All posts by David Penner

As American Society Crashes and Burns, the Cult of Neoliberalism Marches on

The right to have a slave implies the right in some one to make the slave; that right must be equal and mutual, and this would resolve society into a state of perpetual war.

— William Seward, from the “Freedom in the New Territories” speech, March 11, 1850

Long after they have set fire to the values of the New Deal and the civil rights movement, neoliberals continue to regard themselves as a bulwark protecting civilization from barbarism. In reality, they have betrayed all the values that the New Dealers and the civil rights leaders courageously and nobly fought for. Indeed, a class that once espoused unions, public education, the Constitution, integration, and freedom of the press, while standing in unequivocal opposition to imperialism and McCarthyism, has been transformed into a cult which speaks in the trappings of a progressive-sounding language, yet which has come to be allied with the forces of reaction on each and every one of these issues.

The mass media has successfully convinced a vast swath of the population that Obama and Hillary stand in brave opposition to racism and sexism, while Trump personifies Racism and The Patriarchy. This inane view of politics, coupled with the fact that the education system has raised an entire generation on nothing but woke novels and immigrant memoirs that pathologize whiteness, has resulted in a crisis where Western Civilization and the values of the Enlightenment are in grave danger. The videos showing Hillary supporters sobbing as their beloved Class-A war criminal was defeated in the 2016 election signifies this dangerous rift with reality.

Let us posit that a cult is a social structure that embodies the following characteristics:

* A rejection of logic and reason

* A fanatical devotion to an irrational belief system

* A profound anti-intellectualism

* A rejection of history and objective truth

* A relentless vilification of those who are outside of the cult, especially those who attempt to challenge the cult’s dogma

* An Orwellian manipulation of language

That neoliberalism possesses each of these characteristics is irrefutable; while all who attempt to question this creed are branded as “racists,” “fascists,” “Nazis,” “bigots,” “sexists,” or “conspiracy theorists”; i.e., mentally ill. Moreover, faux leftists continue to exhibit a blind faith in the holy texts of neoliberalism; and no matter how many times The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker lie and dissemble, they refuse to read these publications with even the faintest trace of skepticism.

A critical tenet of neoliberalism is that it “fights racism,” when, in fact, the opposite is the case, as evidenced by the fact that multiculturalism and identity politics relentlessly foment and exacerbate segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism. And despite the fact that the two parties have been doing essentially the exact same things since (at the very least) the inauguration of Bill Clinton, the cult of neoliberalism remains anchored in an uncompromising belief in the two-party system. The idea that it is “progressive” to dispense with the national identities of the West since they epitomize “racism,” is yet another putrefying pillar of neoliberal ideology. Following this line of thinking, Americans can get along just fine with vocational communities and tribal identities that break down along lines of ethnicity, language, religion and sexual orientation.

A belief that the multicultural society is a meritocracy where everyone gets the job and income that they deserve; an insistence that “the left” should no longer concern itself with improving the lives of workers, students, patients, and prisoners but with “fighting racism,” are likewise foundational tenets of identity politics doctrine. In actuality, the fragmentation unleashed by the multicultural curriculum, identity studies, the multilingual media, and bilingual education create the very racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia that faux-leftists claim to combat, undermining their very raison d’être. In a curious historical irony, neoliberals have even backed the restoration of McCarthyite witch hunts, thereby facilitating attacks on those who remain outside, or in defiance of, this peculiar dogma.

The multicultural curriculum has been specifically engineered to deny black, Latino, and poor immigrant youth an education in American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. This underscores the sinister and bigoted intentions of liberal academic administrators. Jettisoning these books from public schools which are dominated by students of color has led to staggering amounts of illiteracy, from which sectarianism has arrived to insatiably and inexorably fill the void. Perhaps unsurprisingly, proponents of the anti-working class have birthed an anti-humanities curriculum.

Multiculturalism subverts class consciousness without which there can be no political literacy, no understanding of history, and no progress. The anarchy, chaos, and atomization of the multicultural society (an oxymoron), turns workers into amoral automatons and interchangeable parts, while facilitating plutocratic pillage and authoritarianism, which its architects know full well.

In many ways, the demonization of Trump serves to deflect attention away from the fact that it is the ideology of neoliberalism which has betrayed the legacies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and Martin Luther King, turning the country into a failed state. Black nationalism and white nationalism are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. It is not possible to have one and not have the other. Indeed, anti-white bigots are no more interested in the restoration of unions, the Constitution, integration, good public education, demilitarization, and freedom of the press than their white nationalist counterparts. If these critical checks and balances are not restored, and the health care system remains privatized, our democracy will be lost. The political prosecutions of Julian Assange, John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner, Daniel Hale, Barrett Brown, and Jeremy Hammond mean nothing to these zealots, as the accused are white, and the reinstatement of habeas corpus is not a part of their agenda.

A country can have different ethnicities, religions, and languages, but it cannot survive competing and mutually hostile curricula, as a nation-state must have a cohesive canon and a common historical narrative in order to sustain itself. As things presently stand, we have one curriculum which portrays white people as the devil incarnate; the other, a conservative curriculum, portrays Americans as the Indispensable Nation, and inculcates its charges with an ideology anchored in jingoism and Manifest Destiny. Both courses of study denigrate American literature, and refuse to educate their students in the history of European and American imperialism. These two curricula are on a collision course, and it would be unwise to dismiss the possibility of serious sectarian violence.

James Madison was acutely aware of the vital importance of having a literate population. As he wrote in a letter to W.T. Barry, on August 4, 1822:

A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

John F. Kennedy reiterated this fundamental truth when he stated at Vanderbilt’s 90th Anniversary Convocation Address on May 18th, 1963, that “Only an educated and informed people will be a free people.”

Faux leftists continue to be fanatical supporters of illegal immigration and the importation of guest workers, and refuse to acknowledge the many problems this has wrought, particularly with regard to deunionization and the depression of wages, ghettoization, catastrophic overcrowding in public schools and hospitals; and the fact that mass immigration foments destabilization, which in turn facilitates the ruling establishment’s dismantling of due process and the rule of law.

Are liberals truly “fighting racism” by allowing so many destitute Americans to wallow unaided in a hell of mass incarceration, mass illiteracy, mass unemployment, and appalling unmet health care needs, while simultaneously clamoring for more cheap labor to be brought in from abroad? There are also large numbers of Americans with advanced degrees that struggle to find jobs, and yet are forced to compete with a seemingly endless arrival of foreign workers that are hired to fill these very positions. Can a society survive if it incessantly denies educational opportunities and job opportunities to millions of its young people while replacing them with indentured servants and more compliant foreign workers?

The taboo placed on criticizing these policies has made it virtually impossible to discuss extremely serious domestic problems with any degree of intellectual honesty. And while liberals have long forgotten that the egregious economic inequality of the Gilded Age was inextricably linked with open borders, the ruling establishment has never forgotten that this has always been capital’s most effective and devastatingly powerful weapon.

With regard to the nonsensical term “cultural Marxism:” Marx himself understood that mass immigration was used by the ruling elites of the US and UK to drive down wages and pit workers against one another. Furthermore, he would have understood that identity politics atomizes the working class, shattering it into a dizzying array of competing and antagonistic camps. Far from having anything to do with Marxism, the true meaning of “cultural Marxism” is unfettered capitalism. Indeed, when “the free market” is at its most unbridled, checks and balances are no longer sustainable.

For liberals and socialists it has long been anathema to suggest that bigotry can be anything other than a one-way street, yet upon closer examination this argument reveals itself to be mere casuistry. In the ‘60s, “fighting racism” was synonymous with fighting segregation. Today, “fighting racism” has devolved into calls for more “diversity”; i.e., less white people. In the neoliberal cult, the word “racist” has literally come to mean “evil white people,” which has in turn given birth to the idea that only whites can commit “hate crimes.” As towns, cities, and institutions that are predominantly white are denounced as “racist,” it is clear that the goal of multiculturalism is to make whites into a minority throughout the country, burn books by white people, and tear down statues of white people. Is this not what is meant by the growing calls to end “white privilege” and “white power?” This can only lead to a perpetual state of acrimony between the cult of neoliberalism and the rest of American society. The ahistorical and knavish notion of “white privilege” is contradicted by the fact that there has never been a time in the history of the country when there weren’t significant numbers of poor white people. Furthermore, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that while the white middle class is being systematically dismantled, the white oligarchs are richer than ever. (Another mysterious feature of “white privilege” is that roughly 70% of all suicides in the US are committed by white males).

Liberals once fought segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism – now they fight for these things – a turn of history evidently lost on them. Irregardless of whether the multiculturalists succeed, or the political pendulum swings back to a traditional far-right element such as the Christian Right, the road to despotism has been paved by the liberal class. Martin Luther King’s dream, that Americans would one day “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” has met its inversion in identity politics. Hundreds of thousands of white Union soldiers died so that over three million black slaves could be free. Were they also “racist?”

It is clear that the minions of multiculturalism have no more understanding of the historical significance of these events than the squirrels of Central Park. Nevertheless, it is also conceivable that the oligarchy understands this totalitarianization all too well, and that these events are part of a deliberate strategy to destroy the working class.

The fiendish nature of identity politics is underscored by the fact that statues of Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Hans Christian Heg have been toppled, while a statue of Matthias Baldwin has been defaced. While none of these individuals fought for the Confederacy (paradoxically, they held quite radical views), they all have one thing in common: they were white. That the marauders do not differentiate between Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee, on the one hand; and Jefferson, Grant, and Heg on the other, underscores the fact that this is a wicked movement hell-bent on the destruction of our civilization. (In this same vein, the book burners do not distinguish between The Scarlet Letter, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Mein Kampf). Moreover, it is from precisely this very anarchic environment that a Mussolini, Pinochet, or Franco could seize power — and save the country from “the left.”

Speaking at the unveiling of the Freedmen’s Monument (also known as the Emancipation Memorial) in Washington, DC, on April 14, 1876, which was paid for by freedmen, and which woke barbarians are champing at the bit to destroy, Frederick Douglass said of Lincoln:

Fellow-citizens, I end, as I began, with congratulations. We have done a good work for our race to-day. In doing honor to the memory of our friend and liberator, we have been doing highest honors to ourselves and those who come after us; we have been fastening ourselves to a name and fame imperishable and immortal; we have also been defending ourselves from a blighting scandal. When now it shall be said that the colored man is soulless, that he has no appreciation of benefits or benefactors; when the foul reproach of ingratitude is hurled at us, and it is attempted to scourge us beyond the range of human brotherhood, we may calmly point to the monument we have this day erected to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

The multiculturalists are now denouncing this memorial as “a monument to white supremacy.”

Were it not for Lincoln and Grant, it is highly probable that the Confederacy would have successfully seceded. Heg was slain at Chickamauga, and gave his life fighting against the Slave Power. The iconic statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the Museum of Natural History, which I once gazed up to in wonder as a young boy, is also slated to come down. That Roosevelt was a complex individual who fought for things both progressive and reactionary means nothing to these philistines. Even Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ exquisite Shaw Memorial, which took 14 years for the artist to complete, and which honors the all-black Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment, has not escaped the wrath of the mob.

The rise in racial diversity and diversity of sexual orientation has coincided with an unprecedented demise in diversity of thought. As historian James Oakes said in an interview with the World Socialist Web Site on November 18th, 2019:

There was a time, a long, long time ago, when a “diverse history faculty” meant that you had an economic historian, a political historian, a social historian, a historian of the American Revolution, of the Civil War, and so on. And now a diverse history faculty means a women’s historian, a gay historian, a Chinese-American historian, a Latino historian. So it’s a completely different kind of diversity.

More dangerous than racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia, are those who use these words in intellectually dishonest and disingenuous ways. This is exemplified by the vitriol heaped on those who maintain that all public school students should be required to read American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. Denying these books to students of color isn’t “fighting racism;” but conversely, its quintessence. (Note how the euphemisms “respecting cultural differences” and “protecting diversity” serve to glorify segregation). Once these students are inculcated with the pernicious sophism that all white authors are racist they become unteachable. It is as though they have been injected with an anti-literacy vaccine.

There is little difference between students at an elite preparatory school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the sons and daughters of the Ancien Régime. Likewise, there is little difference between the polyglot rabble that are warehoused in the New York City public schools and the children of medieval serfs. The only difference is that the multicultural serfs are so dehumanized that they have been taught to despise the very books that they so desperately need, and without which they are destined to become second-class citizens.

International students who hail from high schools where English is not the language of instruction should devote their time in the US to earning bachelor’s degrees in American or British literature. Alternatively, they are destined to learn nothing more than the English language jargon of their field; an arrangement deemed advantageous, both for the for-profit universities, as well as to their future exploiters. The idea that it is “anti-racist” to sell an international student a graduate or undergraduate degree when they struggle to read John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, or write an essay with a single grammatically correct sentence, is indicative of what Gad Saad has called “an idea pathogen.” Again, this begs the question: who is the real racist here?

Arguing that foreign-born students should, at the very least, always be less than ten percent of any student body K-12, and that they should not be allowed to arrive after the sixth or seventh grade, is nothing more than basic common sense. This would help protect not only the integrity of the public schools, but also foreign-born students themselves, who frequently fail to become literate and articulate in English, either because they arrive too late, or because they are educated in schools where ghettoization has relegated academic standards to the lowest possible level. What are immigrant children to integrate into when they are literally hanging from the chandeliers?

In Britain, faith-based schools continue to have a deleterious impact on native and foreigner alike, as this greatly exacerbates the problem of parallel communities. How can a Muslim child growing up in Luton become a literate British citizen if his education is predicated entirely on Islamic texts? Those who raise this issue are invariably met with accusations of “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “Islamophobia” — or most preposterous of all — “hate speech.” The first casualties of any cult are logic and liberty of thought.

The American canon has always been dominated by the so-called “dead white men.” Getting rid of these books cannot be done without destroying the entire society. (Do I have the right to go to Pakistan and complain that their education system is dominated by “dead brown men?”) The poor academic performance of many Americans of color is rooted in the fact that they have the black or Latino nationalist in one ear and the white neoliberal in the other, two Iagos essentially spewing the same venom: don’t have anything to do with white teachers, white students, or books written by white people. Indeed, all the great black writers and orators in the history of the country: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Langston Hughes, to name a few, would never have accomplished anything intellectually without having attained a solid foundation in classics of Western Civilization. Did Martin Luther King martyr himself so that black children could read Amy Tan, Edwidge Danticat, The House on Mango Street and be railroaded into African American studies departments?

Here is Du Bois from The Souls of Black Folk:

I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil.

Above all, an education system must maintain and safeguard a particular national identity, as manifested by its unique humanities curriculum. Once this sacrosanct mission has been abandoned, education deteriorates into a collection of soulless vocational institutes that become technocratic factories for illiteratization. No multicultural curriculum can exist, because it is not possible to make children literate and articulate in hundreds of different languages. Notwithstanding neoliberal protestations, the multicultural curriculum is a psychopathic, nihilistic, and deeply reactionary curriculum. Nevertheless, it does what it was designed to do: foment tribalism and ignorance, while deflecting anger away from the oligarchy’s destruction of the country and towards white people.

As Frederick Douglass said in his “Our Composite Nationality” speech on December 7, 1869:

Mankind are not held together by lies. Trust is the foundation of society. Where there is no truth, there can be no trust, and where there is no trust, there can be no society.

If white power is wrong, black power must also be wrong. If misogyny is to be denounced, misandry must also be denounced. It is unconscionable for the cult of neoliberalism to continue to indoctrinate American youth with extremist ideologies.

In the cult of neoliberalism white nationalism is everywhere, yet anti-white bigotry — even when it is at its most spiteful and vicious – is nowhere to be found. Black nationalism is romanticized, as it “fights racism;” while misandry is extolled, as it “fights sexism.” Identity studies and the multicultural curriculum (where classes are taught by demagogues and not by academics), have fomented unprecedented forms of sectarianism, and fueled the free market jihadis of black nationalism, Latino nationalism, and Feminisis, along with other anti-intellectual and anti-Western hordes which are tearing apart the cultural fabric of society. The absence of a legitimate progressive alternative to endless wars, austerity, book burning, the medical industrial complex, and mass incarceration, where one may choose only between a white right and a colored right, has straitjacketed us into a paralysis of analysis. Irregardless of who is victorious, there can only be one winner: the kleptocracy.

The Yellow Vest movement, presently crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic, is a traditional working class movement which seeks to protect social services, unions, and middle class jobs, and whose supporters understand that endless ranting and raving about race and gender is divisive and self-destructive, as this can only enhance the power of a rampaging bourgeoisie increasingly hostile to democracy. They also understand that the triumph of identity politics would constitute the triumph of alienation over camaraderie and solidarity.

Ultimately, multiculturalism is rooted in the idea that our national identity is illegitimate, a form of self-flagellation that is increasingly popular in Europe, notably Sweden. This humiliates and dehumanizes Americans of all ethnicities, and degrades and sullies the credibility of the left, while emboldening traditional reactionary ideologies.

Theodore Roosevelt was acutely aware of the dangers of tribalism. Speaking to the Knights of Columbus at Carnegie Hall on October 12, 1915, he warned:

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic.

If the multicultural cancer continues to metastasize unchecked our civilization will disintegrate, leaving the younger generation with nothing but a desolate wasteland enveloped by amnesia, where those who cry “extremist” are the real extremists, and where the citadel of reason lies in ruins, as Old Abe’s “mystic chords of memory” fade into a broken hourglass forever.

Ever hubristic and increasingly deranged, the cult of neoliberalism continues to maintain that the multicultural society constitutes a revolutionary movement comprised of integrationists, whose disciples are the heirs to the civil rights movement and the New Deal, when these crusades are diametrically opposed to one another. That the acolytes of identity politics fail to see this is lamentable. Yet cults require only emotions and blind obedience — not cognition. As Paul Craig Roberts writes in “Education Is Offensive and Racist and so is America:” “The elite have worked long and hard to acquire a divided population that cannot unite against them. They have succeeded.”

As American Society Crashes and Burns, the Cult of Neoliberalism Marches on

The right to have a slave implies the right in some one to make the slave; that right must be equal and mutual, and this would resolve society into a state of perpetual war.

— William Seward, from the “Freedom in the New Territories” speech, March 11, 1850

Long after they have set fire to the values of the New Deal and the civil rights movement, neoliberals continue to regard themselves as a bulwark protecting civilization from barbarism. In reality, they have betrayed all the values that the New Dealers and the civil rights leaders courageously and nobly fought for. Indeed, a class that once espoused unions, public education, the Constitution, integration, and freedom of the press, while standing in unequivocal opposition to imperialism and McCarthyism, has been transformed into a cult which speaks in the trappings of a progressive-sounding language, yet which has come to be allied with the forces of reaction on each and every one of these issues.

The mass media has successfully convinced a vast swath of the population that Obama and Hillary stand in brave opposition to racism and sexism, while Trump personifies Racism and The Patriarchy. This inane view of politics, coupled with the fact that the education system has raised an entire generation on nothing but woke novels and immigrant memoirs that pathologize whiteness, has resulted in a crisis where Western Civilization and the values of the Enlightenment are in grave danger. The videos showing Hillary supporters sobbing as their beloved Class-A war criminal was defeated in the 2016 election signifies this dangerous rift with reality.

Let us posit that a cult is a social structure that embodies the following characteristics:

* A rejection of logic and reason

* A fanatical devotion to an irrational belief system

* A profound anti-intellectualism

* A rejection of history and objective truth

* A relentless vilification of those who are outside of the cult, especially those who attempt to challenge the cult’s dogma

* An Orwellian manipulation of language

That neoliberalism possesses each of these characteristics is irrefutable; while all who attempt to question this creed are branded as “racists,” “fascists,” “Nazis,” “bigots,” “sexists,” or “conspiracy theorists”; i.e., mentally ill. Moreover, faux leftists continue to exhibit a blind faith in the holy texts of neoliberalism; and no matter how many times The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker lie and dissemble, they refuse to read these publications with even the faintest trace of skepticism.

A critical tenet of neoliberalism is that it “fights racism,” when, in fact, the opposite is the case, as evidenced by the fact that multiculturalism and identity politics relentlessly foment and exacerbate segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism. And despite the fact that the two parties have been doing essentially the exact same things since (at the very least) the inauguration of Bill Clinton, the cult of neoliberalism remains anchored in an uncompromising belief in the two-party system. The idea that it is “progressive” to dispense with the national identities of the West since they epitomize “racism,” is yet another putrefying pillar of neoliberal ideology. Following this line of thinking, Americans can get along just fine with vocational communities and tribal identities that break down along lines of ethnicity, language, religion and sexual orientation.

A belief that the multicultural society is a meritocracy where everyone gets the job and income that they deserve; an insistence that “the left” should no longer concern itself with improving the lives of workers, students, patients, and prisoners but with “fighting racism,” are likewise foundational tenets of identity politics doctrine. In actuality, the fragmentation unleashed by the multicultural curriculum, identity studies, the multilingual media, and bilingual education create the very racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia that faux-leftists claim to combat, undermining their very raison d’être. In a curious historical irony, neoliberals have even backed the restoration of McCarthyite witch hunts, thereby facilitating attacks on those who remain outside, or in defiance of, this peculiar dogma.

The multicultural curriculum has been specifically engineered to deny black, Latino, and poor immigrant youth an education in American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. This underscores the sinister and bigoted intentions of liberal academic administrators. Jettisoning these books from public schools which are dominated by students of color has led to staggering amounts of illiteracy, from which sectarianism has arrived to insatiably and inexorably fill the void. Perhaps unsurprisingly, proponents of the anti-working class have birthed an anti-humanities curriculum.

Multiculturalism subverts class consciousness without which there can be no political literacy, no understanding of history, and no progress. The anarchy, chaos, and atomization of the multicultural society (an oxymoron), turns workers into amoral automatons and interchangeable parts, while facilitating plutocratic pillage and authoritarianism, which its architects know full well.

In many ways, the demonization of Trump serves to deflect attention away from the fact that it is the ideology of neoliberalism which has betrayed the legacies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and Martin Luther King, turning the country into a failed state. Black nationalism and white nationalism are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. It is not possible to have one and not have the other. Indeed, anti-white bigots are no more interested in the restoration of unions, the Constitution, integration, good public education, demilitarization, and freedom of the press than their white nationalist counterparts. If these critical checks and balances are not restored, and the health care system remains privatized, our democracy will be lost. The political prosecutions of Julian Assange, John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner, Daniel Hale, Barrett Brown, and Jeremy Hammond mean nothing to these zealots, as the accused are white, and the reinstatement of habeas corpus is not a part of their agenda.

A country can have different ethnicities, religions, and languages, but it cannot survive competing and mutually hostile curricula, as a nation-state must have a cohesive canon and a common historical narrative in order to sustain itself. As things presently stand, we have one curriculum which portrays white people as the devil incarnate; the other, a conservative curriculum, portrays Americans as the Indispensable Nation, and inculcates its charges with an ideology anchored in jingoism and Manifest Destiny. Both courses of study denigrate American literature, and refuse to educate their students in the history of European and American imperialism. These two curricula are on a collision course, and it would be unwise to dismiss the possibility of serious sectarian violence.

James Madison was acutely aware of the vital importance of having a literate population. As he wrote in a letter to W.T. Barry, on August 4, 1822:

A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

John F. Kennedy reiterated this fundamental truth when he stated at Vanderbilt’s 90th Anniversary Convocation Address on May 18th, 1963, that “Only an educated and informed people will be a free people.”

Faux leftists continue to be fanatical supporters of illegal immigration and the importation of guest workers, and refuse to acknowledge the many problems this has wrought, particularly with regard to deunionization and the depression of wages, ghettoization, catastrophic overcrowding in public schools and hospitals; and the fact that mass immigration foments destabilization, which in turn facilitates the ruling establishment’s dismantling of due process and the rule of law.

Are liberals truly “fighting racism” by allowing so many destitute Americans to wallow unaided in a hell of mass incarceration, mass illiteracy, mass unemployment, and appalling unmet health care needs, while simultaneously clamoring for more cheap labor to be brought in from abroad? There are also large numbers of Americans with advanced degrees that struggle to find jobs, and yet are forced to compete with a seemingly endless arrival of foreign workers that are hired to fill these very positions. Can a society survive if it incessantly denies educational opportunities and job opportunities to millions of its young people while replacing them with indentured servants and more compliant foreign workers?

The taboo placed on criticizing these policies has made it virtually impossible to discuss extremely serious domestic problems with any degree of intellectual honesty. And while liberals have long forgotten that the egregious economic inequality of the Gilded Age was inextricably linked with open borders, the ruling establishment has never forgotten that this has always been capital’s most effective and devastatingly powerful weapon.

With regard to the nonsensical term “cultural Marxism:” Marx himself understood that mass immigration was used by the ruling elites of the US and UK to drive down wages and pit workers against one another. Furthermore, he would have understood that identity politics atomizes the working class, shattering it into a dizzying array of competing and antagonistic camps. Far from having anything to do with Marxism, the true meaning of “cultural Marxism” is unfettered capitalism. Indeed, when “the free market” is at its most unbridled, checks and balances are no longer sustainable.

For liberals and socialists it has long been anathema to suggest that bigotry can be anything other than a one-way street, yet upon closer examination this argument reveals itself to be mere casuistry. In the ‘60s, “fighting racism” was synonymous with fighting segregation. Today, “fighting racism” has devolved into calls for more “diversity”; i.e., less white people. In the neoliberal cult, the word “racist” has literally come to mean “evil white people,” which has in turn given birth to the idea that only whites can commit “hate crimes.” As towns, cities, and institutions that are predominantly white are denounced as “racist,” it is clear that the goal of multiculturalism is to make whites into a minority throughout the country, burn books by white people, and tear down statues of white people. Is this not what is meant by the growing calls to end “white privilege” and “white power?” This can only lead to a perpetual state of acrimony between the cult of neoliberalism and the rest of American society. The ahistorical and knavish notion of “white privilege” is contradicted by the fact that there has never been a time in the history of the country when there weren’t significant numbers of poor white people. Furthermore, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that while the white middle class is being systematically dismantled, the white oligarchs are richer than ever. (Another mysterious feature of “white privilege” is that roughly 70% of all suicides in the US are committed by white males).

Liberals once fought segregation, ghettoization, and tribalism – now they fight for these things – a turn of history evidently lost on them. Irregardless of whether the multiculturalists succeed, or the political pendulum swings back to a traditional far-right element such as the Christian Right, the road to despotism has been paved by the liberal class. Martin Luther King’s dream, that Americans would one day “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” has met its inversion in identity politics. Hundreds of thousands of white Union soldiers died so that over three million black slaves could be free. Were they also “racist?”

It is clear that the minions of multiculturalism have no more understanding of the historical significance of these events than the squirrels of Central Park. Nevertheless, it is also conceivable that the oligarchy understands this totalitarianization all too well, and that these events are part of a deliberate strategy to destroy the working class.

The fiendish nature of identity politics is underscored by the fact that statues of Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Hans Christian Heg have been toppled, while a statue of Matthias Baldwin has been defaced. While none of these individuals fought for the Confederacy (paradoxically, they held quite radical views), they all have one thing in common: they were white. That the marauders do not differentiate between Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee, on the one hand; and Jefferson, Grant, and Heg on the other, underscores the fact that this is a wicked movement hell-bent on the destruction of our civilization. (In this same vein, the book burners do not distinguish between The Scarlet Letter, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Mein Kampf). Moreover, it is from precisely this very anarchic environment that a Mussolini, Pinochet, or Franco could seize power — and save the country from “the left.”

Speaking at the unveiling of the Freedmen’s Monument (also known as the Emancipation Memorial) in Washington, DC, on April 14, 1876, which was paid for by freedmen, and which woke barbarians are champing at the bit to destroy, Frederick Douglass said of Lincoln:

Fellow-citizens, I end, as I began, with congratulations. We have done a good work for our race to-day. In doing honor to the memory of our friend and liberator, we have been doing highest honors to ourselves and those who come after us; we have been fastening ourselves to a name and fame imperishable and immortal; we have also been defending ourselves from a blighting scandal. When now it shall be said that the colored man is soulless, that he has no appreciation of benefits or benefactors; when the foul reproach of ingratitude is hurled at us, and it is attempted to scourge us beyond the range of human brotherhood, we may calmly point to the monument we have this day erected to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

The multiculturalists are now denouncing this memorial as “a monument to white supremacy.”

Were it not for Lincoln and Grant, it is highly probable that the Confederacy would have successfully seceded. Heg was slain at Chickamauga, and gave his life fighting against the Slave Power. The iconic statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the Museum of Natural History, which I once gazed up to in wonder as a young boy, is also slated to come down. That Roosevelt was a complex individual who fought for things both progressive and reactionary means nothing to these philistines. Even Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ exquisite Shaw Memorial, which took 14 years for the artist to complete, and which honors the all-black Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment, has not escaped the wrath of the mob.

The rise in racial diversity and diversity of sexual orientation has coincided with an unprecedented demise in diversity of thought. As historian James Oakes said in an interview with the World Socialist Web Site on November 18th, 2019:

There was a time, a long, long time ago, when a “diverse history faculty” meant that you had an economic historian, a political historian, a social historian, a historian of the American Revolution, of the Civil War, and so on. And now a diverse history faculty means a women’s historian, a gay historian, a Chinese-American historian, a Latino historian. So it’s a completely different kind of diversity.

More dangerous than racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia, are those who use these words in intellectually dishonest and disingenuous ways. This is exemplified by the vitriol heaped on those who maintain that all public school students should be required to read American letters, British literature, and classics of Western Civilization. Denying these books to students of color isn’t “fighting racism;” but conversely, its quintessence. (Note how the euphemisms “respecting cultural differences” and “protecting diversity” serve to glorify segregation). Once these students are inculcated with the pernicious sophism that all white authors are racist they become unteachable. It is as though they have been injected with an anti-literacy vaccine.

There is little difference between students at an elite preparatory school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the sons and daughters of the Ancien Régime. Likewise, there is little difference between the polyglot rabble that are warehoused in the New York City public schools and the children of medieval serfs. The only difference is that the multicultural serfs are so dehumanized that they have been taught to despise the very books that they so desperately need, and without which they are destined to become second-class citizens.

International students who hail from high schools where English is not the language of instruction should devote their time in the US to earning bachelor’s degrees in American or British literature. Alternatively, they are destined to learn nothing more than the English language jargon of their field; an arrangement deemed advantageous, both for the for-profit universities, as well as to their future exploiters. The idea that it is “anti-racist” to sell an international student a graduate or undergraduate degree when they struggle to read John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, or write an essay with a single grammatically correct sentence, is indicative of what Gad Saad has called “an idea pathogen.” Again, this begs the question: who is the real racist here?

Arguing that foreign-born students should, at the very least, always be less than ten percent of any student body K-12, and that they should not be allowed to arrive after the sixth or seventh grade, is nothing more than basic common sense. This would help protect not only the integrity of the public schools, but also foreign-born students themselves, who frequently fail to become literate and articulate in English, either because they arrive too late, or because they are educated in schools where ghettoization has relegated academic standards to the lowest possible level. What are immigrant children to integrate into when they are literally hanging from the chandeliers?

In Britain, faith-based schools continue to have a deleterious impact on native and foreigner alike, as this greatly exacerbates the problem of parallel communities. How can a Muslim child growing up in Luton become a literate British citizen if his education is predicated entirely on Islamic texts? Those who raise this issue are invariably met with accusations of “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “Islamophobia” — or most preposterous of all — “hate speech.” The first casualties of any cult are logic and liberty of thought.

The American canon has always been dominated by the so-called “dead white men.” Getting rid of these books cannot be done without destroying the entire society. (Do I have the right to go to Pakistan and complain that their education system is dominated by “dead brown men?”) The poor academic performance of many Americans of color is rooted in the fact that they have the black or Latino nationalist in one ear and the white neoliberal in the other, two Iagos essentially spewing the same venom: don’t have anything to do with white teachers, white students, or books written by white people. Indeed, all the great black writers and orators in the history of the country: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Langston Hughes, to name a few, would never have accomplished anything intellectually without having attained a solid foundation in classics of Western Civilization. Did Martin Luther King martyr himself so that black children could read Amy Tan, Edwidge Danticat, The House on Mango Street and be railroaded into African American studies departments?

Here is Du Bois from The Souls of Black Folk:

I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil.

Above all, an education system must maintain and safeguard a particular national identity, as manifested by its unique humanities curriculum. Once this sacrosanct mission has been abandoned, education deteriorates into a collection of soulless vocational institutes that become technocratic factories for illiteratization. No multicultural curriculum can exist, because it is not possible to make children literate and articulate in hundreds of different languages. Notwithstanding neoliberal protestations, the multicultural curriculum is a psychopathic, nihilistic, and deeply reactionary curriculum. Nevertheless, it does what it was designed to do: foment tribalism and ignorance, while deflecting anger away from the oligarchy’s destruction of the country and towards white people.

As Frederick Douglass said in his “Our Composite Nationality” speech on December 7, 1869:

Mankind are not held together by lies. Trust is the foundation of society. Where there is no truth, there can be no trust, and where there is no trust, there can be no society.

If white power is wrong, black power must also be wrong. If misogyny is to be denounced, misandry must also be denounced. It is unconscionable for the cult of neoliberalism to continue to indoctrinate American youth with extremist ideologies.

In the cult of neoliberalism white nationalism is everywhere, yet anti-white bigotry — even when it is at its most spiteful and vicious – is nowhere to be found. Black nationalism is romanticized, as it “fights racism;” while misandry is extolled, as it “fights sexism.” Identity studies and the multicultural curriculum (where classes are taught by demagogues and not by academics), have fomented unprecedented forms of sectarianism, and fueled the free market jihadis of black nationalism, Latino nationalism, and Feminisis, along with other anti-intellectual and anti-Western hordes which are tearing apart the cultural fabric of society. The absence of a legitimate progressive alternative to endless wars, austerity, book burning, the medical industrial complex, and mass incarceration, where one may choose only between a white right and a colored right, has straitjacketed us into a paralysis of analysis. Irregardless of who is victorious, there can only be one winner: the kleptocracy.

The Yellow Vest movement, presently crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic, is a traditional working class movement which seeks to protect social services, unions, and middle class jobs, and whose supporters understand that endless ranting and raving about race and gender is divisive and self-destructive, as this can only enhance the power of a rampaging bourgeoisie increasingly hostile to democracy. They also understand that the triumph of identity politics would constitute the triumph of alienation over camaraderie and solidarity.

Ultimately, multiculturalism is rooted in the idea that our national identity is illegitimate, a form of self-flagellation that is increasingly popular in Europe, notably Sweden. This humiliates and dehumanizes Americans of all ethnicities, and degrades and sullies the credibility of the left, while emboldening traditional reactionary ideologies.

Theodore Roosevelt was acutely aware of the dangers of tribalism. Speaking to the Knights of Columbus at Carnegie Hall on October 12, 1915, he warned:

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic.

If the multicultural cancer continues to metastasize unchecked our civilization will disintegrate, leaving the younger generation with nothing but a desolate wasteland enveloped by amnesia, where those who cry “extremist” are the real extremists, and where the citadel of reason lies in ruins, as Old Abe’s “mystic chords of memory” fade into a broken hourglass forever.

Ever hubristic and increasingly deranged, the cult of neoliberalism continues to maintain that the multicultural society constitutes a revolutionary movement comprised of integrationists, whose disciples are the heirs to the civil rights movement and the New Deal, when these crusades are diametrically opposed to one another. That the acolytes of identity politics fail to see this is lamentable. Yet cults require only emotions and blind obedience — not cognition. As Paul Craig Roberts writes in “Education Is Offensive and Racist and so is America:” “The elite have worked long and hard to acquire a divided population that cannot unite against them. They have succeeded.”

The American Teaching Hospital: School for Psychopaths

Medicine has changed. We used to be a calling that catered to the public welfare, and our prime consideration was the patient. Now we are a business, and some of us practice as impersonal corporations, with the bottom line the profits, not the well-being of the patient.”

— From The Doctor, by Dr. Edward E. Rosenbaum, 1991

The most shocking thing about the neoliberal health care model is not that it bankrupts and murders hundreds of thousands of Americans each year, but that vast numbers of physicians continue to support it. The insatiable depravity of the anti-single-payer virus has metastasized throughout every organ of the American teaching hospital, an institution which has betrayed its sacrosanct purpose, and which increasingly inculcates residents with the pernicious idea that good health care is a privilege and not a right.

The teaching hospital has become a dangerous place, not only for patients, but also for trainees, who are being forged into physicians without having been inculcated with a respect for basic principles of medical ethics. In this way have American physicians largely been reduced to an army of automatons trained to make money for the medical industrial complex. Indeed, it should come as no surprise that many residents lose themselves in a pitiless sea of soulless careerism, as they are immersed for years in an environment where they are beholden to, and at the mercy of, rapacious interests that place profit-making over all other considerations.

The teaching hospital is to health care what the ballet academy is to ballet and the music conservatory is to the symphony orchestra. All who covet this career must pass through its gates, and the values it imparts to its pupils form the basis of the light — or the inexorable darkness — that will assuredly follow.

Knowing that patients are often confined to extremely narrow networks, it is standard practice for teaching hospitals to arm-twist patients with inferior insurance into being medical models during physician office visits. This underscores the sociopathy of the contemporary teaching hospital, and serves as a metaphor for how these institutions have become inhuman machines that harm patients and sully the souls of their trainees. Cornell Dermatology, a department that could win an award for teaching residents how to coerce patients with inferior insurance into being clinical teaching tools, takes great pride in their villainy, writing on their website:

In addition to basic and clinical dermatology training, we strive to instill ethical behavior, compassion, communication and the recognition that we are here to serve our patients.

Residents that are the most amenable to the dictates of unscrupulous attendings position themselves to become chief resident or to be awarded a prestigious fellowship. In the American teaching hospital, this is the only thing on the mind of most trainees.

It is incontrovertible that the multi-tier system, the spawn of privatized health care, is incompatible with the oath to do no harm. Cornell Oncology, which once assigned me to a fellow due to my unglamorous insurance, writes on their website that “We care for the whole person and put the needs of our patients at the center of everything that we do.” Despite a blatant predilection for medical Jim Crow, Weill Cornell claims in their literature to have “a legacy of putting patients first.” In actuality, American teaching hospitals put profit-making first, research second, the attending’s comfort (vis-à-vis their desire to have a medical scribe or chaperone present in the examination room) third, the teaching of the trainee fourth, and the patient last.

In “I am a physician and I am not your enemy,” by Megan Gray, MD, the author laments the fact that her patients are wary of doctors. “I am asking you to trust that every day I put your needs above my own,” she writes entreatingly. It is possible that Dr. Gray does, in fact, put the needs of her patients above her own. Regrettably, this is often not the case, as evidenced by the fact that American physicians wrote over two hundred million prescriptions for opioids each year from 2006 – 2016, millions of our countrymen have been made addicted to psychotropic drugs, while Vioxx took the lives of roughly the same number of Americans as died in the Vietnam War.

It is clear that the physician-patient bond, regarded as inviolable for millennia, cannot coexist within the mores of privatized health care. Yet many doctors would argue otherwise. In “Being a doctor is not what it used to be,” by Raviraj Patel, MD, the author writes that “in my humble opinion, the patient-physician relationship is sacred, and the entire system is designed to facilitate that relationship.” In “To combat COVID-19, we endanger our doctors in training,” Gali Hashmonay, MD, writes of our uniquely dysfunctional for-profit apparatus, that “This system attracts doctors in training who are eager to put a patient’s well-being in front of their own.” Indeed, accepting gifts from pharmaceutical companies, performing practice pelvic exams on anesthetized patients, not disclosing long-term chemotherapy side effects, getting patients addicted to drugs (formerly benzodiazepines and barbiturates), imposing unwanted observers on patients during their physician office visits, pushing unnecessary surgeries, and ignoring do not resuscitate orders are some of the many things that residents have to look forward to when training at our esteemed teaching hospitals. After the corporate lexicon of “humanism,” “patient-centered care,” and “compassion” are stripped away, blind obedience is the attribute most coveted by teaching hospitals when interviewing prospective residents.

By refusing to acknowledge that corporatization has been a catastrophe, anti-single-payer physicians have sacrificed their autonomy to the devilish whims of the private health insurance companies, which have usurped the medical decision-making process. They have also sold their souls to the pharmaceutical companies, which continue to corrupt medical knowledge and foment quackery; and to hospital executives, who treat doctors as if they were employees at an investment bank.

The successful Cuban response to the pandemic underscores the fact that money and technology are useless when profits are placed over human lives. Vietnam, also a poor country with limited resources, has likewise mustered a stronger defense against the virus than the Beacon of Liberty. Cuba’s health care system is so robust that they have continued to send teams of doctors abroad, even in the midst of the pandemic.

Successfully completing a residency is analogous to being awarded a black belt in karate. Without a sense of compassion and virtue, such an individual is destined to become a danger to themselves, and a danger to others. As profiteering and the multi-tier system have become normalized in the American teaching hospital, this can only result in the commodification of the patient in the mind of the debased trainee.

In “5 things that make U.S. health care great,” by Suneel Dhand, MD, the author posits, without satire, that “A homeless American entering the doors of a hospital with an acute medical issue — be it sepsis, a myocardial infarction, or a stroke — will get better care than a rich person almost anywhere else in the world.” Writing for KevinMD, Kent Holtorf, MD, concedes that “The U.S. far exceeds any nation in expenditures for insurance administration, where the essential means of cost control is denial of service and rationing of care via ever increasing complex treatment approval systems, resulting in spiraling costs.” He then concludes:

A free-market system is shown to be the only reasonable method of reform that addresses the true underlying problems of the U.S. health care system and effectively lowers health care costs, allowing for universal insurance coverage for most everyone so any reasonable person — doctor, patient, Republican or Democrat — could support.

Not to be outdone, Kevin Tolliver, MD, asks In “A framework to understand universal health care:”

At its core, universal health care forces healthy people to pay for others’ medical care. Is this fair? Why should an active, healthy-eating, non-smoker pay for health care for an obese, sedentary diabetic who chain smokes all day?

In “Corporate games have ruined the health care system,” Osmund Agbo, MD, acknowledges that “When an insurance executive is making a seven-figure bonus, it’s very clear his loyalty lies somewhere else outside the interest of regular Americans struggling to pay an infinitely rising monthly premium.”  He then informs us that “I am not a fan of socialist medicine. On the contrary, I am a firm believer in the free market enterprise system.”

Where does all of this irrationality and deranged thinking come from? Surely, the media has played a role. And yet we cannot discount the deleterious influence of the teaching hospital, which far more than medical school, profoundly shapes an impressionable trainee’s sense of right and wrong. Polluted and defiled by the pathogen of amorality, the fallen wallow in the plague wards of neoliberalism, banished from the world of compassion and rationality, and forever condemned to live out their days enveloped by a shroud of blindness.

Let us recall Pope’s haunting words in An Essay on Man: Epistle II:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As, to be hated, needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

Only by collectively acknowledging that health care cannot be sold as cars, kitchen appliances, and soap are sold; that it is the doctor’s sacred duty to treat all patients equally, regardless of their ability to pay; and that medical ethics can only flourish in a nonprofit socialized system, can we take this desperately needed step in reclaiming our humanity. For too long have American teaching hospitals been bastions for every form of knavery, perfidy, and skulduggery. These institutions must cast off their shackles of corporate thralldom, and join the fight to restore dignity and honor to American health care.

We are Being Held Hostage to Unfettered Capitalism: not to Trump, Racism, the Chinese or COVID-19

As the US continues to be ravaged by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the country remains in lockdown, a morbid irony of which is that we appear to have traded COVID-19 deaths for suicides. The catastrophe has laid bare the cruelties of neoliberalism, yet this has not stopped the media from unleashing a barrage of misinformation, blaming the disaster on the president, racism, and the Chinese, interspersed with other creative attempts at scapegoating. Indeed, the pandemic appears to have coincided with a peculiar outbreak of epidemiologic hallucinations.

Many have been happy to blame the president for the country’s disastrous coronavirus response. In a Common Dreams article titled “As Nation Mourns 100,000 Dead, Trump Goes Golfing,” the authors write, “President Donald J. Trump, who has faced mounting criticism for his administration’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis and his lack of empathy throughout, decided to leave the White House on Saturday to play golf.” “Trump going golfing shows a tone-deafness and a lack of empathy,” the authors chide.

A Common Dreams article by Julia Conley blames Trump for Americans that refuse to wear masks, referring to these miscreants as “Trumpian anti-mask jerks.” “This Is Trump’s Fault: The President is Failing, and Americans are Paying for his Failures,” which appeared in The Atlantic, pushes a similar faux-left argument. In an article that appeared in Mother Jones titled “Trump’s 100 Days of Deadly Coronavirus Denial,” the authors write that “The severity of the moment has often escaped the president, who seems intent on solving the crisis with spin and bluster—along with a healthy dose of magical thinking and buck-passing.” Riding this wave of philistinism, Michael D. Shear and Donald G. McNeil Jr. write for The New York Times:

For weeks, President Trump has faced relentless criticism for having overseen a slow and ineffective response to the coronavirus pandemic, failing to quickly embrace public health measures that could have prevented the disease from spreading.

Recent polls show that more Americans disapprove of Mr. Trump’s handling of the virus than approve.

It is true that the president has failed to be transparent regarding the lack of testing, ventilators, and personal protective equipment (PPE). He has also repeatedly, and without scientific evidence, promoted hydroxychloroquine, which he even claims to be taking himself. Yet the president’s lexical inanities cannot alter the fact that the American health care system is not run by the White House at all, but by corporations which have long placed profit-making over all other considerations.

While lampooning the 45th president may fill liberals with a perverse sense of schadenfreude, the fact is that the present health care system is precisely the very system that Trump inherited from his predecessor. In fact, this is the same diabolical system we have had for over thirty years.

When not blaming The Orange One, China has also served as a convenient scapegoat. Writing for SILive.com, Tom Wrobleski posits in “Here’s who to Blame for Coronavirus: Communist China,” that “A leaked report from the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance – consisting of the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand – lays out in damning detail how the Chinese downplayed the outbreak from the very beginning, according to multiple media reports.”

The New York Post, a China-bashing aficionado, informs us in “China Admits to Destroying Coronavirus Samples, Insists it was for Safety,” that “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has charged that Beijing refused to provide virus samples taken from patients when the pandemic began in China in late 2019, and that Chinese authorities had destroyed early samples.” An article on CNN.com titled “US Government Report Assesses China Intentionally Concealed Severity of Coronavirus” further promotes this preposterous narrative. Not one to be outblustered or to shy away from scapegoating, Trump himself has attempted to lay the blame on both Beijing and the World Health Organization (WHO).

There is undoubtedly some truth to the claim that African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans have been particularly hard-hit by the virus. (The Seattle Indian Health Board requested COVID-19 tests, and were sent body bags instead). And yet identity politics demagoguery is being used as a means to divert attention away from the fact that a health care system which allows people to die because they cannot afford their insulin will inevitably be ill-equipped to contain a pandemic.

Already, there have been efforts made to profit off of the catastrophe, as evidenced by the rash attempt to promote not only hydroxychloroquine, but also remdesivir, another drug which is being hailed as a savior yet which has likewise been inadequately tested.

The financial barriers that go hand in hand with obtaining medical care in a for-profit system can only facilitate the spread of the virus. Writing for The Nation, Augie Lindmark, MD, writes:

Long before SARS-CoV-2 dominated news cycles and hospitals alike, there were already established epidemics in US health care: namely, medical bills and uncertainty. In 2019, a third of US adults reported that their families couldn’t afford health care and 44 percent endorsed skipping a doctor’s visit because of cost. Medication affordability wasn’t much better: 29 percent of adults reported not taking a medication as prescribed because of cost.

Enter Covid-19. You could almost hear the virus salivate.

Indeed, prior to the pandemic there were Americans that were unable to get a divorce, get married, quit their job, or even work, out of a legitimate fear of losing their insurance. Insufficient and inadequate PPE will continue to endanger the lives of frontline health care workers and their families, as well as the lives of non-COVID patients that require emergent care. Furthermore, as Dr. Ashish Jha, Dr. Leana Wen, and others have noted, a lack of testing makes reopening the economy a particularly hazardous endeavor.

Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea have largely been able to keep their economies open due to comprehensive testing, widespread temperature checks, contact tracing, and universal coverage; while the Danish government implemented a scheme ensuring that most of its workforce would continue to be paid in the event that they were forced to stop working as a result of the quarantine. Commenting on the draconian lockdown measures implemented in a number of Western countries, Yoram Lass, former Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Health, said in an interview with spiked: “In developed countries many will die from unemployment. Unemployment is mortality. More people will die from the measures than from the virus.”

It is incontrovertible that the lack of hospitals, ventilators, respirators, testing, and contact tracing, are the spawn of an oligarchy which continues to sabotage the implementation of a nationalized single-payer model. Moreover, this is the same health care system that relentlessly pushes profitable yet ethically dubious treatments, such as staggering amounts of opioids and psychotropic drugs, Vioxx, and unnecessary surgeries. With an official death toll hovering around 100,000, the US has been the country most ravaged by the virus, a testament to a health care system whose avarice is insatiable, and which is indifferent to human life.

The question is, will any lessons be learned from this conflagration of misery and despair?

The Killing Fields of American Health Care

And all the devils are here.
Hell is empty,

The Tempest (I.ii.)

American health care is being crushed under the iron heel of a cabal of ruthless and merciless robber barons. Indeed, this primitive and backward system continues to be a source of horrendous suffering, as the health insurance companies, hospital executives, and pharmaceutical companies repeatedly place their insatiable lust for profit over the lives of their fellow Americans. And the health care oligarchs should be proud of what they have achieved: For they have created a health care system that is unrivaled in the industrialized world for its degradation and barbarity.

As economic inequality grows in America, so too does inequality of health care. Writing for The Harvard Gazette, David Cecere points out that tens of thousands of Americans die each year due to a lack of health insurance. Unsurprisingly, life expectancy is directly proportional to income in the United States, as evidenced by the fact that Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota has a life expectancy of 47 for men and 52 for women. This inequality continues unabated as pharmaceutical CEOs rake in unprecedented profits.

According to a Johns Hopkins study, more than 250,000 Americans die each year due to medical errors. This is inextricably linked with the fact that hospitals prioritize profit-making over patient care. Consequently, administrators are forcing physicians, and residents in particular, to work extremely exploitative and unsafe hours. Obamacare, which should really be called the Unaffordable Care Act, caused premiums and deductibles to go up, and failed to address the problem of health care either being tied to one’s job or to a fluctuating salary if the patient is an independent contractor.

Two thirds of all bankruptcies filed in the United States are medical bankruptcies, and over half a million American families file for bankruptcy each year as a result of medical bills they cannot pay. Indeed, this vitally important institution is in thrall to the forces of privatization, and this has transformed what was once a healing profession into a machinery of oppression and mass murder.

Pharmaceutical Totalitarianism

While unnecessary drugs and medical procedures are sometimes prescribed so that a doctor can milk a good insurance plan, vitally important drugs and procedures are even more likely to be inaccessible should a patient’s insurance be inadequate. For example, the cost of insulin has become prohibitively expensive for a growing number of Americans, leading many diabetics to resort to rationing which has resulted in premature death. As Ralph Nader writes in “Big Pharma: Gouges, Casualties, and the Congressional Remedy:”

In 2017, the U.S. consumers spent $333.4 billion on prescription drugs.

There are no price controls on drugs in the U.S. as there are in most countries in the world. Senator Bernie Sanders just took a bus tour to a Canadian pharmacy where insulin cost patients one tenth of what it costs them in the U.S.

The price of an EpiPen, made by Mylan, has also skyrocketed, and EpiPens are indispensable in warding off severe allergic reactions that can lead to anaphylactic shock and death. In “Life-Saving Allergy Treatment is Becoming Too Expensive for Families to Afford,” published in 2016, Laurel Raymond points out that “Over the past nine years, since Mylan bought the rights to the EpiPen, the price for the easy-to-use injectors has quintupled — increasing about 450 percent, from around $50 for one injector to $600 for a pack of two.”

The growing unaffordability of the device has resulted in patients carrying around expired EpiPens and resorting to dangerous jerry-rigged alternatives. The prices for anti-epileptic drugs have likewise soared, also putting patients’ lives at risk.

Prior authorizations (PAs), where health insurance companies place significant obstacles in place to get a drug or procedure approved, have led to needless suffering and death. Discussing the results of a survey where 1,000 physicians were asked about their experience with PA, Andis Robeznieks writes in “1 in 4 Doctors Say Prior Authorization Has Led to a Serious Adverse Event:”

More than nine in 10 respondents said PA had a significant or somewhat negative clinical impact, with 28 percent reporting that prior authorization had led to a serious adverse event such as a death, hospitalization, disability or permanent bodily damage, or other life-threatening event for a patient in their care.

Few realize that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not engaged in impartial third party testing of drugs, and that the pharmaceutical companies are simply supplying the FDA with their invariably fudged statistics. Incredibly, the FDA admits this on their own website, stating that the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) “doesn’t actually test drugs itself, although it does conduct limited research in the areas of drug quality, safety, and effectiveness standards.”

There are growing conflicts of interests, where MDs that sit on FDA panels receive monetary payments from the companies that make the very drugs they are charged with evaluating. The payments are doled out after the drugs are approved, allowing the officials to get away with not disclosing conflicts of interest before the drug is placed under review.

Acknowledging the disastrous consequences that have ensued due to the absence of a responsible regulatory body, Donald W. Light writes in Risky Drugs: Why The FDA Cannot be Trusted, published with Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics:

Every week, about 53,000 excess hospitalizations and about 2400 excess deaths occur in the United States among people taking properly prescribed drugs to be healthier. One in every five drugs approved ends up causing serious harm, while one in ten provide substantial benefit compared to existing, established drugs. This is the opposite of what people want or expect from the FDA.

Prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death.

Physicians are increasingly being fed manipulated data, and duped into believing that new drugs always do what their manufacturers claim that they do. This degradation of regulatory constraints imposed on industry is rooted in the fact that the firefighter has become a pyromaniac.

This corruption has had a deleterious impact on the doctor-patient relationship. In “Institutional Corruption of Pharmaceuticals and the Myth of Safe and Effective Drugs,” published with The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, the authors caution that “industry has commercialized the role of physicians and undermined their position as independent, trusted advisers to patients.” The pharmaceutical companies are also frequently testing new drugs against placebos, which is unethical as it leaves clinicians with no meaningful benchmarks.

There is competition between the different drug companies to be the first to get their drugs to market, and the FDA is expected to dutifully rubber-stamp new drugs of which very little is known. Commenting on the FDA’s new role as a poodle for the pharmaceutical companies, Caroline Chen writes in “FDA Repays Industry by Rushing Risky Drugs to Market:”

The FDA is increasingly green-lighting expensive drugs despite dangerous or little-known side effects and inconclusive evidence that they curb or cure disease. Once widely assailed for moving slowly, today the FDA reviews and approves drugs faster than any other regulatory agency in the world.

Clinicians have also been bribed into prescribing drugs which they might otherwise not have prescribed, as transpired with Nuplazid, manufactured by Acadia Pharmaceuticals. Chen writes, “The top five prescribers of Nuplazid in Medicare, the government’s health program for the elderly, all received payments from Acadia.” Nuplazid, a drug designed to treat Parkinson’s, has been associated with thousands of adverse side effects and over eight hundred deaths.

Vioxx is a particularly chilling example of the horrors that can unfold amidst the growing collusion between the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry. Whistleblower David Graham, MD, who is a senior researcher within the FDA’s Office of Drug Safety, has confirmed that Merck knew that Vioxx posed a significant risk of heart disease. Testifying before the US Senate Committee on Finance on November 18, 2004, he said:

Prior to approval of Vioxx, a study was performed by Merck named 090. This study found nearly a 7-fold increase in heart attack risk with low dose Vioxx. The labeling at approval said nothing about heart attack risks.

In an article published with The New England Journal of Medicine, Eric Topol, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic posits that 160,000 heart attacks and strokes were caused by Vioxx. Internal Merck memos reveal that the company sought to conceal these dangers from physicians. Vioxx led to the deaths of around 55,000 Americans and netted $11 billion for Merck, which spent over a hundred million a year marketing the drug. Interviewed on PBS, Dr. Graham said that “FDA is an institution that has become a factory for the approval of new drugs and safety is not a consideration.”

The New Opium Wars

Along with suicides, a significant factor contributing to the decline of American life expectancy has been the opioid crisis, and it is likely that the history of opioid addiction was deliberately withheld from medical students and trainees, thereby making them malleable to the machinations of industry. Many have forgotten that there was a terrible opioid epidemic that ravaged the US in the later part of the 19th century, and which began with the Civil War, as doctors had little knowledge of how to treat pain aside from opioids and amputation, and the military technologies of the day far surpassed 19th century medical knowledge. Yet even before the birth of Christ, there were physicians that understood the dangers of opium-based drugs. Diagoras of Cyprus (3rd century BC) and the Greek physician Erasistratus (304 BC-250 BC) both understood that opium use was fraught with danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.”

There is also a connection between the overprescribing of opioids, illicit opioid use, and heroin, as four out of five heroin users used prescription opioids prior to starting heroin. Under the spell of the pharmaceutical companies, American doctors wrote over 240 million opioid prescriptions each year from 2009 to 2014. Even in 2017, after the carnage was obvious to all but the most insouciant, American physicians still wrote over 190 million opioid prescriptions.

Health insurance companies have also contributed to the crisis. As Linda Girgis, MD, points out in “Calling Responsible Parties to Task for their Role in the Opioid Epidemic,” insurance companies often refuse to cover alternative treatments for pain, such as massage, acupuncture, chiropractics and Lidoderm patches.

The breakdown in checks and balances has been total and absolute, and the regulator and the regulated are now intertwined like two knavish devils waltzing in hell. Dr. Curtis Wright, the FDA official that oversaw the testing of OxyContin, a drug manufactured by Purdue Pharma and which played a significant role in the opioid crisis, later went on to work for that very company.

Taking absurdity to new heights, drug companies are even permitted to fund continuing medical education courses that teach doctors how to prescribe opioids. Indeed, this is emblematic of how the American oligarchy has developed a hostility, not only to the humanities, but also towards science.

The complete degradation of credibility within the FDA has its roots in the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), which was passed in 1992, and authorized the FDA to collect fees directly from pharmaceutical companies for the purpose of financing the review process for new drugs. Cognizant of the fact that there is presently no impartial political body that can curb their unscrupulous designs, drug companies have vigorously lobbied Congress to protect their interests. Groups such as the Pain Care Forum receive funding and support from pharmaceutical companies, and spend millions of dollars lobbying congress to keep opioid regulatory measures lax.

So corrupt has the FDA become, that the FDA approved the Sanofi-Aventis drug Ketek, even when the FDA was aware of the fact that the data supplied by Sanofi-Aventis was fraudulent and based on a study that never even happened. The FDA was later forced to remove the drug after four cases of death due to Ketek-induced liver failure. Accutane, Rezulin, Selacryn, Diethylstilbestrol (DES), and Meridia are some of the other “wonder drugs” that the FDA has shamelessly unleashed on an unsuspecting public, and which later had to be recalled after inflicting grievous bodily harm and death.

Psychiatry and the War on Thoughtcrime

Another source of obscene profits for the pharmaceutical industry has been psychotropic drugs, and the complicity of the FDA and mainstream psychiatry with the push to enslave Americans to these dangerous and highly addictive substances is irrefutable. This is yet another example of how science is being degraded by the quackery of the drug companies and their paid “experts.”

The fondness of mainstream psychiatry for pseudoscience is matched only by its hostility towards informed consent, and this has resulted in a forging of alliances with deeply reactionary and anti-democratic forces. Speaking at the annual meeting of the National Council for Mental Hygiene on June 18th, 1940, British military psychiatrist J. R. Rees openly espoused totalitarian tactics, and called for psychiatrists to infiltrate every aspect of society. Undoubtedly, he would be pleased with the reign of terror unleashed by psychotropic drugs on Americans today, and the particularly devastating toll these drugs have taken on children, soldiers and veterans.

In “Psychiatric Drugs are False Prophets with Big Profits: Psychiatry Has Been Hijacked,” by psychiatrist Robert Berezin, the author bemoans the demise of ethics in his profession:

The real source of human suffering is not, nor ever has been, the brain. The issues are in the person, the human being, in the context of damage to the play of consciousness, created by deprivation and abuse in the formation of our character. My life’s work has taught me that the art, the science, the discipline, and the wisdom of psychotherapy attends to this damage. There are no miracles and no shortcuts, as drugs, like the other somatic therapies, always promise. Never mind the harm done. We have repeated the same mistakes over and over again, and we are doing so today. It doesn’t seem to matter that the chemical imbalance theory has been discredited. It doesn’t seem to matter that the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry and its influence peddling in academic psychiatry has been exposed as financially and scientifically corrupted and manipulated. The drug companies have engaged in study suppression, falsification, strategic marketing, and financial incentives.

In “10 Reasons Why Psychiatry Lives On—Obvious, Dark, and Darkest,” psychologist Bruce Levine writes that the demonic power of psychiatry continues to grow despite the fact that “numerous studies have found that so-called ‘antipsychotics’—especially in the long-term—are essentially pro-psychotics; and that so-called ‘antidepressants’—especially in the long-term—are essentially pro-depressants.” Levine also warns that psychiatry has become a tool which can be used to suppress dissent:

Psychiatry maintains the societal status quo by its attributions that emotional suffering is caused by defects in individual biochemistry and genetics rather than by trauma and societal defects created by the ruling elite. Psychiatry covers up the reality that the root of much of what is commonly labeled as “mental illness” is a dehumanizing society—one orchestrated to meet only the needs of the wealthy and powerful and not designed to meet the needs of everybody else for autonomy, meaningfulness, and genuine community.

While the mass media has been unable to conceal the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from the opioid epidemic, they are less enthusiastic about covering psychosis, homicidal ideation, and suicidality triggered by Prozac, Paxil, and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Indeed, dozens of school shootings have been carried out by young people, either on, or suffering withdrawal from, psychiatric drugs.

Ominously, the virus of privatized health care is spreading to Europe, and in 2018 English doctors wrote over 70 million prescriptions for antidepressants. Andreas Lubitz, the German pilot who on March 24, 2015, intentionally crashed his airplane en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf into the Alps killing everyone on board, was taking mirtazapine along with a number of other psychotropic drugs. Geert Michels, the driver of the vehicle in the Sierre bus tragedy, who drove his bus into a wall in a tunnel in Switzerland killing 28 people, 22 of whom were children, had traces of Paxil in his system.

Pharmaceutical chemist and whistleblower Shane Ellison, who has worked for Eli Lilly, has acknowledged that psychiatrists are inventing diseases so as to expand the clientele of the drug companies. In a 1993 letter to the editor of the New York Times, distinguished psychiatrist Peter Breggin wrote, “Since most antidepressants are highly toxic and frequently used in successful suicide attempts, their widespread availability probably increases the overall suicide rate, much as the availability of guns increases the murder rate.” According to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), there are over seven million American children (from toddler to the age of 17) on psychiatric drugs.

There used to be a time when we gave American youth literature, history, math, science, music, art and a sense of community. Now we tell our sons and daughters that they have “learning disabilities” and get them addicted to drugs that can cause brain damage. Every child’s mind is sacred. It is our duty to protect the liberty, sanctity, and inviolability of their souls.

There is a distinct possibility that the most intelligent and creative children are frequently the ones being medicated. As the brightest students are often the ones who shout out the answer before raising their hand, there is a real danger that these students will be diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, or any number of imaginary diseases and placed on mind-altering drugs. Many of these vulnerable patients, betrayed by their doctors in the cruelest possible manner, go on to take their own lives.

Even dermatologists, who delight in arm-twisting patients with inferior insurance into being medical models without their consent, are still engaged in the legitimate science of studying and treating skin cancers. What would possess a physician to abandon, not only science, but all traces of human morality and ethics? As Voltaire once wrote in Questions sur les miracles: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

Once a child has been labeled as “mentally ill” it is difficult to escape the crosshairs of the inquisitors. Indeed, it is not unusual for such a youth to be seized by Child Protective Services should their parents resist having their son or daughter placed on psychotropic drugs. This underscores the authoritarianism that is inseparable from the cult of psychiatry. Moreover, the technology now exists through the use of a digital pill for psychiatrists to easily coerce patients to take their “medication.”

Allied with a gang of zealots who are more than happy to peddle their poisons, the pharmaceutical companies have long since abandoned all considerations except that of profit-making. Harriet Fraad writes in The Guardian that “Every major company selling anti-psychotics – Bristol Meyers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca – has either settled investigations for healthcare fraud or is currently being investigated for it.” Should a patient attempt to stop their psychoactive drugs and suffer terrible withdrawal symptoms, Iago, now armed with a white coat and a stethoscope, will simply whisper in their victim’s ear that this is because their disease has returned.

In addition to fomenting totalitarianization, the psychiatrization of the culture is inextricably linked with the hysteria of liberal fundamentalists who believe that their ideological adversaries are not only “racist,” “homophobic,” and “sexist” – but also mentally ill. Hence, a dubious love triangle has formed between avaricious drug companies, whose lust for profit is insatiable; psychiatrists, who have autocratic tendencies and are hostile to both due process and habeas corpus; and liberals, who believe that we are living in a utopia, and who take offense with those that do not share this worldview.

In a passage that could have been taken from a government edict issued by the totalitarian regime in Orwell’s 1984, the Australian mental health organization, WayAhead, states on their website that “It is not uncommon for a person with a mental illness to deny they are ill or that they need help.” We are also informed that someone may have a serious mental illness if they “have thoughts which are not in tune with reality.” And whose reality would that be?

As the late Thomas Szasz, who authored over thirty books on psychiatry, wrote in the introduction to Psychiatry: The Science of Lies:

Because there are no objective methods for detecting the presence or establishing the absence of mental diseases, and because psychiatric diagnoses are stigmatizing labels with the potential for causing far-reaching personal injury to the stigmatized person, the “mental patient’s” inability to prove his “psychiatric innocence” makes psychiatry one of the greatest dangers to liberty and responsibility in the modern world.

Prescribing medicines that aren’t real medicines, to treat diseases which aren’t real diseases, the thought police thrive precisely in this environment of lawlessness and unaccountable government that has emerged following the attacks of September 11th. Indeed, the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, the revival of the Espionage Act, and the RESPONSE Act all serve to empower the cult of psychiatry.

Gog and Magog: Barbarism Abroad and Barbarism at Home

As a child I used to think of drug dealers as vampires that would strike suddenly, waylaying innocent passersby in the dead of night. It is no small irony that the most diabolical drug dealers would turn out to be psychiatrists that prescribe psychotropic drugs and physicians that overprescribe opioids. This scourge of amorality is tied to the dismantling of the humanities, without which medical ethics cannot survive.

Overspecialization, a military-style hierarchy, and subjecting residents to such exploitative working conditions that they frequently suffer from sleep deprivation over prolonged periods of time, also contribute to inculcating these impressionable young minds with blind obedience. In this way are sentient human beings transformed into mindless unthinking automatons.

Like its cousin, the military industrial complex, the medical industrial complex has repeatedly demonstrated a total disregard for human life, and makes tens of billions of dollars off of death, misery and suffering. This slow motion coup d’état which has been unfolding inexorably since the 1980s, and which has resulted in the health care oligarchs being able to acquire a stranglehold over our health care system, has transformed a once respectable profession into a cruel and brutal machine that repeatedly harms instead of heals. As American health care has degenerated into a depraved and wicked business, it would seem that primum non nocere has been usurped by caveat emptor.

Drug Dealers, Polluters and Sex Traffickers: Welcome to Oligarch Cloud Cuckoo Land

Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues
We write in water.
Henry VIII (IV.ii.)

The notion that American oligarchs amass great wealth due to their extraordinary intelligence has become a deeply engrained tenet of liberal fundamentalist dogma. For in order for neoliberalism to maintain popular support it is necessary that the media relentlessly extol the virtues of the new robber barons. This myth of the meritocracy is sustained with fawning from the presstitutes, but also from the dubious practice of philanthrocapitalism. And yet cracks have appeared in the meritocratic facade which even the mass media has not been able to conceal.

From Andrew Carnegie to Henry Clay Frick, from John D. Rockefeller to Cornelius Vanderbilt, American capitalists have long embraced philanthropy as a means with which to not only deify themselves, but to also glorify and perpetuate a system anchored in authoritarianism, cruelty, and the impoverishment of millions.

Jeffrey Epstein hails from this blood-soaked lineage, as his rise was inextricably linked with a culture in thrall to the lie that those who are the most virtuous acquire the most wealth. A sex trafficker, who for decades managed to maintain a carefully cultivated image of an urbane and munificent New Yorker, Epstein had become a magnet for careerists, opportunists, and fellow con artists alike.

Helaine Olen writes in The Washington Post:

The major lie of the age of wealth inequality is that the moneyed are somehow better than the rest of us day-to-day working schlubs. The aristocracy of prewar Europe had their bloodlines. Our latter-day meritocratic aristocrats, we are told, possess the modern equivalent, which is extraordinary intelligence. The slothful working class are slaves to short-term pleasure. The rich, on the other hand, are disciplined. They wake up early, and they refuse to live beyond their means.

This is a lie. The Epstein scandal proves it.

Epstein preyed not only on destitute American girls from broken homes, but also on foreign girls, some of whom did not speak English, making them even more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Writing in The Miami Herald, Julie K. Brown writes that “after the FBI case was closed in 2008, witnesses and alleged victims testified in civil court that there were hundreds of girls who were brought to Epstein’s homes, including girls from Europe, Latin America and former Soviet Republic countries.”

The suspicious deal worked out a little over a decade ago by Epstein’s high powered legal team allowed their client to get off with incredibly lenient sentencing terms, and served to protect other creatures of dubious repute who may have been involved in a vast criminal network. Brown continues: “The deal, called a federal non-prosecution agreement, was sealed so that no one — not even his victims — could know the full scope of Epstein’s crimes and who else was involved.”

Epstein’s “black book” contained personal phone numbers belonging to such “masters of the universe” as Donald Trump, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Senator Ted Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, David Koch, Ehud Barak, John Kerry, David Rockefeller, Michael Bloomfield, Leslie Wexner, Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth, Saudi King Salman and Edward de Rothschild. Irregardless of whether these plutocrats were involved in the abuse of minors, the fact that Epstein was permitted to inhabit this peculiar parallel legal system for so many years signifies the degradation of checks and balances which has opened up the floodgates of the West to barbarism.

Ghislaine Maxwell, who allegedly procured underage girls for Epstein, founded the TerraMar Project in 2012, a nonprofit ostensibly devoted to protecting the world’s oceans. Ghislaine’s father, Robert Maxwell, was a Mossad agent, and some have speculated that she may have introduced her boyfriend to the Israeli intelligence services.

There is a high degree of probability that Epstein was running a blackmail operation in conjunction with an intelligence agency (or agencies), as he had hidden cameras scattered throughout the rooms of his many residences, and appeared to be filming his guests as they were “getting a massage.” Epstein also had an Austrian passport, coveted by spies, due to Austria’s neutrality.

Chicago criminal defense attorney Leonard C. Goodman writes in the Chicago Reader:

A public criminal trial would have made it very hard to cover up Epstein’s relationship to intelligence agencies. These are the agencies that tell our presidents which countries to bomb, what leaders to depose, and which terrorists to assassinate by drone.

Frequently referred to by the presstitutes as a “disgraced financier,” despite the fact that no one has seen a website for the firm which he allegedly operated; and often referred to as “pedophile Jeffrey Epstein,” as if he were a lone villain acting all by himself, Epstein’s life personifies the depravity of contemporary American society. Moreover, this “financial genius” was somehow able to acquire one of the most luxurious residences in Manhattan (21,000-square-feet, and steps from Central Park), a 10,000 acre ranch in New Mexico, an apartment in Paris, a luxury villa in Palm Beach; and two islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Little Saint James and Great Saint James.

Epstein’s charitable donations were clearly a smokescreen designed to disguise extremely nefarious activities. The mega-rich in other countries may be crooks (consider Pablo Escobar, described by Wikipedia as a “narcoterrorist”), but not wealthy Americans, who are simply smarter than everyone else. That Epstein came from a working class family, and that his father, Seymour Epstein, worked for the New York Parks Department as a groundskeeper, only deepens the mystery of where this money really came from.

Ever the debonair cool guy of Manhattan’s in-crowd, Epstein donated to the Independent Filmmaker Project, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Ballet Palm Beach, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Cancer Research Wellness Institute and the Melanoma Research Alliance. In May of 2012, PR Newswire ran an article titled “The Largest Private Funder of Melanoma Research Receives Vital Support From Activist Jeffrey Epstein.”

One of Epstein’s favorite places to donate was Harvard, as this allowed him to hobnob with a variety of influential academics and scientists. As John Patrick writes in The Washington Examiner:

The disgraced finance mogul donated millions to Harvard endeavors from the late 1990s throughout the 2000s, including a $6.5 million donation to Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, and a $2 million pledged donation for Harvard’s Jewish organization Hillel. Plus, Epstein contributed more than $100,000 to a Harvard performing arts organization, and gave a gift of more than $100,000 to a non-profit run by Elsa New, wife of former Harvard president and Clinton administration member Larry Summers.

Epstein also donated $2.5 million to Ohio State University and $800,000 to MIT. Taking hypocrisy to new heights, he even donated to the Women Global Cancer Initiative, the Mount Sinai Breast Health Resource Program; and to The Hewitt School, a prep school for girls on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Underscoring the netherworld of imaginary morality that our plutocrats inhabit, Epstein told the New York Post that “I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender.’ It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.”

Bernie Madoff, another exhilarating New York success story, was managing – at least according to his computer printouts – the astronomical sum of $50 billion, and was equally fond of donating to charitable causes. Yeshiva University, The Ramaz School, Maimonides School, and the Hadassah Women’s Organization were some of the institutions that suffered serious losses when Madoff’s firm revealed itself to be the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

Cousins of human traffickers, polluters also need to unwind from time to time, and what better way to bask in the grandeurs of perdition than donate to the arts? The New York State Theater, an important performing arts space within Lincoln Center and home to the New York City Ballet, was renamed the David H. Koch Theater in 2008; while the Metropolitan Museum of Art now offers the David H. Koch Plaza, whose namesake paid $65 million to have the new plaza built in his name. The Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT is another child born of Koch philanthropy.

The Charles Koch Foundation has donated enormous sums of money to hundreds of universities with the aim of inculcating impressionable young minds with their reactionary ethos, which is anchored in the idea that all attempts at corporate regulation and maintaining a public sector should be jettisoned. The Koch brothers donated over $95 million to George Mason University, which is a public university, and this led to the Charles Koch Foundation being granted a significant amount of leverage with regard to the hiring and firing of faculty.

Steven Pearlstein writes in The Washington Post:

When someone gives $10 million to an engineering school rather than the college of humanities, it changes the university’s priorities. When someone endows a center to study the causes and consequences of climate change, it affects who is hired and what is taught and researched. When someone gives enough to name a school after a public figure, it shapes a school’s ideological profile. It would be great if all donations were unrestricted, but they aren’t. Many donors have agendas. The Kochs are just an extreme example.

The Koch brothers have left behind a toxic legacy from Corpus Christi, Texas; to Chicago and Detroit; to Crossett, Arkansas; to New Delhi, India, and beyond. Greenpeace posits that “Koch Industries is a major polluter, with ongoing incidents and violations of environmental laws.” Tim Dickinson writes in Rolling Stone that “Thanks in part to its 2005 purchase of paper-mill giant Georgia-Pacific, Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation’s waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined.” He goes on to point out that “Koch generates 24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year.” Together, Charles and David Koch accumulated around $100 billion.

The Sackler Family, which owns Purdue Pharma and made billions off of the opioid crisis, deceived doctors about the highly addictive nature of OxyContin. This particularly dangerous opioid was promoted in part through dishonest advertising, but also though manipulating physicians into believing the drug was safe. Patrick Radden Keefe writes in The New Yorker that “The marketing of OxyContin relied on an empirical circularity: the company convinced doctors of the drug’s safety with literature that had been produced by doctors who were paid, or funded, by the company.” The Sackler family is now attempting to sell the drug abroad through Mundipharma, a Purdue subsidiary, and is marketing OxyContin in Asia, South America and the Middle East.

It is noteworthy that Arthur Sackler aggressively marketed Librium and Valium in the 1960s, which earned tremendous profits for Hoffmann-La Roche, and also led many Americans down a path towards abuse and addiction. Judith Warner writes in Time:

Valium has long served extremely well as a vehicle for proving the perfidy of psychiatrists and the drug companies behind them. It was indeed dispensed in outrageous-seeming numbers in the 1960s and early 1970s. It did indeed lead to tragic levels of abuse and addiction.

The Sacklers are now one of our richest families. Like Epstein, the Sackler family sought to cultivate a worldly image anchored in their patronage of education and the arts, and some of the most prestigious museums in the Western world have galleries and wings named after them.

At the Guggenheim, there is the Sackler Center for Arts Education; at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is the Sackler Wing; and at the American Museum of Natural History, there is the Sackler Educational Laboratory. At Harvard, there is the Arthur M. Sackler Museum; in Washington DC, the Sackler Gallery; and at the Brooklyn Museum, the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Moreover, there are Sackler wings and educational institutions at renowned British museums such as the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology, the British Museum, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and at the Tate Modern. The Sacklers have also donated to the Royal Ballet School, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Royal Opera. Perhaps the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has a board run largely by war profiteers, could receive the funds accumulated from the many lawsuits arrayed against Purdue and be renamed the Sackler.

Not content with defiling artistic institutions with their blood money, the Sacklers have donated to educational institutions. At Columbia, there is the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology; and at Oxford, the Sackler Library; at Yale, there is the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute for Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences.

Particularly egregious conflicts of interest are the Sackler Brain and Spine Institute at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical and Physical Sciences at Weill Cornell, and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts. No less disturbing, in the winter of 2010 Thomas J. Lynch Jr., MD, was named Richard Sackler and Jonathan Sackler Professor of Medicine and Director of the Yale Cancer Center. The Sacklers have also donated millions to Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard’s oldest teaching hospital. Andrew Joseph writes in “Purdue Cemented Ties with Universities and Hospitals to Expand Opioid Sales, Documents Contend,” that “At Mass. General, the agreement with Purdue allowed the company to suggest curriculum for pain education.” No less outrageous, in Israel there is the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. Emblazoned in its lobby are the words “Dedicated to Mankind for the Health of All People.”

Some arts institutions have disassociated themselves from the Sacklers, such as the Louvre, which took down the Sackler name from its Wing of Oriental Antiquities. A number of prominent museums, such as the Guggenheim, the Met, and the Tate galleries have refused to accept further donations from the Sacklers, although the name continues to sully their august halls.

Teva Pharmaceuticals has likewise played a role in the opioid crisis, and partners with Mount Sinai, a blatant conflict of interest. Ostensibly, they will treat “multiple chronic conditions” together. Teva has donated to a wide variety of health care organizations and gave $2.5 million to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. In an article in The Times of Israel titled “Federal Data Reveals Extent of Teva’s Role in Fueling US Opioid Crisis,” the authors write that between 2006 and 2012 “Teva Pharmaceuticals USA produced 690 million opioid pills.”

When not getting Americans addicted to opioids and psychotropic drugs, Johnson and Johnson delights in donating to Johnson & Johnson Vision and the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP), both of which make endearing videos replete with cute kids and teary-eyed grandparents.

Indeed, this was how some of the most diabolical drug dealers in America, were, at least for a time, able to convey an image of benevolence, munificence and altruism. Keefe writes that “Over time, the origins of a clan’s largesse are largely forgotten, and we recall only the philanthropic legacy, prompted by the name on the building.”

Where are our heroes, America? Our novelists, labor leaders, artists and intellectuals? What would Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, or Mark Twain say about these soulless creatures who sought to use their lucre to envelop themselves in a halo of veneration and hagiography? A society that prostrates itself at the altar of depravity is a society of death.

Let us disenthrall ourselves from the shackles of materialism and careerism. Let us cast the false idol of avarice from the tallest cliffs, and from its ashes embrace a phoenix reborn, a harbinger of compassion, altruism and justice.

Health Care Imperialism: Looting The World’s Doctors

To poach and rely on highly skilled foreign workers from poor countries in the public sector is akin to the crime of theft.

—  “Migration of Health Workers: An Unmanaged Crisis,” The Lancet, May 28, 2005

What is striking about the tyranny of the medical industrial complex is not only its unconscionable oppression of the American working class, but also its assault on the health care systems of other countries. These acts of barbarity and pillage allow the Anglo-American elites to keep the countries of the global south in a state of backwardness and dependency, and one of the ways this is done is by enticing doctors from developing nations to abandon their countries and practice in the West.

One such example is India, a country with horrendous unmet health care needs. Snakebites are a serious problem and lead to the deaths of over 45,000 Indians each year, the overwhelming majority of whom are villagers in isolated rural communities. Following a snakebite, the afflicted person often has to travel vast distances to reach a medical facility, typically battling poor roads in the process. An unreliable power grid results in these remote areas having intermittent access to electricity, which exacerbates the problem as the anti-venom must be refrigerated.

So lax are India’s ethics laws that her destitute masses are frequently used as clinical guinea pigs by powerful pharmaceutical companies in the testing of new drugs, which has resulted in tens of thousands of adverse reactions and thousands of fatalities. The number of clinical trials has risen dramatically following a relaxing of drug testing laws that was implemented in 2005, and many of these patients are unable to read the consent forms which are printed in English. India also has an egregious doctor-patient ratio, with less than one doctor for every thousand patients.

Speaking on the troubled state of Indian health care, Tatyarao P. Lahane, MD, said in an interview with The Times of India:

A skewed doctor-patient ratio in our country is the major cause of trouble. In almost all leading countries of the world a doctor in a government hospital checks a maximum of 30 patients a day. In India, any doctor on an average checks at least 150 patients a day.

Inadequate environmental regulations have led to extremely poor air quality, which has likewise contributed to unsatisfactory health outcomes. Furthermore, India’s downtrodden masses continue to be oppressed by an inhuman multi-tier system. In an article titled “More Indians die of treatable diseases than lack of access to healthcare,”  Swagata Yadavar writes:

Poor care quality leads to more deaths than insufficient access to healthcare –1.6 million Indians died due to poor quality of care in 2016, nearly twice as many as due to non-utilisation of healthcare services (838,000 persons).

In addition to these problems that are a pox on Indian society, there are over 59,000 Indian physicians working in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, countries which have the resources to easily train their own doctors. Two thirds of that number work in the US. Lamenting the staggering number of Indian doctors that go abroad in “Doctors For The World: Indian Physician Emigration,” Fitzhugh Mullan writes “that their clinical and political energies will never address the improvement of health care in India.”

In an ironic twist, private hospitals that cater to affluent Indians are turning a profit through the peculiar phenomenon of “medical tourism,” whereby uninsured and underinsured Americans can receive medical care for a minuscule fraction of what they would be billed in the US.

Significant numbers of African doctors, virtually all coming from countries with poor doctor-patient ratios, are lured to practice in the US, and are also beguiled by false promises of excellent training and superior working conditions. Many hail from countries with poor health indicators, such as Ghana, where life expectancy is 63. Moreover, as Jonathan Wolff writes in “Why America Steals Doctors From Poorer Countries“:

If a doctor from Ghana is recruited to the US, not only does Ghana lose its doctor, it loses the money paid for the training. It may be that the doctor is likely to send a portion of earnings back home (known in the development business as “remittances”). But this is scant compensation. In sum, the US is receiving a massive subsidy from the developing world in training its medical staff.

Nigeria has a doctor-patient ratio of one doctor for every five thousand of her citizens, a life expectancy of 55 for men and 56 for women, and a maternal mortality rate of over 800 deaths per 100,000 live births. Over half of Nigeria’s doctors practice abroad.

International medical graduates (IMGs) that hail from developing countries are often sent to work in rural areas where American physicians are reluctant to practice, and yet many never return to their native lands. In an article titled “U.S. Recruiting Africa’s Doctors for Placements No One Wants,” by Austin Drake Bryan, the author writes:

The United States is recruiting the world’s doctors — and from the very places that need MDs the most. Dubbed the “international brain drain,” the United States leads the way in attracting international doctors, especially those from Africa.

The United States, with its high salaries, attracts more international doctors every year than Britain, Canada and Australia combined. However, for every 1000 people, Africa has only 2.3 health care workers, while the United States has almost 25.

IMGs are frequently brought into the US on guest worker visas, and can have their visa revoked if they complain. This bolsters the stranglehold of the health insurance companies, hospital executives, and pharmaceutical companies, and exacerbates the challenges of unionizing a newly proletarianized and increasingly dehumanized workforce. Indeed, foreign doctors on the J-1 visa are particularly vulnerable to abusive and exploitative working conditions. Decrying the exploitation of IMGs in Australia, Sue Douglas, MD, writes in The Australian “that international medical graduates are a vulnerable group that have been exploited by the government, abused by their own profession and ignored by the public.”

In an interview with Pamela Wible, MD, and Corina Fratila, MD, Fratila, who is from Romania, speaks of training in the US and being forced to work 126 hours a week with minimal supervision, while also struggling with the danger of fatal miscommunications that can easily occur between doctors and nurses who are coming from different countries and do not share English as their native language.

Another disturbing trend is the growing number of American medical graduates that do not match into a residency position. In an article published on April 16th, 2019, titled “The National Resident Matching Program No Longer Meets Doctor Needs,” Joe Guzzardi writes:

In the most recent match, which happened last month, 1,162 U.S. medical school seniors and 811 previous U.S. graduates did not match to a residency at a teaching hospital, so nearly 2,000 U.S. grads did not get residency. Without fulfilling residency requirements, doctors can’t practice medicine. In last month’s match as well, 4,028 non-U.S. citizen students/IMGs matched and were granted residency, bringing the total number of IMGs placed in U.S. residencies since 2011 to 31,894.

It is important to remember that residency positions are subsidized through Medicare funds, which are in turn subsidized by the American taxpayer. Passed over for a residency position and often saddled with terrible student loans, some unmatched medical school graduates have even taken their own lives, as exemplified by the tragedy of Robert Chu. The increasing reliance on foreign doctors is also curious, in light of the fact that vast numbers of American high school students are not receiving an education in basic math and science.

A ruthless war is being waged against universal health care, both at home and abroad. US military interventions in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan (under the communists), and Yugoslavia brought about the destruction of comprehensive (and in the case of Afghanistan, burgeoning), single-payer health care systems. Juan Orlando Hernández, the US puppet overseeing the Honduran junta following the putsch that ousted the progressive government of Manuel Zelaya, has taken measures to privatize that country’s health care system. Hence, “democracy has been restored.”

The progressive governments in Cuba and Venezuela both offer free health care to their citizens. Consequently, they are “rogue” states. Syria has been ravaged by the US-NATO-Israel bombing campaigns and the “international community’s” support for a generous array of barbarians and religious fanatics, yet still offers free health care to her citizens. This is also the case with the rebel government in the Donbass which even gives free health care to captured neo-Nazis.

The poaching of foreign doctors is consistent with the desire of the Western elites to keep the global south under the iron heel of subservience and destitution. This devilry has also played a role in transforming the American medical profession into a diabolical sweatshop devoid of unions and labor laws, with the deteriorating rates of infant mortality, life expectancy and maternal mortality that have inexorably followed. To borrow a phrase from Yeats: “anarchy is loosed upon the world.” Unless we find a way to disenthrall ourselves from the despotism of the medical industrial complex, the health care oligarchs will continue to enslave us all.

The Doctor-Patient Relationship Can be Found in the Graveyard of Informed Consent

My master that was thrall to Love
Is become thrall to Death.

— “A Ballad of Death,” by Algernon Charles Swinburne, Poems and Ballads, First Series, 1866

The 21st century is only in its infancy, and the United States has revealed itself to be a truly remarkable country. We have imaginary jobs, an imaginary middle class, imaginary checks and balances, and an imaginary society. We even have imaginary bioethics. At the root of this new and exciting phenomenon is the dismantling of informed consent and the disintegration of the doctor-patient relationship that has followed in its wake.

The privatization of health care has contributed to the weakening of the physician-patient bond, as health care has largely been taken over by the gangster capitalists of the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance companies, device manufacturers, and hospital administrators. In a KevinMD article titled “The Self-Inflicted Death of the Physician,” an anonymous doctor writes, “For certainly we, as a profession, have handed over our authority to others, not all at once, but slowly, inexorably, over decades. We are just a shadow of our former selves.” Mirroring these sentiments, Linda Girgis, MD, writes in Physician’s Weekly, “The doctor is no longer center stage, unless you are watching a puppet show.”

In what will inevitably foment more unscrupulous behavior, MD/MBA programs are teaching doctors to think like businessmen, an irreconcilable contradiction. Hospital administrators are pressuring doctors to see increasing numbers of patients each day, while the health insurance companies continue to play a major role in stripping doctors of their autonomy by regularly countermanding doctor’s orders. This corporate coup d’état, rooted in avarice, callousness, and sociopathy has caused many clinicians to become unmoored from their traditional moral compass.

Physicians are now compelled to use electronic medical records (EMRs), which force them to waste countless hours doing mind-numbing data entry. If an attending physician decides to employ a medical scribe, nurse, or medical student to assume responsibility for this onerous task, it means that a third party will be in the examination room during patients’ office visits, which if done without the patient’s permission, constitutes an egregious violation of informed consent. It is also common for businesses to change the health insurance plans of their employees each year, which invariably results in many patients having to leave doctors that they have established long-standing relationships with, and who may be critically important to their physical and emotional well-being.

In addition to seeking assistance with EMRs, many physicians opt to bring interlopers into patients’ office visits, either because they prioritize teaching trainees to establishing a sound physician-patient rapport, or because they have figured out that it is much harder to be sued if there is a chaperone present in the examination room. Unsurprisingly, the medical institutions that spend the most money on glossy advertisements boasting of their boundless magnanimity and benevolence are frequently the institutions that are the most eager to bully patients into accepting a culture anchored in authoritarianism and absolute contempt for the rights of the patient.

In a KevinMD article titled “Electronic Health Records Cannot Replace a Doctor Who Knows You,” the authors write: “Ensuring the best medical care is not primarily a technical challenge. It is a human challenge, which requires patients and doctors to be able to form deep and long-standing relationships.” And yet American teaching hospitals are churning out delusional and hubristic creatures who have not been inculcated with a respect for patient privacy and informed consent, and who are incognizant of the fact that once these principles have been jettisoned the majority of their patients will neither trust, nor respect, nor confide in them. The deterioration of this vitally important relationship has resulted in a situation where it is increasingly common for patients to fail to disclose pertinent medical information. The deplorable state of the humanities and the rise of subspecialization have undoubtedly  contributed to this scourge of blindness in American health care.

Commenting on the dangers posed by medical scribes, Ami Schattner, MD, of the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, said in an interview with The Medical Bag:

I have serious concerns about the impact of scribes on the tender dynamic and intimacy of the physician-patient encounter. Perhaps the word ‘sanctity’ is not too strong when talking about the physician-patient relationship.

In an article titled “Shining a Light on Shadowing,” by Elizabeth A. Kitsis, MD, the author warns of the ethical ramifications of imposing pre-med students on patients during their doctor visits:

Physician shadowing by college students…may involve subtle coercion of the patient. To maintain his or her rapport with the physician, a patient may feel compelled to allow students into the examination room if his or her physician makes the request. However, the patient may resent the intrusion, and feel uncomfortable during the interaction.

Indeed, Kitsis’ words are also applicable with regard to nurses, medical students, residents, and fellows observing office visits. In an article in Medscape titled “What is Medical Ethics, and Why is it Important?” the authors write: “Ethical decisions cannot be avoided. Whenever doctors make a clinical decision, they are almost always making an ethical decision, consciously or not.” It is not even unusual for attending physicians to inform patients of ominous test results with their entourage in tow. While this may be very exciting for medical students it can be perceived as callous, degrading, and inhuman from the standpoint of the patient.

In “Stop the Anti-Doctor Media Bias,” by Rebekah Bernard, MD, the author writes that “Most physicians are dedicated individuals who hold patient care as sacrosanct.” I saw more doctors from 2016 to 2018 than a person would typically work with if they lived to a hundred, and have yet to see a single doctor’s office present me with a choice regarding the presence of observers during my office visits. In what could form the basis of a Kafka story, I had to voice my objections to the same institution and the same departments over and over again ad infinitum. Is this indicative of holding patient care as sacrosanct?

Jeremy Brown, MD, has proposed that doctors be equipped with body cameras, and Myles Riner, MD, supports the recording of physician-patient encounters, arguing in “Should Physicians Record and Share Conversations with Patients?” that “One thing is certain, this approach is certainly indicative of patient-centered care, and I think many patients would greatly appreciate the effort.” Not to be outdone, The New York Times has waxed glowingly on the subject of group doctor visits. Virtual office visits and doctor visits at work also pose a serious threat to confidentiality. So little value is placed on patient privacy that hospitals have even allowed television crews into emergency rooms, resulting in one New York widow turning on the television one evening, only to watch her husband die before her very eyes. Even if medical students attend a few decent lectures on bioethics, this is frequently negated by what they see their attending doing on a daily basis.

When the time comes for doctors to be patients, they often take for granted having the finest insurance plans which permit them to see any doctor without restrictions. This is in contrast with the majority of patients, who are increasingly restricted to narrow networks.

In a KevinMD article titled “Please, be kind to your doctor. We need it.,” Sara R Ahronheim, MD, writes: “But when I go home, I am alone; no one knows your stories, no one sees the tears you cried when I told you the awful things I had to tell you.” No one, that is, except the nurse, medical student, and resident who also happened to be hanging out in the room at the time.

What will become of the younger generation, being mentored as they so often are, in an environment where degradation is professionalism, indifference is empathy, and the most sordid behavior is hailed as “patient-centered care.” Indeed, this practice embodies everything base, ignoble, and treacherous in contemporary American health care. So relentlessly are patients besieged by these indignities, that there are times when I cannot help but wonder if these are really accidents and misunderstandings or the result of knavery and villainy. Teaching hospitals have a sacred duty to inculcate their trainees with a comprehensive understanding of, and respect for, medical ethics. All too often they are derelict in this duty. That so many attendings and their charges are indifferent to the physical, psychological, and emotional vulnerability of their patients underscores the fact that doctors and patients often speak in completely different languages.

This imposition of interlopers during physician office visits — a depraved reality show euphemistically called “team-based care” — constitutes a violation of every foundational tenet of medical ethics: informed consent, confidentiality, patient privacy, patient dignity, patient trust, and the oath to do no harm. Moreover, once trainees have learned to disregard informed consent with regard to nonconsensual physician shadowing, it is highly probable that they will do so again when the opportunity presents itself.

For instance, it is common for medical students and residents to be instructed to do practice pelvic exams on anesthetized patients, and the practice is legal in 45 states. A 2007 study done in Canada — a country with a comprehensive single-payer system — revealed that over 70 percent of medical students had done practice pelvic exams on anesthetized patients, and women have reported pain and bruising from these unauthorized exams.

Teaching hospitals frequently regard their patients, especially those who lack the best commercial plans, as their property. In an online forum on The Student Doctor Network where the ethics of having trainees perform practice pelvic exams on anesthetized patients is debated, AmoryBlaine writes:

It’s surprising how worked up some people get over the issue. You will be naked on a brightly lit table for all to see. A medical student will put a tube into your bladder. We’re about to flay your belly open and remove your uterus and ovaries. But to do a pelvic exam! What a violation! If you get into this habit of being deathly afraid of the patient’s feelings about an internal exam you will never learn how.

Glorytaker writes:

When I was doing OB/GYN as a med student, the attending would have me do a pelvic right after the patient was under and before we started surgery. Of course, we were doing GYN-related surgery and he wanted me to note the difference before and after a cystocele or rectocele repair. We didn’t exactly get permission but it was for teaching purposes.

Any rational layperson would be able to tell you that this is unethical, and yet many medical students and residents would disagree. What does that say about our education system? Perhaps it is this sort of degenerate thinking that led The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy to nonchalantly point out that “The turn of the 21st century has seen doubts surfacing about informed consent.” The fighter pilot that bombs wedding parties in Afghanistan and the impressionable trainee who is taught that it is acceptable to do practice pelvic exams on anesthetized patients have much in common. For they have both been inculcated with a profound sense of blind obedience.

It is common for doctors to do nonconsensual episiotomies and pelvic exams on women in labor, and women are frequently coerced into having pelvic exams in exchange for birth control prescriptions. This is an example of how, with a medical degree and some mental gymnastics, blackmail and rape can be transformed into cod liver oil and brussel sprouts. Writing about the lack of informed consent with regard to Pap smears and testing for cervical cancer, Joel Sherman, MD, has pointed out that cervical cancer is very rare in the United States. In Finland women are given the option of being tested for cervical cancer once every five years. And in an article that appeared in The Milbank Quarterly titled “Cervical Cancer Screening in the United States and the Netherlands: A Tale of Two Countries,” the authors write, “Even though three to four times more Pap smears per woman were conducted in the United States than in the Netherlands over a period of three decades, the two countries’ mortality trends were quite similar.” Perhaps this egregious lack of ethics in obstetrics and gynecology should come as no surprise, considering the fact that James Marion Sims, who invented the speculum and who is widely regarded as the founder of modern gynecology, performed experiments on black slave girls.

Will a 25-year-old woman continue to trust her oncologist should she go into permanent early menopause following chemotherapy, and her oncologist failed to disclose this as a common side effect associated with her chemotherapy regimen? What is the likelihood that a cancer patient will continue to trust their doctors should they experience long-term chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction, they are unable to continue with their career, and this too was not disclosed? Indeed, failure to disclose common long-term chemotherapy side effects is standard practice in many American cancer centers. It is also common for school districts to force high school students to undergo genital exams as a requirement to play sports, despite the fact that the scientific rationale behind the practice remains murky at best. And there are medical institutions, such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, that do not allow patients to change from one doctor to another within any given department, which can leave a patient torn between seeking care at an inferior facility or being the slave of an overbearing scoundrel.

Informed consent is absent in routine mammography screening, as no evidence exists that mammograms provide any benefit, whereas evidence exists that they have caused considerable harm. Obstetrics and gynecology aside, in no other specialty is there greater contempt for informed consent than in psychiatry, where dangerous side effects from psychiatric drugs are regularly withheld from patients and these drugs are even being prescribed for children. Psychiatrist Lawrence Kelmenson writes in “The Three Types of Psychiatric Drugs – A Doctor’s Guide for Consumers:”

Psychiatrists are seen as hard-working, caring, understanding healers, but they’re really snake-oil salesmen, drug-dealers, and master-sedaters. What they do should be illegal. Someday everyone will realize that not only do psychiatrists not heal anything, they’re a major contributor to the recent rise in suicides and overdoses.

Dr. Peter Breggin has echoed these sentiments, and actually specializes in getting people off these drugs.

It is common for patients who are perceived as “anti-authoritarians” to be diagnosed as “mentally ill,” and a number of school shooters were found to be taking powerful psychiatric drugs at the time they unleashed a fusillade of bullets on their classmates and teachers. Informed consent is frequently absent in the treatment of prostate cancer, and tens of thousands of American men have their prostates removed unnecessarily each year, only to fully understand the dire consequences after the damage is irreversible. (Consider the words of Atul Gawande, MD, in “Overkill:” “The forces that have led to a global epidemic of overtesting, overdiagnosis, and overtreatment are easy to grasp. Doctors get paid for doing more, not less.”) These are all examples of how informed consent is routinely disregarded in an unconscionable manner. The Tuskegee Alabama syphilis experiments, as well as medical experiments conducted on the downtrodden of IndiaAmerican prisoners, and on prisoners in Guantanamo are emblematic of the barbarities that can be unleashed when the celestial temple of informed consent lies in ruins.

After undergoing a surgical procedure in the summer of 2016, I was given a prescription for oxycodone, a semisynthetic opioid. Never was the highly addictive nature of this drug disclosed to me. Thankfully, Dr. Google informed me that oxycodone posed a “high risk for addiction and dependence.” Perhaps this might explain why, according to the CDC, “On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.” Many medical blogs delight in reminding us of the fact that the doctor-patient relationship is foundational to sound health care, and yet narcissism, moral bankruptcy, and careerism are endemic to our health care system. The erosion of trust that has followed this satanic cult of medical coercion has led to a situation where it has become harder for physicians to get patients to follow through with their treatment protocols.

The hazing and bullying commonly experienced by many trainees can cause medical students and residents to become jaded, and to lose their sense of empathy. Residents are often so exploited that many suffer from depression and are chronically sleep-deprived, and the brutal military-style training they are forced to endure can lead to many trainees forgetting that “gall bladder in Room 213” is a human being with a name. It is incontrovertible that corporations have undermined the doctor-patient relationship and inflicted catastrophic damage to our health care system. And while doctors must support the fight for single-payer, they must also acknowledge the fact that the cavalier attitude towards informed consent on the part of many American physicians has played a critical role in the dissolution of the public’s trust. Inexperienced patients naively assume that every doctor will have their best interests at heart. All too often, this is sadly not the case. Moreover, once this trust has been violated, it can result in grievous and long-lasting emotional harm. A clinician that is indifferent to the doctor-patient relationship, and who is only interested in scans, pathology reports, and blood tests has been infected with the virus of technocracy and fallen into a morass of charlatanism.

In the Charmides Plato wrote that “The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.” Medical students and residents may learn how to diagnose and treat different diseases, yet are seldom inculcated with an understanding of medical ethics and why it is so indispensable. In “Bringing Hospitality Back to the Hospital: Lessons From a Bartender,” by Cory Michael, MD, the author writes: “People remember how you make them feel. They don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” Medical terrorism and corporatization are the Goneril and Regan of medical sacrilege. Perpetually locked in a deadly embrace, they fuel one another’s nefarious designs. The tragedy is that so many medical students and residents are being seduced, not by the voice of truth, but by the voice of damnation. Let us recall the chilling words of Iago: “When devils will the blackest sins put on / They do suggest at first with heavenly shows / As I do now.” (Othello II.iii.)

Informed consent is a river that separates the consecrated light of morality from the profane and blasphemous abyss of amorality. Once this Rubicon has been crossed, there is no turning back. Those who have strayed from their sacred oath will find absolution not in the ways of the wicked, but in a return to the path of compassion, integrity, and righteousness. Indeed, dignity for the patient and dignity for the physician are mutually interdependent.

The doctor-patient relationship now lies buried in the unhallowed primeval ground; a cemetery where broken tombstones litter the earth with thorns and broken bottles, the land is barren and no flowers grow, and a once-proud beating heart beats no more. Only with a return to this inviolable bedrock of medical ethics can we embrace its resurrection.

The Doctor-Patient Relationship Can be Found in the Graveyard of Informed Consent

My master that was thrall to Love
Is become thrall to Death.

— “A Ballad of Death,” by Algernon Charles Swinburne, Poems and Ballads, First Series, 1866

The 21st century is only in its infancy, and the United States has revealed itself to be a truly remarkable country. We have imaginary jobs, an imaginary middle class, imaginary checks and balances, and an imaginary society. We even have imaginary bioethics. At the root of this new and exciting phenomenon is the dismantling of informed consent and the disintegration of the doctor-patient relationship that has followed in its wake.

The privatization of health care has contributed to the weakening of the physician-patient bond, as health care has largely been taken over by the gangster capitalists of the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance companies, device manufacturers, and hospital administrators. In a KevinMD article titled “The Self-Inflicted Death of the Physician,” an anonymous doctor writes, “For certainly we, as a profession, have handed over our authority to others, not all at once, but slowly, inexorably, over decades. We are just a shadow of our former selves.” Mirroring these sentiments, Linda Girgis, MD, writes in Physician’s Weekly, “The doctor is no longer center stage, unless you are watching a puppet show.”

In what will inevitably foment more unscrupulous behavior, MD/MBA programs are teaching doctors to think like businessmen, an irreconcilable contradiction. Hospital administrators are pressuring doctors to see increasing numbers of patients each day, while the health insurance companies continue to play a major role in stripping doctors of their autonomy by regularly countermanding doctor’s orders. This corporate coup d’état, rooted in avarice, callousness, and sociopathy has caused many clinicians to become unmoored from their traditional moral compass.

Physicians are now compelled to use electronic medical records (EMRs), which force them to waste countless hours doing mind-numbing data entry. If an attending physician decides to employ a medical scribe, nurse, or medical student to assume responsibility for this onerous task, it means that a third party will be in the examination room during patients’ office visits, which if done without the patient’s permission, constitutes an egregious violation of informed consent. It is also common for businesses to change the health insurance plans of their employees each year, which invariably results in many patients having to leave doctors that they have established long-standing relationships with, and who may be critically important to their physical and emotional well-being.

In addition to seeking assistance with EMRs, many physicians opt to bring interlopers into patients’ office visits, either because they prioritize teaching trainees to establishing a sound physician-patient rapport, or because they have figured out that it is much harder to be sued if there is a chaperone present in the examination room. Unsurprisingly, the medical institutions that spend the most money on glossy advertisements boasting of their boundless magnanimity and benevolence are frequently the institutions that are the most eager to bully patients into accepting a culture anchored in authoritarianism and absolute contempt for the rights of the patient.

In a KevinMD article titled “Electronic Health Records Cannot Replace a Doctor Who Knows You,” the authors write: “Ensuring the best medical care is not primarily a technical challenge. It is a human challenge, which requires patients and doctors to be able to form deep and long-standing relationships.” And yet American teaching hospitals are churning out delusional and hubristic creatures who have not been inculcated with a respect for patient privacy and informed consent, and who are incognizant of the fact that once these principles have been jettisoned the majority of their patients will neither trust, nor respect, nor confide in them. The deterioration of this vitally important relationship has resulted in a situation where it is increasingly common for patients to fail to disclose pertinent medical information. The deplorable state of the humanities and the rise of subspecialization have undoubtedly  contributed to this scourge of blindness in American health care.

Commenting on the dangers posed by medical scribes, Ami Schattner, MD, of the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, said in an interview with The Medical Bag:

I have serious concerns about the impact of scribes on the tender dynamic and intimacy of the physician-patient encounter. Perhaps the word ‘sanctity’ is not too strong when talking about the physician-patient relationship.

In an article titled “Shining a Light on Shadowing,” by Elizabeth A. Kitsis, MD, the author warns of the ethical ramifications of imposing pre-med students on patients during their doctor visits:

Physician shadowing by college students…may involve subtle coercion of the patient. To maintain his or her rapport with the physician, a patient may feel compelled to allow students into the examination room if his or her physician makes the request. However, the patient may resent the intrusion, and feel uncomfortable during the interaction.

Indeed, Kitsis’ words are also applicable with regard to nurses, medical students, residents, and fellows observing office visits. In an article in Medscape titled “What is Medical Ethics, and Why is it Important?” the authors write: “Ethical decisions cannot be avoided. Whenever doctors make a clinical decision, they are almost always making an ethical decision, consciously or not.” It is not even unusual for attending physicians to inform patients of ominous test results with their entourage in tow. While this may be very exciting for medical students it can be perceived as callous, degrading, and inhuman from the standpoint of the patient.

In “Stop the Anti-Doctor Media Bias,” by Rebekah Bernard, MD, the author writes that “Most physicians are dedicated individuals who hold patient care as sacrosanct.” I saw more doctors from 2016 to 2018 than a person would typically work with if they lived to a hundred, and have yet to see a single doctor’s office present me with a choice regarding the presence of observers during my office visits. In what could form the basis of a Kafka story, I had to voice my objections to the same institution and the same departments over and over again ad infinitum. Is this indicative of holding patient care as sacrosanct?

Jeremy Brown, MD, has proposed that doctors be equipped with body cameras, and Myles Riner, MD, supports the recording of physician-patient encounters, arguing in “Should Physicians Record and Share Conversations with Patients?” that “One thing is certain, this approach is certainly indicative of patient-centered care, and I think many patients would greatly appreciate the effort.” Not to be outdone, The New York Times has waxed glowingly on the subject of group doctor visits. Virtual office visits and doctor visits at work also pose a serious threat to confidentiality. So little value is placed on patient privacy that hospitals have even allowed television crews into emergency rooms, resulting in one New York widow turning on the television one evening, only to watch her husband die before her very eyes. Even if medical students attend a few decent lectures on bioethics, this is frequently negated by what they see their attending doing on a daily basis.

When the time comes for doctors to be patients, they often take for granted having the finest insurance plans which permit them to see any doctor without restrictions. This is in contrast with the majority of patients, who are increasingly restricted to narrow networks.

In a KevinMD article titled “Please, be kind to your doctor. We need it.,” Sara R Ahronheim, MD, writes: “But when I go home, I am alone; no one knows your stories, no one sees the tears you cried when I told you the awful things I had to tell you.” No one, that is, except the nurse, medical student, and resident who also happened to be hanging out in the room at the time.

What will become of the younger generation, being mentored as they so often are, in an environment where degradation is professionalism, indifference is empathy, and the most sordid behavior is hailed as “patient-centered care.” Indeed, this practice embodies everything base, ignoble, and treacherous in contemporary American health care. So relentlessly are patients besieged by these indignities, that there are times when I cannot help but wonder if these are really accidents and misunderstandings or the result of knavery and villainy. Teaching hospitals have a sacred duty to inculcate their trainees with a comprehensive understanding of, and respect for, medical ethics. All too often they are derelict in this duty. That so many attendings and their charges are indifferent to the physical, psychological, and emotional vulnerability of their patients underscores the fact that doctors and patients often speak in completely different languages.

This imposition of interlopers during physician office visits — a depraved reality show euphemistically called “team-based care” — constitutes a violation of every foundational tenet of medical ethics: informed consent, confidentiality, patient privacy, patient dignity, patient trust, and the oath to do no harm. Moreover, once trainees have learned to disregard informed consent with regard to nonconsensual physician shadowing, it is highly probable that they will do so again when the opportunity presents itself.

For instance, it is common for medical students and residents to be instructed to do practice pelvic exams on anesthetized patients, and the practice is legal in 45 states. A 2007 study done in Canada — a country with a comprehensive single-payer system — revealed that over 70 percent of medical students had done practice pelvic exams on anesthetized patients, and women have reported pain and bruising from these unauthorized exams.

Teaching hospitals frequently regard their patients, especially those who lack the best commercial plans, as their property. In an online forum on The Student Doctor Network where the ethics of having trainees perform practice pelvic exams on anesthetized patients is debated, AmoryBlaine writes:

It’s surprising how worked up some people get over the issue. You will be naked on a brightly lit table for all to see. A medical student will put a tube into your bladder. We’re about to flay your belly open and remove your uterus and ovaries. But to do a pelvic exam! What a violation! If you get into this habit of being deathly afraid of the patient’s feelings about an internal exam you will never learn how.

Glorytaker writes:

When I was doing OB/GYN as a med student, the attending would have me do a pelvic right after the patient was under and before we started surgery. Of course, we were doing GYN-related surgery and he wanted me to note the difference before and after a cystocele or rectocele repair. We didn’t exactly get permission but it was for teaching purposes.

Any rational layperson would be able to tell you that this is unethical, and yet many medical students and residents would disagree. What does that say about our education system? Perhaps it is this sort of degenerate thinking that led The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy to nonchalantly point out that “The turn of the 21st century has seen doubts surfacing about informed consent.” The fighter pilot that bombs wedding parties in Afghanistan and the impressionable trainee who is taught that it is acceptable to do practice pelvic exams on anesthetized patients have much in common. For they have both been inculcated with a profound sense of blind obedience.

It is common for doctors to do nonconsensual episiotomies and pelvic exams on women in labor, and women are frequently coerced into having pelvic exams in exchange for birth control prescriptions. This is an example of how, with a medical degree and some mental gymnastics, blackmail and rape can be transformed into cod liver oil and brussel sprouts. Writing about the lack of informed consent with regard to Pap smears and testing for cervical cancer, Joel Sherman, MD, has pointed out that cervical cancer is very rare in the United States. In Finland women are given the option of being tested for cervical cancer once every five years. And in an article that appeared in The Milbank Quarterly titled “Cervical Cancer Screening in the United States and the Netherlands: A Tale of Two Countries,” the authors write, “Even though three to four times more Pap smears per woman were conducted in the United States than in the Netherlands over a period of three decades, the two countries’ mortality trends were quite similar.” Perhaps this egregious lack of ethics in obstetrics and gynecology should come as no surprise, considering the fact that James Marion Sims, who invented the speculum and who is widely regarded as the founder of modern gynecology, performed experiments on black slave girls.

Will a 25-year-old woman continue to trust her oncologist should she go into permanent early menopause following chemotherapy, and her oncologist failed to disclose this as a common side effect associated with her chemotherapy regimen? What is the likelihood that a cancer patient will continue to trust their doctors should they experience long-term chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction, they are unable to continue with their career, and this too was not disclosed? Indeed, failure to disclose common long-term chemotherapy side effects is standard practice in many American cancer centers. It is also common for school districts to force high school students to undergo genital exams as a requirement to play sports, despite the fact that the scientific rationale behind the practice remains murky at best. And there are medical institutions, such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, that do not allow patients to change from one doctor to another within any given department, which can leave a patient torn between seeking care at an inferior facility or being the slave of an overbearing scoundrel.

Informed consent is absent in routine mammography screening, as no evidence exists that mammograms provide any benefit, whereas evidence exists that they have caused considerable harm. Obstetrics and gynecology aside, in no other specialty is there greater contempt for informed consent than in psychiatry, where dangerous side effects from psychiatric drugs are regularly withheld from patients and these drugs are even being prescribed for children. Psychiatrist Lawrence Kelmenson writes in “The Three Types of Psychiatric Drugs – A Doctor’s Guide for Consumers:”

Psychiatrists are seen as hard-working, caring, understanding healers, but they’re really snake-oil salesmen, drug-dealers, and master-sedaters. What they do should be illegal. Someday everyone will realize that not only do psychiatrists not heal anything, they’re a major contributor to the recent rise in suicides and overdoses.

Dr. Peter Breggin has echoed these sentiments, and actually specializes in getting people off these drugs.

It is common for patients who are perceived as “anti-authoritarians” to be diagnosed as “mentally ill,” and a number of school shooters were found to be taking powerful psychiatric drugs at the time they unleashed a fusillade of bullets on their classmates and teachers. Informed consent is frequently absent in the treatment of prostate cancer, and tens of thousands of American men have their prostates removed unnecessarily each year, only to fully understand the dire consequences after the damage is irreversible. (Consider the words of Atul Gawande, MD, in “Overkill:” “The forces that have led to a global epidemic of overtesting, overdiagnosis, and overtreatment are easy to grasp. Doctors get paid for doing more, not less.”) These are all examples of how informed consent is routinely disregarded in an unconscionable manner. The Tuskegee Alabama syphilis experiments, as well as medical experiments conducted on the downtrodden of IndiaAmerican prisoners, and on prisoners in Guantanamo are emblematic of the barbarities that can be unleashed when the celestial temple of informed consent lies in ruins.

After undergoing a surgical procedure in the summer of 2016, I was given a prescription for oxycodone, a semisynthetic opioid. Never was the highly addictive nature of this drug disclosed to me. Thankfully, Dr. Google informed me that oxycodone posed a “high risk for addiction and dependence.” Perhaps this might explain why, according to the CDC, “On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.” Many medical blogs delight in reminding us of the fact that the doctor-patient relationship is foundational to sound health care, and yet narcissism, moral bankruptcy, and careerism are endemic to our health care system. The erosion of trust that has followed this satanic cult of medical coercion has led to a situation where it has become harder for physicians to get patients to follow through with their treatment protocols.

The hazing and bullying commonly experienced by many trainees can cause medical students and residents to become jaded, and to lose their sense of empathy. Residents are often so exploited that many suffer from depression and are chronically sleep-deprived, and the brutal military-style training they are forced to endure can lead to many trainees forgetting that “gall bladder in Room 213” is a human being with a name. It is incontrovertible that corporations have undermined the doctor-patient relationship and inflicted catastrophic damage to our health care system. And while doctors must support the fight for single-payer, they must also acknowledge the fact that the cavalier attitude towards informed consent on the part of many American physicians has played a critical role in the dissolution of the public’s trust. Inexperienced patients naively assume that every doctor will have their best interests at heart. All too often, this is sadly not the case. Moreover, once this trust has been violated, it can result in grievous and long-lasting emotional harm. A clinician that is indifferent to the doctor-patient relationship, and who is only interested in scans, pathology reports, and blood tests has been infected with the virus of technocracy and fallen into a morass of charlatanism.

In the Charmides Plato wrote that “The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.” Medical students and residents may learn how to diagnose and treat different diseases, yet are seldom inculcated with an understanding of medical ethics and why it is so indispensable. In “Bringing Hospitality Back to the Hospital: Lessons From a Bartender,” by Cory Michael, MD, the author writes: “People remember how you make them feel. They don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” Medical terrorism and corporatization are the Goneril and Regan of medical sacrilege. Perpetually locked in a deadly embrace, they fuel one another’s nefarious designs. The tragedy is that so many medical students and residents are being seduced, not by the voice of truth, but by the voice of damnation. Let us recall the chilling words of Iago: “When devils will the blackest sins put on / They do suggest at first with heavenly shows / As I do now.” (Othello II.iii.)

Informed consent is a river that separates the consecrated light of morality from the profane and blasphemous abyss of amorality. Once this Rubicon has been crossed, there is no turning back. Those who have strayed from their sacred oath will find absolution not in the ways of the wicked, but in a return to the path of compassion, integrity, and righteousness. Indeed, dignity for the patient and dignity for the physician are mutually interdependent.

The doctor-patient relationship now lies buried in the unhallowed primeval ground; a cemetery where broken tombstones litter the earth with thorns and broken bottles, the land is barren and no flowers grow, and a once-proud beating heart beats no more. Only with a return to this inviolable bedrock of medical ethics can we embrace its resurrection.

Medical Ethics Can Only Be Restored With a Single-Payer System

It is the year 2019, and American health care is in a state of profound crisis. While oligarchic parasites from the pharmaceutical industry and health insurance companies make enormous profits, bankruptcy and the fear of being denied care hang over the American people like a sword of Damocles. This diabolical order, predicated on greed and placing profit-making over human life, has stripped doctors of their autonomy and given birth to an inhuman and deeply unjust multi-tier system.

Unless we are able to disenthrall ourselves from the tyranny of privatized health care, Americans will continue to die as a result of avaricious insurance companies denying coverage for needed drugs and procedures, and from treatment which is delayed due to requests for “prior authorizations.” Moreover, medical students and residents are being taught that good health care is a privilege and not a right, and that the oath to do no harm applies, but only to a privileged few. In a world turned upside down, doctors in training are being inculcated with the pernicious notion that the job of a doctor is not to listen to the patient, perform a comprehensive physical, respect the patient’s privacy, get an accurate history, diagnose, treat, and follow up; but rather to help their employer maximize the greatest possible profit. Indeed, the number of patients doctors are expected to see each day has become increasingly unwieldy, and this has gravely undermined their ability to practice good medicine.

Are we to continue to buy and sell health care as if it were a consumer good? The wealthiest can buy a Ferrari, the upper middle class a Lexus, the working class a Toyota, and the poor a used car. The very destitute cannot afford a car at all and have to take the bus. Clearly, it is barbaric to run a health care system in such a manner, and yet this is precisely what we are doing.

From their very first day of residency, doctors in training are being indoctrinated with the following code of dishonor: “This patient has a right to privacy, while this patient doesn’t. This patient has a right to informed consent, while this patient doesn’t. This patient has a right to linger following their surgery, while this patient has to leave immediately following their procedure. This patient has a right to their own room with a view, while this patient will be crammed into a room with a stranger.” The idea that medical ethics can coexist with such an ideology is inane and deeply delusional.

Many institutions have established multi-tier systems which are so egregious that it has resulted in the implementation of a Jim Crow health care system. Indeed, these institutions often place the “humans” and the “subhumans” in physically separate facilities. In this internationalization of the third world model, patients with inferior insurance are regularly arm-twisted into being clinical guinea pigs and used as laboratory animals with which to teach impressionable residents and fellows. This railroading of the “losers” into resident clinics magnifies the innate power imbalance inherent in the doctor-patient relationship a hundredfold, and constitutes a violation of patient privacy, informed consent, confidentiality, and patient dignity all of which fall under the umbrella of the physician’s oath to do no harm.

In an article in Annals of Emergency Medicine titled “Observers in The Medical Setting”, by Joel M. Geiderman, MD, the author posits that:

Privacy is treasured by citizens in free societies around the world, and any infringement on it is considered by many to be an affront to personhood. In the United States, the right to privacy runs deep in the American soul.

Residents that have no qualms about observing office visits without the patient’s consent are likely to go on to violate the privacy of their patients as attendings, and may very well spend their careers mindlessly violating and debasing their fellow human beings, only to periodically vent their frustrations on the Internet over all the “self-entitled” patients that don’t appreciate their diligence and divine wisdom. And while there are undoubtedly some residents that may have misgivings over participating in a clinic which coerces patients with unglamorous insurance plans into being medical models, as we have largely become a nation of careerists, the apelike majority will blindly follow orders.

Geiderman writes:

In addition to informational privacy, or protection of their personal health information, patients are also entitled to physical privacy, that is, a zone of personal space where access is under the patient’s autonomous control. Closely linked is the right to one’s modesty, a human value that is expressed in the Bible in Genesis, as Adam and Eve wished to shield their nakedness even from their Creator.

Should a physician order countless tests and prescriptions which are subsequently vetoed by the insurance companies, assuming they are not vehemently opposed to single-payer, they are unequivocally not to blame for this. However, once a doctor has knowingly participated in a clinic which is predicated on coercing patients with inferior insurance into being clinical guinea pigs for residents and fellows to practice on, they have stepped into a void beyond which lies a wasteland devoid of honor, dignity, integrity and morality. Any participation in such an egregious multi-tier system on the part of a physician threatens the survival of the doctor-patient relationship and constitutes unbridled and unmitigated heresy.

This descent into barbarism is glaringly on display in many dermatology departments, which are able to choose from the crème de la crème of our nation’s medical graduates, dermatology being one of the most competitive and sought-after specialties. These departments often assign patients with inferior insurance to a resident, who in turn has to be supervised. And so through artifice and trickery, the patient is duped and arm-twisted into being a medical model without their consent. The attending arrives and spews platitudes such as “The more eyes the better,” “There’s nothing we’ve never seen before,” and “We’re all professionals here” as if this can mitigate the fact that they are teaching their residents that the have-nots deserve neither privacy nor respectful care. That neither the attending nor the resident would even think of seeking care in such a clinic underscores the fact that in the innermost recesses of their addled brains they are cognizant of the fact that what they do is unethical. To gain admission into MS-13 one would likely have to commit murder. When doing a dermatology residency at an elite Manhattan medical institution, violating the privacy of hundreds of patients is the price of admission into this rather alarming society.

In conjunction with this uncivilized behavior, doctors in training are duly inculcated with the idea that informed consent is a privilege and not a right. Many of these creatures will go on to do practice pelvic exams on anesthetized patients, or even perform forced cavity searches at the request of law enforcement. Indeed, doctors that have no respect for informed consent are a danger to themselves, and a danger to those who place their trust in their care.

Reactionary physicians at elite institutions take for granted having the finest insurance, and delude themselves into thinking that patients go to resident clinics of their own volition, and not because their insurance dictates that they go there. Few realize that if a Medicaid patient sees a doctor out of network they can actually lose their insurance. Restoring physician choice to the American patient is absolutely vital if we are to restore any semblance of democracy to our health care system. For as long as a vast swath of American society is forced to work with doctors that they do not wish to work with, all talk of “patient-centered care” is farcical and absurd.

If a woman with good insurance needs a prescription for birth control, she can leave a doctor who insists on doing a pelvic exam prior to ordering the prescription, whereas a patient with inferior insurance can be bullied into submitting to the unnecessary exam due to the lack of gynecologists that take their insurance. While the pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, and hospitals grow fat with the lucre sucked from the blood of their patients, not a day goes by when the underinsured do not experience such indignities. And while the government continues to abrogate its social responsibility to implement a single-payer system, many patients that do have good insurance are a cancer diagnosis or car accident away from losing their job and their superior insurance along with it.

In non-union jobs employers often change insurance plans every year, perpetually searching for the plan which is most affordable. This in turn forces patients to constantly change doctors, and if a patient has a complex medical condition, the consequences of perpetually denying such an individual continuity of care can have disastrous consequences. Indeed, even if a patient is healthy, this can result in reduced health care outcomes over the long-term. And just as the multi-tier education system has come to be accepted without question by millions of our countrymen, the multi-tier health care system has likewise left its mark on the consciousness of millions of Americans, and is increasingly accepted as “normal” by the insouciant and the knavish alike.

Patients that freelance can also see their insurance change while their income fluctuates, and this can likewise force a patient to change doctors. Like a marriage, the doctor-patient relationship is predicated on a sacred trust, and being forced to constantly change doctors disrupts, destabilizes, and destroys these relationships.

The takeover of the medical decision-making process by insurance companies – essentially criminal gangs – has stripped doctors of their autonomy and is a driving force behind physician burnout. For after every treatment plan agreed upon between a doctor and a patient, doctors’ orders are increasingly countermanded by the patient’s insurance company. Not a day goes by without a doctor prescribing a drug which a patient’s insurance refuses to cover. The doctor then calls in a second drug – a variation on the first – and the insurance company may refuse coverage for this as well. Then a third drug is called in – perhaps not even of the same class – and this too may be rejected. Meanwhile, the patient has been examined by their doctor, not by an MD working for the insurance company. Should a physician order a PET or CT scan to determine whether a patient has metastatic cancer following a needle biopsy that has revealed a mass to be malignant, it is not uncommon for the patient’s insurance to declare this request as requiring “prior authorization.” This pervasive undermining of a doctor’s authority is without precedent in American health care, and these delays have caused people to die.

In addition to living paycheck to paycheck, millions of Americans are under the illusion that their health insurance plan is much better than it is, incognizant of the fact that they are a health problem away from financial ruin. The insouciant among us who ask where the money is going to come from should consider why they failed to ask this question prior to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. The money will come from demilitarizing our society and transferring to a peacetime economy. Are the underinsured not victims of terrorism?

As their entire raison d’être is anchored in maximizing the greatest possible profit, hospitals ruthlessly exploit their residents, many of whom work eighty hours a week or more. In an article on KevinMD titled “The secret horrors of sleep-deprived doctors,” by Pamela Wible, MD, a doctor speaks of their training:

I did my internship in internal medicine and residency in neurology before laws existed to regulate resident hours. My first two years were extremely brutal, working 110 to 120 hours/week, and up to 40 hours straight. I got to witness colleagues collapse unconscious in the hallway during rounds, and I recall once falling asleep in the bed of an elderly comatose woman while trying to start an IV on her in the wee hours of the morning.

It is not uncommon for young doctors to accidentally kill patients as a result of being so exploited and sleep deprived, and this has undoubtedly played a role in making hospital errors the third leading cause of death in this country. Wible quotes another physician:

I have made numerous medication errors from being over tired [sic]. I also more recently misread an EKG because I was so tired I literally couldn’t see straight. She actually had a subarachnoid hemorrhage, and by misreading the EKG, I spent too much time on her heart and didn’t whisk her back to CT when she came in code blue. She died.

This is the inevitable result of exploiting residents as if they were fast food workers. Moreover, as has transpired with education, health care is simply becoming unaffordable. In an article for KevinMD titled “The demonization of socialized medicine,” by Matthew Hahn, MD, the author writes, “It’s almost become a ritual now where a patient (who usually has health insurance) is diagnosed with cancer, and then we attend their community fundraiser to help them with the costs of their care.”

Many doctors are compelled to spend countless hours each month filling out electronic medical records which have been foisted on them by the insurance companies. To assist with this onerous task, doctors increasingly employ a nurse or medical scribe to type the required information into the computer during a patient’s office visit. This destroys any semblance of confidentiality and undermines the physician-patient bond. It can also result in the doctor failing to obtain a comprehensive history.

Some physicians feel that the way to regain autonomy is to not take insurance at all, but by doing this they are denying care to patients with low income; i.e., the majority of the country. In theory, doctors take an oath to do no harm. In reality, they are in thrall to rapacious corporate power and are more likely to spend a lot of time violating patients’ privacy, doing mind-numbing data entry, and failing to disclose the risks of extremely dangerous drugs such as opioids and psychiatric medications.

Liberal saints Obama and Hillary had an opportunity to make a push for single-payer, but instead chose to spend trillions of dollars murdering large numbers of people in Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Honduras and Syria while maintaining nearly a thousand bases all around the world. How many more patients will be forced into bankruptcy? How many more souls will be debased and defiled? How many more human lives will be lost?