Moral hazards and puffy sleeved labcoats


If you’re planning on getting sick in the near future you might want to keep in mind that there is a whole new generation of soon-to-be doctors who are boning up on their Ayn Rand so that they can start up their practices…and then immediately go John Galt on you while you’re still sitting in the waiting room reading a three week-old copy of Entertainment Weekly.

Prepare to enter….. The Lucidicus Project:

The Lucidicus Project encourages young people entering the medical profession to examine the moral and economic foundations of individual rights and capitalism. The project is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and our mission is to provide the Medical Intellectual’s Self-Defense Kit to medical students across the United States and around the world.

We’ll get to that Self Defense Kit in a minute.

The Lucidicus Project helps students understand how improper government intervention, past and present, has created the vast majority of problems we face in medicine today. The purpose of government is to protect rights, but instead federal and state governments have instituted controls over trade, contracts, and voluntary associations, leading to market distortions and misaligned incentives. At the economic level, these interventions ultimately cause prices to rise and quality to decline. At the clinical level, government-instituted reimbursement schedules and treatment guidelines supplant the judgment of doctors with that of central planners, causing important medical decisions to be made according to what is good for the state rather than what is good for the patient.

And everyone knows that those decisions should be made by insurance companies who will spare no expense when it comes to your medical needs, moral hazard be damned.

But never mind that, what’s in the Medical Intellectual Self-Defense Kit? Nunchucks? Ninja throwing stars made of surgical steel? Grabthar’s Hemostat?

No. Better:

(a) Medicine: Death of a Profession, speech by Leonard Peikoff
(b) The Real Right to Medical Care…, essay by George Reisman
(c) How Not to Fight Against Socialized Medicine, article by Ayn Rand
(d) Doctors and the Police State, article by Leonard Peikoff
(e) Noble Vision, a novel by Gen LaGreca
(f) Atlas Shrugged, a novel by Ayn Rand

Okay. We already know about that Rand woman, Peikoff is her "legal and intellectual heir", George Reisman is a Randian economist, but what of this Gen LaGreca and her book that sounds so…noble?

I’m glad you asked:

What happens to independent thought in a socialized health system? This question is superimposed on the action in NOBLE VISION, a gripping love story between Nicole Hudson, a tragically injured ballerina, and Dr. David Lang, an innovative neurosurgeon who is determined to save her with a revolutionary new treatment that is prohibited by the state. Romantic thriller with philosophical depth.

Hmmm. That’s a little thin. Let’s turn to a review from a fanboy:

The Best Novel I’ve Read In Ten Years!

The basic plot of the novel is really quite simple, but the philosophical ramifications are profound. Dr. David Lang, a noted and successful neurosurgeon, has discovered a way to regenerate nerve tissue. The government (of the state of New York, in this case) will not allow him to try his experimental procedure on Nicole Hudson, a professional ballerina who has become blind because of a fall which occurred during an explosion at the theater where she was performing. And why can’t Dr. Lang help Nicole to possibly regain her sight with his new medical breakthrough? Well, because medical practice in New York is now regulated by the state’s socialized medicine program (named, interestingly enough, "CareFree"), and Dr. Lang’s procedure has not yet been "officially" approved. It doesn’t matter, of course, that Nicole, as his patient, has granted him permission to try the new procedure.

She had me at the ballet theater explosion which, to be honest, has always been my number one objection to an evening at the ballet; the threat of explosions. Number two: ice weasels.

But wait, there’s more:

There are a number of subplots in the story, adding complexity to both the major theme of the novel and the suspense experienced by the reader, and a cast of characters who are clearly drawn and with whom the reader will either identify or vilify. The state’s governor is an exemplar of the truly corrupt politician; the head of the state’s socialized medicine program is a compromised physician (who just happens to be Dr. Lang’s father!); and Marie Lang, David’s wife, who is also a physician but one who has caved in to the powers-that-be, has given up her dream of being a cardiologist to be a general practitioner because that was the "socially correct" thing to do. Other characters grace the pages of this fine novel and the reader has no trouble determining where they stand in relation to the main theme of the book. Yes, it’s pretty much black and white, and that’s the way good fiction ought to be when it’s trying to get the reader to think about an important issue. This is what fiction in the "Romantic" tradition is meant to be. In LaGreca’s novel there are no namby-pamby gray areas of moral indecisiveness; there are no colorless characters who couldn’t be heroes or villains because they wouldn’t know the difference; there is no compromise between true individualism and the suffocating policies of state collectivism. Hurray for that!

Hurray! for one dimensional characters and a complete lack of complex moral dilemmas that threaten to make your head get  all hurty. And what better way to sell objectivism than in a hyper-realistic harlequin romance that sounds like it should have Fabio on the cover wearing a puffy-sleeved lab coat open to the waist, his bare chest glistening under the surgical theater lights…

When you’re done cooling off from that image, you may want to peruse the rogues gallery of future Dr. Objectivists who will plying their trade and then going John Galt… just as soon as they finish paying off those federally-backed student loans that are paying for med school.

No servant to the state are they…

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