22 July 2008

Medicine and 'fairness'

Now that it is considered acceptable for the state to transfer power from individual citizens to agents of the collective so that 'services' (for which a better term might be 'oppressions') may be provided, it comes to pass that persons in socially authorised academic establishments (i.e. universities) make studies of how the systems of oppression 'ought' to work.

A friend of mine once found himself at a college dinner sitting next to an economics student whose subject was the different ways in which 'health care' (physiological oppression) was being or should be provided by various governments. "Well, at least," he (my friend) said, "I hope you won't recommend that anyone should give any further power to doctors to make subjective decisions about how medical resources should be allocated. They have far too much power already."

"But it's not acceptable to have decisions made about who gets the resources on the basis of ability to pay for them," she (the other person) said.

"Countries that didn't find that acceptable, and I don't see why they shouldn't, could at least have the resources allocated among the individuals who apply for them on a random basis. Nothing could be so unacceptable as arbitrary power in the hands of doctors or any other agents of the collective" my friend replied.

"But that wouldn't necessarily produce the fairest outcome either," she demurred.

This brings us to the extraordinary notion of 'fairness'. We see that the transfer of power to agents of the collective makes it far more dangerous that people should indulge in such ideas. So long as they were notions that were entertained by individuals, and which individuals could, if they wished, use any resources at their own disposal to bring about, they were relatively harmless. Nowadays, however, academics can write papers on what 'ought' to be the case and advise governments accordingly, the governments then feeling free to instruct agents of the collective to implement the ideas in practice.

The idea of 'fairness' and 'rights' arise from a modern set of ideas, which has practically the status of a religion, and for which as little justification in reality can be found. It is not so long ago that governments considered that women should not be able to obtain anaesthetics for childbirth, because God clearly preferred them to suffer. Even at that date, before its powers were so monstrously increased, we see the medical 'profession' in the role of social oppressor.

Nowadays it can withhold diagnosis and treatment from anyone whose life, in its opinion, is not worth prolonging. But having decided, in effect, to kill them, it is under no obligation to provide them with a reasonably easy death, which would require the admission of the objective and the overt administration of pharmaceuticals.