What's Wrong with Healthcare?

Thinking inside and outside of the healthcare box. After 41 years of family practice, what's happened to Canada's healthcare system?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Steyn's America Alone

Since childhood I have always been an avid reader. One of my regrets throughout my medical career has been the time commitment to reading medical material and the time demanded by the job itself. One of the “perks” of retirement, for me, is the opportunity to continue my medical journal reading, and at the same time, expand my reading outside of the field of medicine. Recently I have started reading Mark Steyn’s “America Alone”. Whether you agree with him or not, I find the book quite intriguing.
In particular, I found his statement that Western civilizations have lost their “stomach” for war, very interesting. The statement conjured up visions of how violent mental patients were controlled in mental hospitals some seventy years ago, before the advent of our psychotropic drugs. These poor patients reacted to their aberrant visual, auditory, and in general, sensory hallucinations by being aggressive to the point of, not only harming others, but being a danger to themselves. Confinement and restraints would only limit their destruction, certainly not prevent it.
The solution was to administer a drug called epecac. This drug could cause continuous vomiting to the point of exhaustion and total submission. Could this be the origin of the expression “I can’t stomach that”? If that is the case, the Main Stream News Media certainly are the “Epecac” of our modern western civilizations. For most of us, ongoing scenes of death and destruction is a “stomach turner”; especially when we are made to feel we are responsible for the death and destruction.
Steyn talks about how important it is for a society to have the “will” to succeed and survive. I guess this struck a positive note with me because I feel the determinants of health are related to the motivation (read “will”) of the person to improve their own health.
So why would some societies have a strong “will” to survive and others not have the “stomach” for it? Besides the epecac theory, my aging agile mind (????) turned to our two barn cats. That’s right, our neutered, but not de-clawed, barn cats.
Since I live on an acreage, about every two months, a stray cat comes along and finds my heated barn/garage more comfortable than the underside of my garden shed. Plentiful food probably increases the attraction. The usual scenario is that the stray cat (usually a Tom) slowly sizes up the situation, moving in closer and closer to the food and comfort over a period of days, and eventually, through body language, hissing, spitting, scratching and biting, takes over the food and comfort of my barn and garage, relegating my cats to the -20 degree temperature and no food under the garden shed. Now, I wouldn’t mind if these stray cats helped themselves to some food, or even some warmth on a cold night, but really, why should my cats be out under the garden shed, cold and hungry? After all, they are the chosen ones!
My solution has been to capture these invaders and take them to the SPCA (I don’t have the heart to shoot them). I know, I know, they are likely euthanized in a less cost effective way; but how else am I to deal with it? You see, my cats primarily are concerned with the entertainment derived of catching and playing with the occasional mouse (food and housing is a given for them), and even more concerned as to where they are going to get their next petting and strokes. Survival for them doesn’t appear to be an issue until they are faced with the stark reality of the underside of the garden shed and it is too late. On the other hand, these visiting cats don’t seem to believe that possession is 9/10ths of the law, or any law, for that matter, except the law of survival. Without my intervention, my dependant cat’s survival would be in serious doubt. If we, as a society, don’t have the “will” to survive, who out there will rescue us or intervene on our behalf? Or for that matter, who and what is the human equivalent to the SPCA. And how, over the past two generations, did the western societies become neutered and dependant? And why does the MSNM keep feeding us epecac? So many questions and so few answers!


Blogger Lanny said...

Very interesting and gets you thinking. So, is it that they aren't fighting for survival daily and have gotten soft? Perhaps they're not cold enough or hungry enough yet?

26/11/06 10:10 PM  
Blogger Al said...

The two cats we presently have were part of a litter that was abandoned in our yard. I "domesticated" them, kept two, and found homes for the others. Had I not domesticated them, and had they survived, they would have cared less about my "stroking" them. They would have learned (on their own) how and where to find food (by being agressive), and how to find warmth and shelter, as the visiting cats are doing. This is the real world. My domesticated cats are living in an environment that has been fabricated for them by me and my "humaneness". Without my intervention, the cats who are familiar with, and can survive, in the "real" world, are more capable of surviving without my intervention than my domesticated cats. In the real world, my cats would have to be subserviant to the "wild" cats or die. Interestingly enough, the wild cats all seem to learn very quickly how to access the "cat doors" and other devices that have been taught to the domesticated cats, they seem to use them only for their purpose of suvival. The question is: In our "fabricated" western world, how are we to survive the integration of a civilization that has adapted to the realities of the real world,and cares little for our "niceties", and who or what will intervene on our behalf. What if the consensus is (the U.N.) that we are not worthy of intervention? Will Israel be the first casualty in this scenario, or Belgium, or maybe France?
Likely my generation will never see the answers to those questions, but younger generations certainly will. The question then becomes, why don't they care?

27/11/06 3:51 PM  

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