The Auto Immune Disorder Devastating
Society Today
A Musing by S.S. Carpenter

My first example of the Blame Game is in a painful dental situation called ‘Dry Socket’ that sometimes follows a tooth extraction. I’ve drawn some interesting (if not completely whacked) social implications from ruminating on the societal clashes that occur because of this one relatively insignificant health problem.

While the ’cause’ of dry sockets is often lain at the feet of the Patient …

– poor care of extraction site by the patient
– ‘misbehavior’ such as smoking by the patient
– patient gender (female), including oral contraception only taken by females

… on the other hand many reputable dental care sites online state something along the lines of “the potential for dry socket formation always exists”. Why then all this blame on patients?

If dry socket can, to some degree, be simply bad luck then why are we blaming anyone at all? Dry socket happens, it ‘sucks’ so to speak, and apparently will even heal without interference, though it will be far more painful and odorous than simply recovering from a tooth extraction without dry socket.

Until we can actually PROVE what causes something, we seem to gravitate toward blaming and pointing fingers at those who are struggling to do their best, namely the patients and health care givers.

Another excellent example of this overused ‘blame game’ is the constant drum beat that smoking cigarettes is ‘the root of all health problems’. If this were even remotely true, I should, as a NON-smoker be in perfect health, never age and never die. Surprisingly, smokers are treated disproportionately worse by doctors than non smokers.

As another example of a particularly nasty ‘blame game’ the battle of the sexes is very much still on. So, perhaps I should consider a sex-change operation since most health issues that are ‘not fully understood’ are female health issues only. Interestingly, an embarrassingly large amount of money, many times larger than that spent on the improvement of existing birth control, is spent on seemingly diametrically-opposed-to-birth-control drugs such as Viagra. The continuing increase in population of the homo sapien species is clearly far more important to our society at this time than responsible parenting through improved birth control (i.e. parents only having kids when they can take care of them, emotionally, physically and financially). One of the most heinous examples of this societal ‘blame game’ obsession we seem to have is when birth control measures don’t also provide safe-sex, resulting in the highest level of contraction of A.I.D.S. in Africa by wives via their non-monogamous husbands.

Who, in that area then, is most accountable for the spreading of A.I.D.S.? Males. Who, in the same area, is blamed for the spread of A.I.D.S.? Females.
Blame clearly works … badly.

Africa is not, by far, the only country where males are treated disproportionately better by physicians than are females. The U.S. has plenty of that trouble. This is just an example that supports my claim that this is a homo sapien issue; not just a United States issue.

Human error troubles are least often cited as the ‘reason’ for any particular man-made catastrophy. No one shrugs. We all cry out that it’s Evil! That our God wouldn’t do that, so it must be Evil. That ‘they’ (doctor, authority figure, care giver, etc) didn’t think of us. What of our own responsibility? What of our own individual contribution to the societal problem? We know, for instance, that often the claim that a patient didn’t follow the doctor’s instructions can be equally interchanged with the doctor being anything from inexperienced to outright incompetent.

Incompetence should not be an automatic ‘blame’ either. Sometimes you can’t be a maestro at all things. (Doh!) Intent to do harm should be proved, or at the very least, repeated incompetence when warned to quit that area of practice in the face of at least a second volley of complaints by patients of same doctor should be proved. The truly incompetent doctor is a poor soul; smart enough for Medical School, but too stupid to figure out and handle the fact that he isn’t good at this particular thing and needs to move on to something else. Perhaps it is not stupidity but the fact that human beings have limits. Human beings make mistakes. Human beings are flawed. One way or another this type of physician should have his license revoked just as a patient who is out of control of themselves and harmful to themselves or others is removed from their surroundings and put in a hospital where they can be assessed and treated. Both the incompetent doctor and the out-of-control patient should be treated humanely.

There is one very important exception I must make to this diatribe against the ‘blame game’ we play. When a Corporation is involved, and the owners or part-owners of said Corporation are not taking responsibility for the human, animal and/or environmental  damage their Corporation exacts as it does business, it is quite possible that we DO need to actually blame the Corporation. The Corporation,  by their very legal definition and current legal responsibility is to constantly ‘make money’ to the ignoring of any other consideration. Yes, the law demands that a Corporation, as it’s first, most sacred and only rule, is to be a money-making machine. And that is all. There is no other demand the law makes of a Corporation. The law does, however, define a Corporation as an individual with all the rights of any biological human individual.

Just think about that for a second. All the rights and no responsibility.

Oh my, methinks [archaic usage] that someone either got away with an ultimate evil act and unleashed it on mankind, or someone unknowingly left a rather large, and strangely rather evil, loophole in Corporation law. I suspect it’s a combination of those two with a dash of something else I’m unaware of.

Today, in the year 2010, we can all pretty easily see the folly of the current version (if not the entire creation) of Corporations.

But on the human, not Corporation, side of the equation, I think we need to eat a little more dirt in our lifetimes. All of us. Apparently, we are not getting our due peck of it. (My grandmother used to say as a matter of fact that we all have to eat a peck of dirt in our lifetime.) We seem to be losing another side of our immune systems: the psychological side. We are no longer thinking or acting in ways that help our species, but now in ways that are of great harm, if not globally fatal, at least of deep injury, to our own species.

This is a societal malfunction equivalent to an auto-immune disorder in the body. In auto-immune disorders the body turns the immune system against it’s own healthy cells, for some unknown reason. It normally isn’t a pretty picture. Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia (currently more a catch-all term than a clearly understood disorder) are examples of the better known auto-immune disorders. Most people are at least somewhat familiar with one of these, enough to know it is often a diagnosis that brings torture to both the afflicted as well as the loved ones of the afflicted. Thusly, when a species turns against itself, it is a frightening sight: one that ravages whatever it encounters and takes no prisoners.

Society learned, and for the most part embraced the understanding that “We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us.” This was in a Presidential speech made by John Fitzgerald Kennedy during his presidency of the United States from 1960-1963.

What did we do about it? (Other than grin, laugh and nod?)

Auto-immune disorders are what Corporations are to homo sapiens: suffering-inflicters and sometimes fatal. Human beings created Corporations to increase wealth, but not for the masses. And in the absence of having anything whatever to do with increasing overall wealth by helping to fight off poverty in society, they have become attackers of the healthy aspects of society. The ‘healthy aspects’ are anything that produces anything beyond mere paper or electronic wealth such as: good health, good communication, honesty, decency, thought of others, good relations, and other altruistic values that better human beings in general or specifically.

So, on the human — not Corporate — side of this equation, when are we going to just admit that imperfection occurs and sometimes it just is not necessary or even accurate to BLAME anyone? There is enough suffering in the world; why add to it with conscience-less charges of blame? Doing thus only means whomever points their judgmental finger first (usually utilizing more money, power, etc) ‘wins’ the argument. But we all lose the war; the fall of civilization and perhaps the eventual extinction of our species.

My grandmother had a term for doctors who weren’t loved much: ‘Quacks’. When she used the term she always shrugged, almost as if it were an aside. When my parents used that term, it seemed to have a aura of possible threat lurking in said doctor’s near future. When I use the term “Quack” it’s rather dire. I am dialing lawyers and raising hell on the phone with H.M.O.s, Managed Care, Doctors, Nurses and desk help of all stripes. I’m sorry to say that in my lifetime I’ve made sure that more than one health care professional has been called on the carpet and sometimes even lost their practice for mistakes of one kind or another.

So, what made this drastic change in attitude within 3 short generations (alongside the birth of Corporate health care in the form of H.M.O.s)? I think that our level of acceptance of life’s personal imperfections has dropped catastrophically, while our resulting inability to tolerate sub-perfection has skyrocketed. This is the quintessential definition of an auto-immune disorder.

I have been mulling over this whole sort of strange dance we do between striving for the best and hunting out the worst in ourselves. There is Evil in the world; most folks over the age of 25 are aware of that in the richest of societies. While that percentage compared to the non-evil elements are compared, evil is one of the smallest minorities we have. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Evil doesn’t matter … but it almost doesn’t. If it weren’t for the trembling masses who are frightened by the mere possibility of evil, most of Evil’s plans would never get off the ground. In which case, the rest would be far more easy to spot, and to give a damn about. In the era of the “Yes We Can” campaign promise, I think it’s time for all of us, me especially, to frequently remind ourselves that good is far easier to find in the world than is evil.

It is Fear standing in the way of Good that gets us all painted into a corner.

Lastly, I would like to quote a wiser source than myself, past President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1932 Inaugural Address:

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.

Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt said those words seventy-eight years ago.

We have only to finish chasing the money-changers from the temple to complete the picture that became hope for millions.
The money-changers are now corrupt banks and Corporations. Let us be humane about this but firm. As history has obviously
repeated itself, let us learn from it together.

-S.S. Carpenter, ©March 7th, 2010, All Rights Reserved.