Dear Esteemed Colleagues,
I write to you as some of the very best physicians. You have deep concern for the poor, oppressed and marginalized in society. You find economic collapse an unnecessary hardship for all your patients.
Your concern comes from the most noble aspirations. You cannot ignore pain and suffering in your clinic. You cannot pretend it does not exist in society. You believe civilized nations help those less fortunate. You see abundance as an opportunity to help.
These are good things. Most doctors share your concerns. But none of this makes you a socialist.
A socialist promotes elimination of income inequality as an end in itself, not just as one way to help the poor. Socialists believe the state offers the best hope to eliminate hardship and provide for citizens. Socialists seek to erase inequality and competition, not just to help those less fortunate.
You do not have to be a socialist to support some form of Medicare. But you cannot sit quietly while others push for income equality, state ownership of all healthcare and greater state control without being a socialist. Silence supports socialism.
Socialists see income differences as evidence of moral failure, not industry and effort. Physicians represent a societal class; they should be just one provider among many undifferentiated others.
If socialism was a medical treatment, we might ask how has it helped other patients? Dozens of countries have tried varying doses of socialism. How have they fared? Beyond a very low dose as part of a mixed economy, socialism causes more suffering than it eliminates. Large doses of socialism lead to communism as Marx predicted.
I write to you, my socialist-friendly colleagues, on the belief that you genuinely want the best for your patients, your families and community. If you truly believe socialism offers the best path for us to follow, come out and say so. Become socialist champions and spokespeople. Let’s debate socialism, the whole program. Don’t take idealistic bits of socialist thought and disguise them as noble social movements. It’s misleading at best.
On the other hand if you like pieces of socialism but worry about the whole package, I encourage you to follow your position wherever it leads. It does not create human flourishing. Acquiescing to socialist presuppositions lends support to the whole movement.
You might start asking questions. What do people mean by ‘income inequality’? Is all inequality bad? Do the poor and less fortunate do better with more socialism or with a stronger economy? Who gets hurt the most when governments run out of money? Do governments improve the economy by creating new jobs with tax dollars?
Socialist ideals overlap with the very best social aspirations. But we must not confuse socialism with honourable social goals. Socialism by itself will not provide what our patients need. There is a better way.
With highest regards, your colleague,