Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's In A Word?

No sooner had I published my entry (10-13-2008), “The Rectification of Names,” I read an article in the NYTimes: “Campaign Myth: Prevention as Cure-All.”

In short, its author, H.Gilbert Walsh, MD says:

Why is it that in a presidential campaign “both candidates champion one of medical care’s most pervasive myths? The myth is that like magic, preventive medicine will simultaneously reduce costs and improve health?”

He goes on to say: “the term ‘preventive medicine’ no longer means what it used to: keeping people well by promoting healthy habits, like exercising, eating a balanced diet and not smoking…The medical model for prevention has become less about health promotion and more about early diagnosis.

It boils down to encouraging the well to have themselves tested to make sure they are not sick. And, that approach does not save money; it costs money.”

The point being that the word prevention has been co-opted, distorted and down-graded to persuade the public that medical screening for diseases is prevention.

Beyond a myth, that is a dangerous lie.

They have convinced the public that prevention = screening therefore, health care = treatment for diseases diagnosed as a result of that screening and, health = taking medications to ‘control’ those diseases (meds for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, osteoporosis, etc, etc.)

Changing names to change the meaning is a powerful form of propaganda. And, all propaganda is used to sway opinion to effect an agenda; in this case, to literally push people into a medical disease and drug based model of care.

Confucius said:

“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”

Therefore, "any attempt to fix what is wrong in the world had best start with the rectification of names."


RayA said...

Propaganda. It's not just for breakfast anymore. GREAT words Peter!

yobro said...

Prevention, then preventive medicine, then medicine, then good luck....

I don't necessarily see a problem with preventive medicine in itself. There is a place for early detection. We are just missing a step! We are neglecting (or not actively trumpeting) the virtues of plain vanilla prevention. (It's plain vanilla....) Chalk it up to laziness on the part of the "consumers", self-interest on the part of the "providers" a vicious cycle. People need to take charge of their lives. Globally, locally and personally.
What do you expect: "I'm a couch potato and proud of it!! NOT!

Never say die!