by cruel visitors is a definite possibility, especially if they are allowed to touch the patients.

2. Merchandise would trivialize and stigmatize mental illness, which are already heavily stigmatized. Mental illness is no different than physical illness.
Let's replace "mental illness" with "cancer"
I've pestered the cancer patients at St. Anne's Hospital--

This trivializes the suffering of the inmates by making it into a joke, and glorifies the suffering by making it funny. Mental illness is a serious problem and not something to joke about.

3. An inmate could hurt a visitor, which could lead to lawsuits which would defeat the purpose of these measures anyway.

Finally, they destroy the compassion humans must have for each other, even for other people with visible differences.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Tulbakra for accepting this debate and also reassure him that this debate is intended to be "tongue-in-cheek" (although the British Conservative Party would no doubt make my suggestion official policy if someone in their organisation had the brains to think of it).

Nevertheless, I am prepared to defend my position as follows:

1 - Mental patients receive food, accommodation and medication at the taxpayers' expense. They do nothing to pay for it, because they are mentally incapable of working in the conventional sense. However, there is a way they can earn their keep and that is to make themselves available to the paying public and go nuts when the visitors prod them with sticks. Yes, it's an invasion of privacy, but everybody who works in the entertainment industry sacrifices some of their privacy when they go to work: especially porn stars and strippers.

2 - It is true that there's nothing humorous about cancer sufferers but every funny farm has patients who strut about dressed like Napoleon and others who skip around with their hands in the air making whooping noises and all sorts of other weird and wonderful performers: I say if you can't laugh at them then you've got no sense of humour.

3 - I concede that some nutters are dangerous but that's why they invented straight-jackets.

Thank you.


1. So, we all earn their keep. Mental illness is random, it can strike anyone. It could have stricken you. Part of society is paying for things that don't directly help us. You pay for public school even if you have no children, you pay for roads if you don't bike, etc. These people are a given of society and should not be expected to pay for their keep.
Those people do it willingly, or, if it is unwilling, such as human trafficking, it is a violation of human rights.

2. Yes, but those people who dress like that are not harming anyone. Sure they may be insulting people, but it is not near the level of distaste as it is to poke and prod a live, breathing human for kicks.

3. I'm not sure people want insane and possibly dangerous people at their parties. What about lawsuits?

Finally, this idea is no different than slavery because inmates could not opt out of it and would be unable to do so. Keeping them is not slavery because they would hurt people if they were not kept in that way.

Thus I may conclude my argument. Thanks brian for this humorous debate.
Debate Round No. 2
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Haley123 5 years ago
wait im like, really sorry about the debate thing i honestly dont know how to do this thing ...
Posted by Zenock 5 years ago
Ack... I missed it... Make us proud Tulbakra.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
Alas, lunatics in asylums are drugged into perpetual stupor these days, so there is no potential. However, tours of Congress are available and have a lot of potential for income. Obama has stopped tours of the White House. That has the most potential.
Posted by brian_eggleston 5 years ago
No. of debates restriction removed!
Posted by Raisor 5 years ago
I don't think it would be right to accept another challenge back to back...

I would probably go with Foucault on this one instead of Marx...
Posted by Zenock 5 years ago
I'm terribly depressed. Having never debated here before, I was going to accept this debate as my first foray into the site. But alas upon clicking, "Accept the Challenge" I get the following message.

"You cannot accept this challenge because you do not match the Instigator's age, rank or number of debates completed criteria."

As that I probably belong in the lunatic asylum I think, I am well equipped to argue against what on the surface seems like a wonderful idea. Alas the opportunity is denied me, hopefully others will be able to see why this is not a feasible path to take and argue it as well or better than I could have.
Posted by brian_eggleston 5 years ago
Pro is for open days at mental asylums, Con is agaisnt.
Posted by MysticEgg 5 years ago
So, to be clear, you're for reinstating this, and Con will be against?
Posted by InVinoVeritas 5 years ago
Finally, a sensible alternative to public institution income generation.
Posted by Ragnar 5 years ago
Wish I had time to do this one, I can envision some hilarious replies.
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