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The Forgotten Man of Socialized Medicine

From Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged – This is the explanation given by a distinguished brain surgeon of why he joined John Galt’s strike:

“I quit when medicine was placed under State control, some years ago,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill?

“That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward.

“I observe that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything – except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought to those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire, or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only ‘to serve.’

That a man who’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards – never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at this smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind – yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands?

“Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kinds of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it – and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.”

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Comment by Sue Copening on January 17, 2010 at 10:00am
Let me point out that Atlas Shrugged is FICTION.

And... the term "socialized" is a buzz word, a fear word that works because people don't stop to examine it. We have a LOT of "socialized" things in this country that we don't consider "evil."

Schools - socialized
Police - socialized
Fire - socialized
Highways - socialized
Public Libraries - socialized
Medicare - socialized
FDIC (protecting your bank accounts) - socialized
Postal Service - socialized
Social Security - need I say it?

It's easy to miss, but MOST Doctors in the US (73%) support a combination of private and public option insurance OR a "single payer" health care system alone. Single payer is about the government PAYING for health care... NOT "running it." It takes medical decisions OUT of the hands of the for-profit insurance companies and puts them back in the hands of doctors and patients.

For FACTS on single payer health care (instead of propaganda and misinformation from insurance industry lobbyists and hacks)... check out these web sites:

Physicians for a National Health Program
... supporting Bill 676

About HR 676:

Liberal Benefits CONSERVATIVE Spending

Countries with "Single Payer" or govt systems have...

Little or no intervention in doctor / patient health care decisions
Health care for ALL
Longer life expectancies
NO medical bankruptcies
longer life spans for cancer and cardio vascular disease
longer life expectancies in general
wellness care to help prevent illness and disease

On the downside, some systems do have longer wait times for non emergency procedures and treatments. But ask yourself... would you rather wait a few extra weeks for a procedure at no personal cost to you? Or get it immediately and pay? Or not get it at all because you can't AFFORD to pay?

If any of the above features of a "single payer" system looks like a good idea, take the time to do your own research on single payer health care and LOOK at where the information is coming from. Is it coming from an organization funded by insurance dollars or an unbiased source?

Is it bolstered by FACTS? ...or fiction and opinions?
If opinions... whose opinions?

More info on "single payer"
Comment by Sue Copening on January 17, 2010 at 10:39am
Back on Ayn Rand...

Frankly "Atlas Shrugged" was one of the most boring books I struggled through in High School. I'm puzzled as to it's sudden popularity... but this article has an opinion about that...

It starts off...

At first it seemed little more than a bizarre rant, only slightly worse than those to which we've grown accustomed, given the source. To wit, Rush Limbaugh, who on September 11 condemned President Obama for speaking that day about community service, and encouraging young people to become involved in service projects as a way to help make America a better place. Far from seeing such a call as a positive request to take personal responsibility for improving one's nation, to Limbaugh, it was little more than the "first step toward fascism," intended to conscript the young into a volunteer army, bent on helping to carry out the President's political agenda.

Community service, Limbaugh explained, was something that should be done by convicts. Specifically, he offered: "Let prisoners do it, let prisoners pick up the trash. Let prisoners mow some highway grass. This -- this community service, folks, it's insidious. It is nothing more than a well-sounding compassionate label. But it means something entirely different. It means turning you into a robot." Yes, of course. That's not insane at all.

The anti-social nature of the diatribe was stunning. Service, according to the gospel of Limbaugh, is for suckers, for society's "losers," for people who have committed crimes. In other words, it should be viewed as punishment rather than as something to be applauded and encouraged. To do for community is a fool's errand.

Yet as bizarre as his words may seem at first blush, they actually illustrate with bold clarity the fundamental (and increasingly common) core of the conservative belief system. They speak to the sociopathy that is at the heart of the far-right worldview. It is a worldview that holds, quite simply, that doing for others is contemptible; that doing for self is the purpose of human life; that altruism and service are somehow pathologies pushed by collectivists and should be subordinated to selfishness and greed.

Sound too extreme? Well if so, consider this. Among the most interesting phenomena of the past year--and especially since the inauguration of Barack Obama--has been the explosion of interest in (and sales of) books by the late author, Ayn Rand: most prominently her classic novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Indeed, the latter had an all-time record year in 2008, and 2009 sales are on a pace to shatter even last year's numbers.

Far from a simple believer in limited government and a free market economy, Rand's philosophy--now being endorsed by tea party protesters and anti-Obama minions across the nation (indeed the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights was among the sponsors of the 9/12 march on Washington)--was predicated on one overarching notion: that a commitment to selfishness and a rejection of altruistic behavior were the height of morality. That's not to say that she merely rejected compulsory altruism via taxation, but altruism even privately chosen. To do for others, out of a charitable impulse or out of some faith-based commitment, for example, is morally and ethically suspect, for neither feelings nor faith are rational bases for human actions, according to her philosophy known as Objectivism. Unless one's assistance to another were rooted in some self-interested motivation, it was to be condemned.

It is especially fascinating to see the so-called "average, everyday folks" at the tea party rallies embracing Rand's thinking and literature. After all, Rand's view of the common man and woman--presumably the very Joe Six Packs and Hockey Moms recently enthralled by her--was decidedly grotesque. So, for instance, in her original version of her work,We the Living, Rand had her chief protagonist proclaim: "What are your masses...but mud to be ground underfoot, fuel to be burned for those who deserve it?"

Rand's disdain for the bulk of humanity was, indeed, so extreme that in the aforemetioned Atlas Shrugged--whose main character and "hero" John Galt has been referenced on numerous tea party signs--she indulges a pseudo-genocidal fantasy, in which virtually everyone except Galt and his few "perfect" producers is vanquished. (click for more)



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