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Reith, Sandel, Morality, Society and Homeopathy

The Reith Lectures on Radio 4 are one of the last vestiges of a pre-dumbed down society. This years lectures by Professor Michael Sandel on a ‘New Citizenship’ started wondrously last Tuesday with Sandel making the important point that we inadvertently allowed a market economy to turn us into a market society. You read a transcript of the lecture here.

Sandel is  brilliant, compassionate and funny but it was a reference to medicine that really caught my ear. Said the good professor of philosophy from Harvard:

” If you’ve ever seen the television commercials in America on the evening news, you could be forgiven for thinking that the   greatest health crisis in the world is not malaria or river blindness or sleeping sickness, but a rampant epidemic of erectile  dysfunction.”

Now here I must remind that the good professor of philosophy that erectile dysfunction (ED) is a life threatening problem that should not be treated lightly. In fact it threatens not only the future well being of man but man’s very existence on the planet. A pandemic of ED might seem like good news for sperm banks but we would be mistaken in putting any kind of trust in any type of bank in future.

In today’s lecture, Sandel, referred to Aristotle in looking at the way we value things. I think this is important in regarding the provision of homeopathy on the NHS.

“So this idea that there are certain proper ends or purposes to social practices, this idea suggests that to determine the right way of valuing things, we have to figure out the purpose, the end of the social practice in question. And this idea is an idea that goes all the way back to Aristotle. Let me give you a very brief summary of Aristotle’s theory of justice. Justice means giving people what they deserve.”

So do the substantial minority of people who want homeopathy, deserve to get it on the NHS? Obviously they do. But not according to commentators like medical professors Michael Baum, Edzard Ernst and David Coquhoun. These doctors in my opinion, are less interested in what the people deserve than in forcing you to accept that they know a lot better than you what is good for you. But as you might expect there is a difference in the way a professor of medicine views the world from how a professor of philosophy might do.

Two more Reith lectures to go on Tues: 23 and 30th June.  Highly recommended.

By | 2009-06-16T18:16:53+00:00 June 16th, 2009|Current Affairs, Homeopathy|5 Comments

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  1. Ruth June 18, 2009 at 2:56 am

    Well said! The last thing we Americans need, however, is a bailout of the sperm banks due to a complete erectile shutdown. Moral hazard has its limits.
    We have an epidemic of sleeping sickness, caused by lack of sleep…ergo, lots of commercials for sleeping pills.
    River blindness is not as bad as being blindly led into 2 wars and a near-meltdown of global finance due to blind bankers.
    Malaria is still bad, but definitely a form of birth control. We do not have a malaria problem…yet, but one hell of a lot of disaffected lovers. To whom would this lady advertise…especially when you consider that the main demographic who even watches the evening propaganda has severe ED? In fact, it is purported that the evening propaganda can INDUCE ED!! I would call the advertising nothing short of brilliant. Every country must take care of its own problems first. The Malarians should get some cheap antimalarials, but first disgorge the Mal-arian dictators of all the corrupt money they take from oil and other resource companies.

    As you Provocative Therapists would say:”What is wrong with sacrificing health for money and hedonism? You only live once. Why not take a pill and get laid?”

    I wish you 100,000 more erections Doc. Use each one as if it were your last…you never know what awaits…never!


  2. Dr. Kaplan June 18, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    Thanks for keeping me on my toes as a Provocative Therapist! It’s so easy to sliip into populist cliches these days and turn into an android. The phallosophy of Big Pharma clearly was at its most compassionate when it came up with Viagra. Anyone who thinks of saying that is sexist should first have a conversation with a Viagra wife.

  3. Ruth June 20, 2009 at 1:39 am


    Having studied some Provocative Therapy myself, let me remind you that it is perhaps too powerful…like the blade of a scalpel, it can be misused.
    Maybe you should not reveal its brilliant ability to instantly disrupt dysfunctional behavior.
    Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood.
    That is what happened to those of Jesus.
    Please think carefully about revealing this magic to the masses.
    Don’t say I did not warn you ;^)


  4. Dr. Kaplan June 20, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Ruth, Thanks for your warnings.

    As Kipling put it in the poem Britain voted as its all time favourite:
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

    Will this happen to me?

    Probably, so I’ll make sure I’m Fully Insured.

  5. Ruth June 21, 2009 at 1:17 am



    Have you forsaken courage for safety?? After all isn’t that what most people want…..safety, not freedom?
    You can only choose one.

    Many apes are descendants of insurance salesmen. How are we supposed to tell them?

    But fear always sells……..


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