Back in the early 90’s we had a really bad experience with conventional (or hospital based) medicine which led me to an eye-opening investigation of alternatives. It turned out that many of the alternatives, most of which are still shouted down by the establishment, had validity and were effective. During that period I came across a writer and philosopher named Ivan Illich whose book “Medical Nemesis” pointed out the extreme dangers of medicalizing our lives from birth to death and introduced the idea of iatrogenic disease. In the intervening years I haven’t changed my mind about our medical system (or the business of medicine) and try to stay away from it.
It’s more difficult to avoid the subjects of politics and economics but it’s important to take the same skeptical approach as taught by Monsignor Illich (he was a Catholic priest). There some very clear thinkers in this area, as well, including Charles Hugh Smith (no relation) whose book, Survival + I’m now reading.
I’ve been following Smith’s blog www.oftwominds.com for a couple of years and have been impressed with his clarity of thought. He succinctly lays out an alternative to the world view held by most Americans, reinforced by a conventional media which is controlled by no more than ten major companies world wide. He argues that the plutocracy (and who can deny there is one when 1% of the people own 2/3rds of the wealth) operates totally out of self-interest and is guilty of constant overreach. The powers that be want us to believe the following:
1. That there is abundant cheap energy for a long time to come and that technology will fill the gaps.
2. That Social Security and Medicare entitlements will be paid and maintained solvent through modest policy adjustments.
3. That the current financial meltdown could not have been foreseen and will be corrected with policy adjustments.
4. That public and private credit and debt can continue to expand and are the lifeblood of permanent growth.
5. That environmental issues can be dealt with by modest policy adjustments.
6. That consumerist culture is the culmination of the perfection of capitalism.
7. That we have the finest medical system in the world.
Smith takes issue with and disproves all of the above and warns us against a monolithic media which is nothing more than a propaganda machine. He’s not a survivalist, however, and believes we can survive and prosper and his book will attempt to illustrate how. The sub-title is “Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation”.
Seems ripe material for this blog and I’ll be commenting on it as I read through Survival +.