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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

What If...

Tonight I ask you to do something I rarely ask my Objectivist pals to do, and that is to play a game of hypotheticals. I ask you for patience. I ask for you to stretch your mind to encompass the bigger pictures. I ask you to suspend all emotional response and act on logic and reason alone. It is not easy. Trust me on this.

Now, I ask you to imagine that you are a young high school student who wishes to be a doctor. Not hard, I know, but imagine that you've worked hard and earned academic scholarships to several good colleges that are willing to pay your way, or most of it, because they feel that your future accomplishments will shine a bright light on what they consider to be their superior academia. I know, but this is a hypothetical exercise. Now imagine that you got through four years of college and earn your way into a prestigious medical school. Now imagine that in your studies you come up with an idea on how to prevent say... kidney disease caused by diabetes, or maybe lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes. Something HUGE!

Now, you are out of med school and doing a residency in your chosen field, all the while scrounging up grant money for research into this miracle "cure". Let's say you get a fellowship in this field after your years of feudal serfdom in residency. Lets say that during this period of fellowship you hone your technique and find out your idea for a cure really works.

Now, I want you to think of all of the years of study, sleepless nights, student loans, overwhelming debt, not to mention lab hours spent studying and countless hours spent sitting at the bedside of the patients you've tried to help. The money, the time. Money and time. Your money, your time.

Now I want you to imagine the government telling you that they have a right to your treatment because it will help millions, and that you don't deserve a dime, despite your years of study, countless hours of patient care, and the sheer mountain of debt you've accrued trying to prove your theory.

Now I want you to imagine silently slipping away and never practicing medicine in this atmosphere again.

At this point I want you to toss away your emotional response.

At this point I want you to take a good hard look at the system that asks anyone to sacrifice like this. I don't want you to even consider the human element at all. Forget about lives saved. Forget it, discard it.

Anyone who tells you that you must sacrifice your happiness for the happiness of another being is the most profane person in the universe.

Now. What would YOU do? And remember, you can only use logic and reason and no emotion whatsoever to make your decision.

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