Reevaluating politically and bureaucratically based medical licensing

Guest post by Paul Kempen, MD, PhD
The natural history of any bureaucratic entity must include the generation of rules, procedures, restrictions, forms, fees, investigations, penalties, and educational material which shows how vital the respective entity is for the nation, civilization, etc. These productions are the lifeblood of the entity, since its first duty and task is to survive and expand its power. And its resistance to attrition and extinction can be as intense and extended as that of a biological organism fighting to survive. A very telling example is the Board of Tea Tasters: it took 20 years of bipartisan efforts spanning four administrations to finally close it down, after 99 years of existence and millions of tea brews, collections of samples, reports, stats, and permissions/restrictions of tea importation.
However, what we must observe with regard to our Medical Boards and Institutions is that our own profession has begot them. One hundred years ago, the Hippocratic “hypocracy” (leadership of hypocrites) of our allopathic forerunners decided to get the competition of homeopaths, naturopaths, and others out of business by resorting to the police powers of the governments. Medical Licensing was born, not as a private credentialing and certification agency, but as a general patent grant of exclusive economic rights, contrary to the US Constitution and to the British pro-market revolution initiated by the 1624 Statute of Monopolies, but very much in keeping with the burgeoning crony capitalism that swept the 20th century, introducing socialism through the back door of the progressivist movement and the figment of government-business cooperation, the American version of fascism.
The sea change that followed in medical ethics was not immediately apparent, as the medical hypocrisy alleged its continued commitment to the patient-centered Hippocratic values, even as behind the scenes it allowed vast inroads of the coercive-collectivistic values of a Platonic type of medical ethic. As you might recall, 24 centuries ago, in The Republic, Plato advanced the concept that the physician’s allegiance is to himself and the other holders of power, not to the patient: “The business of the physician, in the strict sense, is not to make a profit but to exercise his power over the patient’s body.” And Plato clearly explained, “This then is the kind of medical and judicial provision for which you will legislate in your state. It will provide treatment for those of your citizens whose physical and psychological constitution is good; as for the others, it will leave the unhealthy to die, and those whose psychological constitution is incurably corrupt it will put to death.”
It is of course high time for us to re-evaluate the sordid achievements of the politically and bureaucratically based Medical Licensing that we live and practice under today. Far from being crazy, its standards and procedures only reflect the natural course and propensities of this century old arrangement.
To put it more allegorically, no pact with the devil can portend the eternal life and perpetual happiness that the deceiver promised in order to get the agreement signed.
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