Doctors are an increasingly totalitarian bunch these days. Not content with the idea that our bodies belong to the state for the pickings of our bits when we die, they want to tell us how to live our lives while we are alive. And, because like naughty children, we don’t follow their advice, they want the state to force us to their will.
Tougher legislation is needed to curb unhealthy behaviour, doctors say.
Delegates at the British Medical Association’s annual conference called for a ban on smoking in cars, and more action on alcohol pricing and promotion, such as an advertising ban.
Oh, my, where to start? What about this for a thought; doctors are paid to heal the sick. When presented with a patient whose lifestyle is exacerbating their condition, then the medic would be perfectly correct to offer advice in accordance with that patient’s medical needs. If the patient decides to ignore that advice, well, they take the consequences.
It is not the place of medics or the state to use the blunt instrument of legislation to force us all into a state or BMA approved lifestyle – and why is it, that on each occasion that this one crops up, I have mental images of nubile Aryan youngsters all doing their stretches?
I routinely ignore such advice. While I neither drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, I do like salt on my food and use it extensively in cooking and will happily eat cholesterol loaded fats and butters (can’t believe it’s not Butter? I can). I’ll cheerfully engage in a heart attack laden fry up when the mood takes me. Mrs L likes her rollups and I am therefore subjected to the poisonous second-hand smoke, so expect me to keel over anytime soon. Not least because this is apparently more dangerous than smoking the things directly. By this logic, when we are out for a drive and Mrs L sparks up one of her rollies, I should have a drag or two to reduce the risk to my health. Yes, my head is in danger of exploding, too.
And it’s that thing about cars that is currently gripping the control freaks at the BMA. That the private motor car is just that; a private space is not something to concern these people. They have decided that it is unhealthy so it must be banned – they are the ones they feel who should decided what we may or may not do in our own private spaces. It may well be unhealthy. However, as adults it is up to us to decide what risks we take. Naturally, though, any calls for legislation will be couched in arguments for protecting children. Children are always the Trojan horse for illiberal totalitarians when they cry out for more infringements on our liberty because it is always difficult to rebut the charge that their safety or health should be considered above that of consenting adults.
However, that siren voice should be resisted as the false enchantresses that they are. The raising and care of children is the concern of parents, not the state and not the BMA.
That said, there are some dissenting voices and one cannot gainsay the voice in the wilderness that is medical student Charlie Bell:
We are the BMA not the BNA – the British Nannying Association.
Quite right. However, the BMA appears determined upon its course and such dissenting voices will be drowned out in the demands for ever more encroachments into our personal liberties. Doctors, it seems are no longer merely concerned with healing the sick.