Saturday, March 07, 2009

Stimulus for the Soul

I've been busy lately. Really busy. Home is chaos, the match (the date on which I'll figure out where I'm going to move for the next few years) is less than two weeks away, and I've been pretty busy on my rotations. This has of course occurred just as everything that I've been predicting on this blog for a couple of years has started to happen.

I could write 100 posts on what has occurred in the last six months. We've essentially nationalized the banking industry. The president's forum on healthcare was nothing more than a room full of yes-men parroting back to him the same tired garbage. Things are changing. The inevitable recession is starting to heat up, and we've got atleast 3 different stimulus or bailout packages, aimed at doing everything from bailing out autoworkers to developing Healthcare IT mandates, encompassing trillions of dollars of non-existant money.

I could write about these things, but I won't. It's frankly overwhelming. I couldn't explain it all in any reasonable period of time, and I really don't want to throw up a bunch of rushed half thought out posts on really complex material. Instead, this is going to be a little bit personal and very non-scientific.

As a man, I've always wanted to control my own destiny. You could say that I respond poorly to authority as well. I want to live in the real world. This is a world of consequences and rewards. It is a world in which one has the capacity to reach the peaks of the highest mountains as well as fall into the depths of despair. It is a world in which some people are great, not everyone is created the same, and in which a purpose drives the action of people.

The maddening descent into socialism, that has been slowly gripping this country with an ebb and flow for a century, is disturbing to me on multiple levels. It is a failed system by every objective and nearly every subjective standard imaginable. Yet, this sort of logic becomes circular in a way. It's like saying that the only thing wrong with socialism is that it's bad for society. That sort of argument leaves the door open for new attempt after new attempt to create a more perfect society. No. The reason that socialism bothers me is because it takes away my independence and creates a strain on all of my personal autonomy. My work in both action and reward is never really my own in such a system. It is dehuminizing.

The real world isn't pretty and perfect. No amount of central planning, "hope," or "change" can begin to make it so. The real world is dirty. It is a place where people lie, steal, and cheat. It is a place in which mothers get cancer, people become dependent on drugs, and storms rip away homes and communities. The real world is a world in which people face hardships, struggle, and sometimes fail.

Yet, the real world is also wonderful. Greatness is born out of overcoming hardship and adversity. Generosity and charity are endemic to the human condition. We create new technologies to fight cancers and disasters. We can treat the sick. We can rebuild what is lost. Humans, individual humans, can take this initiative. People fight to better their condition, and they fight to better the condition of their fellow man. I love living in this horrible, twisted, beautiful world.

What disturbs me so much about the events of the last few months is not that I don't know what is going to happen, but that I know exactly what is going to happen. History is riddled with the corpses of attempts to create more perfect societies. We may persistently redefine what it is to be perfect, but outcasting and extermination inevitably follow any attempts at perfection. Many people will inevitably be outside the mold. The USSR, under the premise of trying to create perfect equality, destroyed wealth, killed a few million people, and then became a nation of haves (the politically well connected) and have nots (the not so well connected). The Nazis tried to create the perfect race. A drive for equality inevitably begins to attempt to create sameness, and because no one is the same, chaos inevitably follows. Individuals can never rise to that level of terror, in all of their zeal, without the backing of a coercive state.

In my personal life, I have always strived to do well. I seek excellence. It's not that I'm perfect, but I want to be better. I want to make my situation better, and I want to improve both my personal lot, and that of my family, in this world. I would say that the party line of any socialist government is exactly what I want, but the actions speak differently. Higher earnings become something that needs to be redistributed for equity. Any desire to accumulate wealth or luxury is seen as evil. It's as though the failure of someone to achieve what I have achieved somehow makes me indebted to him. In this world, the only person who is truly free is the one who has nothing. In fact, he is much more free than nature would let him be, because he is fed from the labor of others. Only in this world is the man who works for what he is given judged a villain, an outsider, the one who needs to be cleansed, in favor of every glamorized dreg of society that has wasted his life. Socialism IS wealth redistribution on all levels, monetary and personal. It is throwing success down on the rocks in favor elevating the bottom of the barrel. In this system, I have been a hero while I have been poor, receiving bounties and gifts for my struggles, all the while knowing that I will soon be the villain if all of my struggles allow me to succeed.

Likewise, I have found a passion in medicine, which has become the center of EVERYTHING that is wrong with the way things are done in this country. The only person who is not allowed to make decisions in the current healthcare system is the one who trained appropriately to be able to make them. Autonomy in both training and practice is disappearing at an alarming rate. Physicians have become so worried about their incomes, that they've lost their souls. This was once a profession in which greatness was expected. It was not flawless by any means, and it suffered from all of the problems that training and practice monopolies create, but greatness was expected. Arrogance was common, but it was also often deserved. In a few generations, we went from giving people arsenic for malaise to being able to successfully sew in synthetic pieces of an aorta. I will defend my desire to earn a good income, and I agree with most of my colleagues that this is a problem. Yet, we cower on the steps of the capitol lawn every year begging for a pittance. Our masters usually give, usually with an attached condition that further erodes the profession. Our training now teaches us to pass along responsibility, and we've taken on the mentality of employees. No longer the masters of the hospital domain, we will soon be employees of a government beauracracy led by a nurse or some beauracrat who will dictate exactly what we do in order to continue to collect that ever shrinking pittance.

I want a stimulus. I don't want money beyond what I deserve. The only thing that I want from the government is to stop interfering and let me do my job. If I must be robbed, make it predictable. Take some consistent percentage of my income. Atleast stop trying to make me an outcast for working hard enough to earn enough to have something worth taking. I am a charitable person, but let me decide where to be charitable, and stop creating a situation where generous people cannot afford to be generous because their extras are being confiscated for the "public good." Let me pursue my passion. Let me work towards higher levels of success, discipline, ability, and function without telling me how it must be done. I want to impose nothing on anyone. I'm sick of being a slave to student loans and government payments. I simply want to be able to contract with my patients and engage in mutually beneficial agreements. That would be American. That would be antithetical to socialism. That would truly be a stimulus for my soul.

15 Comments:

Anonymous jess, ms4 said...

Amen.
Good luck on Match Day.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Thomas A. Coss said...

Brilliant piece.

Curiously, much of the writing I've seen regarding Heatlhcare Reform (an ambiguous phrase if ever there was one) seem to come from individuals far from the actual treatment of patients. Medicine and Economics are two sides of the same coin. If you are poor enough, you'll likely be sick, and if you're sick long enough you'll be poor, but one needs to be very suspicious of how the Government will intervene between you and the patients for whom you care.

Occam's razor applies here. If it's not simple, it's simply wrong.

Thanks again

Tom

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Anonymous QUALITY STOCKS UNDER 4 DOLLARS said...

Interesing post on stimulus.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we are all equal only in death.

until that moment, strive to be as unequal as possible.


free markets = freedom






12:10 AM  

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