Since the time of Hippocrates, medicine has had one common thread – first, do no harm.
Often, the harm done is only clear in retrospect – bloodletting, various treatments involving toads, the “humours” system of diagnostics all seem just plain batty to us today (let alone the humour balance test that involved tasting the patient’s urine, but that was more the doctor’s problem.)
Moving closer to today, the idea of putting x-ray machines in shoe stores, giving codeine to three -year-olds, and touting the healing power of drinking potions laced with radium all seem like bad ideas now.
But most of this harm was caused by ignorance, not malfeasance. The germ theory of disease simply didn’t exist for millennia, the nervous and circulatory systems were unexplored territory, and, at the very least, the codeine cough syrup actually did stop the coughing (though it did have certain other negative aspects.)
But the ignorance path has been paralleled by a malevolent strain in medicine that, while it can’t be said to go back nearly as far, has become more and more odious the closer and closer we get to today – today included.
Victorian doctors removed uteruses by the bushel in order “cure” women of a variety of maladies, though many of those “cures” actually involved wanting to make women more compliant and calm and docile rather than actually trying to treat physical problems.
This practice was ethically questionable at best and unquestionably societally driven, but it is also true that such unethical practices tend to be greatly amplified when medicine and government intertwine.
The concept of the purifying of humanity through eugenics was adopted by government agencies around the world, including – and especially – in the United States.
For example, California was one of about 30 states that had forced sterilization laws on the books and had performed more than 6,000 of them by 1931 – two years before Hitler came to power. Almost all of the victims were poor and most of those sterilized were women and minorities, in large part due to eugenics’ heavy emphasis on “racial purity” and limiting the growth of the “underclass.”
California’s shameful history with eugenics shows very specifically what can go terribly wrong when politics and medicine – backed by studies and science and authoritative voices – mix. In fact, the leaders (including the then chancellor of Stanford and executive of CalTech) of the Pasadena-based Human Betterment Foundation claimed that 10 million Americans were destined to have “genetically undesirable” children and if they were sterilized incidents of mental illness would drop 40 percent in one generation.
The musings of Freud – which have gone in and out of style more often than hemlines have changed – and the practice of psychiatry have done actual good, but they have also provided countless government agencies with a very convenient way to silence opponents by declaring them crazy (see the Soviet Union when it existed, various other governments throughout the past century, China now.)
In the United States, the CIA’s MK-Ultra drug and hooker-based mind control program was merely an extension of this tendency.
Clearly, the Holocaust and its many sub-units was – and remains – the largest such defilement that involved the meshing of medicine and the state, but the lack of ethics that allowed it to occur echoes to this day in America.
The CDC’s Tuskegee experiment is the most infamous of these particular programs – it was simply decided that even after a cure for syphilis was found that the experiment would be continued for decades “just to see what happened.”
Exactly how the CDC’s actions during the COVID pandemic will be viewed by history is not yet clear – will the societal harm done be put down to hubris or incompetence or venal personal and corporate profit or the intellectual enslavement of feeling powerful or simply throwing ethics out the window? One way its failure cannot be explained away by is the claim “we didn’t know enough” – the medical establishment most certainly did and it also knew exactly the massive harm its containment strategy was causing to society as a whole.
The repressed/false memory explosion of the 1980s – in which medical professionals engaged in beyond dubious practices in conjunction with law enforcement agencies and ended up destroying thousands of lives – is another example of “color of law” medicine going completely awry. California, sadly, was at the forefront of that movement, with the McMartin case in Manhattan Beach making international headlines and obliterating innocent people.
Bringing us to the trans/gender issue of today. While the societal pressures seem to be the primary motivators, various government agencies at numerous levels are playing a very large role in perpetuating a “trend” that involves intentionally mutilating and drugging children.
Tax-payer schools prop open the door unlocked by social media and underlying neuroses, government programs fund the medical “care,” law enforcement and social service agencies take parents out of the mix, and, from the President on down, government agencies encourage the destruction of a generation of teenagers, teenagers who will look back on this time and wonder how everything and everyone they were told they should trust could have so shockingly ill-served and permanently damaged them.
How different is this from what occurred before with forced sterilizations, on-demand hysterectomies, etc. for the “good” of the patient and society? In what can only be labelled cosmic irony, the 1909 law that enshrined forced sterilizations in California was called “The Asexualization Act.”
In case you were wondering, the A in LGBTQIA+ stands for “Asexual.”
Never to be left out of a psychotic medical trend, California is now the nation’s first state to declare itself a “sanctuary” for transgender youth seeking “gender-affirming medical care.”
Ensuring the state’s leading edge role in the in the enmeshment of medicine and politics, California has also made stripping doctors of their licenses if they think COVID protocols need to be reconsidered.
The people in the white coats are humans too, and while that can mean brilliance and empathy and kindness and joy, it can also mean venality, corruption, and greed and merely following orders – whether from the government or the part of society that yells the loudest.
And that’s why the oath was created – to remind physicians they are humans and to first, at the very least, do no harm.
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