Wednesday, February 10, 2010

John Murtha; Dr. Hendricks; Atlas Shrugged; Ayn Rand; Socialized medicine

There is irony to be found in the death of Congressman John Murtha this week. Congressman Murtha was a liberal Democrat who supported government growth and government pork for decades. He provided unwavering support to the Democrat leadership in Washington as they sought to nationalize the health care system.

The irony is that Murtha died from a medical mistake during otherwise routine surgery. Murtha died from something that will become all too common for every American in the coming years if the government completes its nationalization of medical care. Medical care will degenerate like every other government "service." Today's doctors will either quit or become government bureaucrats (or will take orders from bureaucrats). The fictional Dr. Hendricks told our future in Atlas Shrugged:
I quit when medicine was placed under State control, some years ago . . . . Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything - except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the 'welfare' of their patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only 'to serve.' That a man who's willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards - never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind - yet what is it that they expect to depend on when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kinds of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it - and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn't.
Atlas Shrugged, p. 744, 35th Anniversary Edition

So what was the situation with Murtha's doctors? Did they resent being dressed in white coats as props for Obamacare? Or did Murtha get the leftover doctors after the resentful ones quit?

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