Proverbs 16:18

I think the medical profession is heading for a fall. And it may be a very precipitous fall.

They’re all so arrogant. And the more senior they are, the more arrogant.

I first noticed it with Sir Charles George, head of the BMA and BHF, when he called for a public smoking ban in Britain, and  I wondered who the hell he thought he was, to call for something so drastic, and so draconian. Didn’t he realise that he was calling for an entire culture to be swept away? How arrogant of him!

But it wasn’t just Sir Charles George. Next it was Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer of England, who according to many reports at the time threatened to resign if the government didn’t extend its proposed limited smoking ban (limited to pubs that sold food) to all pubs. The governemnt did as he demanded, and he didn’t need to resign. And he stayed in place to oversee various other medical fiascos. Who the hell did he think he was, to foist a smoking ban on absolutely everybody?

And now we’ve got Dame Sally Davies, who has been telling people to think about cancer when they contemplate having a glass of wine.

Do as I do, think about cancer before you have a glass of wine, says chief medical officer

Dame Sally Davies urges the public to follow her example, and think about the risks of cancer before deciding whether a glass of wine is worth it.

What a horrible, miserable, poisonous woman! Who does she think she is? Does she think that she’s some little tin god whose every word we’re all supposed to hang on? Why the hell should we think about cancer? Has she offered equivalent advice to go with eating cheeseburgers or fish and chips?

And before them there was Sir George Godber, another Chief Medical Officer who was out to vilify smoking in every possible way.

The American medical profession seems no different, with illustrious figures like Surgeon General C Everett Koop.

Did any of these people make any contributions to medical science? Did any of them win Nobel Prizes? Just exactly what did they do that gave them such oracular powers?

As far as I can see, most of them did nothing at all. They just all seemed to share the same belief that, once they had qualified as medical practitioners, they had become unquestionable authorities.

But trust and faith is something that must be earned. It doesn’t automatically come with the job title, be it Surgeon General or Chief Medical Officer.

And I think they’re spending the accumulated prestige of the medical profession – slowly built up by Pasteur, Jenner, Snow, and others – like young men gambling away the fortune that their hardworking parents bequeathed them. I think they’re going to find that the respect with which they were once held has been frittered away.

And they’ve been making a lot of enemies for themselves, as they call for bans on this and that and other, heedless of the effects of such restrictions upon millions of people.

It’s not just smokers who’ve been their victims. For these days they have extended themselves to alcohol and food as well. Hardly a day passes without another imperious edict being handed down from above. In Proverbs 16:18 –

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

And aren’t these people all so haughty?

And aren’t they all so proud and self-important?

And haven’t they moved away from the primary purpose of the medical profession, which is the care of the sick and infirm? What business is it of theirs to tell perfectly healthy men and women how to live their lives? Which part of their medical training allowed them to appoint themselves the moral guardians of humanity?

They defame smokers. They defame drinkers. They defame fat people. There’s hardly anyone they haven’t defamed.

And that must mean that just about everybody is as thoroughly sick of them as I am. And when they need friends, they’ll find they have none.

I don’t know when it’s going to happen, or how it’s going to happen, but I’m sure it is going to happen. Because it’s happened before. It happened around 1500 when the arrogant, haughty priests and bishops and popes of Rome started getting rich by selling indulgences, and people like Luther and Calvin and many others became filled with contempt for them.

Something very like that is going to happen to the current, rampant, globalised medical profession, whose popes and bishops are all these busybody Chief Medical Officers and Surgeon Generals and Director Generals of the World Health Organisation (that seems to be their Vatican).

Many of them seem to have become sales personnel in the pharmaceutical industry, peddling one brand of snake oil or other.

A few more Harold Shipmans and Joseph Mengeles might do the trick. But it’s all going to come tumbling down sooner or later.

About Frank Davis

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16 Responses to Proverbs 16:18

  1. Dirk says:

    Happy birthday Frank !

    Look at this disgusting thing : (my translation from Dutch)

    The Beverwijkstraat in Noord (Amsterdam) becomes the first smoke-free street in the city. At the end of February signs are hung up with the request to take out your cigarette or to walk around a bit.

    The idea comes from a general practitioner in the street. The Beverwijkstraat is only a small street compared to the shopping center next door, but for Dr Stella Zonneveld of Huisartsenkring Amsterdam (General practitioners of Amsterdam) it is important that the ban comes right here.

    ‘Because there is a health center here, a public library, a parent-child center, where many people come together, but also have something to do with health’, says Zonneveld.

    No fines because there are no laws yet. ‘But I think it’s a nice first start to make the streets smoke-free. As a signal to everyone that we should actually smoke less and especially as a signal to the children. ‘
    See here

    • Rose says:

      A disciple of Godber, then.

      First Worldwide Conference Calls For Action On Many Fronts Against Cigarettes
      1967 page 8

      A Dirty and Dangerous Habit

      “The smoker” chooses for his own gratification to introduce into his own personal micro-environment the agent that will do him harm. What we are trying to do is to persuade him that that voluntary act is not only a long term threat to his future, but also an inducement to others to adopt the same folly.
      We are in fact asking for an almost infinite number of acts at self-abnegation so that a dirty and dangerous habit can be eliminated from our society.”

      Sir George E, Godber, M.D.,
      Chief Medical Officer,
      British Ministry of Health

      As far as I can see, Sir George Godber didn’t do any actual doctoring except as part of his medical training from which he went straight into Public Health.

      “Godber recollected that he had said in 1962 to Keith Joseph, another of his Conservative ministers, that “we really have to do something about abolishing smoking” (having won the approval of the Health Minister Enoch Powell). Joseph looked quite shocked and said: “You really can’t expect to abolish smoking.” Godber replied: “No, but I want to see it reduced to an activity of consenting adults in private.”

  2. Timothy Goodacre says:

    They are all quacks !

  3. Tony says:

    The story about Donaldson threatening to resign comes from the following exchange. Note his petulance and the sycophantic response from other committee members, most if not all of whom were anti-smoking activists.

    Q455 Mike Penning: In the seven years you have been in post clear medical advice to our ministers has been ignored completely. Does that not put you in a very dficult position?

    Professor Sir Liam Donaldson: It has put me in a dificult position and I have had to think hard about what I want to do about that position. There are some areas where if your advice is ignored and it damages the public health you would have to consider resignation if you were in my position. I have thought very, very carefully about that.

    Q457 Dr Naysmith: Like everyone else, Sir Liam, I am very impressed with your frankness. This is one of those kinds of electric moments that happen from time and I think we are all recovering a little bit from the shock.

    Click to access 485iii.pdf

  4. waltc says:

    Long ago (so long ago I only have the hard copy clip in my files and once I file paper, I can never find it again) there was an article in JAMA instructing doctors to relate anything a patient came in with to his smoking. (Constipated? Smoking; Diarrhea? Smoking).

    I have no idea how many doctors read the article or heeded that advice, but I do know that far too many seem to follow it anyway. Sometimes when they don’t know the cause of a symptom, smoking becomes the easy, catchall answer (and, besides, it couldn’t hurt if the patient stopped smoking) –but one that’s never the real answer. At least that’s my experience. The result is that the real answer isn’t pursued, often (in the case of some friends) with very serious, and near mortal consequences. As for me, I once had some neurological symptoms that the GP blamed on smoking. Knowing that was crap, I consulted a specialist who (thru the CDC) tracked it to a virus.
    For example.

  5. Joe L. says:

    I just stumbled across a brief opinion piece from a smug ex-smoker (the worst kind of antismoker) in the Baltimore Sun encouraging strangers to harass smokers in public (and shaming them for not doing so).

    Of course there’s no comments section, either; just an email address for the editor.

    Speak out against smoking – it helps

    Among other things, the surgeon general argues that the medical community needs to do more at helping people quit smoking (“U.S. Surgeon General talks tobacco and cigarette smoking in Baltimore,” Feb. 22). We all need to do a better job. Just walking by a person smoking a cigarette, especially with children in the area, and not commenting (in a kind way) to them about their smoking is irresponsible.

    The best decision I ever made was to quit smoking. Being reminded from family and friends and coworkers of the dangers of smoking to myself and others helped enormously. At the time, I highly resented their interference. Now, I thank them immensely with great gratitude for taking the time.

  6. Philip Neal says:

    I recently came across a rather good quote from Karl Popper on the subject of doctors. “A normally intelligent man seeking medical advice must be prepared to be treated as a rather tiresome type of imbecile, if he betrays an intelligent interest – that is, a critical interest – in his physical condition.”

    • Frank Davis says:

      Unfortunately, Popper was an antismoker who demanded that nobody smoke in his presence. And sadly it seems that they didn’t.

      Perhaps that’s how it starts. You begin by demanding something from one or two compliant people, and you gradually extend it to more and more people, until you’re demanding compliance from everybody.

    • RdM says:

      I was pleased to find a dentist who responded to my intellectual curiosity and was happy to describe every aspect of the procedures he was using, and for instance for a root canal, the tools to measure exactly how far he had to drill down, &etc. from the x ray pic.
      He’d be also generous enough to say, well look, I have 10 min until the next appointment, why don’t I give you a free clean, and did.

      My current GP of some years is pretty happy to discuss stuff, and although he’s slightly changed his position over the years re smoking (in the beginning averring yes, it might be too much of shock to the system to suddenly give up smoking, to later, knowing my stance and occasionally avowed intent to fight TC, gently advising me that I’m up against an impossibility, a difficult fight at least, and that maybe I should conserve my energy…)
      We agree to disagree on any positive aspects. He’s a year older, a non-smoker.

      An earlier GP remains a friend outside of medical matters, we share interests in technology and computing, I’ve known his wife for decades, have often visited, and no comment is passed at least if I smoke outside, which I think is fair enough.

      They’re both life-long non-smokers, but are quite tolerant of friends who smoke.

      So I think there are a range of possible personalities in the mix.

      Of course, it should be beyond personalities…

  7. jaxthefirst says:

    I think the fall is already on its way. I don’t think it’ll be the precipitous kind that you envisage, Frank, but I think that people have already begun to doubt the ultimate wisdom of anything these people say. The medical profession have largely brought it on themselves, of course. Intoxicated by their “success” in the anti-smoking arena, they just couldn’t wait to get started on all their other pet projects – completely overlooking the fact that this would target a whole lot more people than the (now) relatively small number of smokers that they have left to harass. On the other hand, perhaps that was precisely the reason for their enthusiasm. At the dawn of the anti-smoking movement, smokers were a large group of people – a majority of adults, in fact. They were Big Game and, when you seek to control people, it’s the more the merrier. So perhaps they’ve got a bit bored with chasing what is now quite Small Game and want something a bit more challenging again.

    But regardless of their reasons, they’ve been unwise to move onto other areas so quickly. Quite apart from the fact that everyone with a functioning brain can easily see that this is the very Slippery Slope in action which they so hotly denied the existence of (thus showing them up as dishonest), the way smokers were targeted and treated – from the early health warnings to the later “cost to others” strategies – is well within living memory for the majority of people, and when the same tactics start to be applied to their chosen indulgencies, it’s inevitable that all but the dimmest members of the public can’t help but start to feel just that little bit uncomfortable, not least because it’s difficult to keep the two contradictory ideas going at the same time that these “experts” are making up a whole lot of stuff just because they’re a bunch of bullies with a particular axe to grind, whilst at the same time still believing they are paragons of absolute truth and honesty when it comes to smoking.

    Eventually, the truth will out. Perhaps it will be the relentless rise in cancer cases – particularly amongst all those “good boys and girls” who have given up smoking precisely in order to avoid getting it – that will enable people to see the sheer scale of exaggeration, manipulated “research” results and plain downright lies that they’ve been fed for years. And that will be when all and any faith in the medical profession will vanish. It’s just a shame that so many people will have to fall ill (or have their loved ones fall ill), not in spite of, but precisely because of the lies they’ve been told by Public Health, including about smoking, before they see it.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think there’s a tipping point. And after they’re past the tipping point, the fall accelerates rapidly. Same with voting. When 50.5% of people vote one way, and 49.5% vote the other way, you get one government. And when 49.5% vote one way, and 50.5% the other way, you get the other government. A small change in the percentages produces a large change in outomes.

      But then I always have a very physical model of nearly everything.

  8. Lepercolonist says:

    I have lost trust and faith in the medical profession. I would rank them below lobbyists. At one time doctors and priests were at the top of my list. They must revert back to earn my trust. Not only gouging patients financially but pushing lies and propaganda. Sick of them now.

    • beobrigitte says:

      I, too, have lost all confidence in the medical, spineless, profession.
      Not only gouging patients financially but pushing lies and propaganda.
      Medics in a hospital environment have no say whatsoever. There management rewards profit making and punishes financial loss. GPs are still on a wage as far as I know but I guess they would like to follow the dentists by primarily treating private patients and only treating a small number of NHS patients.
      All medics have to pull the same rope, a strong hierarchical structure ensures that happens and therefore “groupthink” prevails. Junior medics are being spoken to by their superiors in a way that would get any other boss into court – and the juniors tolerate it because otherwise they have no career to look forward to.

      We need to blame the ones in charge of the medics, ask WHY they have become sock puppets .and tell them that they have fallen from ‘half-god-in-white’ to being despised and questioned.

  9. smokingscot says:

    A lot more information on Dame Sally. Late with the sprogs, by 3rd husband and she has an embarrassing tendency to pee herself.

    And as an aside, one sprog works for a left wing think tank.

    I’ll go out on a stout limb here and guess the family is staunchly pro the EU and unlikely to support the Tories.

  10. johnm33 says:

    Years ago in Israel the doctors went on strike, after about ten days the undertakers were up in arms about it, business had ground to a halt.

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