When we read of the procedures and discoveries of modern scientific medicine, whether we read the news accounts or the accounts in the medical journals, reports and standard texts, one thing stands out above all else: always there are doubts, misgivings, compromising qualifications, exceptions, complicating, often dangerous side effects. There is lacking any clear and demonstrable principle that unifies the whole and reduces the jumble of uncertainties to certainty. Statistics also share in this uncertainty and lack of clear principle. As a consequence, they also lose value. The conflicting views that arise out of analyses of the same set of statistics by different medical men of equal authority are enough to demonstrate the unreliability of such statistics.
Firmness is required to prevent officious friends and relatives from meddling with the life of the patient. For, when one is very sick, as in typhoid or pneumonia, the powers of the patient are as easily depressed toward death as toward life, as the most delicately adjusted scales are turned by a fraction of a grain of weight. It is the Hygienic view that drugging practices are directly responsible for great numbers of deaths which would otherwise not occur. Where they do not cause death, they greatly retard recovery.
When a strong man in full maturity and vigor becomes suddenly ill and is soon numbered among the dead, we cannot reconcile this with any principle in the order of nature that predetermines the results. Those of our people who attempt to reconcile such occurrences with the attributes of wisdom, benevolence and unchangeableness with which they have endowed the Governor of the universe, fail to present us with a satisfactory answer to our misgivings. We cannot accept such deaths as the outworkings of a "mysterious Providence," against which the physician pits his skill and learning. We can perceive nothing but violated laws asserting their immutability and exacting their results. It may be and commonly is in such cases that the worst violations, those really responsible for the death, are committed in the treatment of the sick man. Treatment kills where, otherwise, the sick would recover.
The newspapers are loud in flaunting to the world the fact that the physicians struggled valiantly against the disease, that they employed all the resources of modern medicine, yet the patient died in spite of their heroic efforts. Editors seem never to suspect that death is most often the result of these very efforts, that, except for the resources of modern medicine, there would be a much lower death rate.
The clergy, seeming to take the position that the physicians and their poisons are the friends of the sick and God their enemy, attribute death to the "will of God." The Almighty sends disease upon a man and terminates his existence by violence in spite of the opposition of his physicians. God is the enemy of his own work. God killed the patient in spite of the efforts of the physician to protect him from the decree of the Almighty.
Against such sentiments, which they declared to be most pernicious in their bearings upon the human mind, the Hygienists vigorously protested. Trall said that it is "such talk, such solemn twattle, that misleads and deceives the world, and makes the great and terrible lessons of wisdom taught through affliction so nearly lost to us."
What are the remedies employed by physicians? Clearly they are poisons--other causes of disease. Their alleged remedial effects are the actions of the body in its struggle to resist and expel the drugs. The physician, so far from counteracting the causes of death, actually cooperates with them. His drugging is a concealed war upon the human constitution. The drugs, to which hasty and inconsiderate men so frequently resort to "aid nature a bit," often cause much more serious disease than that for which they are administered.
The reigning preference for drugs can be ascribed to but one thing: namely, ignorance of the laws of life and the conditions upon which life depends. The complaint frequently made by physicians that the people, in their ignorance, believe that drugs are necessary to cure disease and, therefore, will have them, is but an effort to whitewash their practices. We ask: "Who taught the people to believe in the saving potencies of drugs? Whose business is it to enlighten the people and teach them better? Medical men are just as much addicted to unphysiological habits as are other people and are just as prone to disease. They have deliberately abandoned the sure and simple ways of nature and have created, as a substitute, a highly complex and ruinous artificial system.
Trall wrote: "If all the physicians who become convinced that the whole drug system is wrong would at once refuse to countenance the wrong, either by word or deed, the people would sooner or later see their error. It is the business of the true physician to be a health teacher, not a panderer to depraved appetites and erroneous opinions. Otherwise his profession, which ought to be ennobling, sinks to the level of the meanest chicanery and the most mercenary trades." It is, of course, a mistake to think that the office of the physician has ever been that of an educator. From the time of Hippocrates to the present, he has been a disease-treater--a dispenser of drugs.
How can we expect otherwise, as medical colleges are busy teaching the poisoning practice and nothing else? These carefully standardized and rigidly controlled colleges are not permitted to teach anything except what is approved by the medical society. The young medical graduate is equipped, by his training and clinical experience and by his internship, to poison and carve the sick and he is prepared for nothing else. Where is there a medical college that has a chair in dietetics? Where is there a medical hospital that feeds anything other than restaurant fare such as may be obtained in the third and fourth rate restaurants of the country? Where is there a medically trained dietician who is anything more than a second-rate cook?
Here is a learned profession that for centuries have by prescriptive right, by statutory authority and by general consent, had the care of the people's health, and the best that they have found it expedient to do or the best that they have been able to do, has been greatly to impair that health. Such is the character of the drugging practice that its apparent successes are miserable failures. The good drugs seem to do are evils. Drugs only lure to deceive; whatever of good they may appear to do is evanescent and illusory. Sooner or later their true effects become manifest.
How does the physician and his poisons cure the sick? Can he provide us with an explanation that does not involve the admission that, at their assumed best, his drugs are but "auxiliaries of nature?" But is he not engaged in constantly trying to force nature to accept as helpers, in her need, substances the legitimate effects of which upon the human system are killative? It is confessed by those who manufacture them and by the men who prescribe them that drugs are poisons.