“What is truth?” asked Pontius Pilate and washed his hands.
Ever noticed how rigidly members of the medical profession cling to whatever opinion is currently on the party line? Isn’t it maddening? Especially, since these sanctified opinions seem to change every thirty years or so. These doctors strike me as little echo machines. Some of my views clash radically with the accepted “truth” of these gurus of health.
When it comes to diet, I believe the natural diet for human beings is raw vegan. My reasons are available at my web site, Kia’s Hero’s Journey. I have healed myself from two serious illnesses (hepatitis c and diabetes) with my diet. But there are enormous establishments devoted to pushing a much less effective approach to fighting disease. As a diabetic, I was forced to attend boring classes with complicated diet regimes based on theories I consider incorrect. I attended the classes and did my own thing and got rid of this “incurable” disease. Billions are squandered fighting cancer with an incorrect approach. Many people have beaten cancer just by eating raw vegan. But the medical establishment insists on surgery followed by chemo which strips the immune system. Sure, it kills the cancer but keeping the same lifestyle that led to cancer brings it back and with no immune system with which to fight it. I could go on and on but this isn’t what this blog is about. I’m merely providing an example of how widely people can diverge in their views. But finding a doctor who isn’t lock-step-lock with the establishment is like finding a needle in a haystack. Sure, there are some mavericks like Dr. Bernard or Dr. Wakefield (anti-vaccination) but they are not accepted as voices of diversity. Dr. Wakefield is actually demonized.
I find it odd that doctors seem to accept that medical opinion changes with the times but aren’t bothered by the way they follow the party-line even when they must logically know that their current views will probably fall out of vogue and they will be forced to change their opinions. Is it laziness or cowardice? Going against the current certainly does take courage but there is a lot more dignity in thinking for oneself. I was in a nut house between the ages of 13 and 15. During that time, I was never psychotic and never treated with anti-psychotic drugs. Yet, when I recently obtained my medical records, I saw that they had diagnosed me with paranoid schizophrenia. I showed this to some shrinks of today, some 60 years later. They apologetically explained that this was “the times.” Everyone was schizophrenia-happy then. Now, it’s more about personality disorders. But they are being very careful to define the parameters of their science with the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) which issues a numerical code for every “disorder.” There is even a code for being a former drug addict. It is 304.8. These codes make it easy for insurance companies to decide whether to pay or not.
When it comes to issuing prescriptions, doctors have to contend with, not only peer pressure from the medical cult, but the long and highly intrusive arm of the law. The law puts every medication on a schedule which determines how difficult it is for a doctor to issue it or for a patient to obtain it. Doctors have some collective input into the rules but politicians have the final say. Given the intellectual level of many Congressmen, their power to come between patient and doctor is really quite alarming. Before the Harrison Act of 1914, people could buy any drug or medication they wanted. Certainly, prudent people consulted doctors and let their medical knowledge guide their choices, but it was optional. This law was originally only meant to be a tax on opium. It was probably an anti-Chinese law because the Chinese railroad workers could work Caucasians under the table with the help of opium. The law was strengthened by Congress until it became a law of prohibition, not just a tax. Doctors are victims of these laws as well as patients. They are under pressure from patients and cops, pulled into two opposite directions. The drug laws have made outlaws of many people who make up the bulk of the prison population. Even if drugs were legal, most people would probably depend on doctors for prescriptions if only because insurance would only cover doctors’ prescriptions. I am firmly for legalization. But that also is not what this blog is about.
As Howard Roark, the architect in The Fountainhead, found out when he sought a position in architectural offices, he was automatically rejected as a job applicant. “It was not malice. It was not a judgment passed upon his merit. They did not think he was worthless. They simply did not care to find out whether he was good….’You were kicked out of Stanton. You were kicked out of Francon’s office.’ All the different voices saying it had one note in common: a note of relief in the certainty that the decision had been made for them.” I have had the same experience as I’m sure many of you have as well. Your value is based on the opinions of others from your past. Consensus.
On the Other Hand:
There does seem to be a need in such a complex society as ours for some sort of standard. And yet, the very times we need one, it seems to be lacking. We often disagree about what some words mean. For example, the word sociopath. Some use it interchangeably with psychopath. For others, it has a distinct meaning. What words mean should be based on how useful a definition could be. But people don’t even agree on what a psychopath is. A growing consensus believes that a psychopath is someone with certain neurological anomalies. So when someone without those anomalies behaves like a psychopath, he can be called a sociopath. Is psychopathy a disorder? It’s not listed in the DSM. Hare has stated in a lecture, “Psychopaths are not disordered. They don’t suffer from a deficit, but they’re simply different.” Yet most people go on talking about it as if it were. And to add to the confusion, there’s a book out called The Myth of the Born Criminal: Psychopathy, Neurobiology, and the Creation of the Modern Degenerate which debunks the very idea of a neurological condition that can hold together into one phenomenon called psychopathy.
These days, many people are rebelling against the standard idea of what is “true.” For example, Christians are fighting Darwin’s theory of evolution and demanding creationism be taught in schools alongside with it. They have enough scientifically educated people on their side to at least muddy the waters. While most of us would be happy to simply accept the best scientific thinking on the subject, these people are forcing us to actually get involved in the issue and evaluate it for ourselves. Conservatives are doing the same thing about global warming. The scientific establishment is no longer an impregnable fortress. It seems ludicrous that people can attack science on it’s own turf in defense of what is obviously irrational and childish. And, yet, it is happening.
The scientific establishment is not only challenged from the Right. As alluded to in the second paragraph, people challenge the standard American diet (SAD), they challenge medicine’s remedies. Different versions of wholistic medicine have shingles out. The great debate about vaccination is far from over and doesn’t look like it will be any time soon. Yet governments want to force everyone to get vaccinated as if there were really consensus on this subject.
Then there is GMO which many of us fear like a plague. The moneyed interests and their government lackeys steadfastly refuse the simple expedient of labeling food products so the public can make an educated choice. They obviously fear that an educated public will reject GMO and profits will be lost.
Anarchy and Chaos
One might think, with all the headaches we have in areas that lack consensus, we would welcome the consensus that we have. But, as Robert Frost said, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” Our very humanity demands we carve out space for ourselves instead of always submitting to authority. Sure, we do need laws requiring the accurate labeling of products. But we also need to retain the autonomy to make the final choices as they affect us. It is good that those who don’t accept the consensus, for the most part, still have the freedom chose our own paths. Where the state insists on controlling out personal decisions, for example in vaccination and choice of pharmaceuticals, the laws should change. Unfortunately, most of the public is too complacent to take charge of the government.