Freedom—where is it?
Let us read the Declaration of Independence. Let us ponder over the words composing this great document of human desires for a free country and for liberty. Let us reason and find the real meaning of the words as signed by those great men.
Let us analyze the intentions of the signers to establish a free land for all mankind, and let us compare the present status of our country, which has so radically swung from a free land with a government of law to a country with a government of certain men, with a people who seem to have lost all their rights. (Sound familiar?—MM.)
The signers of the Declaration of Independence certainly would not stand for any of the measures that are gradually being forced upon us.
The supervision of the moral conduct of any human being, the supervision of his tastes, the supervision of his desires, the supervision of his mode of living, the supervision of his eating and drinking, the supervision of his pleasures, the supervision and suppression of his rights to his mode of education, the forcing upon the people of rules and regulations in the means of producing members of certain professions and trades, the imposing of rules which are burdens and which result in the lack of necessary men in certain activities (as in medicine), have changed a country with free aspects to a land regulated by a government which is becoming so paternalistic that it will soon resemble governments in certain parts of eastern world. This paternalism in America has reached a point where it demands of all right-thinking citizens some definite and constructive action. Restrain by laws, once begun, always increases.
In times gone by, education in general, in law or in medicine, was in hands where brains counted, where there was freedom of expression, where learning was expounded upon its own basis without restrictions from money centers.
Today education in all its branches, whether professional or general, is in the hands of trusts and foundations, which shape the trends of teaching and the minds of the students to suit their own purposes. Consolidation of large interests is growing from day to day. Trusts grow so fast and in such numbers that the country will soon be in the hands of a few rich men.
Independent thought is suppressed. Teachers and professors who dare to disagree with the doctrines as laid down by the foundations, or who dare to lift their voices expressing independence, soon find that unseen powers have terminated their connections with the colleges.
The medical situation of this country, a result of the foundation rule, is deplorable. The lack of physicians is great and increasing from day to day. In the State of Vermont 116 towns have no physicians. Hundreds of doctor-less towns and doctorless villages are offering bonuses to induce physicians to settle and practice in their midsts. Eight towns in Hamilton County, Massachusetts are without a physician. About one-quarter of the towns in the State of Connecticut are without physicians. About 750,000 births are without medical attention annually. In New York State much illness and many deaths in the rural districts are due to the lack of physicians. The Surgeon-General of the United States Health Service says that about 84 per cent. of the country's rural population are as yet unprovided with adequate health service. Towns upon towns advertise for physicians, and yet obstructions are thrown in front of every independent medical college not allied with the foundations.
This question arises: Will the people be willing to keep on giving up their liberties to the state, or will the people rise once more in protest against the state and federal governments, demanding the rights for which the fathers of this country fought so hard?
We are opposed to federal and state centralization. We are opposed to a bureaucracy. We are opposed to laws which suppress freedom of education, no matter whether it applies to general education or to medicine. We are in favor of freedom of the individual in education. We are in favor of the small college, not burdened with million dollar foundations dictating its policies and teachings. We are opposed to the medical examining boards which receive their orders from certain bodies and follow the rules laid down by the class of uplifters who are backed by millions of dollars furnished by trusts and foundations. The standards of modern medical education and practice should be set by the people, by the public, and not by an oligarchy of medical quasi-reformers.
We are in favor of medical examining boards composed of two representatives from each medical school as now found in this country. We are in favor of medical boards composed of two Allopaths, two Eclectics and two Homeopaths (no medical school to have a majority on these boards); free men, changing every year, and giving each graduate, no matter what college he comes from, a just examination, even if the college he graduates from had no campuses, no million dollar dormitories and no endowment funds. These representatives on the medical boards would be selected by the American Medical Association, the National Eclectic Medical Association and the American Institute of Homeopathy.
The whole question for these boards to decide is: "Does the applicant know enough medicine to practice his profession with benefit to humanity?"
National Eclectic Medical Association Quarterly, Vol. 19, 1927-28, was edited by Theodore Davis Adlerman, M.D.