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Thread: Question about a part of Atlas Shrugged...

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    Question Question about a part of Atlas Shrugged...

    * * * This would be a spoiler for anyone who has not yet read the book.*

    I'm at page 744 of 1168, where Dagny is in Midas Mulligan's secret town meeting all the people she had known in the outside world. All the people are telling her why they "went on strike" against the rest of the country and moved to the Mulligan's valley, but there is one I don't quite understand. It is Dr. Hendricks'. I'll quote most of his paragraph that I am not sure about:

    ...I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine (becoming run by the state), men discussed everything - except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the 'welfare' of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only 'to serve.' That a man who's willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards - never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind - yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it - and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn't.
    What exactly upsets him about how he was treated in the outside world? Could someone explain this to me? I understand many of the points throughout the book about selfishness actually being a good thing in society, but medicine is like a SERVICE industry...the goal IS to serve the patient.

    Interpretation, please?
    Last edited by tggroo7; 05-12-2009 at 04:53 PM.



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    The happiest doctors make for the happiest patients through freedom and competition, unlike today's medical "system".

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    Health care is not a right. It is a privilege dependent upon some one CHOOSING to provide it. Being a doctor under state control, Dr. Hendrix became a slave - no longer a free individual with rights of his own.

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    This line sums up what I need to understand: "Men considered only the 'welfare' of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only 'to serve.'"

    What rights has he lost as a doctor and his job really IS "to serve" is it not?? You're a doctor and you get paid for helping your patients, what is the problem?

  6. #5

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    Let's suppose you've been through medical school and you want to go into cardiovascular medicine but the national health board tells you they have their quota of cardio specialists and you're now an ear, nose and throat doctor. Now, do you have the right to make that decision yourself, and starve if you make the wrong decision? Or is it your place to serve and that's that?

    Now suppose you want to be a general practitioner and you become one. Now, do you want the state to tell you whether or not you may make money off of hypochondriacs? No one makes an easy living off of hypochondriacs, and no one chases them away either? Do you want the state telling you exactly how to treat those patients? Do you want them telling you which hospital to put your patients in and when? Answer that one, and you'll know why many doctors are finding different work today.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin Coolidge View Post
    'The country cannot be run on the promise of what it will do for the people. The only motive to which they will continue ready to respond is the opportunity to do something for themselves, to achieve their own greatness, to work out their own destiny.'
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin Coolidge View Post
    'We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by tggroo7 View Post
    This line sums up what I need to understand: "Men considered only the 'welfare' of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only 'to serve.'"

    What rights has he lost as a doctor and his job really IS "to serve" is it not?? You're a doctor and you get paid for helping your patients, what is the problem?
    Why do you assume it is a doctor's job to serve? A doctor ought to be allowed to provide a service at their discretion just like any other laborer.

    Those who wish to become doctors because they "like to help people" are quite misguided. All producers (employees included) help people. They provide tax revenue, competition, and usually employment to others.

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    Make a pro-life doctor perfom an abortion and see where that gets you.
    Stop the Looting and Start Prosecuting! Gold plated Tungsten IS Money!
    We Must Dissent A colher não existe.
    A government is just a body of people, notably, usually, ungoverned.

    "You mean this entire war started because The Empire dressed as the enemy? That's exactly what happened in the last major war! Our government is so stupid!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kludge View Post
    Why do you assume it is a doctor's job to serve? A doctor ought to be allowed to provide a service at their discretion just like any other laborer.

    Those who wish to become doctors because they "like to help people" are quite misguided. All producers (employees included) help people. They provide tax revenue, competition, and usually employment to others.
    It must be noted though that at least indirectly if not directly that a doctor will be "serving" if they do their job well. So, caring for the patients would be a good way to get more business while also being moral.
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