James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, November 17, 2006

Dr. Atlas Shrugs

ABC News tonight had a story as part of its series on medicine on the culture war. It was about religious doctors who refuse to prescribe, for instance, the morning-after pill even for a rape victim. Some won't participate in any form of birth control. And at least one doctor has been sued for violating the "rights" of the patient for refusing to do something the patient wanted.

I may not agree with the actions of these doctors, because I may not agree with their faith. But that's none of my business. No doctor has an obligation to violate his conscience.

There is one effective way for Americans to get a clue about what constitutes their "rights" and what does not. I would like to see every doctor - every single one - quit. Go on strike for a year. Get other jobs, go on extended vacations, whatever. As politicians work on what to do about health care, they'll discover that there's no one to provide it.

The people will learn that they don't have a "right" to anything that requires the labor of others. No one can be forced to do anything they don't want to, and that includes the practice of medicine. If all the doctors quit, the people will realize they'll be screwed, and are not in a position to make unreasonable demands on their doctors.

There'd be another benefit as well. In their own way, doctors have been on easy street. Licensing laws, the AMA, and "legitimate science" serve to line pockets, not the public. If the doctors strike, the government can break the monopoly they have on "legitimate" medicine. Out of desperation, the government will allow alternative and supposedly unqualified practitioners to fill the void. Once the doctors go back to work, they'll have greater freedom, but they'll also have to face a free market.

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