August 3, 2021

A COUNTRY OF DOGS

A TRAGEDY IN FOUR ACTS

ACT I, WOLVES AND DOGS;

There was a time when humans and wolves in order to feed themselves contended in their pursuit of prey. Soon thereafter, humans realized that their competitors excelled in the search for the victims, and wolves learned that humans were stronger, better killers and left enough behind to satisfy their needs. A bond was formed and the animals started trusting the smarter species and a partnership ensued. This union made a different type of wolf, dogs, which, in most cultures have become a part of the human family. In exchange for the owners taking care of all their needs, these pets give loyalty, love, and at times security.

ACT II, IVAN PAVLOV;

Dr. Pavlov, a Russian Physiologist, noticed that his dog, being accustomed to be fed by him, started salivating just by his appearance. This happenstance made him try an experiment using bells. A dog’s salivation is a normal impulse needed to digest food. After several sessions ringing a bell while feeding the animal, a response equal to the food stimulus was produced by the bell alone. This was a new learned behavior. It is known in Psychology as a conditioned response. Modeling Pavlov’s experiments, a theory of human behavior and treatment was conceived, Behavior Therapy. Different species of animals were trained to learn new actions by using rewards, as often seen in different public spectacles. In recent decades, these conditioning theories have been practiced as a tool to guide customers towards a particular product, and even for the purpose of changing thoughts and/or mindsets.

ACT III, THE UNITED STATES;

Many forms of governance and several rulers have existed in the history of the world. Seeds of a form of Democracy were seen in the Greco-Roman days. Inexorably these empires went from an increase of knowledge, attempts for individual freedoms and territorial dominance to indulgence, strong rulers and self destruction. Regression and “dark” times were replaced by periods of renaissance and new empires, the latest the European. In this context the United States became a nation. The style of government in this new country was unique. We need to understand the difficulties that preceded the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the thirteen original colonies. United by distaste for the European monarchies and parliamentary system, they were at odds by regional interests and distrust for each other. A fear of the bigger colonies dominating the others by simple majority had to be overcome, and the signing was barely successful mainly due to the wisdom of our forefathers. Something new emerged. After careful crafting of a Constitution, clarifying rights by the first ten amendments “Bill of Rights”, and brilliant explanation in the Federalist papers, a Republic was formed. Separation of powers in three equal branches, individual rights, and a limited government mainly centered in the states, with guidance by a progressive Constitution was the basis for the regime.

There is no better explanation of the merits of our form of government that the one found on the two volumes Democracy in America (1835 & 1840) written by Alexis de Tocqueville. The key for America’s success he understood was based not only in its unique form of Democracy, but in the quality of its people and the press. He wrote “But one also finds in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level, and which reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom”.

ACT IIII, A COUNTRY OF DOGS;

At the present time, we are living in a totally different country than the one our forefathers envisioned and Tocqueville so aptly described. Our original inhabitants prided themselves in hard work, and desired the riches these efforts could produce, at the same time accepting the potential failures. The economy was based in a free market, regulated by the laws of offer and demand and empowered by the Judeo- Christian moral values taught in the families and defined by their beliefs. Avarice was sinful, but ambition encouraged. Being charitable, helping others, respecting differing views, and self sufficiency were encouraged at an early age, while envy and disrespect to others was frown upon. The press did its duty as a watchdog of the rulers to make sure the freedoms given in the Constitution to the people were not infringed on. In a soon to be sold book, former Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner relates an incident when the White House encouraged him to state a falsehood in a public appearance, prompting him to refuse. He was told that if he spoke the truth it would be like a “dog-whistle” to the liberal voters. What was alarming was not the “prep” part that is part of politics but the awareness by our leaders of both parties that we have been conditioned to respond to politicians statements, just as Pavlov’s dog was.

The press has also changed its behavior to condition their journalistic duties to the whistles of the government. When Obama praised the enrollment of 8 million people in the ACA exchanges, the press and the establishment followers took it face value. Only the opposition party disputed its accuracy, in turn exaggerating the numbers to an also false low. A few of us wrote a 3 to 4 million of previously uninsured, paid persons to be more realistic. When 2 of the major insurers claimed 15% to 20% had not paid, the democratic partisan whistle sounded because the republicans had claimed 50% of unpaid. They were rejoicing that their “lie” was smaller. I have always used 20% as a probable figure. In a recent McKinsey survey, they use a figure of over 20% of registered persons that have failed to pay and only 27% of those being previously uninsured. An impartial study of the survey shows that the uninsured should be more because many have not been counted by McKinsey. Of course the whistles will sound and we will respond to the call of our party. It should not surprise anyone this change of attitude. It was well anticipated, studied and put in practice by those that aspired to control our destinies, and achieved their goal by giving us entitlements, like treats, destroying our values and families, and limiting our freedom of expression, not by laws as our forefathers feared, but by a new method that we all succumb to “political correctness”. The experiment is over, our market is not free, our population totally ignorant and dependent, our press absent, our values diminished, envy prevailing over admiration and the “one percent” that rules us claiming their objective to be the distribution of wealth accrued by the same “one percent”. Once a country of wolves converted into a country of dogs.

Fernando J Milanes MD

 

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