Monday, February 21, 2011

Tending to the Sick

Paul Hsieh wrote an excellent op-ed over at PJ that damns the moral agenda of introducing social activism into medical ethics, citing the example of doctors writing "excuses" for protesters in Wisconsin.   I made the comment,
Dr. Hsieh is correct in saying, "...“social justice” is frequently just a euphemism for a socialist political agenda of leftist politics, redistribution of wealth, and heavy state controls over the marketplace," but let's add the motivation underlying this:  the morality of self-sacrifice. 

Everything that drives this agenda is the destruction of the individual in the name of the collective.  Under this kind of politics and morality, you are nothing -- the State, the "Volk", or just your local community and neighbors and even your government-run HMO are more important. Any group of any size is more important than you are. Any ambition, any happiness, any achievement and any judgment you may ever wish to exert can be sacrificed to any one who claims that he represents "the people" or whatever other tribe they are pidgeon-holing you into.

You are a pidgeon to them, after all.  Just part of the flock.  Have some more seed -- or take an aspirin instead of an MRI.

Even doctors are amorphous non-entities under this kind of morality, like the social-activist doctors in Wisconsin.  Everyone is sacrificed to everyone else: patient's health and lives are sacrificed to "budget savings," and doctor's judgment and integrity and just remuneration for years of excruciatingly difficult study and practice are sacrificed to sate the power-lust of "community organizers", bureaucrats and those quasi-governmental professional organizations that have been seized by the collectivists. (Who include not just Leftists but too many do-gooders on the Right, too.)

And so it goes.

Play this out across the nation and across the world, in every profession and every realm of human action. In Ayn Rand's words, "the world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrifice". 

It is.

The dignity of the individual needs to be reclaimed -- including the individual doctor, the individual patient, and the individual doctor-patient relationship.  Expel the government from any involvement in medicine, at any level, for any purpose. Expel the government from all aspects of dictating the economy, and us. In the words of Rand's hero, John Galt, from Atlas Shrugged: "Get the hell out of my way!"

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