I began writing articles for LewRockwell.com in 2001. Lew Rockwell accepted and posted my first one on September 7, 2001, right before the September 11 attacks. That article deals with America’s Civil War from a Jeffersonian, classical liberal perspective. The second one, sparked by 9/11, is titled “A Fourteen Point Plan for a Post-Wilsonian America,” which Lew Rockwell posted on his site on September 28, 2001.
Other more recent articles address various health concerns (vaccines, vitamin D, iodine, selenium, HIV/AIDS, measles, saturated fat, statins, etc.) and other subjects, such as ionizing radiation and nuclear power, climate change, and water fluoridation. The fifteen articles below deal in varying ways with the subjects of politics, economics, and the pursuit of power. They treat these subjects from different, and one might say unusual perspectives.
Written over a 15-year period and listed in chronological order, they are:
1 — A Jeffersonian View of the Civil War (September 8, 2001)
2 —A Fourteen Point Plan for a Post-Wilsonian America (September 28, 2001)
3 — The Philosophical Basis of the Conflict Between Liberty and Statism (May 5, 2003)
4 —Celebrating the Beats (May 17, 2006)
5 —Gone With the Wind: An American Epic (April 17, 2007)
6 — The Austrian Cure for Economic Illness (June 2, 2009)
7 — Pursuing Truth on the Kennedy Assassinations (August 21, 2012)
8 — Wagner’s Ring on the Lust for Power (September 2, 2013)
9 — Reflections on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 50 Years Later (November 16, 2013)
10 —The U.S. Dollar: Currency Masquerading as Money (April 11, 2014)
11 —World War Redux: The Fourth Turning Fourth Time Around (September 16, 2014)
12 — On Compassion (October 6, 2014)
13 — Modern Medicine(September 5, 2015)
14 — Trump: Our Only Hope for Escaping World War III (March 9, 2016)
15 — Becoming a Libertarian (May 2, 2016)
Some thoughts about them:
The victors of wars write history. Naming the war that the American states fought against each other, a Civil War is a misnomer—the Confederate side was not battling for control of the central government. Two more appropriate names for it are Lincoln’s War to Prevent Secession (thanks to Tom DiLorenzo) and the War to Prevent Southern Independence.
The “Civil War” was fought for political and economic reasons. Import duties on goods shipped into southern ports provided most of the revenue needed to fund the (then small) Federal government. The Union would face serious financial difficulties if the Confederate states were to become a separate republic. Lincoln did not introduce slavery as an issue until 17 months, almost a year-and-a-half, into the war when the Union was losing. By then, seven battles had been fought. The Union won one, lost three, and another three were indecisive (see the article). At that point, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, framed as a “war measure.” The Proclamation only freed slaves in rebel states, not under Union control, and owners of slaves could keep them as their personal property if their state would rejoin the Union within 100 days. Lincoln also proposed constitutional amendments whereby slave owners could keep them for 37 years (up to 1900), and the government would compensate owners for the loss of their slave property when they freed them. Once freed, Lincoln’s stated intention was to ship them out of the country. (The article provides the references that confirm the truth of these statements.)
In its pursuit of power, the Federal government sought to control the Confederate states and bend them to its will. This was the guiding principle in its War to Prevent Southern Independence.
(My interest in the Civil War began at an early age spending summer vacations in North Carolina with my maternal great-grandmother, Mary Lyde Williams [1866-1960]. Her father, Lewis Thomas Hicks, fought with Stonewall Jackson and commanded a North Carolina regiment in the Battle of Gettysburg. I write about them in this article and in another one titled, A Civil War Book Collection for 2002, which I recommend. Some of the books my great-grandmother had on the Civil War are now in my library.)
Written in the wake of 9/11, this article considers what Americans must do to prevent more terrorist attacks and restore the country to its once economically well-off condition.
President Wilson inflicted lasting damage on our way of life during his term in office (1913-1921). His reign effected enactment of the Federal Reserve System; a Federal Income Tax, popular election of Senators, and Prohibition of Alcohol (Amendments 16, 17, 18); a Federal Trade Commission and farm Loan Act; and a Narcotics Act, making cocaine and heroin illegal. He sent 1.5 million U.S. soldiers to fight in a European war that had become a stalemate, turning it into World War I. This led to the rise of Hitler and Stalin and 20 years later World War II. Wilson presented his “Fourteen Points” to Congress in 1918. It included rearranging the borders and sovereignty of some nine countries in Europe and through a League of Nations to establish a New World Order.
The following 21st Century Fourteen Points is an Austrian economic, classical liberal plan for a post-Wilsonian America, one which can restore our country, in this century, to the constitutional Republic it once was:
- End the United States’ worldwide military presence and keep American troops in the United States.
- Stop placing economic sanctions on other countries.
- Engage in unrestricted trade with all nations; drop all trade barriers with nations that will do the same.
- Declare principled neutrality in all foreign disputes and wars.
- Withdraw from the United Nations.
- Abolish Government restrictions on domestic energy production.
- End the War on Drugs; decriminalize their sale and use.
- Privatize health, education, welfare, and social security.
- Dismantle federal government regulatory agencies, such as the EPA, FDA, OSHA, and BATF.
- Proscribe corporate welfare and subsidies.
- Return all illegal aliens to their homeland.
- Decommission the Federal Reserve banking system.
- Repeal the 16th Amendment and abolish the Federal Income Tax
- Place the nation’s currency back on a Gold Standard.
Fifteen years later, two alterations: First, for point 6 in Domestic Policy instead of returning all illegal/unauthorized aliens to their homeland, grant amnesty and a Green Card to those who are gainfully employed and do not get government support, especially families with children born in the U.S. Second, also repeal the 17th Amendment, ending popular election of Senators which Andrew Napolitano shows in his book, Theodore and Woodrow, published in 2007, is an important factor in the progressive central government’s effort to strip away power from the States. 
This article touches on the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, and, most importantly, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860). His philosophy endorses the concept of Natural Rights to unregulated life, liberty, and property—so long as one’s action do not infringe on the rights of others. In a witty and acerbic fashion, Schopenhauer thoroughly discredits Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), the reigning statist philosopher of the day and philosophical father of Karl Marx.
Schopenhauer studied human action from a philosophical perspective like Ludwig von Mises subsequently did in economics, demonstrating that self-interest is the principle motive that guides human action. A second motive is a malice, which a small percentage of people possess, notably sociopathic politicians pursuing power. A third motive that directs human action is compassion (see article no. 12). Schopenhauer was also the first philosopher to focus on sex and its philosophical significance, before Sigmund Freud (1836-1939).
Despised by Cultural Marxists and sadly neglected today, progressives dismiss Schopenhauer for being a “pessimist.” He was the first Western philosopher to study Hinduism and Buddhism, two religions that he greatly admired (along with Christianity), whose “pessimistic” teachings he embraced to some degree.
Libertarians should read Schopenhauer. Start with his essay “Wisdom of Life.”  This article recommends what to read next. People who take to heart what Schopenhauer writes about life will not want to seek political office and pursue power (but will still enjoy reading Lew Rockwell’s Political Theater blog).
In World War II, politicians, and their military aides exercising power killed millions of people. A generation of young Americans living then and seeing the ovens of Auschwitz and what atomic bombs could do rejected the pursuit of power and sought escape and enlightenment through sex, drugs, bebop (jazz), and Eastern Mysticism.
Called the Beat Generation the Beat movement began in 1944 when Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, at Columbia University, met William Burroughs, author of The Naked Lunch (1959), a Harvard graduate ten years their senior. Neal Cassady, its fourth main figure, raised in the slums of Denver by a “wino-hobo” father, became the inspiration and guiding light of the movement. In Ginsberg’s Howl (1956), Neal Cassady is “N.C.,” the “secret hero of these poems.” He is also the central character in Jack Kerouac’s autobiographical novel, On the Road (1957).
Recognized now as one of the classic poems of the 20th century, in a highly publicized court trial authorities sought to ban Howl as obscene. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, an important Beat poet, reporting on the trial for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “It is not the poet but what he observes which is revealed as obscene. The great obscene wastes of Howl are the sad wastes of the mechanized world, lost among atom bombs and insane nationalisms.”
Kerouac’s On the Road has been translated into 33 languages. When queried, booksellers in the UK have ranked On the Road as one of the 50 books that have had a significant and lasting impact on the world, along with the Bible, the Koran (Quran), and Alex Comfort’s The Joy of Sex.
The Beat Generation is the antithesis of the pursuit of power.
(I first read On the Road at age 17 soon after it was published. It prompted me in my early 20s to spend a summer hitchhiking around Europe, saxophone in hand, sitting in and playing with jazz groups in clubs on the Left Bank of Paris and in Schwabing, Munich which, in those years, was its bohemian quarter. The Journal of the Book Club of Washington first published this article in a somewhat altered form. For interested readers, see my companion article Books by the Beat Generation )
Published in 1936, people around the world revere Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone With the Wind about the fall of the Confederacy, the burning of Atlanta, and the military occupation of the South. It has been translated into more than 40 languages. In Auschwitz, a woman in Lager C who had read Gone With the Wind numerous times told the story in installments day after day to her bunkmates, providing solace and helping them to mentally escape their confinement. In Ethiopia, Mengistu’s Red Terror in 1977-78 imprisoned two-thirds of the young men in that country. One inmate, an Addis Ababa University student, obtained a copy of the book that an arrested American had with him. This student translated it into Amharic on the only paper obtainable, the inner linings of 3,000 cigarette packs. He would read the passages translated each day to his cellmates who, when released, smuggled them out piecemeal disguised as packs of cigarettes. When the translator, Nebiy Mekonnen, was finally released eight years later he managed to track down all of the packs and get the novel published, in Amharic.
The communist regime in the former USSR banned Gone With the Wind. When finally published in Russia in 2001 its translator said, “The whole thing happened in Russia… We were survivors of the war, like Scarlett, and this novel was ringing a lot of bells for us. We saw the ravages, we saw the fires, we saw the pilloried villages, we saw the poverty and the hunger… Gone With the Wind is considered in Russia as [the] American War and Peace.
This article recognizes the fact that each culture typically will have only one or two true epics in its literature, like Homer’s Iliad for ancient Greece and Virgil’s Aeneid for ancient Rome. Gone With the Wind is America’s epic. It addresses a universal theme, that of struggling through adversities created by war, spawned by politicians pursuing power and prone to malice. Its narrative deals with a pivotal event in American history that altered the power between the U.S. Federal government and the States.
Mainstream court historians, presenting the victor’s version of events, focus on slavery and downplay the economic reasons why the South seceded from the Union. They dismiss Mitchell’s epic novel as a “moonlight in magnolias” plantation romance. In today’s political climate, educators avoid the book.
Lew Rockwell posted this article in 2007, at the onset of the Global Financial Crisis. Americans today, nine years later, risk suffering the same kind of privations people in the South experienced during and after the Civil War and will likely once again treasure this epic work like people did during the (first) Great Depression.
(The 1939 film version of Gone With the Wind presents a falsely romantic picture of the Old South. Though well-loved, it is a pale and distorted mirror of the book.)
This article approaches our country’s chronic and worsening economic illness from a medical perspective. Physicians appraise a patient’s symptoms and signs (physical findings), order laboratory tests, make a diagnosis, start treatment, and offer a prognosis on how things will turn out. The Fed, government officials, and financial advisors handle economic illness in a similar way. Unfortunately, their diagnosis, employing mathematical models from a macroeconomic perspective, is wrong. And the treatment prescribed, repeated doses of Keynesian fiscal and monetary stimuli, is making the patient, in this case, the economy, sicker.
By most measures, the economy has poorly recovered from the 2007-2009 Global Financial Crisis, and things are getting worse. The 2007 to …? period in American history will likely come to be termed the Second Great Depression, or Great Depression-2 (GD-2). Written in 2008, in the middle of the (initial) Global Financial Crisis, this article states:
“The unfolding Great Depression-2 has the potential to become much worse and more protracted than the 1930-1946 Great Depression. In GD-1 [the first Great Depression], the U.S. was a creditor nation. There were no subprime mortgages (and no property taxes), no credit cards (and thus no credit card debt), and no financial derivatives (there are $600 Trillion of them today [now up to $1.5 Quadrillion in 2016]). The country had a trade surplus. The U.S. now has a trade deficit (the gap between the nation’s imports and exports), ranging between $612 and $759 Billion a year since 2004 [the trade deficit was still a high $531 Billion in 2015].”
In 2008 the U.S. Federal Debt was $7.4 Trillion. Now, eight years later it is $19.5 Trillion.
Austrian economic medicine is our only hope for curing the worsening financial crisis we face and making the Second Great Depression shorter than the first one, and to avoid another world war. (The Austrian School of Economics is named after the nationality of its founder Carl Menger [1840-1921], a professor of political economy at the University of Vienna, not for that country’s economy.) Taking a microeconomic approach and studying the action of individuals in the marketplace, Austrian economics eschews mathematical models and, instead, addresses subjects such as marginal utility, the subjective theory of value, scarcity and choice, capital malinvestment, moral hazard, and the importance of free markets and stable currency for setting prices.
This Austrian medicine has six parts: 1) End the Fed; 2) Restore sound money to the economy; 3) Lower taxes and cut government spending (cutting government spending by two-thirds after WW II helped finally end the First Great Depression); 4) No bailouts (especially of banks); 5) Allow prices and wages to fall to levels set by the market; and 6) Regulate the government, not private property and markets.
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy represents the apogee in American history of politics in the pursuit of power. The politically ordered truth that a lone gunman with communist sympathies killed Kennedy is false. Its true history is that JFK’s assassination was a political coup, planned and ordered by the U.S. National Security State—high-level government officials, the CIA, and the military-industrial complex defense establishment.
The article discloses my personal connection with the two key physicians involved in President Kennedy’s care when he was shot. They are Admiral George Burkley (1902-1991), the President’s personal physician, and Dr. Malcolm Perry (1925-2009), the surgeon who performed a tracheotomy on JFK at Parkland Hospital after he was shot. Their observations are pivotal to the case.
Dr. Burkley filled out and signed JFK’s Death Certificate. It placed the bullet wound in the back 5½ inches below the neck, far too low for the bullet to have exited through the neck and gone on to inflict all the bullet wounds Governor Connolly sustained sitting in front of Kennedy according to the “single bullet theory.” The findings on JFK’s Death Certificate render the single bullet theory ballistically and anatomically impossible. The Warren Commission ignored it, did not publish it, and kept Dr. Burkley from testifying at its hearings.
Dr. Perry was the first doctor to speak publicly about the President’s injuries in a televised news conference. This seasoned trauma surgeon informed the American public and the world that, “There was an entrance wound in the neck… It [the bullet] appeared to be coming at him.” A Secret Service agent later coerced Dr. Perry to change his opinion and agree with the Warren Commission inquisitors that the bullet wound he observed in the neck “certainly would be consistent with an exit wound.”
Fifteen years later Dr. Perry told me in a private, surgeon-to-surgeon conversation that the bullet wound in Kennedy’s neck was, without question, a wound of entrance, irrespective of what he was obliged to tell the Warren Commission. He left Texas and joined the surgical faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle as a professor of vascular surgery, with an office next to mine. We became friends would sometimes operate together on thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms.
The article examines five books on the assassination published since 2003 that prove beyond a reasonable doubt the assassination of President Kennedy was a state execution, a political murder carried out to achieve political-military ends.
The article also addresses the assassination of Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr.
(The late John Judge, director of the Coalition on Political Assassinations invited me to give a talk on this article at their annual November 22 (2012) meeting in Dallas. Leading assassination researcher Joan Mellen, a professor at Temple University, spoke at this meeting and said she would like to have her students read this article as an introduction to a course she was giving at Temple on the JFK assassination.)
Regarding Richard Wagner (1813-1883), the German opera composer, Woody Allen says, “I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.”
Wagner’s four-opera music drama Des Ring der Nibelung (Ring of the Nibelung) is the ultimate artistic statement on the pursuit of power. Drawn from Norse mythology, its two principle components are an all-powerful Ring made of gold and a magical metallic veil, the Tarnhelm, which renders the ring’s possessor invisible and able to watch everything that is happening unobserved.
Apropos Oscar Wilde’s dictum that “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life,” we find ourselves now living in a U.S. Surveillance State with its all-seeing National Security Agency (NSA) watching everything we do, hiding behind the allegorical Tarnhelm. Power brokers, pre-Edward Snowden, called the NSA, “No Such Agency.”
The first opera in the series, Das Rheingold (The Rhinegold), focuses on acquiring power. A dwarf, Alberich, steals the gold at the bottom of the Rhine River that three Rhinemaidens guard. Making advances and rebuffed by them, Alberich discovers that by renouncing love he can not only steal the gold but also forge an all-powerful Ring from it.
The story continues in Das Rheingold and then in three more operas: Die Walküre (The Valkyries), Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods). Wotan, the supreme god steals the Ring from Alberich. It then passes through the hands of Fafner (a giant); Siegfried (Wotan’s human grandson); and finally Brünnhilde (Wotan’s godly warrior daughter who he sadly turns into a defenseless human being when she disobeys him). She returns the Ring to the Rhinemaidens as the world burns, ending the reign of the gods.
Adolf Hitler, one of the most striking cases of the pursuit of power in human history, was a big fan of Wagner’s operas. But he did not like not Parsifal, Wagner’s last opera about compassion, composed as a musical manifestation of Schopenhauer’s philosophy. Hitler also disliked the Ring’s final opera Götterdämmerung due to the way it ends with the gods all dying, perhaps due to a premonition that he would come to a similar end. (After the Battle of Stalingrad he could only listen to the light operas of Franz Lehär.)
This article recommends what arguably are the best CDs, DVDs, websites, and books on the Ring.
(I grew up in a musical family. My father helped put himself through medical school playing saxophone in a swing band in the 1930s, in Nebraska. My mother, an aspiring church-choir coloratura soprano, co-founded Palm Beach Opera [in 1961] and was the company’s first Violetta in La Traviata. I played hard-bop jazz on the [alto and baritone] saxophone in quintets in high school and college and then fell in love with classical music, particularly opera. As a surgical resident at The Roosevelt Hospital [1965-1970] in New York, two blocks south of Lincoln Center, I had the opportunity to sign up, 2 and 3 times a week, as the house doctor for performances by the NY City Opera and Ballet, NY Philharmonic, and sometimes at the Met. In Seattle, since 1974, I have had the pleasure of attending more than 30 complete performances of Wager’s Ring of the Nibelung presented by Seattle Opera).
My second article on JFK written on the 50th Anniversary of his death delves more deeply into the case, beginning with his handling of the Cold War. The major events, starting shortly after Kennedy assumed office in 1961 until his assassination in 1963, were
1) The expatriate Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, where he refused to provide U.S. troops and the necessary air support for the invasion to succeed.
2) Operation Northwoods, where the Joint Chiefs of Staff (unanimously) wanted to mount a U.S. military invasion of Cuba, to be justified by acts of terrorism performed by U.S. military disguised as Cuban terrorists, which Kennedy angrily rejected.
3) The Cuban Missile Crisis, which JFK diffused without engaging in any actions that might provoke war, to his military leaders’ disgust.
4) His American University address promoting peaceful coexistence with communists.
5) Pushing through and ratifying a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Kennedy’s final insult to the U.S. National Security establishment was:
6) His National Security Action Memorandum 263 for pulling all U.S. troops out of Vietnam.
JFK issued this Memorandum on October 11, 1963, six weeks before they killed him.
This article goes into more detail on my connection with Dr. Perry (Kennedy’s surgeon after he was shot) and Admiral Burkley (Kennedy’s personal physician) and his son, and my friend, George; on the medical findings and witnesses at Parkland Hospital in Dallas; and the events, findings, and witnesses at the autopsy done at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
The article exposes the chicanery the Warren Commission practiced in its investigation of the assassination. It also has a table presenting a 1963-1998 JFK Assassination Timeline, which is subtitled “Truth is the Daughter of Time, not of Authority” (from Francis Bacon).
This article, written on the 100th Anniversary of the country’s third central bank, the Federal Reserve System, displays the front-and-back sides of a U.S. $20 bill issued in 1922. The following statement is printed on the front side (in big capital letters): IN GOLD COIN, PAYABLE TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND; and on the back side it states: GOLD CERTIFICATE. One could then redeem this $20 bill for about 1 oz. of gold when gold was then valued at $20.67 per troy ounce.
When the Fed opened its doors for business in 1914 people used gold coins to make purchases and pay the debt. Real-money gold and silver coins and gold-backed and silver-backed dollars served not only as a medium of exchange and unit of account but also as a store of value. Now, however, shorn of any relationship to gold, or silver, the U.S. dollar is a fiat currency masquerading as money.
Since 1963 the declaration on U.S. dollars states (in small letters): “This note is Legal Tender for All Debts, Public, and Private.” Instead of printing dollar bills, the Fed now creates the vast majority of “dollars” with keystrokes entering numbers on a computer. As one observer (see article) puts it, “At one time the biggest problem was [unbacked] paper money. Now it’s vapor money. The government can create trillions of dollars by pushing a few computer keys.” As a result, the dollar under Federal Reserve management has lost 95-99 percent of its value, depending on how one measures it.
The U.S. dollar has been a full-blown fiat currency since 1971 when the U.S. government suspended international convertibility of the dollar into gold. (A fiat currency is “money” that is not convertible into coin or specie of equivalent value, where the government arbitrarily fixes its value.)
This article makes three points with regard to fiat currencies: 1) Fiat money funds wars; 2) Fiat money fractures the curb that gold-backed money places on political power; and 3) State-controlled fiat currencies throughout human history have uniformly become worthless. This has been the fate of all 389 fiat currencies issued in 170 countries.
(Check out Ralph Foster’s 2012 book Fiat Paper Money: The History and Evolution of Our Currency, cited in the article’s references.)
William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote a prophetic book, published in 1997, titled The Fourth Turning: What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny. They show that human history does not progress in a linear fashion, as commonly thought, especially among progressives. Human history, instead, follows a cyclical course, each cycle having four seasons, like the four seasons of the earth’s solar cycle.
Each cycle in human history around 80 years, corresponding to the normal lifespan of an individual and overall renewal of a human population. Strauss and Howe call the four human seasons in the human cycle “Turnings” naming them a High; Awakening; Unraveling; and Crisis. The “winter’ Crisis season—Fourth Turning—is typically a two-decade period where the country’s institutional life is torn down and rebuilt from the ground up in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s survival.
America as a nation currently is in its 4th Cycle—“Fourth Time Around.” Its history began with the Revolutionary Cycle (1704-1794), then a Civil War Cycle (1794-1865), followed by a Great Power Cycle (1865-1946), and now is in the final stages of its Millennial Cycle (1946-2026?). As predicted, exactly to the year in their 1997 book, the Fourth Turning Crisis season in the current Millennial Cycle began in 2008 with the Lehman Brothers collapse in the Global Financial Crisis.
A table in the article shows that wars have occurred in each American Crisis phase so far, with each one worse than the previous one. There were 25,000 military and civilian deaths in the American Revolution; 750,000 deaths in the Civil War; and counting all military and civilian deaths, including those from war-related diseases and famine, 85 million people died in World War II.
What will happen during the ten years or so remaining in this Fourth Turning? A nuclear World War III? A nuclear holocaust with ten times the number of death than what they were in WW II?
Strauss and Howe write: “The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.”
To help avoid a nuclear Third World War in this Fourth Turning, America needs to adopt a more non-interventionist foreign policy like that advocated by the nation’s founders.
The article ends quoting Strauss and Howe in a more optimistic light on how this Fourth Turning might end. They write: “America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying shared values to improve the human condition. The rhythms of history do not reveal the outcome of the coming Crisis: all they suggest is the timing and dimension.”
12 — On Compassion
This article begins with an account of my experience with a 101-year-old man named George Crosby, on whom I performed open heart surgery to replace his aortic valve. A photograph of this indomitable centenarian given to me by his wife, taken six months after his heart surgery, shows him working on his farm on the Olympic Peninsula across Puget Sound from Seattle, bent over a trestle of vines, arms outstretched, tending them lovingly with his hands. Celebrating life, George Crosby possessed a loving-kindness for all living things. He glowed with compassion.
Today people increasingly use the word “compassion” in a loose and careless fashion, particularly in political discourse, where politicians like to say, “I feel your pain,” in the same kind of way they have usurped the word “liberal,” having it connote the opposite of what the word classically means.
True compassion embodies the two cardinal virtues of natural justice and loving-kindness.
This article explores the philosophical, moral, and medical significance of compassion and contains quotes by Schopenhauer; Woody Allen, most importantly from his movie Broadway Danny Rose; and from Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
The one thing that self-serving politicians in their pursuit of power totally lack is compassion.
I was quite touched by an email that Jeff Deist, President of the Mises Institute, sent me after reading this article. He said, “Thanks for the incredible piece Monday [October 6, 2014]. Sobering, thought-provoking, yet upbeat and hopeful. One of the year’s best articles [on LewRockwell.com].”
(A longer version of this article first appeared as Chapter 3 in my book, Heart in Hand, published in 1999. This book delves into the philosophy of Schopenhauer, the operas of Richard Wagner, the films of Woody Allen, and my life as a heart surgeon.)
13 — Modern Medicine
This commentary addresses the problems that afflict modern medicine. The U.S. federal government has sought to control and regiment the practice of medicine since 1965 when a Social Security Amendment created Medicare and Medicaid. I graduated from medical school that year.
The next big step in government’s control of medicine occurred in 1984 with the Deficit Reduction Act, which imposed price controls on physician services for Medicare patients. By 1999, there were 110,000 pages of Medicare-related federal rules and regulations (twice the number of pages comprising the U.S. Tax Code).
Worse was to come. One particularly draconian Act is the 1996 Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPAA), which the regime uses to trap unwary physicians and impose Civil Monetary Penalties for various newly defined health care offenses, which include “incorrect coding and [government-judged] unnecessary services.” A subsequent related Act, the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) raised Civil Monetary Penalties to $50,000 for each violation and up to $1.5 Million for identical violations in a calendar year.
And on it goes, culminating in the current Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), colloquially known as “Obamacare.” This Act decrees how medicine is now to be practiced and stipulates that all “providers”—the new politically correct name for physicians and surgeons—must start using electronic health records or face penalties. The 384,000-word ACA deals chiefly with subjects other than “Patient Protection” and “Affordable Care.” Instead, it focuses on taxation, regulations, subsidies, expansion of Medicaid special interest group favors, replacing physician fee-for-service with “value-based” purchasing, penalties, punishment, and further price controls (all discussed in the piece).
This commentary also addresses Practice Guidelines, which function more as medical-legal requirements than optional guidelines; relatively new Evidence-Based Medicine, which is statistically based and functions more as a tool for managerial dominance than for making good medical decisions; Unassailable Medical Paradigms, like the cholesterol theory of heart disease; the Industrialization of Medicine, where doctors are becoming like assembly-line workers, practicing medicine according to federally prescribed guidelines, centrally connected and monitored using online computer health records; and the Two Laws: Eroom’s Law (Moore’s Law spelled backwards) and Gammon’s Law, two fascinating, little-known bureaucratic laws that I discuss in the commentary.
The government road that modern medicine is following ends with the Sovietization of American medicine. The other road that Robert Frost describes it in his poem “The Road Not Taken,” the “one less traveled by,” leads to freedom and free market medicine. Taking this road offers modern medicine the best opportunity to prevent disease and develop cures for existing, currently incurable chronic diseases, where longevity with well-being is the ultimate goal.
Lew Rockwell posted this commentary on his site after it was first published in the Fall 2015 Issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (Volume 20, Number 3, Pages 83-89).
The best thing about Donald Trump is that he is not part of the political establishment, and he has no stake in neoconservative efforts to subdue Russia and have Washington run the world. In contrast to his establishment-favored opponent, Secretary Clinton, Trump views U.S. wars of intervention and occupation around the world, in countries that pose no threat to American citizens a waste of taxpayer money. He’d rather spend that money refurbishing U.S. infrastructure and its decaying airports.
Both the Democratic and Republican establishment criticize Trump for being too friendly with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. They denounce him for questioning the cost and legitimacy of America’s commitment to Cold War relics like NATO and Washington threatening Russia by encouraging its neighboring states of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, and Georgia to join NATO and giving them weapons and military guarantees to defend them.
This article revisits the Fourth Turning theory postulated by Strauss and Howe discussed in article No. 11 in this series, “The Fourth Turning Fourth Time Around.” The likelihood that this 4th Fourth Turning in U.S. history that began in 2008 will beget World War III before it’s over and turn nuclear is quite high. The nuclear weapons the U.S. and Russia stockpile now are 50-times more powerful than the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Japan in 1945. This means that if a nuclear WW III does indeed occur there will be hundreds of millions of deaths, likely 10-times the 85 Million deaths that occurred in WW II.
Since LRC posted this article, on March 6, 2016, ominous signs continue to point towards nuclear war. Zero Hedge, on October 4, 2016, issued a report titled, “40 Million Russians To Take Part in ‘Nuclear Disaster’ Drill, Days After US General Warns Of War With Moscow.”  Another one the next day, as I am writing this, by Paul Craig Roberts is titled, “Washington Pushing the World To War – Can Trump Stop It?” 
Donald Trump may very well prove to be our only hope for escaping a nuclear World War III.
Libertarians champion individual liberty, private property, free markets (operated with sound money), and peace (following the non-intervention/non-aggression principle). A libertarian adheres to the two natural laws that make human civilization possible: Do All You Have Agreed to Do and Do Not Encroach on Other Persons or Their Property. Individual liberty and free markets cannot exist without following these two laws. They safeguard contracts and property rights respectively. Political systems that reject them eventually succumb to tyranny or chaos, or both.
This article and a companion one, “What Kerouac, Kennedy, Lincoln, and Practicing Medicine Have Taught Me About Liberty,” discuss how I became a libertarian—a liberal in its classic sense.
The path that the U.S. government has been following over the last 100 years and has funded its wars began with the new Federal Reserve System and personal income tax. Armed with these two money-printing and money-collecting acts, the country’s leaders have pursued a redistributionist, “progressive” ideological path. Instead of doing all they have agreed to do and not encroach on other persons or their property, progressives follow a different code, one in which “the end justifies the means,” where a perceived good outcome excuses any wrongs committed to attain it. As a result, the American political system is becoming increasingly tyrannical.
Two senior libertarians, Walter Block and Ralph Raico, have founded a group with me called “Libertarians for Trump.”  We encourage people to visit the site and its Facebook page, which my wife Linda manages, and to think about becoming a libertarian.
We will soon see how things turn out—with the election, the economy, and if America can avoid becoming engaged in a third world war.
(One can access all my articles that are online, including all those on LewRockwell.com, categorized by subject on my website donaldmiller.com. My book Heart in Hand is also available on the site, with each chapter separately accessible in pdf.)
1 – Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom by Andrew Napolitano (2007), available in various formats on Amazon.com HERE
2 – “Wisdom of Life” by Arthur Schopenhauer, available on amazon.com on Kindle ($0.99) and Paperback ($1.99) HERE
3 – “40 Million Russians To Take Part in ‘Nuclear Disaster’ Drill, Days After US General Warns Of War With Moscow” is HERE
4 – “Washington Pushing the World To War – Can Trump Stop It?” by Paul Craig Roberts is HERE 5 — Its website is libertariansfortrump.org.