Sunday, March 16, 2008

The "Soft Fascism" of Fake Health Freedom

Dr. Ron Paul's comment that our Constitutional Republic was being replaced by a type of "Soft Fascism" came home to me this weekend. Kathy and I are attending the annual Sound Health Conference, being held in SE Ohio. See: Dr. Laibow (speaking over the Internet) and I had an opportunity to discuss health freedom with several people from Ohio as well as other attendees.

What I heard from the Ohioans shocked me. I had been following some of the details of the struggle for health freedom here, but had not had an update in months.

To start with, Ohio law is not favorable to freedom of choice in health care. This state, since 1983, has had a very restrictive dietitian's law that prevents non-registered individuals from speaking freely to other individuals about nutrition. While this old law is contrary to Constitution principals, such as that announced in Thompson v Western States - 535 U.S. 357, 2002 (I've written about this important US Supreme Court health freedom decision in earlier blogs) it has set the tone for CAM health care enactments in Ohio.

What has happened? When nutritionists and other CAM practitioners sought protection from the dietitians' monopoly, a health freedom bill was introduced... and then, some months later, it was discovered that the bill was apparently amended to include a "registration" provision that required anyone who wanted to exercise their health freedom professionally to first register with the state. Failure to register carries a $10,000 fine, but nothing in the law specifies who is required to register before speaking. Of course this would be an unconstitutional enactment. The state cannot condition freedom of speech on government registration, and, as the Supreme Court reminded us in Thompson,

"We have previously rejected the notion that the Government has an interest in preventing the dissemination of truthful commercial information in order to prevent members of the public from making bad decisions with the information."

So, you ask, who would be sly enough to turn a health freedom bill into a law designed to restrict health freedom? How did the health freedom movement react? True health freedom advocates reacted strongly and were accused of "refusing" to "compromise and cooperate." Certain people who pretend to support health freedom, but appear to be funded from dubious sources, made the accusation to state legislators.

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THIS: refusing to surrender one's freedom is NOT a failure to "compromise and cooperate;" only someone who is a crypto-fascist a heart could think so. Despite the self-serving beliefs of politicians, the state does not have unlimited authority to interfere with our private and personal decisions, such as what health care to accept or reject.

That is the essence of freedom. When any so-called health freedom group suggests programs that decrease freedom and increase the power of politicians and their appointees, those people are fake health freedom fronts for the monopolists and control freaks. What they want is a decrease in health and freedom.

In the case of State v Biggs (46 SE Reporter 401, 1903) the North Carolina Supreme Court dealt with a person who was advising people as to diet, and administering massage, baths and physical culture. In the Biggs case, the defendant "advertised himself as a 'nonmedical physician'...[and] held himself out to the public to cure disease by 'a system of drugless healing'..." p.401. That Court held that there could be no "state system of healing" p.402 and while "Those who wish to be treated by practitioners of medicine and surgery had the guaranty that such practitioners had been duly examined...those who had faith in treatment by methods not included in the 'practice of medicine and surgery' as usually understood, had reserved to them the right to practice their faith and be treated, if they chose, by those who openly and avowedly did not use either surgery or drugs in the treatment of diseases..." p.402. Biggs was acquitted.

While a CAM practitioner registration law might protect registered persons from competition, that is not a legitimate function of law. And while it may "protect" people from making what some bureaucrats may think are "bad" decisions with truthful information, that is not a legitimate function of law either.

The North Carolina Supreme Court concluded, a century ago in Biggs, supra., at p.405: "Medicine is an experimental, not an exact science. All the law can do is to regulate and safeguard the use of powerful and dangerous remedies, like the knife and drugs, but it cannot forbid dispensing with them. When the Master, who was himself called the Good Physician, was told that other than his followers were casting out devils and curing diseases, he said, 'Forbid them not.'"


Update: 2008 Sound Health Conference Report:

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