Doctors as Terrorists?
Not Surprising After All
David C. Stolinsky, MD
July 9, 2007
Three physicians are arrested in the London and Glasgow fire-bombing plot, and as many as 45 others are under suspicion.
− News item
When a doctor goes wrong he is the first of criminals. He has nerve and he has knowledge.
− Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Conan Doyle knew what he was talking about – he was a physician himself. When news broke that doctors took a major part in the recent plot to fire-bomb London nightclubs and the Glasgow airport, most people were shocked. But why was I not surprised? Why would Conan Doyle not have been surprised?
Most people, especially in the Western world, respect education. In fact, they worship education, believing it can solve all problems. Clearly, doctors are highly educated. In fact, one of the accused terrorists was a physician at the hospital associated with Cambridge University. You can’t get a more prestigious education than that.
But what do we mean by “education”? Do we mean a program, beginning in childhood and continuing into adulthood, that is designed to produce cultured, broadly informed, humane individuals? Or do we mean a program designed to impart the skills needed to perform a specific technical job? In years past, we meant the first. But I sadly conclude that in recent years, we mean the second.
So why is anyone surprised when a technician turns out to be a criminal? What did we expect? Why is it any more surprising when a medical technician turns out to be a criminal than when an automobile technician does so? If I know how to repair a broken arm, am I any less likely to be a criminal than if I know how to repair a broken transmission?
Even worse, the amoral physicians and would-be mass-murderers who attacked London and Glasgow would have been the very ones to be “fast-tracked” under the immigration bill that was just defeated. Think about that the next time someone wants to bring in more “educated” immigrants. “Educated” to do what?
I am not talking about Muslim doctors, or even immigrant doctors. When I was an intern years ago, I was supervised by two female Muslim physicians from Iran. Both were highly intelligent, very well trained, and – most important – humane. Of course, this was in the “bad” old days of the Shah, so these doctors dressed and acted in the Western fashion – no head scarves or tent-like clothes for them.
The Shah was authoritarian, but his real sin was that he was pro-American. Now the government of Iran is much worse. It is totalitarian and misogynist, but also anti-American, so leftists believe it can’t be all bad. Apparently religious fanatics developing nuclear weapons deserve the benefit of the doubt – so long as they hate America and all it stands for. Or at least that’s what leftist pundits tell us.
No, I’m not talking about Muslim doctors, or immigrant doctors. I’m talking about all doctors. If we train them as mere technicians, they will act as technicians. They will do as they are told. If an HMO tells them to save money by withholding expensive care, they’ll do that. If a government bureaucrat tells them to avoid expensive tests or procedures, they’ll do that. In fact, they already are doing that.
And if an official tells them to dehydrate and starve the severely disabled to death, they’ll do that, too. For 2400 years, Western physicians took the Hippocratic Oath, which states:
I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel.
Since ancient times, society assigned the task of saving life to physicians. If killing people was required, that task was given to executioners. Now we have confused these opposite roles.
A milestone on the road downhill was the publication in Germany in 1920 of “Permission to Exterminate Life Unworthy of Life.” The “unworthy” included the incurably ill, the mentally ill or retarded, deformed children and the comatose. Killing was “healing treatment” to be administered by physicians.
For the first time, killing and healing were mixed together. And physicians’ loyalty was no longer to the individual patient, but to “society.”
Once the Nazis took over, medical graduates no longer took the Hippocratic Oath, but an oath to the health of the state. Most American medical graduates also no longer take the Hippocratic Oath, but a variety of other oaths, of which only 8 percent reject abortion, and only 14 percent reject euthanasia. This is called “progress.”
I believe the chief cause of the Hippocratic Oath’s demise is its ban on abortion. But in the Oath, euthanasia and abortion are next to each other. Discarding one prohibition weakened the other. If all human life isn’t sacred, none is. Intermediate positions are weak and are being overrun one by one. Who is worthy to live becomes just a matter of opinion.
The phrase “life unworthy of life” was used by the Nazis, but it originated before anyone heard of Hitler. Nazism was a seed that fell on soil that had already been fertilized by the manure of viewing human beings not as having intrinsic worth because they are created in God’s image, but as having worth only if they are useful to others.
Those who now spread similar manure will not be able to claim innocence when similar seeds sprout. The lesson of history is clear.
The Nazi euthanasia program used drugs, then gas, and was the physical and psychological prelude to the Holocaust. It was opposed so strongly by Catholic and Protestant churches that it was stopped, though it continued unofficially. Sadly, there was no organized opposition by physicians.
Of all professions, medicine had the highest percent of Nazis. Note that Bin Laden’s number-two man is a doctor, as is the terrorism-sponsoring dictator of Syria. When leading doctors support late-term abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, and cloning of human embryos, remember not to expect moral leadership from the medical profession. This lesson is also clear.
So with this brief history lesson, are you still surprised when a few – or more than a few – physicians become would-be mass murderers? You shouldn’t be. They are following in the footsteps of those doctors who, like Dr. Mengele, facilitated the Holocaust by exterminating those who were “less than human.” They are following the example of those doctors who allowed Terri Schiavo to dehydrate and starve to death over 13 days, because she was “less than human.” The London and Glasgow bombers merely tried to blow to pieces and incinerate a bunch of “infidels,” who are “less than human.”
Once we start making a list of those we consider “less than human,” sooner or later someone will put our names on the list. You may call this fate, or karma, or simply logical progression. I call it reaping the whirlwind.
If you take moral, humane people, and you send them to a moral, humane medical school, you will get moral, humane doctors. But if you take amoral people, and you send them to an amoral technical school, you will get amoral technicians. You will get, in Conan Doyle’s words, the first of criminals, because they have the nerve and the knowledge.
We created value-free education. We shouldn’t be surprised when it produces value-free graduates. We told doctors to kill the very young, the very old and the severely disabled. We shouldn’t be surprised when the monster turns on us. We defined some human life as “less than human.” We shouldn’t be surprised when others define us that way.
I wish you good health and good luck. With doctors like that, you’ll need both.