David Healy: Shipwreck of the singular

Donald F. Klein’s comment

 The views expressed in David Healy’s review with particular regard to his criticisms of current clinical practice as profit centered, mechanical and unconcerned with individual variation or public welfare, has received a number of general approvals. Unfortunately, recommendations for actually achieving how to better this parlous state have not been evident, despite some 19th century nostalgia.

My recollection is that Engels sharply distinguished Utopian and Scientific socialism. Utopian, vastly impressive, solutions to multifold social problems have been around for over 2000 years, without effect. Scientific Socialism believed exploited proletarians would inevitably overthrow capitalism. At that point, such solutions would be seen as both enlightened and required. Further, putting them into practice would be relatively easy since the retrogressive forces of capitalist interests would be overthrown.

However, that model has not been fulfilled. Nonetheless, that to effect change requires that much of the public can’t stand the current system seems persuasive. That they will necessarily accept the same solutions, in which we concur, has not been historically evident. So what to do besides grouse, if anything?

One possibility is the recognition that in advanced technological societies, Scandinavia, England, France, Germany, finally the US, etc., some form of affordable assurance of better than neglect or emergency medical care, now exists for almost all citizens.  These large sectors of our public have a common interest in improving both the decisions allocating care and the level of medical care.

Therefore, improving public understanding of what actually prevents forward motion seems a useful approach.

The question of how to improve this particular public understanding, specifically of the countervailing pressure, could be made a central focus of this historical, intellectual group’s discussion. Seems worthwhile. However, if we are on the whole comfortable, arousing to any action, except discussion, may not work.


Donald F. Klein

June 30, 2016