Friday, January 15, 2010

Amaria and Teamsteria, a fantasy about health freedom

Please note: This essay is NOT meant to diss trade unions in general, nor to discuss the merits of various systems of medicine.

An archived newsletter at (June 21-2004) explains how the AMA originated: as a trade union, to support allopathic doctors in their fight against homeopaths and other natural healers.

That got my imagination going...

Imagine a country where the Union of Professional Chauffeurs is so powerful that the use of private cars is outlawed and bicycles are severely restricted.

We'll call the place Teamsteria.

Most Teamsterians see nothing wrong with their society.
They agree with their government that driving is a serious, potentially dangerous business. Of course nobody should be allowed to do it without extensive training. Imagine the chaos if every Tom, Dick and Mary could get a license. People might get hurt or even killed by insufficiently skilled drivers!

Some Teamsterians hate waiting for buses or cabs and prefer getting around as they please on bicycles. They make the point that bicycles are healthier and better for the Earth.

The authorities complain that bicycles interfere with the proper functioning of car traffic. Every accident between a bike and a car is automatically blamed on the bicycle and widely publicized to boot. Life is made harder for bicycle users all the time. The chauffeurs' lobby would like them to be totally outlawed.

Some Teamsterian radicals propose that everyone should be allowed to get a drivers' license. They are considered a dangerous lunatic fringe.

To bolster its arguments the Teamsterian government points to the chaos and carnage in the neighbouring country, Amaria.

In Amaria every private citizen over 16 is allowed to drive. Every year large numbers of Amarians get killed or maimed in traffic accidents.

Amarians love being able to travel as they please, and consider the daily death toll a price worth paying for the sake of freedom. Amarians look upon their cab-bound neighbours with a mixture of pity and contempt. They wonder why Teamsterians don't rise up and demand the freedom to move around as they please!

However, in Amaria the government is in thrall to another professional union. The Amarian Medical Association has convinced the public that care of the human body is best left to a certain kind of professional. The kind that requires an expensive industry. We are all familiar with it.

Amarians are free to kill themselves on the road, but the government decides what they can put into their bodies.

Teamsterians are utterly appalled at the thought that control over their own bodies could be any less than 100%.

Do some Teamsterians make wrong health decisions? Do some die as a result? Of course! Teamsterians consider it a price worth paying for the sake of freedom...

Which society is crazier? We are like the Amarians. Why do we all put up with it? How come health freedom has never been an election issue yet?

PS. A CBC radio program on traffic issues mentioned that traffic accidents kill 28 people per month in B.C. alone. Can we imagine the furore if a herb did that?

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