Fortunes of tremendous magnitude have been acquired by the compounders of elixirs and cordials. Specifics galore have been announced and tried. But the results of all this searching and experimenting have not been satisfactory. Diseases have increased; their malignancy and fatality have been fearful. Chronic diseases, in particular, have enormously increased in modern times.

There are in this country more than 250,000 physicians; there are thousands of hospitals, clinics, sanitoria; there are several giant chemical industries turning out drugs and vaccines; there are thousands of wholesale and retail drug companies, employing an army of pharmacists; there is a great army of nurses, technicians and others who depend on the drug trade for their livelihood. In addition to all these, there are the manufacturers of bottles, pill boxes, cartons and plastics, and there are the newspapers, magazines, radio and television, that derive millions out of the advertising of these products. The drug industry, directly and indirectly, accounts for incomes and profits that run into many billions of dollars a year in this country alone.

It will be forever impossible to get medical men to acknowledge any principle which, if adopted by the people, will utterly overthrow the drug system and ruin the occupations of physicians. They never can and never will acknowledge such principles. Wounded pride, professional prejudice, inordinate vanity and self-interest stand in their way of giving the matter candid and objective consideration. The members of a learned profession are naturally the very persons who are disposed not to favor innovation upon practices which custom and prescription have rendered sacred in their view.

We expect nothing from them but opposition and imposition, slang and misrepresentation. But we care very little for what they think. Our message is for the people who have no stake in medicine. If the doctrines, principles and practices of Hygiene are accepted by the people, they will utterly revolutionize the care of the sick and completely wreck this giant industry and its parasitic industry, that of drug research. This immense business will be ruined, utterly and forever. The power, prestige, position, fame, the pride and wealth of the medical profession will be destroyed. For the profession to accept even our fundamental proposition that, in the relations between lifeless matter and living structure, the latter is active, the former passive, always, would permit the entering wedge that will upset the superstructure of the so-called healing art. The profession becomes, therefore, an interested witness, a partial judge and a prejudiced jury.

When in this book we speak of physicians in general, of their professional errors and prejudices, of their conceit and arrogance, of their indifference to truth, of their tender sensibility to the interest of their purse, we would not have the reader understand that we do not exclude from this general censure or that we deny in any way the existence of numerous honorable exceptions. In all classes of society and in all trades and professions, the common souls compose the majority; in all these categories are to be found individual noble men to whom truth is dearer than private gain. It is the misfortune of such men in the medical profession, however, that they are so controlled by the medical society that they dare not adhere to the truth that they know.

Medicine is a dead city in which the dead are determined that no one shall live. There are men in the profession who realize that all is not well in the dead city and who would gladly bring in new blood in the hope of reviving the rotting corpse, but they dare not do so. The intelligent practitioner is revolted by the hypocracy and narrowness he finds and the enemies he faces-the inertia, sluggishness and sullenness, the dominance of petrified prejudice and the slavish acquiescence to authoritative fallacy. These men fear the cagey watchfulness of their colleagues, who bear down upon each other for every deviation from their class line. The physician who develops even an intermittent sort of tolerance finds that they get their knives ready for him at once and are ready to spring, like the wolves on the crippled member of the pack, at the first sign of his confusion and dismay.

These men may tremble with some internal explosive disgust, but they take refuge in the stale opinions of their profession when they dare not express even a little of what is going on in their minds lest they betray the hatred of their work. They seem to think that truth can be embraced and laid aside at will without addling the wits of her ravisher. Unfortunately for such men, the enemy--the provincial, conforming suspicious enemy--is not merely passive and mocking; it is aggressive, strident and criminal; it turns to black-mail and violence; it is ready to frame and destroy anyone who raises questions it cannot answer. Are there no depths of ungentlemanly conduct to which it will not descend in its determination that nothing shall live within the walls of the dead city?

In spite of all repressive efforts, the carefully observant man cannot miss the fact that we are witnessing a catastrophic going-to-pieces of medical science, coincident with a going-to-pieces of her practical structures. The best men in the profession have no remedy to offer for the decline that is so obvious. The blaring and racuous Babbitry that surrounds the medical practitioner, the pep-talks, the idiot drooling of advertisers and go-getters, the medical society that has adopted the mechanics of American business with all of its psychological ravages and the mad pursuit of wealth or even a career in the business-dominated society--a fierce scrambling affair that kills its victims and cripples its victors--cannot long substitute for a true science. So-called medical science cannot be saved by any possible parade of miracle drugs. On the contrary, the more of such drugs are discovered and used and the more rapidly these discoveries are made, the sooner must medical science pass to that limbo reserved for the systems that are grounded in fallacy and sustained by force. As each miracle drug, announced with the great fanfare of trumpets and the idiot-drooling of medicine's publicity men, who picture medical practice as a glorified and super-competent hack might, fails, it only serves to open the eyes of the people a little wider.

Nothing is so effective in the fight against darkness as increasing light. We have attempted to throw a cheerful sunbeam into the darkened ravine. In this last half of the twentieth century, no man's ipse dixit satisfies the investigating mind. A man must show his colors. The time draws near when a man or a profession must come before the world able to give a rationale or the why and wherefore of his profession or calling or meet the disapprobation of this inquiring age. As knowledge of Hygiene increases, this demand for a reasonable explanation will increase.