Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fighting ObamaCare: " What Can One Do?

"What Can One Do?"
by Ayn Rand

"This question is frequently asked by people who are concerned about the state of < today's health care system and the looming imposition of government -run ObamaCare > and want to correct it. "How can an individual propagate < the correct ideas> on a scale large enough to effect the immense changes which must be made in order to create the kind of ideal social system < or American health care system > which you picture?"

If this is the way the question is posed, the answer is: he can't. No one can change a country single-handed. So the first question to ask is: why do people approach the problem this way?

Suppose you were a doctor in the midst of an epidemic. You would not ask: "How can one doctor treat millions of patients and restore the whole country to perfect health?" You would know, whether you were alone or part of an organized medical campaign, that you have to treat as many people as you can reach, according to the best of your ability, and that nothing else is possible.

People approach intellectual issues in a manner they would not use to deal with physical problems.
They would not seek to stop an epidemic overnight, or to build a skyscraper single-handed.  Nor would they refrain from renovating their own crumbling house, on the grounds that they are unable to rebuild the entire city.

But in the realm of ideas, they still tend to regard knowledge as irrelevant, and they expect to perform instantaneous miracles, somehow or they paralyze themselves into inaction by projecting an
impossible goal.

If you are seriously interested in fighting for a better < US health care system and against government -run health care>, begin by identifying the nature of the problems. The battle is primarily intellectual (philosophical), not political. Politics is the *last consequence*, the practical implementation, of the fundamental philosophical ideas that dominate a given nation's culture.

You cannot fight or change the consequences without fighting and changing the cause; nor can you attempt any practical implementation without knowing what you want to implementIn an intellectual battle, you do not need to convert everyone. History is made by minorities or, more precisely, history is made by intellectual movements, which are created by minorities.

Who belongs to these minorities? Anyone who is able and willing actively to concern himself with intellectual issues. Here, it is not quantity, but quality that counts (the quality and consistency of the
ideas one is advocating).

An intellectual movement does not start with organized action. Whom would one organize?
A philosophical battle is a battle for men's minds, not an attempt to enlist blind followers. Ideas can be propagated only by the men and women who understand them.

An organized movement has to be preceded by an educational campaignwhich requires trained- self-trained - teachers (self-trained in the sense that a philosopher can offer you the material of knowledge, but
it is your own mind that has to absorb it).

Such training is the first requirement for being a doctor during an ideological epidemic and the precondition of any attempt to "change the world."... Today, most people are acutely aware of our cultural-ideological vacuum <and the legal and economic chaos of our health care system>;  they are anxious, confused, and groping for answers. Are you able to enlighten them?

Can you answer their questions? Can you offer them a consistent case? Do you know how to correct their errors? ... * A political battle is merely a skirmish fought with muskets; a philosophical battle is a nuclear war.*

If you want to influence a country's intellectual trend < or help bring rational reform to the American health care system>, the first step is to bring order to your own ideas and integrate them into a consistent case case, to the best of your knowledge and ability.

This does not mean memorizing and reciting slogans and principles; knowledge necessarily includes the ability to apply abstract principles to concrete problems, to recognize the principles in specific issues, to demonstrate them, and to advocate a consistent course of action....

When or if your convictions are in your conscious, orderly control, you will be able to communicate them to others. If you like condensations (provided you bear in mind their full meaning), I will say: when you ask "What can one do?" the answer is "SPEAK" (provided you know what you are saying).

A few suggestions: do not wait for a national audience. Speak on any scale open to you, large or small, to your friends, your associates, <your patients>, your professional organizations, or any legitimate
public forum.  You can never tell when your words will reach the right mind at the right time. You will see no immediate results, but it is of such  activities that public opinion is made.... it is never too late or too early to propagate the right ideas- except under a dictatorship.

If a dictatorship <or government run socialized medicine> ever comes to this country, it will be by the default of those who keep silent. We are still free enough to speak. ...

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