Conservatives Need To Support Labor As Much As They Support Capital Formation is a piece by Jon Schweppe. In it he argues for policies which he thinks will benefit the common good. He thinks that the government should encourage the well being of workers and that such a stance should be supported by conservatives since the well being of workers is in the national interest. He thinks that taxes on workers should be the same as on capital and that shoddy policies on trade, immigration, and our corrupt education system should also be addressed.

Great! It’s hard to argue with this stance. But how exactly are these changes to be enacted? We live in a country of 330 million people, 50 states and the District of Columbia, numerous overseas possessions, 100 senators and 438 representatives who can’t even pass a budget, innumerable lobbyists, a national debt that’s bigger than the Andromeda Galaxy – a country in which half its population wants to impeach its president while the other half wants to re-elect him. A country that can’t distinguish singular from plural, or who’s a boy and who’s a girl, or how many pronouns there are much less which to use, and Mr Schweppe, who doesn’t have to work for a living – he’s at a think tank – believes rational change is just around the corner, or no more than a block away. Forget about rational changes, just avoiding irrational ones would be a major accomplishment.

Which brings me to being kind to medical students. People who write on this subject – most of them also don’t really work for a living – have advocated for a kinder and gentler approach to medical students and postgraduate trainees. They cite the bad old days when doctors in training were subjected to abuse equal or worse than that imposed by Torquemada and associates.

Well, there’s no older product of those bad old days than me. When I did something stupid, alas a not infrequent occurrence during my student days, I was often told I was a moron or the equivalent and was even struck on one occasion. Interestingly, I now look back on those who were hardest on me as the best teachers charged with the responsibility of preventing me from error during my years as a trainee. I cannot think of an instance when I was forcibly told I had done something wrong that was undeserved.

Medicine is a serious occupation in which the opportunities for mischief exist in far greater profusion than those which carry benefit. I vividly recall every mistake I made in more than half a century in the profession. Fortunately these errors were few and never deadly. My father died at age 50 because of a medical error which makes me even more sensitive to the consequences of medical mishap.

My training in medicine lasted a decade, after that I was responsible for the education of physicians at all levels of study. I never raised my voice, used bad language, or was disrespectful of a student’s dignity. I did, however, let them no without ambiguity when they had done something wrong and always made sure that they did not lapse into error again, at least to the extent possible.

Here’s a rather bland discussion of the subject by Art Caplan, a medical ethicist. My own opinion, being out of the game now, is that teachers of medicine should be as tough as possible on trainees who err. The only limitation I’d set is would you care if the corrective encounter found its way to YouTube.

Human beings routinely make mistakes. Medical error likely take second place only to military blunders. The current multi-trillion dollar medical monster that confronts every patient who falls into its maw has little in the way of patient protection built into its government and computer driven machinery. About all that’s left are doctors who care about the well being of their patients. Such care requires that physicians never cease their vigilance. The operative assumption is that somebody will screw up. This means constant attention to every detail and the conviction that your instructions will not be followed as spoken or written. It takes a lot of tough training to get ready for this task

Accordingly, when you’re going through the medical equivalent of Marine Corps boot camp, don’t expect your drill sergeant to be like your mother.