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What Moral Narcissism Looks Like in the Medical World

The Declaration of Melbourne showcases the health field's Mr. Pecksniff.

by
Theodore Dalrymple

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July 30, 2014 - 2:30 pm
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All medical journals these days feel the compulsion to be high-minded, but none is as high-minded as the Lancet. It is as if the editors had taken lessons both in moral philosophy and rhetoric from Mr. Pecksniff himself.

Mr. Pecksniff, you may remember, was the preposterous hypocrite in Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit, who introduces his daughters, Charity and Mercy, by adding “Not unholy names, I hope?” As Know thyself was inscribed over the entrance to the temple to Apollo at Delphi, and Abandon hope, all ye who enter here over the entrance to Dante’s hell, so Mr Pecksniff’s words, Let us be moral, must be inscribed over the entrance to the offices of the Lancet, figuratively if not literally

In the week before a Malaysian Airlines plane, taking many AIDS doctors and activists from Amsterdam to Melbourne for an international conference on AIDS, was shot down over eastern Ukraine, the Lancet published a statement called the Declaration of Melbourne, a typically sickly and nauseatingly unctuous statement of ethical principles. It began by saying something that, if not a lie exactly, was certainly not a truth:

We gather in Melbourne, the traditional meeting place of the Wurundjeri, Boonerwrung, Taungurong, Djajawurrung and the Wathaurung people, the original and enduring custodians of the lands that make up the Kulin Nation, to assess progress on the global HIV response and its future direction, at the 20th International AIDS Conference, AIDS 2014.

This, of course, is the purest 21st century Pecksniffery; and unless the signers of the declaration (who look extremely self-congratulatory in photos accompanying the article) can each and severally explain in what sense the Djajawarrung are the custodians of the lands on which the city of Melbourne is built, I suggest that they be banished to the outback for five years to live as pre-contact Australian Aborigines lived.

Top Rated Comments   
I guess this is just what happens when you mix medicine with politics. In a perfect world, doctors treat anyone who walks through the door. When doctors are part of a vast, national healthcare industry heavily regulated and subsidized by government...it gets complicated.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
HIV treatment is so costly that it is impossible to give full treatment to all who are infected, yes?
And thus it is necessary to perform some sort of triage.
The Lancet's position is that how a person contracted HIV should have no bearing on whether they get treatment. And thus the innocent who gets it from a blood transfusion or an irresponsible spouse is no more entitled to the retroviral drugs than a frequenter of bathhouses. Similarly, the felon guilty of rape and murder is just as deserving of treatment as the selfless charity worker.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I just read somewhere that tuberculous is now resistant to the treatments that made it a non-factor in our lives due to the antibiotics being use to treat HIV sufferers.

People sticking needles in their arms to get high and men having sex with other men are (mostly) voluntary choices. It is despicable if such voluntary choices lead to harder lives for those who act responsibly.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (23)
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Rhetorical question surely - you know what kind of people they are - full of piss, wind and self-righteousness! The real question is why anybody pays any attention to them.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
Linking this to a Robert Stacy McCain post about some nitwit feminazt blathering about "forcing heteronormative paradigms" on toddlers that the childless she arrogantly refers to as "our kids".... and then the Atlantic article on the bitter dispute between Radical Fems and Transgender Activists......

I really wonder if the answer to beginning any kind of serious rollback of this Johnstown Flood (equally if not more, destructive) of idiocy is when the majority, even just 51%, just realizes how utterly bored to tears, sick to death, and flat out exhausted we are by these people and their ceaseless and meaningless blathering, that we will automatically start doing and living the very opposite of whatever it is that they argue for. And without necessarily any intellectual foundation, just use them as a polar star - if they are for it, we must be against, if only on principle, to make them as miserable as they have insisted on making the rest of us for decades now..

A good model? Treat them exactly as Hawkeye and Trapper treated Frank Burns. Exactly that.

Because Hawkeye Pierce has become Frank Burns... formerly outlying, iconoclastic, boundry-pushing jesters turned into a bunch of screeching, prissy, pissy, huffy, nagging schoolmarms, harridans, and preacher-mans, demanding conformity ("individuality is great, as long as we all do it together!" F.B.), and acting like Aunt Pitty with her smelling salts at the very idea that anyone else might not care to play along, or better yet, would subject them to all-too-deserved mockery (which cannot be cruel enough).

The modern left. Frank Burns. John Lithgow in 'Footloose'. Yeah, those guys.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm guessing that a "gender transformative response to HIV" means doing sex reassignment as part of HIV treatment and care. Otherwise, words have no meaning.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, it means obliterating all traces of sexual norms.

4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mann Made global warming?
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Greetings:

A week or two ago, I read an AP article in the San Francisco Chronicle (aka Commicle) about the state of the HIV-AIDS epidemic in the USofA. Basically, the news was good. Over the last decade or so, there were declines in the infection rates. However, down in paragraph 13 (of 14), there was a mention of continuing increases in the infection rates of male homosexuals.

Of course, compared to the tragedies of the "Kulin Nation", that's nothing to get worked up either, morally or medically, about.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
That mission statement reminds me very much of a time as a young professional in corporate America, being sent to indoctrination camps of questionable worth and purpose at approximately $10,000 a pop, where we would contemplate for a week at a time the formulation of a mission statement for the company.

And at the end of the session, our mission statements sounded about as coherent as this one. To this day, I have no idea what purpose those served...but the food was great.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
We humans are a sorry troop of ass hats. It should be “Abandon all hope who know themselves”. God has to be there for anyone to have a sense of morality. Secularism will never fill that vacuum.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
From the very first necessary blood test, people who contract behavior-oriented diseases and who are not independently wealthy are forcing others to make a positive choice about their conduct. Everything following is merely an effort to enforce the papering over of this fact.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
... affirm that non-discrimination is fundamental to an evidence-based, rights-based and gender transformative response to HIV...
No, what it means is that under no circumstances can the actual sexual behavior of HIV patients be questioned or brought under examination.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
These people put days of effort and thousands of dollars into this futile exercise. How many lives have they saved? How much suffering did they alleviate? How many minds did they change?
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
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