I have had the delight of discovering an essay by William Deseriewicz in Harper’s Magazine, September 2015. It is called “The Neoliberal Arts, How college sold its soul to the market.” He explores the forces which, in a University, have wrought the revolution seen in medicine.
He advocates for the liberal arts; I prefer to call them the humanities. Unlike the poufy Versailles image of the humanities that Alpha Omega Alpha likes to project, humanities illustrate simply the perspective from which humans approach challenges. We are sliding into the myth that we are “machine men with machine minds,” as per Chaplin in the Great Dictator. We prefer to have our decisions made by a fantasized Authority. There is something to human nature that begs for the authority of the One.
Neoliberalism as it stands today, depends on societal contempt; without contempt, there arises the specter of personal responsibility, and we can’t have that. Now, to think is to near the boundaries of defiance.
We allow thousands of prejudices under the title of universal truths, because it is too exhausting to actually scrutinize their validity. We did well for centuries under the myth of biological race – that has become tattered and unmasked, as it should.
There is a habit of generalizing things; if transactions are driven by price, then, the best of all transactions is one which is most completely imitating a retail transaction. If medicine does not well fit into the image of a retail transactions, then we must make it so. The audacity is the same as those Leninist thinkers who insisted that their government require all social interactions to fit the Marxist-Leninist model. That which did not, or could not, was simply rejected from existence.
Modern Market Medicine, retail medicine, corporate medicine, depends in the sequestration of rational thinking under the presumption of rational leadership. It rejects the Founders’ cynicism about authority, and Lord Acton’s dictum, that was once universally respected in American politics.
Only the elite, not the field hands, should be offered the responsibility of crafting decisions; and one does not merit membership in the Elect except by the welcoming-in of that Congregation. Decisions must reflect the Direction we are Going. To ridicule the Direction we are Going as blind-man’s bluff is a confession of one’s own lack of vision. That we might be Dancing in the Conga Line to Hell is considered a suggestion of vulgarity.
“We cannot all be wrong” is a truism that has sunk many boats.