Homeopathy segues into Michele Bachmann and the Conservative Party
Is it possible there has been a benefit attained from the Government increasing tuition fees? Was this Nick Clegg’s secret intention all along? Alas, if only there were such a reason, it would explain why Clegg ignored the majority of left-leaning Lib Dems, betrayed the students and condemned his party to political exile.
The increase in tuition fees was a ridiculous and unnecessary move. Public spending on higher education in 2011 was £14.09 bn out of a total spend of £691.67 bn. Hardly the most pressing cut when we spent £39.46 bn on a military that only the USA uses. The only threat to our borders will be if Sarkozy tries to get another popularity boost in time for the Presidential election and invades Portsmouth. Yet something positive has come out of the cuts to higher education. It will mean that, providing they follow trends in other subjects, there will be many fewer people who decide to take up “Alternative medicine”. This includes, but is not limited to, Homeopathy, Natropathy and Acupuncture. That these degrees exist at all is troublesome, but they are being taught at several vaguely prestigious institutions, such as Westminster. Apparently it is possible to get a Masters in some of them.
Broadly speaking, people should be able to study what they want, but spending three years learning the names of placebos lacks any scientific merit, particularly when at the end of it you expect people to pay you to lie to them about their Chi energy, or aura, or Thetans. To Quote Tim Minchin: “By definition Alternative Medicine has either not been proved to work or been proved not to work. You know what they call Alternative Medicine that’s been proven to work? Medicine.”
Insofar as in Britain most users of Alternative Medicine will still go to an actual doctor it is harmless, if a waste of money. When examined, however, its effects are more insidious.
Intellectually, it ignores the hard work done by actual scientists. The fact is that for any new drug to be approved, it takes years of painstaking work to get it to the patient. From concept, to lab testing, to animal studies, to human studies to distribution, the combined intellectual effort of the chemists, doctors and pharmacists is staggering. Tomorrow, however, I could decide that I have invented a new Alternative Therapy and market it immediately. For some reason people seem to distrust scientists who are, lest we forget, experts in their fields. They deserve much more credit than they get.
Secondly, those such as aromatherapy are the tip of other, more unpleasant, alternative medicines. This includes Tribal Medicine, which can be far from harmless. In the worst cases they can lead to death, and that is no exaggeration. In parts of Africa today, witchdoctors are spreading the myth that sex with a virgin can cure HIV/AIDS. In other situations people will refuse valid medical help and instead continue with their own tribal or alternative therapies.
It is, in reality, an individual’s choice whether they want the help, but when this is forced upon whole communities by so-call authority figures, someone needs to step in, punch them in the face and tell them in no uncertain terms that this is the 21st Century. People shouldn’t be dying through ignorance. Whilst they’re at it someone needs to give Josef Ratzinger a slap and make him enforce condom use throughout his Church, rather than allow his flock to die in agony through lack of action.
Thirdly, and not quite so important are the rather sad side effects of some alternative therapies. I say sad, because to get hold of their unproven amulets and potions they poach critically endangered animals. So many creatures have become extinct since we came along it is unfortunate that people wilfully add to the list. Unless something is done to protect tigers, rhinos and snow leopards, they will die out. However people should come first, and if we have to sacrifice another species before ours will become rational and stop killing them, then with a heavy heart it is a price we will have to accept. Of course if the government would invest more in cloning this might not be such a problem.
People’s incredulity at the world is startling; They look for answers to complex questions but look in the strangest places. There are people already looking for the answers, they are called Biologists, Chemists and Physicists. Consulting the Pope on life choices is equivalent to asking a toddler to explain the Large Hadron Collider; they don’t understand and the answers will be objectively nonsensical. Inability to trust doctors leads to Alternative Medicines, inability to pick up a physics textbook leads to faith in something else entirely.
Liberal thought is all for freedom of speech and belief, but fundamentalists of all stripes make this very difficult to justify. In America belief in some incarnation of Yahweh is a commodity, and has become a bloated monstrosity. The Right of America has allowed itself to become usurped by people who in Europe would be considered clinically insane. There is a man in Oxford Circus who looks worse for wear and spends his entire day on a microphone telling us that the world will end unless we repent for our permissiveness towards homosexuality and abortion. If Sarah Palin were born in Britain that is where she would be, and we would understand that she is mentally unstable. We would never, ever elect her to anything.
The same is true for Michele Bachmann, whose resignation speech I had the misfortune of witnessing. She swerves between claims that Obama is a socialist, when in Britain his policies are very much of the centre-right, and thanking her Deity. Strange how this Momma Grizzly, so happy to deprive people of healthcare because that would mean the state was interfering with “freedom”, joyously abases herself before an Interventionalist State, I mean God.
Unfortunately this is not only happening across the Atlantic. Like the Republicans, the Conservative party is allowing itself to become slowly usurped by rightist Christian fundamentalists. These people follow the same ideology, under the banner of “freedom”, comprising a triumvirate of anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-immigrant policies that go against everything that Britain and Europe has brought to the world over the past century.
What is truly frustrating is that the electorate will elect these people based on their party, and not on their beliefs. This is valid across the political spectrum, but it is the Right who pose the most danger to society in this regard. Here are three of the worst offenders, all Conservatives:
David Burrowes MP (Enfield Southgate) – Believes that Muslim extremists may be right because the liberal elite have created a “decadent” state.
Nadine Dorries MP (Mid Bedfordshire – Proposed legislation that would force women seeking abortion to undergo counselling by religious groups, and promotes promotes abstinence only sex education for children.
David Amess MP (Southend West) – Supported a bill in 2005 that would almost completely ban abortion in the UK and favours the Death penalty.
These aren’t distant rednecks that we can laugh at as they fumble their way through the Republican primaries. They are members of our parliament, and they have direct influence on what happens in our lives.
My request is simple. People need to start living their lives logically. Ignore the apothecary, the priest and the right wing and we have better health, less fear and no war. In that order.
Posted on January 12, 2012, in Comment, General, US Politics and tagged conservative party, Homeopathy, Liberal Democrats, medicine, Michele Bachmann, Republican, tuition fees. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.